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Housing development on former Butler, Tanner & Dennis site is launched

THE former site of Frome’s prolific printworks Butler, Tanner & Dennis, which printed one of the first Penguin books in 1935, is being transformed into contemporary new homes as The Old Printworks by Acorn Property Group.

The group report, “The £45million (GDV) development will provide 157 modern homes set in landscaped grounds. The Old Printworks is by housebuilder Acorn Property Group (https://www.acornpropertygroup.org/) working in conjunction with London & County, with the first homes now released for sale and will be completed in winter 2020.

“Located off Caxton Road along the banks of the River Frome, The Old Printworks offers high-quality contemporary homes, with over 1.5 acres of green open space across the scheme, a children’s play area for residents and a new footpath down to the riverbanks.

“Founded by W.T Butler and Joseph Tanner, the Butler & Tanner printworks operated for 165 years, delivering print services including large-format sheet-fed presses for Heidelberg and digital print kits for Kodak. Working with Penguin Books Ltd when the first ten paperbacks were launched to print, in October 1935 the third impressions printed of Ariel by André Maurois, a biography of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Madame Claire by Susan Ertz. Other notable books printed include The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and an edition of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. 

“Butler & Tanner originally moved to the Frome site in 1907, with the huge ‘Dreadnought’ printing machine running from 1910 and the first four-colour Roland press installed in 1987 for colour printing. The firm was then purchased by Dennis Publishing, becoming Butler, Tanner & Dennis in 2007, before closing in 2014, leaving the large site in Frome open for redevelopment.  

“Every home at The Old Printworks has been designed with sustainability in mind, using timber frame construction and eco stock bricks, with triple glazing for insulation, energy saving appliances and lighting throughout and sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDs). There are communal electric charging points in the car park. To support local ecology, there will be 12 bat houses, 10 bird boxes and specialist bee bricks across the build.

Robin Squire, regional managing director of Acorn’s Bristol office says, “The Old Printworks is the transformation of a renowned printers the former Butler, Tanner and Dennis. We are delighted to be breathing new life into this site, delivering bespoke high-quality homes which will provide a unique addition to Frome, for a new community to enjoy.”

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