Fleet Street

St. Bride's Church

The church's altar of remembrance for fallen journalists

For 500 years, Fleet Street has been the generic term for “the press” in London, and its spiritual heart has been the church of St. Bride.

In the early days, the clergy had a near monopoly on literacy and were the printers’ best customers. The modern image of Fleet Street was born when it became the scene of transformation of the medieval art and “mistery” of printing.

In media history, students learn the name of William Caxton. After mastering the technique of printing in Germany, Caxton returned to London in 1476 and set up a press near Westminster Abbey. He proceeded to print about 100 books on subjects that included history and geography, the lives of saints, and most of Chaucer’s works.

Caxton died in 1491, and his apprentice acquired the press. England’s first printing press with moveable type was brought alongside St. Bride’s. In fact, the apprentice is buried in St. Bride’s.

The photos are compliments of Professor Jessica Gisclair of the School of Communications, who is leading the Elon in London program this fall.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books, International Communications, Media history

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