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The Benjamin Fawcett

Discover the history of the talented Benjamin Fawcett.

Middle Street North, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 6SW

This pub stands facing the well-known Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, a local landmark since 1880. The open area in front of the chapel was once occupied by Benjamin Fawcett’s shop and print works, before he moved to a house and workshop in Wansford Road. Fawcett was one of the great colour printers of the 19th century and a leading employer in Driffield. In 2003, the Benjamin Fawcett Memorial Gardens were officially opened on his Wansford Road works site. Today, Fawcett’s highly acclaimed prints sell for hundreds of pounds.

A photograph and text about The Benjamin Fawcett.

The text reads: Benjamin Fawcett was born in December 1808, in Bridlington. He spent seven years as an apprentice to a local bookseller, before starting his own printing business in 1831. His works originally stood opposite these premises, in front of the Chapel. He was predominantly a children’s books publisher until around 1845 when he met Francis Orpen Morris.

Fawcett financed the production and printing of the ground breaking A History of British Birds for which Morris provided the text. Using the finest materials available, British Birds was published in monthly editions between 1850 and 1857. Each gorgeous issue contained four beautifully coloured bird illustrations and several pages of accompanying letter-press.

As well as organising the production, Fawcett also painstakingly carved many of the 360 plates himself onto specially imported Turkish boxwood. He meticulously whittled the blocks to leave the detail standing proud so that it could pick up the ink and produce a monochrome image. Fawcett then employed up to 60 female colourists, including his wife, to hand paint the black and white prints and produce the incredible colour illustrations.

Above: The Gos Hawk, A History of British Birds
Inset: Benjamin Fawcett.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk