Take a step back in time 300 years and discover a treasure trove of ink, galleys and presses hidden behind an 18th-century shop front in the heart of Strabane, once the famous printing town of Ulster. This is Gray’s Printing Press! Learn all about the history of the printing press, particularly in relation to the local area. Marvel at the amazing, huge ‘printers’ on display. The press is staffed with local volunteers who have gained expert knowledge about it, so be sure to ask them any questions you have, and listen to their fascinating stories. There’s always something exciting going on at Gray’s Printing Press, so be sure to come on down today!
Did you know that the American Declaration of Independence was first printed by a man from Strabane? It is here that the printer of the American Declaration of Independence is said to have learned his trade. Discover how the fourth of July is founded on Tyrone’s talents through the legacy of Gray’s Printing Press. Gray’s Printing Press was first listed as a printing press in the middle of the 18th century. Arriving at the press as a young apprentice, John Dunlap gained essential skills and intricate knowledge of the printing process from an early age. After completing his training, Dunlap, like many thousands of others, sought greater economic prosperity by setting his sights across the Atlantic. Emigrating to America, John joined his uncle William in Philadelphia, who was an established printer and bookseller in the region. In 1766, Uncle William became a Minister and transferred the printing business to his highly trained nephew. Dunlap’s methods and practices acquired from his time in Strabane proved critical in the expansion and reputation of his business. In 1776, Dunlap’s office was responsible for the printing of The Declaration of Independence. Two hundred copies were printed from Thomas Jefferson’s original manuscript and circulated to all 13 colonial assemblies. Dunlap became a key player in propagating the push for American independence. This little building, which represents the printing trade in a small border town, helped a man from Strabane to rub shoulders with America’s famous founding fathers.