Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft continues its series of excellent exhibitions, looking at the influence that William Morris and the Kelmscott Press had on the development of Hilary Pepler’s St Dominic’s Press. Originally known as the Stanhope Press, and acquired by Ditching resident Hilary Pepler, the St Dominic's Press (as it became known in 1918) played a key part in the lives of the community of artists and craftspeople who settled in Ditchling and who became known as the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic.
Founded twenty-five years later, Pepler's St Dominic's Press is often seen as a direct descendent of William Morris' influential Kelmscott Press. Before moving to East Sussex, Pepler lived in Hammersmith, where he mixed with the likes of the Doves Press founders Cobden Sanderson and Emery Walker, and fellow Ditchling emigres Eric Gill and Edward Johnston. Pepler found kindred spirits in Hammersmith, and he was inspired to start the Hampshire House Workshops which provided education and opportunities for working men in poor areas (including drama, lectures and an annual art exhibition). Belgian refugees were employed during the First World War and they were encouraged to make crutches and splints for the war effort.