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Black Path Press is a community publishing project, producing books with people in South Bank, Middlesbrough, UK; an area surrounding the historical route known as the ‘Black Path’. 

Books made at Black Path Press are part of a collective effort to reimagine the story of the community. The subjects covered in the books are varied, exploring different perspectives, looking at the past as well as the present and future.

 

Image courtesy of Eric Taylor

Black Path Press was originally set up as a research and design tool for a public artwork, called NOTES ON THE BLACK PATH, designed by Foundation Press, on a piece of 100m wall – which opened on Saturday 26th October 2019, off Old Station Road, Middlesbrough.

The small-run books made by Black Path Press are distributed via word of mouth and also given to local libraries, museums and individuals living in and around South Bank.

A printing press has been set-up especially for the project, with an MZ770E risograph printer installed at Golden Boy Green Community Centre, Normanby Road, South Bank. In December 2019 this machine was donated by Foundation Press to the community centre – establishing Black Path Press as an ongoing activity. To date Black Path Press have made 40 different books and will be exploring further topics and community printmaking activity in 2020. 

Books include: • Digital drawings made after a walk around the site of Dorman Long, collecting shapes for a possible typeface. • Collages, turning digital drawings and photographs into letters – collaboratively creating a font for Black Path Press • A conversation with artist Philip Boville about his painting – The Teesside Mural (1975) • Black and white photographs taken by Eric Taylor of South Bank, Smith's Dock and the Black Path (1969-1976) • An introduction to Black Path Press' MZ770E Risograph printer – a tool for making small books, prints and posters • A selection of newspaper articles describing events along or near The Black Path / The Sailor's Trod (1850-1911) • South Bank & The Black Path, Pattern Sampler: Vol 1 / Vol 2 • If Kidz Konnekt Youth Club were town planners for South Bank... • A selection of song lyrics written by Vin Garbutt relating to South Bank and wider Teesside  • A conversation with artist Azad Karim Mohammed about Saabat Community Gallery on Normanby Road, South Bank • Edgelands: A screenprinted book by artist Julie Macbean • Kidz Konnekt Youth Club South Bank photograph each other's talents • Fifteen artefacts brought in by members of South Bank local history group • South Bank in Bloom plant geraniums along Normanby Road • Sketches made whilst walking the black path from South Bank station to Redcar sea front • Drawings made by students at St.Peter's Catholic College – reimagining architecture around South Bank Vol 1/Vol 2  • South Bank Primary School's Year 5 interview each other • South Bank Primary School's Year 1 draw their special people • South Bank Primary School's reception class take photographs of their day • Possible lyrics (relating to the black path) written in a workshop led by folk musicians Mark and Amanda Hadlett  • An article on South Bank entrepreneur Elsie Foster (née Hind, 1887-1970) written by local historian Joan Outhwaite • Artefacts from the personal archive of Dennis Roger Spence, Managing Director of Smith's Dock (1981 -1987) • Open Call Vol.1: 'South Bank Tales' • Smith's Dock: A Ledger of Ships (1905-1987) • A rehearsal by South Bank Brass Band at St. John's Church, Normanby Road • Drawings of plants we found within a 200m walk from South Bank train station in July 2019 • Photographs of Soprano Singer Florence Easton – also known as the 'South Bank Nightingale' • Documentation of artwork for South Bank railway station made by Health & Art South Bank • A conversation with players from Middlesbrough Ladies Football Team • Memories of South Bank's 'Golden Boy', footballer Wilf Mannion (1918-2000) • Foundation Press interview themselves about their project BLACK PATH PRESS.

Image courtesy of Patrick Mackin

As part of the project Foundation Press delivered 40 public workshops, making books with different groups and individuals. Our approaches to books and workshops included: transcribed conversations, unearthing archival content, object-based histories, creating collaboratively made patterns or typefaces, individual artist commissions, etc.

Newspaper images  © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.

A Great Place Tees Valley project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England National Lottery Projects.