There are many places to visit while in Bermuda, and the variety of subjects means that there is something for everyone and every taste. But even if you are not a fervent historian, the Featherbed Alley Printery, in St. George should definitely be in your list of visits not to be missed.
This shop is located on Featherbed Alley, just around the corner from the Historical Society Museum and has the particularity to be the exact replica of an 18th century printshop.
The Featherbed Alley Printery museum features amongst other pieces a replica of the Gutenberg press, the one which was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1445. This was the first printing book which served to print the first ever book, the Gutenberg Bible in 1452. The museum is housed on the lower level of the Mitchell House, built in the 1720’s, in what used to be the servants’ quarters. Featherbed Alley Printery is for the most part dedicated to the first printing business of Bermuda, which published the first island’s newspaper, the Bermuda Gazette in 1784.
Its owner Joseph Stockdale used to operate its business from the cellar of his house on Printer’s Alley. The newspaper lost many of its subscribers when it was moved to Hamilton after it became the capital of Bermuda in 1815 and was forced to close down. Early editions of the Bermuda Gazette can also be seen in the museum.
The replica Gutenberg press of the Featherbed Alley Printery was used for more than 300 years and is still able to produce printed material. It can be seen in action 5 days a week thanks to the passionate people who run the museum. The place is open to the public for a small fee Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and closed between 11am and 2pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
While you are in St. George, take the time to visit the many other places of the historic town and a UNESCO World Heritage town. Right next to the Featherbed Alley Printery is the St. George’s Historical Society Museum, a great example of the Bermudian architecture in the 18th century.
There you will see examples of antique and period furnitures, old documents, paintings and even a rare bible. You can also visit the original kitchen that has been kept as it was. Of course, don’t miss the King’s Square, the centre of the town surrounded by many historical buildings and with features such as a the replica of a pillory and stocks. These were used to punish criminals and expose them to the public. The Town Hall is on King’s Square and is used as a meeting place by the corporation governing St. George. You can visit the building which has antique cedar furnitures and a gallery of portraits of the previous Lord Mayor. You can also watch a multimedia presentation called Bermuda Journey that is shown several times a day.
Near the Town Hall is the Visitors Service Bureau where you can get information about the area, with times of opening of the different venues and the cost of admission, as well as maps of St.George.
Featherbed Alley Printery, St. George, Bermuda
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Featherbed Alley Printery, St. George – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!