Leonard Jay

1888–1963

Leonard Jay, head of the Birmingham School of Printing [1925-53], was a teacher par excellence who transformed the outlook of a whole generation of printers thereby making a significant contribution to British printing education in the twentieth century. Jay was a pioneering teacher who had the perspicacity to teach the new idea that mechanical composition could produce excellence in printing as effectively as hand composition. In doing so he made the Birmingham School without equal and exercised a worldwide influence on printing education policy. There are influential men in every generation, but few whose influence leaves an indelible record on the history of their times. Jay made a major contribution to the development of technical education. His idealism and practical vision transformed not only the work of the Birmingham School but also the prevailing landscape of typography in one of the largest and most important centres of printing in Europe.