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Page revised Saturday, May 11, 2016 About The Bulletin

Don and Sully plot
Don tells Sully the latest scandals for The Bulletin.

Our Beloved Printer, Sully, passed on in 2008. He, and his printing demonstrations, were a fixture at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and The Great Dickens Christmas Fair for over thirty years. It was his fond wish that we should continue his legacy of muckraking, yellow journalism at the Dickens Fair.

We will do our best to continue this tradition of amusing our fellow Fair-folk, and improving the entertainment environment for our audience.

--The Staff of The Elite Printing Company

Sully gleefully sells stock in LHC railroad
Sully sells London-Hades-Calcutta (LHC) railroad stock


Contact: (include phone#)

Calling card samples

Sharon Sullivan, daughter of Sully the Printer, will be carrying on her father's over three-decade-long tradition of printing demonstrations at the Dickens' Christmas Fair. Sharon will be printing actors' calling cards for the kind donation of $15 for 150, paid at pick-up time, as always, should she find herself unable to complete them. To minimize lost orders, turn in to the Elite Printing Company at the Dickens Christmas Fair, or email Color or backgrounds requires multiple set-up, so negotiate with Sharon for such work. Deadline is typically second weekend of Fair.


This demonstration of 19th century printing has been a mainstay of the Dickens' Christmas Fair for nearly three decades under the Barbados-Demon-Rum-palsied hands of one . Although he is no longer with us, his legacy shall live on. The name is taken from an actual printing company that inspired him in his youth to the art and craft. It was good fortune that led to an encounter with the family of the original establishment's proprietor (Walter von Konsky) decades later at the Dickens Fair. During its august and infamous history he printed The Bulletin with two new articles (hand-set) each week, and printed poetry, entertaining handbills such as "Drink Barbados Demon Rum", and the institutional calling cards we all continue to look forward to, demonstrating the craft to all and sundry. With his retirement from the industry, he enjoyed the historical side of the printing trade, having commissioned the Roaring Dragon Press (a demonstration booth at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire for many years), a replica of the Franklin Press, a 19th century Ostrander-Seymour cast iron flat-bed press, and an enormous collection of old equipment which he used, moved, and bought and sold in the best horse-trader tradition.


Under the wing of Red Barn Productions, the same family that started the first Renaissance fair in the country many years ago continues their efforts, the fair has struggled to survive in the delicate balancing act between the needs of a tighter economy in producing a visible and accessible public venue, filled with unique handcraft artisans, and the improvisational, immersive, historical, interactive street theatre which sets it apart from a shopping mall. This uniqueness is the reason most people return here each year. Hundreds of volunteers contribute their time, money, and effort to help create an ambience of Christmas eve in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", along with many other historical and literary figures of the Victorian era.


POSTERS & HANDBILLS: I have done several advertising handbills and a number of character posters.

LONDON MAP: Occassional prints of 19th century London maps.



Victorian money: Friesian, Clayton, Collins

Maps: Snow's, Greenwood's, & Booth's

Canterbury Tales
Lewis Carroll

Theatre: Galanty So

Social environment:
Mayhew: Vol I: LondonPoor Vol IV: LowLodge, Narr:Gay, Narr:Pick, Narr:Thief, Spitalfields.
Vaughan Picture Library
London Met Police Hist



The Bulletin newspaper archives

Bulletin Terrorizes London!

This editor, recently escaped from Bethleham Hospital and having recovered from last year's Bulletin, will happily accept correspondence and work with you to see your gig published. There are few limitations to printed theatre, so conflicts can easily be channelled into ever more outrageously excellent theatre by making up characters and tossing a gig back and forth among the players. The Victorians loved their scandal-rags. This is yellow journalism at its finest! I URGE you to:

  • Grant me an interview.
  • Email me articles, tidbits, or ideas.
  • FREE non-commercial character ads.
IF YOU FAIL IN THIS, I'll have to GUESS -- and APOLOGIZE. Jeremy Wolfe found out what it means to be apologized to. I'm quite sure it needn't come to that.

"Just wait till my next edition!" shouted Sully, summarily ejected years ago from Mad Sal's Dockside Alehouse as an undesireable. In 2001 he sold Justin Case the newspaper and fled disclaiming any and all responsibility for the publishing of The Bulletin, "largely composed of the ravings of the current editor, Justin Case", each weekend of the Dickens' Christmas Fair. Once again, I, Don Cox, in the guise of Justin Case, will prowl the London fogs in search of Dickens' Fair scandals news about your character.

Article Submission Guidelines and
How The Bulletin is Composed

While I can work with whispered rumour, I do prefer plain text emailed to the contact listed above. PDF, DOC, RTF, etc., are all proprietary formats which change frequently, are costly to maintain and access, and contain formatting information I can't use.

The intent is to create the appearance of a Victorian-era newspaper tempered with practicalities and the needs of our audience at the Fair. Type of content ranges as widely as with any newspaper: Real news with a Victorian veneer, Historical articles, fictional pieces which read like factual Victorian articles, stories, advice columns, recipes, vendor ads, the "agony column" which can include such sundries as fake ads, letters to the editor, public notices, mysterious messages, and editorials libelling various fictional characters or groups being played at the Fair (note: The ONE RULE is impugn the character, not the actor).

I edit the copy in a text editor (EditPad Pro), capitalize title, left-justify, and remove linefeed from within paragraphs, and leave one line-feed between paragraphs thusly:

by Leonora Riley, Correspondent
A bizarre phenomenon at the...
Archie, the Legion Fantast...

The text source and any drawings are posted as in the website archives.

DTP software (Greenstreet Publisher 3 on my old Win98 machine) formats and places everything. Artwork at 300dpi and 4-bit grey, is included.

The overall look of the issue is based on the Victorian style, and the effect of the small size of the newspaper is offset by shorter articles. Ideally, about three articles on page 1, 3-8 articles on page 2, 1-4 articles and maybe some ads on page 3, and ads with the "agony column" on page 4. To maintain readability, including using plate printing in the future, I have chosen 12-point type for the body text size. This results in about 28 words per column-inch or just under 300 words per full column (1500 characters), so articles should generally aim for that size though much smaller (even one-line mentions) is fine. Try to keep long articles under 600 words to help maintain the overall look and feel of the issue (unless it is serialized.) When I change to printing plates, I may be able to double the size of the newspaper, and these numbers will double accordingly.

Once composed in the DTP software, the Bulletin masters are printed on a laser printer (also negatives, if needed.) Stable and small archiving is made by printing to a Postscript print file, rendering in GhostView as pnggray 300dpi, trimmed in a paint program and saved as a 300kB PNG page.



The Bulletin ads archives

The Bulletin is composed from new articles each week and distributed for free among patrons and players at the Dickens' Christmas Fair, providing an entertaining setting for your advertisement. Because of the relevance of the content to our Fair, many have said they read every word so they don't miss anything. The Bulletin is a long-standing tradition at the Fair and each issue has become highly coveted.

Who may purchase an ad?

Ad space may be purchased by anyone intimately involved with the Fair which The Bulletin editor deems appropriate.

How much does it cost?

Purchase is by donation, though I have to give preference to those who can manage closest to $20 per column-inch (columns are 2-inches wide) or I will be unable to cover enough of my copy costs to continue.

How big are the ads?

Ads may be one or two columns and up to 4-inches in height in half-inch increments. (This may be reduced to 2-inches in height when I change to printing plates in the future.)

How long does the ad run?

Ads will run all weekends of that year's Dickens' Christmas Fair (usually four, sometimes five issues).

Can I still get an ad if I missed weekends?

Yes! I simply pro-rate the suggested donation as $5 per weekend and put just as much effort into it as the others.

Can I make changes to an ad mid-run?

Yes! I will absorb this cost for free. If something can't be done reasonably I will let you know.

What style of ad is acceptable?

Ads in the newspaper body will be black & white in the line-drawing or etching Victorian style. I can compose an ad for you or you may submit something reasonably consonant with the Victorian style. For examples, take a look at the ad archives linked above. A simple black & white graphic such as a logo is very effective.

How do I send you the ad copy?

We can discuss it at the Fair, or if emailing, send text plain and/or a graphic of all or part of your ad to my contact information shown above. Pictures may be in any common format (PNG 4-bit is preferred, but no more than 24-bit please) of high enough resolution to allow use at 300dpi in the hardcopy version of the newspaper if you wish the finest detail.

How much detail can I put in my ad?

First, check the ad archives in the above link. The ads there have been reduced from 300 to 100 dpi, black & white for display on a typical monitor near actual size. They are there to remind vendors what they had the previous year and to provide examples. The reduced resolution will provide a rough guide to readability limits for printing plates to be used in the future. Photopolymer printing plates are limited to 150 dpi details, which means they will not render less than sharp 2-pixel-wide lines at the 300 dpi I use for artwork. Current photocopying displays rather better, but it should still be at least marginally readable at 100 dpi.

Second, avoid the trap of fine lines using grey levels which result when text is converted to graphics and reduced (anti-aliasing). They fool the eye into filling in detail that isn't there. Photocopiers and printing plates render in black and white only. If fine lines begin to reproduce as broken lines on a photocopier or laser printer, you've gone way too far. A photopolymer printing plate will be much worse. Drawings often can afford to lose a little detail and are often difficult to convert to monochrome, which is why I render the final product as 4-bit (16 levels of) grey. But text is initially generated as sharp, 1-bit black and white and should stay that way as much as feasible. You may wish to try thickening and darkening fine lines in text and graphics using exposure/blur/sharpen tools.


The Bulletin wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to the many individuals who donated monies to help keep the newspaper afloat during the season. Once again, you have helped us squeak by another fair while having a great deal of fun. Let's do it again!