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Fly Press was based at 52 Acre Lane in Brixton. It did design, screen printing (for posters, tshirts and vinyl stickers) and small offset litho (for leaflets and badges).It was one of the few printing co-ops to maintain a system of job rotation. Upstairs were the typesetters Leveller Graphics.
Founded - as 'Fly Press and Badger' Probably around 1980. Co-founder Paul explained that after helping to set up Union Place collective, they were interested in a strictly production workers co-operative that could be more professional than the Union Place collective.
Early years Fly started off specialising in making badges, some of which were sold speculatively at fairs, festivals and demonstrations, some of which were made to-order. Fly had hand badge making machines and a small home-made wooden screen printing press. It was not long before Fly began to make screen printed car bumper stickers, one of the famous ones was the Musicians Union 'Keep Music Live', others included 'Nuclear Power, No Thanks' as well as the CND symbol, in a wide variety of colours especially including fluorescent inks.
From the start Fly rented part of 52 Acre Lane, a (grade 2 listed) Georgian Town house, situated just up from Lambeth Town Hall). All sorts of other community organisations were based there, including Lambeth Self Help Housing Association and, most notably, the Leveller collective.
Gradually Fly Press grew and took over more space in the building, purchasing a McCormick semi-automatic screen press, and winning a contract for printing Poster Collective posters in relatively large quantities. The darkroom equipment expanded to include a De Vere enlarger and fairly decent studio camera, and, importantly, a range of steel-plate jigs for rapid setting up of badges and stickers several up on a sheet. It was this production technology that helped the early Fly Press corner the market for radical badges and stickers.
In the mid 1980's (by which time all the founder members had moved on), Fly expanded, first by diversifying into garment printing, buying a five station carousel and printing T shirts including some to support the miners strike. Later with a loan from the Co-operative Advisory Group which funded the purchase of an Aurelia 125 A2 single colour offset press and appropriate pre-press equipment to support it. At this point Fly abandoned job rotation.
Fly went into liquidation in 1989 after failing to secure appropriate new premises after the lease at 52 Acre Lane was terminated.