The Printworks entertainment venue is located on the revamped Withy Grove site of the business premises of the 19th century newspaper proprietor Edward Hulton, established in 1873 and later expanded.
Hulton's son Sir Edward Hulton expanded his father's newspaper interests and sold his publishing business based in London and Manchester to Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere when he retired in 1923. Most of the Hulton newspapers were sold again soon afterwards to the Allied Newspapers consortium formed in 1924 (renamed Kemsley Newspapers in 1943 and bought by Roy Thomson in 1959).
Earlier names of the buildings associated with publishing that were incorporated into the development include Withy Grove Printing House, the Chronicle Buildings, Allied House, Kemsley House, Thomson House and Maxwell House. Kemsley House on the corner of Withy Grove and Corporation Street was developed gradually from 1929 and became the largest newspaper printing house in Europe.
The site housed a printing press until 1986. Robert Maxwell bought the property for £1 and subsequently closed it down. The building was left unused for over a decade and fell derelict.