Monday, 7 November 2011


It was good to be involved in the print side of this excellent project with designer, Tess Wood. The stock is Cairn Craft, the ink is black and the Barter project sounds like a lot of fun!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

High Class Work Done On Premises

Two historical photographs of the Govan Printing Works;
the former name of today's Glasgow Press. 
This is a treasured picture of our premises, taken in August 1933. The front is a stationery shop where orders are placed for all types of printing. At the back is a well furnished caseroom, quiet and comfortable. Adjoining this is the busy printroom, resonating to the sounds of printing presses and the chat of printers and finishers. Although none of today's staff were actually there in the 30s, the shop didn't change for decades and I can give a pretty accurate description of how it was.

Outside, the main signage for the shop reads, "Govan Printing Works. High Class Work Done On Premises". The biggest window sign declares, "Printing Is Our Business" and another sign alongside reads, "Stationery, Bibles and Hymnaries. Leather Goods." A banner display advertises "Swan Fountpens and Inks."

Inside the window, which extends down to floor level, there are rows of shelves displaying books. From my own experience, I'd say these will be sales and purchase ledger books, cash day books, receipt books, order books, slim boxes of waxy deep blue carbon paper, diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, typewriting paper, autograph books, stamp collector's albums, envelopes, writing paper in Albert, Duke, Post Quarto and Foolscap, and so on.

Hanging in the window are displays of postcards and what looks like lots of pictures and photos around the bottom of the window - maybe scraps?  This is summer time, but by October these will be replaced by calendars which will also be strung up and held by bulldog clips inside the shop, like clothes on a line.
On the outside wall between the shops, there is a glass case which displays samples of printed cards, for which you may place an order, Madam.

Next door on the right hand side you can see the 'L' of the Lyceum Cafe on the sign and on the other side, the sign says 'Records' and there's sheet music in the window and, I think, I can see a violin.

The second photograph is dated August 1939. We're on the brink of war but things are still looking dandy. The Lyceum has just had a makeover in the latest Art Deco style. On our other side, the music shop is now a Dairy, boasting "Finest Value in Ham, Butter and Eggs" with a banner advertising HP Sauce. Look at the first floor above the Lyceum - a pretty birdcage is suspended in the window.
The top half of the shop window is covered by a large poster advertising "High Class Printing of All Descriptions - Let Us Quote". The poster also proclaims "Wedding Stationery; A Speciality", and there's a phone number! Is it Govan 306? Our no. now is 0141 237 3032
Ticket Writing is another service offered; Tickets, Posters, Showcards, summat else I can't make out, Pelmets, Displays.
Wonder what happened to Swan Ink which was so prominent? In later years, Quink was the Ink for your fountain pen.

What a glorious shop, full of neat and tidy boxes containing: sealing wax, newspaper wrappers, balls of string of various strengths, tapes and ribbons of varying lengths, ink pads, rubber stamps, rubber bands, rubber fingerettes, rubber erasers, paper spikes, gums and glues, laundry pens indelible, lead pencils erasable, china markers, fountain pens and selections of nibs, scalpels and guillotines, paper clips, eyelets, staples and paper fasteners, raffle tickets, strung tags, dance tickets, correspondence cards, calling cards, condolence cards, celebrations and invitations, acceptance and regrets, in memoriam . . .