Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Govan Printing Works

Two historic photos of the Govan Printing Works
at 851 Govan Road.
Right, let's have a good look at this picture taken in August 1933. What a busy window. When, as a child, I started my career in the caseroom here quite a few decades later, this is just how the shop looked. We'll start from the ground up.
The front step has decorative tiles which were coloured yellow ochre, blue and red, set in a classic floral/star pattern. Inside, the shop is narrow and very long - extending right to the back of the building and with an extra length below the back court and yet another room through the wall from that which was behind next door's shop. Anyway, every morning, the shop would be swept from front to back and the front step would also be swept and then mopped with hot soapy water which came from a wee kitchen at the very back end of the shop, behind the caseroom.
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're rows of shelves displaying books. From my experience, I'd say there would be sales and purchase ledger books, cash day books, receipt books, order books, diaries, notebooks, slim boxes of waxy deep blue carbon paper, scrapbooks, typewriting paper, autograph books, stamp collector's albums, envelopes, writing paper in Albert, Duke, Post Quarto and Foolscap, and no doubt more that I can't think of or don't know cos I wasn't actually there in 1933. If you do, then tell us please!
Hanging in the window are displays of postcards and looks like lots of pictures and photos around the bottom of the window - maybe these are scraps? This is summer time, but by October these would be replaced by calendars which would also be strung up and held by bulldog clips inside the shop, like clothes on a line. (more of this later in the year)
There's a glass case between the shops 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. What a fabulous thought! A music shop on the Govan Road. If only . . .
ok, so . . . the next photograph is dated August 1939 and 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 the other side of the Printers, the music shop is now a Dairy, boasting "Finest Value in Ham, Butter and Eggs" with a banner advertising HP Sauce below. Look at the first floor above the Lyceum - a pretty birdcage is suspended in the window.
The top half of the 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?
TicketWriting 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 earlier years. By the time I got there, Quink was the Ink, oh and Parkers, of course.
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 selection 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 . . .

2 comments:

Ellen said...

Oh how I'd love to step into those photos and go back to Govan at that time (second thoughts, maybe not during the war!) I'd have a wee rummage around the shops and wander the streets.
The shop fronts looked great then.

Sandra said...

These are excellent photos and it's interesting to see in detail how shops looked back then. You brought back a particular memory for me and that was of my mum picking out a calendar that was strung along a line and held in place by a bulldog clip. This would have been in the 50's though and I can't remember which shop it was....maybe Harris' at the corner of Govan Road and Pearce Street, or the wee newsagents on Helen Street.