Bookbinding Trades Journal
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The Bookbinding Trades Journal


This journal was issued by the Bookbinders and Machine Rulers Consolidated Union.  The journal included best practice tips for binders, examples of binderies around the world and also branch news from locations within the UK.  The following excerpts represent examples relating to Edinburgh between 1904 and 1910.  They detail the state of the trade during this period.

1904: Trade has been very slack, an average of 20 members signing the book during the past month.  We have 13 forwarders, 3 finishers and 1 blocker unemployed.

1905: Trade has improved slightly, yet we have a number of members still 'signing' and outsigned' averaging about eleven per week.  Letterpress improved considerably towards the end of the year, but stationery is very dull. 

1906: Trade in Edinburgh during the past quarter has been very good, and the members signing the out-of-work book are few.  Being summer and the holiday spirit abroad, there is very little of real interest to report.  However, I am pleased to note that the local technical school is getting away from its absurd position in regard to its bookbinding classes at last, and has resolved to include forwarding as part of its course.  I believe one of our members has been appointed instructor.  I have pleasure in reporting that the chairman of our branch has been elected a member of the local School Board ..... it is pleasing how high he was placed on the poll, when we remember that in these days how often honest independence is sacrificed to sectarianism.

1907: There has been no improvement in trade during the past quarter, and we have still a number of men signing the out of work book......  It is pleasing to note that a local branch of the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation has neen formed here, and is now in full working order, and it is hoped that when cases arise it will be able to justify its existence.

1910: Trade here during the quarter has been fair.  Our members have been steadily employed as a general rule, though I am sorry to say that there are still a few men out of employment.  Our local Federation has had its first trial of strength and has, I am pleased to say made an excellent appearance in defeating the objects of a large firm in town who were in conflict with the Typographical Association, who are taking in hand the question of underpaid female labour.  The firm gives employment to all the branches of our Federation, and it is gratifying to know that each section acted as one man in tendering notices, which action settled the matter, the firm signing the whole memorial as asked by the Typographical Association.  It is all the more creditable when it is remembered that considerably over 400 employees were concerned.  Moral - Union is strength -.

Read a poem taken from the Bookbinding Trades Journal.