Master Printers Golf
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The Master Printers’ Allied Trades Golf Club


Print employees were not the only people within these industries to enjoy a wide and varied social life through their work. Print employers or Master Printers’ organised a wide and varied social life and were divided into two distinct groups the Young Master printers’[1] and Master Printers’

Individuals started with membership of the Young Master Printers’ and then moved on to be Master Printers’. Both societies held annual dinners and conferences for those who worked in the trade. They also ran successful golf and football clubs, the activities of the Master Printers’ Golf Societies in Scotland will now be considered. 

The West of Scotland and Edinburgh Master Printers’ Golf Societies consisted of many of the great and good of the Scottish Printing World. Both societies were started prior to the First World War; with the Edinburgh Master Printers’ Golf Club holding their first meeting on 28th November 1910 at Bruntsfield Links. The Edinburgh club subsequently held regular matches within Edinburgh for an annual subscription of 5s per annum. The Highlight of both Societies calendar was the annual East versus West competition, which was instigated by W. A Collins of Collins Publishers, Glasgow. 

The first recorded contest was held in Edinburgh in 1913 and led to a win by the Glasgow Master Printers’. This match became an annual occurrence and it was decided that a trophy to commemorate the competion was appropriate. The Wilson Cup was presented to the Society in 1923 by representatives from West and East printers: J Monté Wilson of Wilson, Guthrie and Co, Glasgow and Robert Wilson of H and J Pillans and Wilson of Edinburgh. 

The Wilson Cup competition was open to all active members in the print trade. In 1967 another cup was presented to the Society, the Collins – Todd salver, and it was decided that this would be the prize for open competition of active and retired members of the trade. The East versus West competition has been played annually since its inception, apart from interruptions by the two great wars, and by 2004 the score was 38 wins to the west, 29 wins to the East and 6 matches drawn. 

The annual matches were a chance for members of the printing industry from Glasgow and Edinburgh to meet and discuss the state of the trade in a relaxed environment. However, the annual match was not a time for work as the minutes of the West of Scotland and Edinburgh branches of the Master Printers’ show. The records of the 1924 annual match talk about the majority starting ‘the Glasweigan habit’ and continued for fully three hours after lunch.   Later records talk about ‘training’ being undertaken in the bar the night before the matches. The West even appointed a non-playing ‘captain / trainer’ to make sure that members were ‘carefully prepared’ for the contest on the following day. The 1977 minutes record that the new trainer ‘manfully made his way to the 10th tee with a haversack loaded with gin and tonic’. [2]. This was attributed by the West team as the reason for their victory that year. The 1991 minutes report that on the night prior to the annual match when walking down Prestwick Promenade one Master Printer thought he espied a nuclear submarine off Arran, which turned out to be the Holy Isle! This is minuted as testament to the depth of ‘pre-tournament training’ undertaken by those concerned.


(1) The Young Master Printers’ was originally composed of the sons of Master Printers’, then the remitt broadened to include non-family members who were intended for management roles.

(2) A Concise History of the West of Scotland Master Printers’ Golf Society. 1923 – 2004. West of Scotland Master Printer’s Golf Society: Glasgow. SPEF Archives