Employers’ organisations

The Scottish Alliance of Masters in the Printing and Kindred Trades was formed at a meeting in the North British Hotel (now the Balmoral) in Edinburgh on 8 November 1910 to represent the interests of printing employers throughout Scotland. It originally comprised a number of local associations such as Edinburgh and Glasgow: it was at the instigation of the Glasgow Master Printers’ Association that the Federation was formed.

‘Employers’ was substituted for ‘Masters’ at the organisation’s AGM on 25 March 1919. In 1952 it became the Scottish Alliance of Master Printers; in 1960 the Society of Master Printers of Scotland and in ges_col1991 the Scottish Print Employers Federation. After the most recent change of name in 2010, it is now Graphic Enterprise Scotland.

There is a photo gallery of past presidents originally prepared for the book published to mark the centenary. This is Mechanical to digital printing in Scotland: the print employers’ organisation by Professor John Gennard, published by the Trust in association with Graphic Enterprise Scotland (ISBN-13: 978-09563043-1-5). For most of its history, local associations were the mainstay of the organisation: these were:

  • Aberdeen Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met in November 1912: branch formed March 1918
  • Ayrshire Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met in 1914: branch formed November 1918
  • Central Counties Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. Branch formed May 1919
  • Dumfries and Galloway Master Printers Association
  • Dundee Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met in October 1910: branch formed February 1917
  • Edinburgh Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met prior to 1792: branch formed April, 1917: a list of EMPS presidents 1917-1991 has been compiled
  • Fifeshire Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. Branch formed 1920
  • Forfarshire Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. Branch formed May 1919
  • Glasgow District Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met in December 1876: branch formed April 1917
  • Greenock Master Printers’ AssociationLanarkshire District Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. Branch formed March 1926
  • Northern Counties Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. Branch formed December 1920
  • Perth Printing and Kindred Trades Employers’ Association. First met in early 1918. Branch formed June 1918
  • Scottish Border District Printing and Kindred Trade Employers’ Association. Branch formed July 1919

An indication of the Federation’s  activities and size over the years can be seen in the lists of local association member companies and Federation Office Bearers over the period 1923-1983. (This data is  taken from the Master Printers Annual published by the British Federation of Master Printers/British Printing Industries Federation)

Scottish Alliance 1923
Scottish Alliance 1934
Scottish Alliance 1943
Scottish Alliance 1953
Society of Master Printers of Scotland 1964
Scottish Society of Master Printers 1973
Scottish Society of Master Printers 1983

There was also an active Young Master Printers Group, which held its first conference in St Andrews in 1928. A short history was written to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation.

There is a list of the surviving archives for these groups.