Page 14 - December 2017
P. 14

|  Truth against all the world ||  John Rankin (St Bride Foundation)  |


             n  the (presumably freezing) first   and refute the ‘lies’ coming from the
             Thursday morning in January     ‘nest of rats’ at St Vincent Place. On
       O1893, 60 compositors turned          Monday 9 January the men took their
       up for work as usual at the newspaper   free paper out onto the streets and
       offices of the Evening Citizen at 24 St   distributed 20,000 copies which soon
       Vincent Place, Glasgow (one of the    found their way all over Britain.
       first red sandstone buildings in the     Determinedly radical from the start,
       city), only to find they had been locked   issue 2 proposed a new evening paper
       out. A new metal gate was in place    in support of the labouring people of
       and scab labour had been smuggled     Scotland. “Time and again expression
       in the night before and lodged in bunk   has been given to the desire that we,
       beds specially fitted in the offices. A   the working classes, had a newspaper
       piano and crates of beer had also been   devoted to the advocacy of our views
       brought in for their entertainment.   on the industrial question,” the editor
         All the locked out workers, ‘many   thundered. A limited company was set
       of them old men’, were members of     up and registered at 42 Argyle Street
       the Typographical Society, a trade    with £16,000 subscribed by ordinary
       union founded back in 1817. They      men and women readers. On 8 May the
       were informed that they would only    Glasgow Echo became a daily, paid-for
       be admitted back into the workplace   publication with 150,000 copies printed
       if they gave up membership of the     for that first issue.
       Society and that The Citizen would      The last ‘gratis’ double-crown size
       from now on only employ non-union     version of the Glasgow Echo (no.
       labour. The dispute had started some   32) with its masthead slogan Truth
       weeks earlier, when the management    against all the world and ‘guaranteed
       announced their intention of          circulation of 30,000’ went out
       introducing different rates of pay for   on Friday 14 April 1893 and it is a
       traditional compositors and Linotype   complete set of this free, rank and file
       operators in an attempt to assess     publication that is in the collection of St
       whether the new technology was        Bride Library. A rare thing. How it ended
       cost-effective. A few days before the   up here is unfortunately not recorded
       lockout the management had agreed     in the Accessions Register. The single
       to backtrack and reinstate equal rates   bound volume is accompanied by a
       of pay, but their apparent retreat was   hand-written letter headed ‘A Lockout –
       simply to give themselves time to     and what became of it’ and signed only
       recruit a new, non-union workforce    by ‘I. E. October 1903’. The mystery
       – they had no intention of letting the   donor wrote “In these days, when
       trade union gain the upper hand.      relations between the L.S.C. (London
         The sacked compositors were         Society of Compositors) and their
       quickly loaned a small printing office at   employers are somewhat strained over
       102 Maxwell Street, from which they   the question of the proper method
       produced their own newspaper, The     of working mechanical appliances
       Echo (later named The Glasgow Echo).   in newspaper offices it has been
       In it, as they pointed out in issue 1, they   suggested that a complete file of the
       were able to put their side of the story   Glasgow Echo, printed by the locked-
       282
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