16 Oct 2007
Society of Operative Printers & Assistants (RIP)
Some time ago Nick sent me this picture of an old ‘shop’ front on Blackfriars Road. The building is quite clearly not used any more but the signage had survived until very recently. I cycled past it today and the two sides visible here have fallen off or been destroyed. However, a third side (to the left) remains. Although the signage is no longer there some of it remains as an imprint on the wood that lies underneath.
The Society was once a union/guild for printers. The Amicus site gives a brief history of the union as follows and also has some examples of the badges/medals issued to members, presumably to those of different rank or experience or from different eras.
“The National Society of Operative Printers & Assistants (NATSOPA) was founded in 1889 as the Printers’ Labourers Union and later became the Operative Printers Society. In its earliest days the union shared an office at 24 Bride Street just off Fleet Street. When it opened its first office in Manchester in 1904 the union changed its name to NATSOPA. After expanding its spheres of influence the union changed its name in 1972 to the National Society of Operative Printers, Graphical & Media Personnel. The union merged with SOGAT in 1982 to become SOGAT’82”
A more detailed history of the Union can be found here.