A message from Tony Burke Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union
“Welcome to the website of the Printer’s Collection showcased at the Marx Memorial Library in the historic heart of London’s printing industry.
The Collection is made up of the records, memorabilia and historic artefacts of the printing trade unions of the UK and Ireland.
The collection was donated by the Graphical, Paper and Media Sector of Unite, the largest union in the UK. The GPM sector was formed when the Graphical, Paper & Media Union merged with Amicus, now part of Unite. The GPMU itself could trace its history back through many small, local and craft unions and societies - back to the days of the introduction of printing to England by William Caxton.
The Collection is part of the history of the printing and papermaking industries - but is unique as it focuses on workers and their trade unions. Already it has had an impact in the printing industry and it is growing with new additions and donations all the time.
We particularly commend it to trade unionists, students, lecturers of print and media, todays apprentices as well as veteran print workers. All can view first hand, read and appreciate the rich history of the struggle for union rights for printers and paper workers and their struggle to organise, educate and protect their rights and customs and to establish and protect civil rights for all. It is a journey spanning hundreds of years and the Collection includes an amazing array of unique items as well as full collections of union journals and conference reports, which may be used as reference.
Those of you who wish to view the Collection as individuals may do so by appointment with the Library.
If student groups, workplace groups, union delegations, wish to visit we would ask you to contact Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London. EC1R 0DU. Tel: 020 7253 1485.
Let us know your intentions as it may be possible for us to supply trades unionists to accompany you on your visit to explain the Collection and answer your questions.
A strong aspect of the Collection is the international role – of organisation and solidarity – displayed over decades by the print and papermaking trades unions of the UK and Ireland. Trade Unionists from abroad are therefore, especially welcome.
It remains only for me to commend to you this unique Collection. I have no doubt that, having viewed its contents, you will emerge with a clearer view of the essentials of printing and paper making, understand the key role of each in the development of human knowledge and appreciate the great sacrifice of previous generations of print and paper workers who fought to establish rights for workers worldwide.
Enjoy your visit.
Tony BurkeUnite Assistant General Secretary