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The Ephemera of John Smith
by Adam McNaughton

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Commercial newspaper

Nineteenth-century commercial newspaper advertising shops in the Argyle Arcade in Glasgow.

The Argyle Arcade was opened in 1828, and the glass-covered shopping street linked Buchanan and Argyle Streets in Glasgow's city centre.

The Arcade has remained a popular shopping area to the present day, but has now become a specialist area for jewellers. When the 'Arcade Advertiser' was printed in April 1838 there was a much wider range of shops from which to choose, including those selling cutlery, prints, books, and seeds and flowers.

This newspaper was a good way of advertising the wide selection of shops to potential customers, and is not unlike the types of promotional material produced nowadays.


Circular for a grocer's shop

Nineteenth-century circular for John Tweddale, grocer and wine merchant, 52 St.Vincent Street, Glasgow.

The circular was printed to advertise the wide range of goods that were on sale at John Tweddale, an oilman, grocer, and wine merchant in Glasgow. The shop was located at 52, St. Vincent Street, in the city centre.

Tweddale imported and sold ingredients for drinks such as tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate. There were several types of sugar as well as pickles, sauces, fruits, confectionery, and vinegars. A special list of foods for invalids shows what was considered to be the best diet for them, and included pasta and rice.

The circular was printed by Hedderwick and Son in Glasgow. At the top of the page is a very important illustration which was produced by another of Glasgow's leading printers, Maclure and Macdonald. It shows the shop, and in the background is the tower of St. George's Church on Buchanan Street.


Business card

A card intimating that Alexander Anderson is agent for Eastfield, Hamilton Farm and Dalmarnock Coal Works, as well as a church beadle.

This lithographed card has a space left for an addressee's name; it was an advertisement rather than a carte de visite. Anderson thought that his connection with the United Secession Wellington Street Chapel would inspire confidence.

The collieries at Dalmarnock and Farme continued in production into the twentieth century. This card shows that they were willing to sell direct to the public.

James Miller, the Trongate lithographer who produced this card, was an influential printer. Several of the later well-known lithographers served their apprenticeships with him.


Topical verse broadside on tea-dealers' conflict, Glasgow, 1828

Typical verse broadsheet on coarse paper printed on one side. There is a two-inch tear midway on the left edge.

All sorts of songs and poems were grist to the broadside publisher's mill, but what he did best was to bring topical verses such as this before a wider public than the author's friends. Though this example is more than competent, frequently topicality was their only recommendation.

In May 1828, a tea war developed in Glasgow when two outside companies, Jones, Brothers, and Co. and The Genuine London Tea Company, set up in the city and took large adverts in the press, suggesting that the existing shops were overcharging, and that their tea was impure.

At least three Glasgow dealers responded angrily with smaller notices of their own, among them the young James Moir, radical politician and later baillie. These advertisements rebutted the incomers' accusations on price and purity.

Use the toolbar below to see more of Smith's ephemera, following the themed links

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Text by Adam McNaughton and web editing by Julie Gardham September 2004

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