Archive for the 'Advertisements' category

Bartholomew, Biscuits and the First World War

Posted 24 January, 2014 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

As the Project that brings you these posts is due to end in March of this year, I wanted to share with you, whilst I can, some of the more unexpected items I have found in the Printing Record from the First World War.

Like many of us perhaps, my understanding of this brutal conflict is largely derived from the jerky black and white film footage of the trenches and No Man’s Land and the haunting poetry of the time. So, imagine my surprise to discover that for some, this War was also something of a marketing opportunity.

cracker map advertisinf

This attractive item was printed by Bartholomew on 24th November, 1916 for the Leith and Liverpool-based biscuit manufacturer, William Crawford & Sons, Ltd. However, it was not the first thing Bartholomew printed for Crawford; some two years earlier they printed this map.

cracker map.1

Bartholomew printed 50,000 copies of this map on 8th September, 1914. It is a fairly standard Bartholomew map of Europe but repurposed here as advertising for Crawford’s Cream Crackers and branded as ‘Crawford’s War Map’. There’s even room for a little boasting about their biscuits.

cracker map logo

However, it would be entirely unfair to Crawfords to suggest that they alone exploited this opportunity, as another item printed by Bartholomew proves.

carcker map soap

Yes, Sunlight Soap were at it too with Bartholomew producing 25,000 copies of this map on 21 October, 1914.

That maps such as these exist certainly surprised me but perhaps they begin to make sense when considered in context. The Crawford map was published only five weeks after the official outbreak of the War and the Sunlight map came six weeks later. Both maps, then, were produced very early on in the War, a period typically characterised by the belief the War would be ‘over by Christmas’ and volunteering to sign up was still prevalent. So, rather than cynically exploiting the War perhaps these maps reveal something of the confidence that was felt during the first few weeks of the conflict. I find this an interesting perspective. With our benefit of hindsight we can only ever perceive the First World War with the burden of knowing how it unfolded and the horrors that were to come. It is easy to forget that this wasn’t the case for those who lived through it. The tragedy we attach to the First World War sits in stark contrast with the enthusiasm, naivety and matter-of-fact-ness of those who were entering the unknown, a bit of which is captured in maps like these.

The Automobile Association Map of England and Wales

Posted 22 March, 2013 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

On the 25th August, 1939, John Bartholomew and Son printed 10,347 copies of their ‘Automobile Association Map of England and Wales’. As far as maps go, I think it’s fair to say it’s not exactly anything to write home about. Stripped away of any extraneous information, beyond the roads themselves, the strictly black and white map is rather clinical, resembling a diagram of the human circulatory system.

Automobile map

Whilst undoubtedly of interest to some, I fear this map would make for a somewhat uninspiring blog article, so luckily for me, things really pick up when you turn the map over.

The reverse of this map is devoted to at-length descriptions of the Automobile Association, and the assorted benefits of membership. Perhaps the one we are most familiar with is the patrol service, providing motorists with assistance in their hour of need. In 1939, the service looked like this.

Automobile patrol

The accompanying text informs readers that the road patrol service is the first of its kind in the world, with officers patrolling on motorbikes with side cars, or pedal cycles. Equipped with tools, petrol and a fire extinguisher, they were surely well armed to tackle any emergency.

Of course, in a time where mobile telephones were possibly beyond the realms of any imagination, contacting the patrol might have been a tricky business. But not so, as the AA proudly provided its members with access to roadside telephone boxes.

Automobile roadside

In truth, a lot of care and attention appears to have gone into this service, with phone boxes specifically located on main roads where telephones were scare or on roads described as ‘passing through lonely areas’. The telephone boxes were all fitted with an identical lock, and AA membership included a key, to allow members access to this invaluable communication link. A card inside included details of the nearest AA approved garages as well as those of local hotels, doctors and the nearest ambulance service. Although local calls were free of charge, an honesty box operated for those making trunk or toll calls.

One thing I hadn’t realised the AA took charge of was road signage, but this is yet another service proudly boasted about on the reverse of the map.

Automobile signs

The text says, ‘In the early days of motoring, many of the signposts – where they existed – were in a more or less dilapidated condition’. From 1907, the AA undertook to improve the situation by installing their own signposts. By 1939, this totalled over 100,000.

Then finally, something that really was a revelation to me, the AA’s aviation department.

Automobile aviation

Launched in 1928, this department worked in collaboration with the Royal Aero Club, to provide aviators with ‘extensive air touring facilities’. This included their Air Route Maps, another type of map publication which Bartholomew printed.

To end, another interesting point of note; just seven days after this map was printed, Germany invaded Poland, leading to the start of the Second World War.

Map compilation at Bartholomew

Posted 30 October, 2012 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

On the 7 December, 2012, our exhibition of Bartholomew Archive material will open in our George IV Bridge building. Putting Scotland on the Map: The World of John Bartholomew and Son will explore the techniques and processes by which Bartholomew brought their maps to life. By way of a little teaser, I would like to give you a small glimpse into the complex world of map compilation.

Photo of draughtsmen 1895

This photograph shows Bartholomew’s draughtsman in their Park Road office. It was taken in 1895 but it shows people performing tasks which, in many respects, changed little for the next 50 to 60 years.

Some map publishers, such as Ordnance Survey, conduct ground or aerial surveys to gather the information they need for their maps. Bartholomew gathered the information that they needed via a process called compilation. Compilation is where the draughtsman’s role began. This was but one of the many elements to the draughtsman’s role, which made it one of the most specialist positions in the firm.

Alex Williamson

Draughtsmen had a lot of different resources to hand when it came to compiling information. Bartholomew kept a vast collection of reference maps and atlases produced by their competitors such as Ordnance Survey. Although Bartholomew did not plagiarize these works, studying the maps of others could reveal changes to natural and man-made features that Bartholomew might chose to incorporate into their own maps. They also kept a large collection of newspaper clippings. Whenever a story touched upon a pertinent subject, such as the building of a new road, the demolition of a bridge or the redrawing of an international boundary, Bartholomew would cut out and keep the story for future reference. This article, which details the post-war changes to London following the Blitz, is a poignant example.

Times, 27 July 1944

But by far the biggest source of information was the vast amount of correspondence sent to Bartholomew every day. In some cases members of the public would volunteer information, sometimes including a hand-drawn map of their own, or an annotated clipping from one of Bartholomew’s maps. In other cases the relationship was more formal. This is perhaps best demonstrated by Bartholomew’s relationship with the Cyclist’s Touring Club.

The Cyclist’s Touring Club (CTC) was founded in 1878 and by the end of the 1890s boasted membership figures of close to 60,500. This then was a desirable market for Bartholomew, as CTC members actively sought useful, accurate and cycle friendly maps for their excursions. In 1898 John George Bartholomew (the firm’s director at the time) sought to capitalise on this market and wrote to the CTC’s Secretary with a proposal. Bartholomew would supply the CTC with discounted half inch maps but in return they requested that CTC members supplied the firm with up to date information. The benefit was therefore twofold; Bartholomew acquired a ready market for their maps but also, an army of thousands of people who toured the country and passed on information, for free, which the firm could then use to ensure their maps remained accurate. Although much of this correspondence is formal and business-like, some correspondents were a little more forthright, as this letter from 1915 demonstrates.

20 August 1915

Bartholomew derived similar information from local surveyors, town planners, planning departments and other like agencies, complementing the information they received from members of the public.

Once this information had been collected the draughtsmen would either update a base map, or draw a new map from scratch and the next stage of the draughtsman’s work would begin.

If you would like to know what happened next, why not pop by the National Library of Scotland and visit Putting Scotland on the Map: The World of John Bartholomew and Son, a free exhibition open from 7 December 2012-7 May 2013.

Images © permission of Collins Bartholomew

John Bartholomew Junior in the USA

Posted 14 September, 2012 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

This instalment of the countdown to our Bartholomew Archive exhibition turns its attention to the personal. The Bartholomew Archive is extraordinarily rich when it comes to reconstructing the production processes of John Bartholomew and Son, but it is no less rich when it comes to illuminating personal stories too.

John Bartholomew Junior (1831-1893) was the third generation of the Bartholomew family to take up engraving as a profession. John Junior benefited from the good reputation that his father and grandfather had earned for their skill and professionalism. He was thus able to build on this reputation and did so initially through a prestigious apprenticeship with the German geographer August Petermann (1822–78). Petermann came to Britain with new ideas and techniques and would go on to be appointed Physical Geographer and Engraver in Stone to the Queen. This small but significant detail laid the foundations for the great success the firm would go on to enjoy because in John Junior’s hands, the small engraving concern became a major engraving and printing house.

In 1885, John Junior and his travelling companion, Andrew McDonald, undertook a 22,886 mile, three month journey around North America. The principal aims of the trip were to foster new business connections and to gather information, and John Junior travelled with at least two endorsements to this end.

letter of recomendation by edinburghs merchants co

But it wasn’t all business and John Junior had many an opportunity to indulge in sightseeing and pleasure cruises. Mementoes from this trip even include two pressed flowers that John Junior picked at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. More examples of the colourful and interesting remnants of the trip can be seen below.

milwaukee lake postcard

No matter where he was on this mammoth tour, John Junior’s diary reveals that he couldn’t resist comparing almost everything that he saw to the more familiar landscapes of his native Scotland. So, for example, certain stretches of the Mississippi were “something like the width of the Clyde”, Telegraph Hill in San Francisco “looks as steep as the Calton Hill” and the Green River was compared to the Tay at Perth.

The trip can be considered a success if evidence from the firm’s Printing Record can be relied upon. At around this time there appears to be a marked increase in the orders Bartholomew received from North American publishing firms, including T Ellwood Zell and J B Lippincott. However, the trip was almost scuppered.

John Junior travelled from Liverpool on the S. S. “Germanic” on the 2 April 1885. The ship landed at Queenstown the next day. It collected some 300 sacks of mail then embarked again for the crossing of the Atlantic, heading to New York. The weather was set fair but on the night of the 3rd a storm set in. The storm lasted all of the next day and whilst John Junior “supposed this to be the usual experience of an Atlantic voyage” he couldn’t help but note that “the thundering of the waves against the ship was something awful”. It got worse. “At 10.30 there was a tremendous crash, a greater wave than the others having thundered over the vessel, carrying away 7 boats, 2 steam cranes…rails, deckchairs and everything movable on deck. One seaman was washed overboard and lost. The water rushed in torrents through the breach in the recreation room…then passed along the passages and into the passengers cabins, setting afloat books, shoes, boxes…About 13.00 Greenwich time an officer came round and began to screw down the iron shutters over the port hole windows…he said that the Captain had given orders to turn the ship and all the port holes had to be screwed down in case the windows would be broken and the sea burst into her broadside. This was not very comforting and we anxiously waited for the critical period to be passed”. The experience must have been terrifying. However, on the 7 April, five days after leaving Liverpool, the “Germanic” safely docked back into Queenstown harbour. John Junior later discovered that “the “Germanic” was 540 miles west of Queenstown when she encountered the wave, and that the cost of the accident to the White Star Line was £25,000″. This would equate to many millions of pounds in today’s money. Three days later, John Junior and Andrew set sail again, this time aboard the “Adriatic” and this time they made it to New York.

white starline passenger list cover

There are many more personal stories to be found in the Bartholomew Archive, some of them profoundly significant, some of them comical and some of them tragic. Join us from December-May to discover more of the personal stories of the Bartholomew firm and their amazing staff.

Let’s go to Scotland, the holiday paradise

Posted 19 May, 2011 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

On the 24 June, 1909, Bartholomew printed 20,400 copies of the Caledonian Railway Tourist Map. It is a handsome map with a pleasingly warm tone but what sets it apart is the superlative advertising that is printed on the reverse.

The twin demons of overseas travel, being expense and environmental ethics, have placed holidaying within the United Kingdom firmly back on the side of acceptable. Therefore, the remarkable assertions of this advertising somehow resonate with a modern audience, perhaps more than they might have done twenty years ago.

The advertising emphasises the benefits of the open air, the memories that you will keep, the promotion of travelling by public transport and not least of all, the overall frugality.

There is even a modern equivalent of the “Duchess of Argyll”, a sleek and nippy looking steam ship; the “Waverley” ferries enthusiastic time travellers down the Clyde from Glasgow to this day. Maybe recreating the experience of visitors in 1909 isn’t quite as hard as one might suppose.

Touring Scotland with the Caledonian Railway

Posted 4 February, 2011 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

As the railway grew, its initial functional nature was eventually surpassed by one of luxury. Mere journeys became holidays, trips became tours and the manner of getting there became just as important as getting there itself.

A leaflet printed by Bartholomew on the 15 March, 1906, concerning The Caledonian Railway, West Coast Royal Route from and to England, encapsulates something of this spirit. It is lavishly coloured with an arresting and engaging cover, which easily draws the eye and begs for closer inspection. Those that couldn’t resist were treated to luxuriant descriptions of the route, the train, the life and to an extent the glamour of the journey, through extensive descriptions, illustrations and photographs.


However, I have a suspicion that the Royal allusion in the title of this leaflet is in fact nothing more than a reference to the Royal Mail. Earlier advertising for the same route (also in the Bartholomew Archive) refers more humbly to the London & North Western and Caledonian Railways West Coast Royal Mail Route. By strategically dropping “Mail” a whole new connotation is created, a whole new impression. Furthermore, it appears that this was deliberately done in order to tempt the most lucrative market of them all – Americans.

At this time, overseas travel for the mere purpose of pleasure was becoming more of a reality for increasing numbers of people, albeit still small numbers proportionally. The American market quickly established itself and in fact, to this day North American tourists are still the predominant group of overseas visitors to Scotland, at around one quarter of the total. With this in mind it is perhaps unsurprising that the Caledonian Railway also marketed some of its own hotels to this particular group. It is interesting to note the pride which they felt in the electric lighting that this hotel boasted.

Bartholomew’s Pocket Guides

Posted 10 December, 2010 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

Bartholomew periodically printed maps for the prodigiously popular Handbooks, produced by publisher John Murray, but occasionally they made a tentative foray into the lucrative guidebook market themselves. Bartholomew’s Pocket Guide to Melrose, Abbotsford etc. is amongst the first of such publications in a genre which, in spite of its obvious connection with place and mapping, was never fully embraced by Bartholomew.

This diminutive book was written by John George Bartholomew’s friend Ralph Richardson (1845-1933). The first edition was published in 1892, although the images in this entry were printed by Bartholomew on the 13 March, 1908 (2563 copies). By profession, Richardson was a solicitor, but he indulged a private love for geography and geology. He not only published numerous articles on these themes but was also one of the founder members of the (Royal) Scottish Geographical Society, established in 1884.

The preface to the book reveals that “The following little Guide was originally prepared for the Excursion to the ‘Land of Scott’ of the British Association for the Advancement of Science”. However, with the inclusion of driving, walking and cycling routes, the Pocket Guide was born. Richardson’s effusive style of writing is highly engaging and all in all it is quite a charming little book.

The text is supported by some nice maps and some very pretty illustrations, which include Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford and Melrose and Dryburgh Abbeys. The practicalities of Bartholomew book publishing are a little complicated but essentially, Bartholomew appear to have produced the cover, illustrations, advertising and maps with another company, presumably more au fait with typesetting, producing the text.

With their eye always on the look out for capitalising on a canny opportunity, the closing refrain from the Pocket Guide is a large piece of advertising for Bartholomew’s half-inch maps of Scotland.

But for me, the gems of this book are the illustrations so I shall leave you with a glimpse into Scott’s Abbotsford hallway.

Explosive Map

Posted 26 November, 2010 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

A spot of indulgence today as I share a map which rather tickled my fancy, Nobel’s Explosives Company’s Map of the British Empire.

Bartholomew printed 7,350 copies of this map on the 19 October, 1900. It is a standard Bartholomew map of the British Empire re-purposed here as advertising for Nobel’s. Other entries have touched upon the use of maps for commercial purposes (Chas Baker & Co: the men and the map; Alexander Ferguson, confectioner to the Queen) but they seem tame compared to this dangerous commodity. Although the message that Nobel’s is trying to convey is one of pride in the universality of their product, to me, the map is slightly threatening, the areas highlighted in red look rather more like targets or conquests.

Alfred Nobel (1833-96) was in fact Swedish but he helped to set up several businesses across Europe that manufactured and sold his most famous product, dynamite. Nobel’s Explosives Company Ltd was one such company. It began life in 1871, known at that time as the British Dynamite Co Ltd. The firm was set up by a group of Glaswegian businessmen who managed to raise the £24,000 (£1,660,000 today) necessary to go into business. Nobel himself was paid in shares, not only for his rights but also technical advice.

It was an extraordinarily successful company that went from strength to strength. In 1877 their estimated assets were worth £240,000 which would equate to £16,700,000 today. They became part of a multi-national trust company which drew together all of Nobel’s concerns, being by far the largest, and they were also contractors to the British Government by this time too.

However, Alfred Nobel was made keenly aware of the negativity felt by some towards dynamite after reading his erroneously published obituary. In order to make recompense and to repair his reputation he founded the Nobel Prizes (physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and for work in peace) for which he is probably better remembered today, no doubt to his satisfaction.

As for the map, hidden beneath the surface there lies quite a lot of unexpected information, hinting at its former life. Canada lets us know which form of conveyance is best to use in different seasons,

and India reveals the main trade goods; both of debatable blowing things up usefulness.

All in all, small though it is, this map is a fascinating artefact both for what it shows and also for what it stands for.

Bartholomew News

Posted 2 July, 2010 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

I hope that you’ll forgive a slight departure from the usual but I wanted to take the opportunity to bring to your attention a small piece of exciting Bartholomew Archive Printing Record News.

Following several years of delay, the Printing Record catalogue has finally gone live! It can be accessed from the Bartholomew Archive website and following the Resources button. Once tracked down it will look thus:

The catalogue represents my life’s work over the past three years and allows access to 12,000 records spanning the period 1877 to 1906. At the current rate, another year is added about every month or so.

It is a little idiosyncratic however and requires a little TLC. Hopefully future technological manoeuvrings will improve the situation but for now, it is still a useful tool. It is fair to say that many of the records in this catalogue will not be found in other catalogues, or union catalogues such as WorldCat. The reasons for this are many but primarily it is because the Printing Record is unique. Some of the content had very small print runs, some of it was designed to be transitory and some of it does not bear Bartholomew’s name. This very blog was intended to bring attention to this diversity.

So, if you have a Bartholomew map which you would like to date, if you are curious to know which other publishers John Bartholomew & Co. produced maps for, if you would like to know which item first bore John George Bartholomew’s name or, if you are looking for a map of Turkey as a present for your granny then this new interface is just what you have been looking for!

Shady dealings in the whisky underworld

Posted 16 April, 2010 13:04 by Karla Baker | Permalink

Robert Paterson Pattison and Walter Gilchrist Gray Pattison may sound suspiciously Gilbert & Sullivan but were in fact real life Victorian whisky and scandal merchants. Their Leith based dynasty fronted a murky world of fraud and embezzlement that when discovered, shocked all of Edinburgh and caused a sensation.

The Pattison brothers were whisky distillers and merchants. Their rise to prominence was meteoric; the time it took to build up the business, amass astonishing wealth and then lose it all took all but one decade.

Bartholomew’s relationship with Pattisons could be said to be entirely innocent, even if that innocence constituted supplying them with advertising. The items in this entry were printed by Bartholomew between 1896-97. Pattisons advertising is highly ornate, very intricate and very beautiful and was indeed one of the secrets of their success.

The Pattison family had been in business since 1849 (by admission of their own advertising), initially dealing with dairy products. Both brothers entered the firm and upon the death of their father they assumed control. They could be described as the epitome of entrepreneurship and accordingly jumped aboard the newly buoyant whisky trade right at its late Victorian peak. There is no doubt that this was a shrewd move. Their skill and background in dairy was surprisingly transferable and their mastery of promotion enabled them to cash in on whisky right at the point when the market burst open. The adverts that Bartholomew printed represent a tiny fraction of their tireless, avid and greedy self promotion which perhaps peaked with the (possibly/probably apocryphal) story of the brothers distributing 500 parrots to licensed grocers, all taught to intermittently recant ‘buy Pattisons whisky’. In 1898, it is claimed, they spent £60,000 on advertising alone which equates to roughly £5,000,000 today.

Ought they to have been honest, whilst staggering, their success and excess could be excused as the consequences of insightful business acumen. But they were not honest. The turning point came when the company was floated on the stock market. Shares were sold at highly inflated prices and were also over subscribed. Cooking the books moved from necessity to habit, banks loans offered temporary bailouts but could never be repaid, dishonest dealings saw innocent clients buying the same stock twice over and perhaps worst of all (from a whisky lovers perspective) they tampered with the product. Picture a warehouse with barrels of cheap, imported Irish whisky at a retail price of 11 pence a gallon on one side and a prestige product such as Glenlivet or their Royal Garden brand, which retailed for 8 shillings, 6 pence a gallon on the other. Then imagine passing the Irish off as the Glenlivet. This is in fact exactly what they did, making the brothers a tidy profit of £28,000 (£2,300,000).

They were caught of course and three years later, between 8-17 July 1901, they stood trial at Edinburgh’s High Court of Justiciary accused of fraud and embezzlement. The prosecutor was the very Solicitor General himself, Scott Dickson Q.C. Of the brothers only Walter took to the stand, perhaps reflected in his more lenient sentence. In a trial which sensationalised the Edinburgh and indeed Scottish press, lengthy accounts of the assorted witnesses follow a similar pattern; there is reluctant yet inevitable condemnation. When the trial was over Robert was sentenced to serve an 18 month jail term, Walter 9 months.

If the whisky trade had remained buoyant Pattisons would probably have survived beyond 1898. They were not only victims of their own greed but also a bigger picture of a declining trade over which they had no control. But the effects were devastating. The collapse of Pattisons reportedly brought down nine other distilleries as well as countless other smaller and ancillary suppliers. Happily, Bartholomew were not reliant on printing whisky labels and paraphernalia otherwise their own story may well have turned out very differently.