Papers of the National Graphical Association

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1969-85; some publications, 1968-80; national circulars and agreements, 1940-74 (MSS.39/NG; MSS.39G/NG and MSS.39K/NG). The archive also includes some branch records: Edwards the printer, Coventry Chapel, minutes 1973-80; the London Machine Branch, 1911-87.

Papers of R. Willis, joint general secretary of the NGA, 1939-63 (MSS.39F).

A further deposit made in July 2002 comprises: Typographical Association Triennial Delegate Meetings, Ryde, 1957; Belfast, 1957; Morecambe, 1963; National Graphical Association Messenger Dispute, briefing document, 1983; videos NGA Graphically Speaking, 1982, Northern Newsreel, No.6, 1987; Recording a Piece of History, 1987; publications on proposed amalgamations with the Graphic Arts Union and SLADE, 1978-1981; various newspapers, 1970-1987.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Graphical Association was formed in 1963 by the merger of the Typographical Association and the London Typographical Society. During the 1960s a number of smaller trade unions transferred their engagements to the National Graphical Association. These were the Association of Correctors of the Press in 1965, the National Union of Press Telegraphists in 1965, the National Society of Electrotypers and Stereotypers in 1967 and the Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Printers and Auxiliaries in 1969. In 1979 the National Union of Wallcoverings, Decorative and Allied Trades transferred its engagements to the National Graphical Association. The union merged with the Society of Lithographic Artists, Designers, Engravers and Process Workers in 1982 to form the National Graphical Association (1982).

Reference: John Gennard, A history of the National Graphical Association. (London, Unwin Hyman, 1990).


Print union records were assigned one of two manuscript numbers. MSS.28 was given to those archives derived from the NGA London Region and MSS.39 to those derived from the NGA nationally. Subsequently MSS.39 was also used for the archives of all other national print unions, including SOGAT and Natsopa. Initially the manuscript number was given a letter after it to indicate the order in which the deposit arrived in the Centre. Therefore MSS.39A is the first deposit followed by MSS.39B, etc. For more recent deposits this system was changed. It was replaced by a letter or letters following a slash which indicated a sub-unit of the print unions. In this way MSS.39/NG represents the National Graphical Association even though records of the National Graphical Association can be found at MSS.39G/NG and MSS.39K/NG as well as at MSS.39/NG.

The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers wishing to make substantial use of the deposit should contact the Graphical, Paper and Media Union Education Officer. Please consult one of the Centre's archivists for further information.

Acquisition Information

The National Graphical Association began depositing its records and those of its predecessor bodies on indefinite loan in the Centre in 1974.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is partially catalogued. The partial catalogue is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom.

An authority record exists for the National Graphical Association (GB 152 AAR0061).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Records of the predecessor bodies, the Typographical Association (MSS.39/TA) and the London Typographical Society (MSS.28) are located at the Modern Records Centre together with related graphical trades bodies.