Papers of the London Typographical Association and predecessors

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

London General Trade Society of Compositors: minutes, 1827-34.

London Union of Compositors: minutes, 1834-45; reports, 1833-40, 1845.

London Society of Compositors/London Typographical Society: various series of minutes, 1845-1964; various series of reports, 1834-1959; rules, 1792; price scales, 1785-1891; London Typographical Journal, 1921-63 (incomplete); includes papers relating to the lock-out of miners and ironworkers in Monmouthshire and South Wales, 1875, and the railway wagon industry strike in Cardiff, 1899.

Administrative / Biographical History

The London General Trade Society of Compositors was established in 1826. It became the London Union of Compositors in 1834. In 1845 it joined the newly formed National Typographical Association but broke away in 1848 to re-establish itself as an independent body under the name London Society of Compositors. In March 1955 the London Society of Compositors amalgamated with the Printing Machine Managers' Trade Society to form the London Typographical Society. In 1963 it merged with the Typographical Association to form the National Graphical Association.

Reference: E. Howe and H.H. Waite, London Society of Compositors....a centenary history (1948).


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. Some records of the London Typographical Society and predecessors are located at MSS.39A/CO where these records came to the Centre from the national NGA. The bulk are listed at MSS.28/CO according to the Centre's classification scheme.

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

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

The first deposit of the records of its predecessors was made by the London Region, National Graphical Association, in 1974. A further deposit was made in 1977.

Other Finding Aids

The collection was catalogued by David Mayall and Richard Storey, May-June 1978. A copy of this catalogue is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources.

Authority records exist for the London Typographical Society (GB 0152 AAR0135), London Society of Compositors (GB 152 AAR0140), London Union of Compositors (GB 152 AAR0147) and London General Trade Society of Compositors (GB 152 AAR0146).

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

This archive forms part of the papers of the National Graphical Association: London Region (MSS.28). The Centre also holds the national papers of the National Graphical Association (MSS.39).

In addition, the Centre holds the records of the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation (MSS.43), the British Printing Industries Federation (MSS.375) and the Printers' Charitable Corporation (MSS.285).