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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Culture and Leisure

Books and Newspapers

By Irene Maver

Sir Robert Bruce Technological innovation was a key feature of Glasgow's publishing industry from 1914, reducing overall costs and making books and newspapers more accessible. The Glasgow Herald continued as the broadsheet of the business and professional classes, although the inclusion of columns such as "Women's Topics" was an acknowledgement of more varied readership. Sir Robert Bruce (1871-1955) served as editor up to 1936 and was resolutely anti-socialist. In May 1926, during the General Strike, he defied the National Union of Journalists and edited the Emergency Press on behalf of six Glasgow dailies: the Glasgow Herald, Daily Record, Bulletin, Glasgow Evening News, Evening Times and Citizen.

Advertisement Editorially, Glasgow's press took a rightwards shift after the First World War. The Daily Record had origins as a radical Liberal newspaper during the 1890s, but in 1922 it was acquired by Allied Newspapers and remained Unionist until the 1950s. From 1928 its great rival in Glasgow was a new title, the Scottish Daily Express, mouthpiece of the idiosyncratic Scots-Canadian, Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook (1879-1964). The Bulletin, founded in 1915, was under the same ownership as the Glasgow Herald and was famous for its lavish illustrations. Labour interests continued to be promoted by Forward, a lively weekly edited between 1906 and 1933 by Thomas Johnston (1881-1965). The Glasgow Observer, weekly newspaper of the Catholic community, was also pro-Labour.

Advertisement The family firm of William Collins, Sons & Co dominated Glasgow's book publishing. It specialised in the mass production of bibles, reference works and children's books. However, in 1917, Sir Godfrey Collins (1875-1936) took the decision to publish new fiction. "Crime Queen" Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was among Collins's best-selling authors and helped the Glasgow printing plant in Cathedral Street to step-up production. The other great Glasgow publisher, Blackie & Son, moved out of the city in 1929 to an extensive new plant in Bishopbriggs.

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