JR Reid Printers, Blantyre

From the illustrated social history book…research paid for & compiled by Paul Veverka

“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.

JR Reid Printers

   J.R.Reid Printers was a former printing business based on Glasgow Road. Starting as an apprentice Compositor (typesetter) with the Hamilton Advertiser in 1964, John Reid registered the Business Name ‘J.R.Reid Printers’ in May 1969, after earlier in 1965 spending £25 on his first hand-printing machine. His first commercial job on the hand press was 250 business cards for Grant & MacDonald Painters, Stonefield Road, who were charged 15 shillings (75p in today’s money).

1969 John Reid Printers

After qualifying as a Compositor in 1970, John Reid left the ‘Advertiser’ and tried his hand at selling sewing machines while still running his small print business from his parent’s home at 317 Glasgow Road (the actual outbuilding pictured in 1969 where it all began). However, he decided he was better at printing than selling! In 1972, after being contracted to produce regular sale catalogues for Shirlaw Allan Auctioneers, J. R. Reid Printers rented the old Templetons’ Grocers shop at 108 Glasgow Road, near Forrest Street and changed it into a small print factory.

1969 JR Reid Printers 317 Glasgow Rd wm

 In November 1972, while still running the printing business, John Reid along with a Mr G. Moon and Miss Jean Nicol of Shirlaw Allan formed ‘Blantyre Publishing Company Ltd’ to produce a free local newspaper called the ‘Blantyre Advertiser’. The newspaper was published fortnightly and was distributed door-to-door throughout Blantyre by Geoff Krawczyk of Pate’s Newsagents.   Blantyre Publishing Co. Ltd., while using the same premises, was a separate business to J. R. Reid Printers. The 1970’s decline of Glasgow Road properties and businesses had an adverse effect on advertising revenues, causing the paper to only be published at Christmas, when the remaining businesses were prepared to advertise. Eventually even the annual publication became unprofitable and the Blantyre Advertiser ceased publication. While the Blantyre Advertiser was in decline in the late 70’s, J.R.Reid Printers kept growing each year. In addition to general commercial printing and the Shirlaw Allan auctioneers’ catalogues, Reid’s started to specialise in theatre ticket printing. They were the sole printers of all concert tickets for the Apollo theatre in Glasgow and business was growing.

 J.R.Reid Printers were then advised by their accountant to become a ‘Limited Company’, but rather than go through all the start-up costs of creating a new Limited Company, it was decided to simply change the name of the now dormant ‘Blantyre Publishing Company Ltd’ to J. R. Reid Printers LIMITED, the two other directors of Blantyre Publishing Co. Ltd. having previously resigned. This happened in February 1979 and Reid’s then traded as limited Company No. SC51794 (until January 2015 when the Company, now under new ownership, was dissolved.)

 In 1976 Reid’s moved from the 450 sq. ft. Templeton’s shop at 108, across the road into the then empty 3000 sq. ft. Central Co-op Grocery building at 109 Glasgow Road underneath the beautiful ‘Co Hall’ and next to Glen Travel. Then in 1979 John Reid, his staff and their ‘mascot’ one-eyed Alsatian, Ricky, were forced out of the Co-op Building due to pending re-development which caused the beautiful sandstone Co-op building and Hall to be demolished. J. R. Reid Printers then moved round the corner into new premises at Rosendale Way (where the industrial clothing company now is) and remained there until 1989 when they moved to their own 23,000 sq. ft. custom built building at the corner of Auchinraith Road and Glasgow Road.

1976 JR Reid Printers wm

 The new large building with good frontage on Glasgow Road, is located on the former site of Botterill’s Building, Springwell Farm House, Henderson’s Buildings and the former Burleigh Church. The custom building is brick built with a red rolltop corrugated roof and is highly visible from Glasgow Road and previously from the expressway. It sits on the bottom of the former Auchinraith Road.

1989 Painting of Factory wm

A little earlier in the 1980’s, the very end of Auchinraith Road junction with Glasgow Road was blocked off and Auchinraith Road traffic (mostly from East Kilbride) was forced to go down Herbertson Street, past Rosendale Way, on to Glasgow Road. This meant that very northern part of Auchinraith Road was not open to traffic and ran through the current carpark of the printers. It is still visible today in the carpark, untouched due to several services, primarily an old mains gas supply running through it. The location was used as a very large roundabout during the construction of the lower end of the East Kilbride expressway.

Printers aerial

Aerial modern photo overlaid on to 1898 map showing Reid Printers

In 1990 the Company bought Exacta Print Ltd on West Regent Street, Glasgow and in 1992, J.R.Reid acquired the assets of McClure, McDonald & Co. of Maryhill, including their four-colour press. Acquiring this press along with the McClure press operator enabled Reid’s to start producing full four-colour process printing from one press in Blantyre. McClure’s produced social and gift stationery for Waverley Stationery Ltd. of Blairgowrie, but later, due to payment issues, J.R.Reid also took over Waverley Stationery Ltd along with their UK wide sales team and various Stationery Brands. The Company name changed slightly over the years but the Company Number always remained the same. With operations in Blantyre, Wishaw, Glasgow and Blairgowrie the name changed to J.R.Reid Printing Group Ltd in 1995; J.R.Reid Print & Media Group Ltd in 2000; and then in 2007, after John Reid left the Company, the name was changed to Reid Printers Ltd.

   J.R.Reid Printers Ltd was solely owned by John Reid from its foundation until 2002 when 50% of the shareholding was purchased by Mr I.J.Johnstone who had just sold a chain of pharmacy shops and in 2006/7 I.J.Johnstone ‘acquired’ the rest of the shareholding of J.R.Reid Print & Media Group Ltd, with John Reid retaining Wishaw Printing Company and Exacta Print Ltd, Glasgow, which is now run by John’s son, Innes Reid. John Reid resigned as a Director of the Company he founded 37 years earlier, on 9 March 2007, but is still a Director of Exacta Print Ltd.

   In 2007, I.J.Johnstone through his Group Company, GT4 Group Ltd (SC226642) took over Gavin Watson Ltd label printers and Ian Johnstone was appointed a Director of Gavin Watson Ltd on 30 March 2007. The Company operates from the old Reid factory and still employs some ex-Reid staff. The main product of the Company is now labels. Many people utilised Reid’s for their printing services over the years and they were a good employer of local people in their time in Blantyre, fondly remembered.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,:

Stuart Dodd I started working at J.R.Reid’s in 1988, and still there! John Reid was a fair & honest man to work for, lots of good times. One of my memories is you Paul delivering sandwiches around 20 years ago, when you had a sandwich business 😉 lol
Blantyre Project ah, my early midlife crisis! Ended up with a shop in Hamilton, then left quickly after my school lunchtime trade vanished overnight when Hamilton Schools closed and were rebuilt further away! I met a lot of nice people in those years.

Jim Brown Might be completely wrong here, but I remember that in the derelict flats opposite the old parish church there was the remnants of a printers shop which I believe was Reids.
Mary Boyle We lived in Jackson Street in a tenement building. In the mid 1970’s The owner used to walk through our back lawns to his premises. I remember him with the most beautiful Alsatian.
Carol Crombie That was Ricky the Alsatian
Blantyre Project stay tuned. History of Jackson Street buildings coming up here very soon.
Mary Boyle Carol Crombie I was only 15 at the time, loved dogs. He was a beauty!
Mark Paton We all need paper or polymer now get a grip counsellors
Carol Crombie My dad was good friends with John, and used to dog-sit Ricky the Alsatian! Fierce as could be and blind in one eye (Ricky that is)!
Jennifer Mallory I started working with J.R. Reid Printers in November 1989 and spent 16 1/2 wonderful years there. We all worked hard and John was great to work for, everyone respected him and his dedication to the business. I left there in 2006 on good terms and still keep in touch with John today.
Janette Scott John was a very fair man to work for – thoroughly enjoyed working for him at Wishaw Printing
Alex Orr I am sure John Reid Printers first premises were actually across the road from the co-op in the old Templetons shop. I have been a friend of John’s for a very long time. I have done work for him in all his printing shops. As kids even remember going round doors selling washing up liquid for him. John was always going to be a success, and he was.
David Owens I remember shifting the old printing machine into tho Coop building. Jane has just had business cards printed and some of the old printing presses on display looked very similar to Johns first machine

Janet Morton My first job was in Shirlaw Allan’s Auctioneers in Hamilton. In about 1973 John Reid got the contract to print the sale catalogues. A big break through for him. A nice chap he was.

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