Artist’s designs became weapon of choice for activists
are still rife, as is the social housing.”
The grandad of fofour moved to London in 1967 after graduatingraduating from Bath Academy of Art and set up a minmini poster workshop in his flat in Notting Hill wwith some of his friends.
His law graduate pal, Peter Dukes, found them new premises in a basement beneath a hairdressers in CCamden and it was here that the Poster WWorkshop was born, manned by a host oof volunteers.
Buoyed up by a great deal of political enthusiasm, it flourisflourished almost immediately, with folk sometimes queuing round the block.
Sam, who taught art and design at Ayr’s Kyle Academy, said:sai “There was never a shortage of work anand news of what we were doing spread by wordwor of mouth. I knew a lot of ex-art students so they did some designs.
“Folk justpaidjustpaid whatwh they could and others provided us with ththe paper or old posters which we would printpr on the back of. The workshop was mannedmann round the clock.”
Sam, whose bookbo Poster Workshop 1968-1971 is out now,n added: “We could respond very rapidlyrapid to a request for posters. “The most extrextreme case was probably for a strike at FoFord, Dagenham. The vote to strike was tataken at a meeting at 10pm and the shop stewards rang the local pub, where wwe were waiting. They need for more jobs and needed posters in time for the 6am shift. We worked through the night designing, printing and finally drying the posters with a hairdryer before driving to Dagenham before dawn, in time to hand them to the shop stewards.”
The workshop ran until 1971, when lithograph printing took over. In those three years, they produced more than 50,000 posters of 200 designs. Many of their most famous posters were displayed earlier this year at Tate Britain as part of London: 1968.
Sam, who moved to Scotland in 1975, said: “There were so many designs but there are some that still stick in my head.
“The Vietnam War was in full swingg so we did a lot of anti-war posters. But the standout for me was the ‘ We Are All Foreign Scum’, which was a reactionn to Tory MP Tom Iremonger’s declarationon that, ‘British people are fed up with beingng trampled underfoot by foreign scum.’’
“One of my other favourites wasas ‘Welcome To Sunny South Africa’, whichh was plastered all over the South Africaa Airlines building in London.
“Another inspired design wass ‘ Vote for Guy Fawkes, the only man ever to enter Parl iament with honest intentions’.”
He added: “From civi l r ights marches in troubled Belfast to pleas to free Obi Egbuna, the leader of the British Black Panther movement, we provided posters for every cause.”
Fawkes, far left, and ‘We are all foreign scum’, third from left MAKING A DIFFERENCE Sam’s workshop operated from 1968 to 1971 and produced more than 50,000 posters of 200 designs