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Blair's Printers, Strabane

Blair's Printers, Strabane Ulster American Folk Park collectionThe bookseller, stationer and printer, R J Blair, opened this printing establishment in the late 1870s.  It stood in Strabane, across the street from Gray’s printing shop.  By 1892, R J Blair’s boasted a wide variety of retail interests. As well as operating as a printer, stationer, newsagent, and bookseller, the shop sold toys and fancy ware, birthday cards, toilet soap, perfumes, dyes, melodians and concertinas, walking sticks, photo and scrap albums and religious books.  Blair’s was also the sole outlet in Strabane for the regional newspaper, the Derry Sentinel.

A decade earlier, however, Blair’s business had been less diversified and much more closely associated with printing activities alone, as described in the 1883 Derry Almanac:
‘Every description of printing executed with neatness and despatch, and at the lowest remunerative cost.  Photo albums, scrap albums, purses and pocket books, oleographs, Marcus Ward & Co.’s birthday cards, in all the latest designs; chromo views of English, Irish and Scotch scenery; grotesque, old-fashioned, Royal Academy of Arts, Aesthetic, and Royal Irish Linen stationery; date racks, menu tablets, inkstands, photo frames, oleographs, pens, pencils, rulers, copy books, slates, writing ink, marking ink, ledgers.’