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Roy Gardner’s Sales Tickets

January 3, 2020
by the gentle author

Gardners Market Sundriesmen is moving to 78 Ruckholt Rd, Leyton, E10 5NP. Please help Paul Gardner with his move by coming along to the old shop at 149 Commercial St at 7pm today, Friday 3rd January to help load paper bags into vans. If you have a van and are willing to assist with transport, please call Paul direct on 020 7247 5119.

All are welcome at a party to celebrate Paul and one hundred and fifty years of Gardners Market Sundriesmen in Spitalfields at his shop this Monday 6th January from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.

One shilling by Roy Gardner

Paul Gardner, the  fourth generation in Spitalfields oldest family business, Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen in Commercial St, was just thirteen when his father Roy died in 1968. So Paul’s mother ran the shop for four years until 1972 when Paul left school and he took over next day – running the business until now without a day off.

In the shop, Paul found these intricate designs of numbers and lettering that his father made for sales tickets and grocers’ signs which, in their accomplishment, express something of his father’s well-balanced and painstaking nature.

At one time, Roy bought small blackboard signs, that were used by greengrocers to price their stock in chalk, from Mr Patson in Artillery Lane. Mr Patson sliced the tickets out of hardboard, cut up motorcycle spokes to make the pins and then riveted the pins to the boards before painting them with blackboard paint.

In the same practical spirit of do-it-yourself, Roy bought a machine for silk-screen printing his own sales tickets from designs that he worked up in the shop in his spare time, while waiting for customers. Numbers were drawn freehand onto pencil grids and words were carefully stencilled onto card. From these original designs, Roy made screens and printed onto blank “Ivorine” plastic tickets from Norman Pendred Ltd who also supplied more elaborate styles of sales tickets if customers required.

Blessed with a strong sense of design, Roy was self-critical – cutting the over-statement of his one shilling and its flourish down to size to create the perfectly balanced numeral. The exuberant curves of his five and nine are particular favourites of mine. Elsewhere, Roy was inspired to more ambitious effects, such as the curved text for “Golden Glory Toffee Apples,” and to humour, savouring the innuendo of “Don’t squeeze me until I’m yours.”  Today, Paul keeps these designs along with the incomplete invoice book for 1968 which is dated to when Roy died.

No doubt knocking up these sales tickets was all in day’s work to Roy Gardner – just one of the myriad skills required by a Market Sundriesman – yet a close examination of his elegant graphic designs reveals he was also a discriminating and creative typographer.

Designs for silk-screen by Roy Gardner

The finished silk-screened signs by Roy Gardner

Pages from the Ivorine products catalogue who could supply Roy’s customers with more complex designs of sales tickets than he was able to produce.

Roy Gardner stands outside Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen in the nineteen forties – note the sales tickets on display inside the shop.

You may like to read these other stories about Gardners Market Sundriesmen

Paul Gardner, Paper Bag Seller

At Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen

Joan Rose at Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen

James Brown at Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen

Vigil at Gardners’ Market Sundriesmen

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Wendy permalink
    January 3, 2020

    If we weren’t abroad atm we would have loved to have helped Paul move. It is beyond sad that he is having to move in the first place. We wish him all the best and every success in his new place. It is a sad loss for Spitalfields. We are raising a glass or two for Paul from Australia. Cheers Paul. Thank you Gentle Author.

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 3, 2020

    Great tickets, and really interesting to see where Roy has tweaked the designs to make them more balanced. I also love the “Ideal Ticket for fluctuating prices” – very cunning!

    I hope Paul will be able to display all this classic memorabilia in the new premises.

    Best wishes for the move – Spitalfields’ loss will be Leyton’s gain!

  3. January 3, 2020

    I would be first in the queue to buy a reproduction of one of these signs. I’m especially taken by the Golden Glory Toffee Apples. Does Roy Gardner still own them and is there anyone who he could work with to reproduce them for sale? Perhaps a way of earning money from his new shop?

    I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking these thoughts 🙂


  4. January 3, 2020

    The text font is very Gill Sans, some of the drawings reminiscent of the original Monotype drawings in the St Bride Printing Library []

  5. Linda Granfield permalink
    January 3, 2020

    (Plaintive voice)–Please, GA, consider a new publication filled with all of the store’s wonders, like these?

    Graphically and historically, terrific. Today’s packing up will be ajourney back in time, for Paul, you (madly photographing all, I’m guessing) and your readers when we see the stories you’ll write about the transfer.

    Good luck, Paul!

  6. January 3, 2020

    I know that others will chime in and salute Paul Gardner, wish him well, and hopefully even help to load the van. But, forgive a moment of shameless commerce here: I think the reader above is onto something. Paul’s expertise and holdings (and collections) would be amazing as a full-on line of paper goods. Unlike anything else on the market. Yes, they have a vintage flare — but are bold and graphic AND unique……a perfect product line, waiting to happen. Perhaps a company like
    “Design for Today” could take this on, and provide some expertise. Or, the V&A. When the new City of London Museum opens, this should be front-and-center in the gift array. Well, I’ll resume normal breathing now. But I just wanted to advocate for breathing new life into Paul’s already-epic career and endeavors. I’ve always loved reading about him in this blog, and I tip my hat to him.
    Thank you, GA

  7. PAUL Gardner permalink
    January 4, 2020

    A massive thankyou to everyone who helped me move yesterday. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received and it made the physical move so much easier. I hope to see as many of you as possible at the shop on Monday for a farewell party from 6pm to 9pm.

  8. January 5, 2020

    It is very sad to see this wonderful business forced to move from Spitalfields after so many years. I am a collector of old advertising and shop related ephemera and would love to add some of those lovely price labels and signs to my collection, especially the toffee apple one mentioned in Paul’s comment above! Best wishes to you Paul and i m sure your business will flourish in its new location.

  9. Wendy Cook permalink
    January 6, 2020

    Hello Paul,

    I visit every time I come to London from San Francisco and look forward to seeing you next time in Leyton! I hope the move provides you and your family with some relief. Glad that’s behind you. All best and take care.

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