Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Government Printing Works

The Government Printing Works building in South Africa captures a lot of cultural significance within its walls. The setting and its records need to be guarded for future generations. This red brick building is more than a century old and although the interior spaces are a bit neglected the structure still stands firm. It is worth  admiring the quality and detailing that was applied in 19th century architecture and with what precision the building was constructed.  The Government Printing Works is older than 60 years and is therefore protected by the National Heritage Resources Act.
According to an article by Colonel S.A. Myburgh (1955:192-199) titled “The most modern printing works in South Africa”, the Government Printing Works was commissioned by the late President Paul Kruger. President Kruger felt that, due to the increasing demand for printing as well as stationery, the Republic of South Africa needed its own State Printing Works. This would benefit the economy and in turn would provide the Government with much needed confidentiality, which was not the case at the time with the awarding of contracts to private printing firms. This would also improve the printing industry in South Africa. The Government Printing Works were not only used for ordinary printing and stationery, but also for printing stamps.
The Government Printing Works ran smoothly until it was forced to shut down due to the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899. During this time all forms of Government printing took place on a train that travelled between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay. As the War drew to an end, the Printing Works were re-opened, but this time with an entirely new staff under the leadership of Mr. P.C. Falconer.
The picture of the stamps shown on the cover, were printed at this press. 
Thank you Maria.

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