John Byrne ‘Slab Boy’

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In November 2010, artist, writer, playwright and GSA alumni John Byrne visited GSA Library to view the newly-acquired Stoddard Design Library. John worked at Stoddard’s for a short period as a ‘slab boy’ – a low-status employee charged with grinding and mixing pigment on large marble slabs for the designers. His 1978 playThe Slab Boys takes place in the winter of 1957 in the slab room of A.F. Stobo & Co. of Paisley (based on Stoddard’s of Elderslie), where Phil, Spanky and Hector mix and grind colours for the design department.

John’s visit provided the opportunity for him to reminisce about his time at Stoddard’s and to browse some of the volumes he was never allowed to look at during his time there!


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