Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4666
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: WESTWAYS GREETINGS (IMPORTERS OF GREETINGS CARDS)
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.08 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Westways Greetings | Importer of greetings cards xx Westways Import-Export
Prior to 1975 the firm imported and exported goods such as children's clothes to the Middle East. However from 1976, the firm began to specialise in importing greeting cards. The company had a storeroom in Paddington, later moving to the Avon Trading Estate in Kensington
Audrey Dewjee, one of the joint founders who at the time was based in Greenford, recounts:
"After a trip to America in 1975, Hussein and I started to import Black Greeting Cards in 1976 because we felt that everyone should have access to cards that reflected their ethnicity and lifestyle. Our company was called Westways Import-Export and later Westways Greetings. When we realised that Gay Greeting Cards were also available in America, we started to import them as well, from a company called Lip Productions Limited in Chicago [United States of America].
Like many of the best (but smallest) Black Greeting Card companies, Lip didn't survive for very long. While it flourished we imported cards from them and sold them wherever we could in London - to Gay's The Word and several of the leather shops. We also sold them from a little stall at the CHE [Campaign for Homosexual Equality] conference in York (I think that was in 1980). That was great because it felt like we were witnessing history in the making and we had played a tiny part! At Christmas Lip produced a beautiful range of designs, in colour, which quickly sold out.
When Lip ceased trading, we stopped selling Gay Cards because we couldn't find another 'respectable' supplier. By then, times and tastes were changing. There were more outlets and UK producers came on the scene, so there was no need for us to continue." Audrey Dewjee 12 April 2016 (produced with kind permission of Audrey Dewjee).
Scope and content/abstract:
Records of Westways Greetings including sale catalogues and unused greeting cards published by Lip Productions Limited, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America and imported by Westways Greetings for sale in the United Kingdom. The cards depict gay and Christmas themes mainly marketed to the gay and lesbian community. Some of the cards depict Black people / people of African descent and other ethnic origin.
No administrative records of the firm are known to survive.
This collection was catalogued by Ros Hamner, volunteer, as part of Speakout London project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, supervised by Sally Bevan and Richard Wiltshire, Senior Archivists.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
Arranged in a single series as follows:
LMA/4666/01 - Lip Productions Limited greetings cards
Conditions governing access:
These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copyright rests with a third party.
Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm
Immediate source of acquisition:
Donated in April 2016.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: Added November 2016.