Precisely observed and recorded, these cross-section and elevation scale drawings depict, in forensic detail, the working and living environments of Glasgow’s independent newsagents. These fascinating and meticulously detailed architectural drawings celebrate the rich individuality and transformation of their interiors by shopkeepers over time. Crafted in pen and water colour, they document these unique and disappearing frontages and interiors.
Newsagents are a rich topic of research, not just architecturally, but also economically and socially. They are often the place where as children we engage in our first monetary transaction, buying sweets or comics; or perhaps our first jobs as paper boys or girls. As we grow older, so may our purchases change, buying lottery tickets, cigarettes or alcohol. These shops are assets to the communities they serve, and the owners know their customers personally; and also are of a scale that means they can adapt and update their stock to suit demand. In a digital age, where sales of newspapers and magazines, were once the staple of such shops, these businesses are having to change and adjust in order to remain afloat.
I produced a Newspaper for the exhibition, and the academic Dr. Cath Feely kindly contributed an article, in which she wrote: ‘When we record them over time, we realise that newsagents are different from one another and that they change and adapt: that they have a past and, therefore, a present and future. These drawings by Will Knight are not the product of nostalgia but of now. In the process, they tell us not only about newsagents but about ourselves.’