East London Printing Co  (ELP Co)

Artist: Harry Quinton

Jacob Bloom and his family were born in Riga, Latvia, then part of Russia and came to England by 1892, when his eldest son, Alexander (born 1883) was admitted to Berners Street School, London. The East London Printing Co started from small beginnings in Whitechapel Road in about 1896,  and was a general printer, including music hall songs, Christmas cards, and in memoriam cards related to events such as the loss of the Titanic. In 1903 over 5000 sheets of music being sold by Alexander Bloom were seized and destroyed as being illegally printed under the copyright act,


The first reference to post cards is in 1907 when Alexander and his father were arrested for selling "indecent post cards." (Byatt suggest that he was publishing post cards by 1908 and at about this date the business moved to 7 Houndsditch.) Many of the early cards were comic cards, often in sepia or black and white with the addition of red colour only. Earlier cards have a small "E L P Co" incorporated into the lower part of the design. However they also sold cards of the Sydney Street siege in 1911 (the photographs were taken by Alexander and cards were on sale within hours of the event) and he later sold sets of war photographs. The firm seems to have stopped publishing cards by the early 1930s.

It is very windy here but am having a rare good time,


E L P Co (East London Publishing Co)


[2 October 1912]


This card appears to be a redrawn copy of It is vey breezy down here by "F. S." (see right) and as Alexander Bloom had previously been guilty of copyright violation this may well have been an illegal copy

So who was the copyist? The following cards make a similar use of colour, and have the same back (rather common), possibly suggesting the same printer

Harry Quinton

My Word, He's caught her bending and spoilt his rhubarb.

Unsigned card published by E L P and posted 3 August 1908 -

My word, if I catch you bending

Similar unsigned card with no publisher name posted 28 August

Wouldn't have known you bert in your little short shirt but I see you got your old hat on

Signed Harry Quinton - copyright - No 38 - H Q, 92 Burrows Road, N W

Harry Quinton produced a number of cards in the same style and with the same back, seen posted between 1905 and 1907and were all self-publisher from 92 Burrows Road, London N.W. While I have not yet come across any published by E L P Co.  it is possible that while "self published" they could have been printed by the East London Printing Co.

Oh did he

Signed Harry Quinton - copyright - No 39 - H Q, 92 Burrows Road, N W

Origin of the walking stick

When Eve presented Adam with a little ca(i)ne.

Signed Harry Quinton - copyright - No 21 - H Q, 92 Burrows Road, N W

The Pleasures of Cycling card was earlier sold by H Garner, and an initial search on ebay for ELP showed some of their cards probably came from H. Garner's "Living Picture" series. This would suggest that E L P took over the publishing rights from H. Garner in about 1910. However several of the E L P cards - such of the two below - have the same set names as an "F S" but are almost certainly not by "F S."

The Pleasures of Cycling

Will you mend my umbrella next please

No Signature

E.L.P.Co. Series

Printed in England

11 December 1911

The Pleasures of Cycling

Giving lessons is very exhilarating

No Signature

[Not listed as F S]


At about the same time as the above card was published E L P was also publishing other comic  post cards with similar backs. These are unsigned but not in the "F S" style.

The Pleasures of Motoring

16 May 1913

The Pleasures of Motoring  

The Motorist's Trials

The Motorist's Trials

25 October 1911

The Motorist's Trial cards are reprints, with modified texts, of earlier cards by Donald McGill and published by the Pictorial Postcard Co Ltd (E S = Empire Series) of the Regent Publishing Co.

When Father says turn we all turn

6 May 1914

Skating is a very embracing pastime

15 June 1913

We're all learning to skate


Father's Box of Tools

E L P Series

Father's Box of Tools

by Donald McGill    E S Series 2014

Father's Box of Tools


Isn't it disgusting - those men bathing with nothing on! - Horrid - let me look   posted 1911

Small prophets and quick returns


"It's very strange, but I really can't remember whether I promised the wife to drink two whiskies and be home at ten, or to hevr ten cdinks and be in bed by two."

26 April 1911


This set, with the original envelope, is of particular interest as they provide a link between a named printer and publisher of post cards and the unknown green back publisher of many "F S"  and similar unsigned cards.

777: Thank Heaven for the Fat Copper

Published by

The East London Printing Co

7 Houndsditch, London E.1

749: Mary Dear, could you lend me a copper

762: Nine Pints of the Law

765: The Policeman's Beat!

E. L. P Series View Cards

Crystal Palace

Earliest seen with this back March 1910

Albert Memorial

London Bridge

Ludgate Circus

Other E.L.P. Co. cards

Dog Market, Club Row [Shoredirtch]

One of the local post cards by ELP Co


HRH Princess Mary   Viscount Lascelles DSO

Photo Vandyk     ELP Co


Some Relevant Newspaper Articles


At the instance of the Music Copyright Association Mr. Dickinson granted a search order to examine the premises of Alexander Bloom. a printer. of 184, Whitechapel-road. On Friday night Sergeant Stafford, chief warrant officer. and Inspectors Carter and West (the Association officers). searched the place, with the result that in various parts of the house they found 5,120 copies of musical pieces. — Inspector Carter now asked that a summons might be granted against Bloom to show cause why an order should not be made to destroy the music. — Mr. Dickinson grunted the summons.

East London Observer, 1 August, 1903


Alexander Bloom. printer of Whitechapel-rd ., was. summoned to show cause why nearly 6.000 copies of pirated music should not be condemned.—Defendant did not appear and Sergt. Stafford, chief warrant officer, proved serving the summons personally, when Bloom said, "Oh, they can't do anything with me. I don't know whether I shall come or not." - Mr Carter, agent of the Musical Copyright Association, said all the music seized were pirated copies, and he asked that they should be destroyed. He produced the registration of each copyright. Hawkers brought the copies for 13s a hundred, and they sold them for 2d. a copy. About three years ago an injunction was granted against the same defendant in respect to pirated music. - Mr. Dickinson made an order for the music to be destroyed, with 13s. 6d. costs.

The People, 3 August, 1903


Jacob Bloom and Alexander Bloom Russian subjects, were brought up. (in remand. and charged with being in possession of a large number of indecent prints. —Mr. Knight, of Messrs. Wontner and Son, prosecuted on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, and Mr. S. Hack defended.—Detective-Sergt. Lee. H. Division, in company with Detective-Inspector Wensley and Detectives Boreham and Horne, went to a printer's shop. in Whitechapel road, kept by the defendants. There he saw defendants serving a man with postcards. The witness said to the man, "We are police officers. Do you mind me seeing the cards you have bought'!" That Man handed the witness 150 indecent cards, and said he had paid 1s. 6d. for them. The defendant Alexander said he was the principal, and they would find all the cards they had in drawers behind the counter. He added, "I am very sorry; I know I ought not to sell them. I shall plead guilty and take the blame. Father does not have much to do with them. Since he got into trouble before I have done all the business. I only did them to oblige a few old customers. and they promised to be careful where they sold them." On searching the premises he found 4,400 indecent postcards and a quantity of indecent pictures on "flimsy" paper. Alexander said, " We sell less of these than we do the others." There were three printing machines, on which were proofs of indecent cards, as well ns a quantity of setup type relating to the cards.... ... Mr. Knight said the charge was for selling and printing indecent prints. and was a misdemeanour in common law. There were two offences committed. one on the 8th inst. and one on another date.— Prisoners were committed for trial at the North London Sessions, bail being refused.

East London Observer, 26 October, 1907


Those who care to see the innumerable tragedies and heroisms of the war pictorially presented cannot do better than obtain the excellent half-tone reproductions in picture postcard form of Mr. A. Pearse's (known to readers of VOTES FOR WOMEN as " A Patriot ") larger war pictures. They are twelve in number, and each illustrates some true incident of the present war. Our readers will probably be most interested in the one showing the nuns under fire at Rheims, tending the wounded. The whole set can be obtained from the East London Printing Company, 7, Houndsditch, E.C., for one shilling.

Votes for Women, 22 January 1915


At Westminster, Alexander Bloom, carrying on business as the East London Printing Co answered 2 summonses charging him with aiding and abetting Montagu Francis Gold, a shopkeeper, to display indecent pictorial cards in the window of his shop.

lt was stated that Gold had purchased the cards from the East London Printing Co.—Fined the maximum of £25 on the first summons, and 20s. on the second.

The People, 23 June 1918