Roses and pianos and Spring, oh my!

I saw my first daffodil of the year the other day.  This brought some archive material to my mind: CWS flower catalogues from the 1970s.

When I first saw the CWS Spring horticulture catalogues, I just loved them.  They were a burst of colour and life in an otherwise dark and dusty corner.  The CWS supplied Osmaston Roses in all kinds of cheerful colours.  If anyone has info on what exactly an Osmaston rose is, I would love to know – even though I love roses I’m not all that clued up on the different kinds (I’ve been assured that red and yellow and merely different colours, not subspecies!)  Have a look at these beauties:

Rose catalogue, c. 1970s
Rose catalogue, c. 1970s

In the same box I found these great photographs of CWS workers making pianos.  When I started here I had no idea how far reaching the Co-op as in terms of manufacturing goods and providing services.  I love the fact that they made everything from soap to pianos.

CWS piano-making, c. 1940
CWS piano-making, c. 1940

So, then it hits me: What do the CWS spring catalogues and their piano manufacturing have in common?

Answer: Tom Lehrer.  If you like pigeons then maybe you shouldn’t click the link.  If you do click, you WILL be singing this through the park, on the bus, whilst making a brew, or whilst gathering documents together in basements of co-operative buildings.

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