Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,095 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Dickinson and Co

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1947. Lion Brand.
June 1953.
December 1954. Hostess Serviettes and Doyleys.
December 1960.
November 1963.
Company Badge.

of Croxley, Apsley, Nash and Home Park Mills, Hertfordshire. Head Office: 65 Old Bailey, London, EC4. (1922)

of 30-34 New Bridge Street, London, EC4. Branches in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham. Mills in Apsley, Croxley, Nash, Home Park and Basildon Works, Tottenham. (1947)

John Dickinson (1782-1869). Inventor, engineer, architect, builder, manager and financier, John Dickinson spent more than 60 years in the trade, and laid the foundations for a company that has reflected his ingenuity and hunger for expansion ever since.

1797 John Dickinson was almost 15 when he was apprenticed to stationers Thomas Harrison of Leadenhall Street, London.

1803 At the age of 21, John Dickinson was already experimenting with improvements over the prevailing paper making process, the Fourdrinier patent.

1804 John Dickinson set up as a stationer in the City of London at Walbrook.

1805 He moved his company to Ludgate Street.

1807-1847 He applied for 14 patents relating to paper.

1809 He developed a patent process for machine-made paper utilising an ‘endless web’ which was an ingenious perforated cylinder of metal with a finely woven wire covering. This revolved in a vat filled with pulp and produced a continuous sheet of paper of superior surface and appearance. From this time right up to 1855 he took out dozens of patents, and many of the pioneering discoveries of papermaking were his.

1809-1830 Rapid expansion, as John Dickinson first bought Apsley Mill, Hemel Hempstead (1809), followed by Nash Mills (1811). He then built Home Park Mills near King's Langley (1825) and finally bought Croxley Mill near Watford (1830). He also established "half-stuff" mills at Batchworth and Manchester.

1850 Mechanical envelope manufacture started at John Dickinson, producing its first gummed envelopes.

1869 John Dickinson died.

By 1876 his company was producing 3 million envelopes per week.

1886 The company was registered on 31 March, to acquire the business of paper-makers, of London and elsewhere, of a firm of the same name. [1]

1910 Lion Brand adopted as the company logo.

1911 Basildon Bond brand established.

1914 Paper manufacturers, wholesale and export stationers. Specialities: every description of paper, cards and boards; envelopes, cabinets of notepaper and envelopes, fancy cards, fancy leather goods, tags, account books, systems, art paper of fine quality, pulp boards, coated papers and boards, etc. [2]

1917-1930 Companies established in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and ultimately a network of manufacturing sites and sales offices in 13 countries around the world.

1918 Millington and Sons acquired, originators of Basildon Bond.

1922 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of Paper and Boards; Envelopes, Account Books, and Manufactured Stationery. Office Equipment Specialists. (Stand No. L.63) [3]

1929 John Dickinson pioneered production of window envelopes.

1932 Basildon Bond becomes the bestselling notepaper in the UK.

1937 John Dickinson pioneered production of Latex Seal Easi envelopes.

1946 Factory in Kirkby, Liverpool, set up for pocket envelope production.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert as Paper Makers and Manufacturing Stationers. Lion Brand Stationery. Paper, Boards, Envelopes, Account Books, Systems Goods, Cards, Tags, Labels, Seals, Gummed Tape, Stationery (private, commercial, table), Toilet Rolls, Packing and Carrier Bags, Photographic Albums, Mounts, Fountain Pens, Desk Equipment. (Stationery and Printing Section - Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. H.2117) [4]

1951 Production of Continuous Stationery established at Apsley.

1953 Advert on this page for Basildon Bond.

1960 Advert on this page for Queen's Velvet.

1963 New 250,000 sq ft stationery factory opened at Apsley.

1966 Formation of the Dickinson Robinson Group Ltd (DRG) by merging with E. S. and A. Robinson, forming one of the largest Stationery and Packaging companies in the world.

1974-1979 DRG acquired Papeteries de La Couronne, J. Arthur Dixon, Royal Sovereign and John Heath.

1989 Pembridge Investments acquired DRG Packaging

1992 Bowater acquired DRG Packaging from Pembridge[5]

1999 The company left Apsley Mills and relocated to Cambridgeshire.

1990 DRG Stationery was sold to Biber Holdings of Switzerland. Its name was changed to John Dickinson Stationery Limited.

1996 D. S. Smith plc. acquired John Dickinson Stationery. A process of amalgamation with Spicers Manufacturing began.

2004 John Dickinson Stationery celebrated its bicentenary as the largest UK producer of envelopes, books and pads.

2005 John Dickinson Stationery was purchased by Hamelin, a major stationery manufacturer based in Caen, France.

2008 John Dickinson Stationery was rebranded as Hamelin Paperbrands and relocated to a purpose-built Head Office, Warehouse and Distribution Centre at Red Lodge, Bury St Edmunds.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  3. 1922 British Industries Fair p23
  4. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 103; and p83
  5. The Times, March 03, 1992
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • Hamelin [1]
  • Frogmore Mill [2]