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Bank note and security paper makers, and water treatment engineers, of Fleet Street, London
of Whitchurch, Hants
mills at Ivybridge, Keighley and St. Neots
1712 Business founded by Henri Portal, a young Huguenot refugee, first at the Bare Mill at Whitechurch
1718 Moved his business to the nearby Laverstoke mill.
1724 Henry first made bank-note paper for the Bank of England at Laverstoke Mill, subsequently gaining the monopoly for its manufacture.
1747 Henry died; he was succeeded by his son, Joseph
1793 Joseph Portal died; he was succeeded by his son, John
1848 John Portal died.
WWI The use of paper money during the war in place of gold coinage enormously increased the demand for high-quality banknote paper. Portals aimed to become the leading manufacturer of banknote paper in the world.
1919 Portals introduced the cylinder-mould process for the manufacture of the £1 and 10s. notes.
1919 Wyndham Portal became managing director
1920 The Bank of England gave permission for the firm to manufacture banknote paper for other countries
1920 Company registered, manufacturer and dealers in paper. Started making bank-note paper and security paper for foreign governments and central banks.
The firm expanded its production of commercial paper
1930 The company's commercial papers interests (presumably Portals (John Allen and Sons)) were sold to Wiggins, Teape and Co. Portals concentrated on the manufacture of mould-made and handmade banknote paper.
1931 Sir William Wyndham Portal died; he was succeeded as chairman by his son Wyndham
Late 1930s Introduced a line of security thread into the body of the banknote.
1947 Public company incorporated.
By 1949 the firm made watermarked paper for more than 80 different countries and banks of issue.
The Bank of England had acquired 31 percent of the shares in order to protect its interests in its sole supplier of paper for bank-notes The Bank of England had first call on the company's paper and had the right to appoint a Governing Director.
The Overton Mill at Laverstoke, where the bank-note paper was made, was leased from an associated investment trust company. The company also owned T. H. Saunders and Co, which had previously made paper but was then involved in sales.
1968 Formation of Laverstoke Research and Development Ltd to centralise the group's R&D which was exploring various activities with AERE Harwell, the most interesting of which was said to be reverse osmosis
1971 The engineering businesses generated three-quarters of group sales and 60 percent of profits
1978 Acquired Sulby Engineering Development Co, a private company specialised in book binding machinery based in South London
1988 After 19 years of rising profits, profits fell this year. Had tried to sell the water treatment part of the business but failed to attract takers. Acquired the Paragon Group, which was involved in electrical engineering and whose head became chief executive