The History of John Dickinson Stationery

John Dickinson 1782-1869


A Tireless Innovator

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

In 1809, he developed a patent process for machine-made paper utilising an ‘endless web’. From this time right up to 1855 he took out dozens of patents, and many of the pioneering discoveries of papermaking were his.

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.

  • 1804

    John Dickinson sets up as a stationer in the City of London

  • 1809-1830

    Rapid expansion, as John Dickinson first buys Apsley Mill, Hemel Hempstead, followed by Nash Mill and Croxley Mill near Watford.

  • 1850

    Mechanical envelope manufacture starts at John Dickinson, producing its first gummed envelopes. By 1876 producing 3 million per week.

  • 1864

    Papeteries Hamelin founded by Ernest Hamelin. Papereries Hamelin was based in the cité Gardin in Caen. Their activity mainly consisted in making accounts ledgers.

  • 1910

    Lion Brand adopted as the company logo.

  • 1911

    Basildon Bond brand established.

  • 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.

  • 1929

    John Dickinson pioneers production of window envelopes.

  • 1932

    Basildon Bond becomes the bestselling notepaper in the UK.

  • 1937

    John Dickinson pioneer production of Latex Seal Easi envelopes.

  • 1945

    Robert Hamelin changed the focus of the company starting to make notebooks and pads.

  • 1946

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

  • 1951

    Production of Continuous Stationery established at Apsley.

  • 1960

    Papeteries Hamelin became the market leader in the school supplies market in France.

  • 1963

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

  • 1966

    Formation of the Dickinson Robinson Group Ltd - DRG, to form one of the largest Stationery and Packaging companies in the world.

  • 1970

    Robert Hamelin & Jacques Piattier acquired a number of companies that specialised in books and pads, filing, and envelopes.

  • 1974-1979

    DRG acquires Papeteries de La Couronne, J Arthur Dixon, Royal Sovereign and John Heath.

  • 1981

    DRG Envelope and DRG Stationery established as separate market orientated businesses.

  • 1989

    Roland Franklin (Pembridge Associates) acquires DRG.

  • 1990

    Stéphane Hamelin & Jacques Piattier continued to expand the group within Europe.

  • 1990

    DRG Stationery sold to Biber Holdings of Switzerland. Name changed back to John Dickinson Stationery Limited.

  • 1996

    DS Smith plc acquires John Dickinson Stationery, and the process of amalgamation with Spicers Manufacturing starts.

  • 1999

    John Dickinson Stationery leaves Apsley and relocates to Sawston, Cambridge.

  • 2004

    John Dickinson Stationery celebrates 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.

  • 2007

    Acquisition of Canson (€90m turnover, 415 employees) known throughout the world for the quality of its fine arts papers.

  • 2008

    John Dickinson Stationery rebranded as Hamelin Brands and relocated the business to a brand new purpose build Head Office, Warehouse and Distribution Centre at Red Lodge in Suffolk.

  • Climb of Life 2015

    In November Team Hamelin joined over 100 members of the UK office supplies industry to take part in the Climb of Life (COL). The prospective mountaineers battled against cold, wet and extremely windy weather in the Lake District to climb some of the highest and toughest peaks. By securing sponsorship for their efforts, everyone shared…

  • Oxford Campus Competition

    Design A Limited Edition Front Cover     How would you like to be the designer of our next limited edition notebooks, and win £200 and a two year supply of notebooks in the process? At Oxford Campus we love your creativity, and we’re offering you the opportunity to unleash your artistic side and re-design…

  • Oxford Campus Competition

    Shortlist Announced       As part of Oxford Campus’s celebration and love of your creativity we have been running a competition to design the front cover of our A4 notebooks with the challenge of creating a notebook cover that was inventive, vibrant and appealing to students. The winning design will be printed on 100…

  • Oxford Campus Competition

    Limited Editions     In January this year Oxford Campus launched its ‘Design A Cover’ competition to our followers on our Facebook page. We asked them to design the next cover for a limited edition notebook, which would be given away during National Stationery Week.   After receiving some fantastic entries and much deliberation, a…

  • Ryman and Oxford Campus Competition

    Design A Front Cover for Ryman   How would you like to be the designer of our next limited edition notebooks, and win £100 Ryman Gift Card? At Oxford Campus we love your creativity, and we have teamed up with Ryman Stationers to offer you the opportunity to unleash your artistic side and re-design the…

  • And the winner is…… Oxford Campus!!

      Brand Manufacturer of the Year Winner at the BOSS Awards 2016 Members of the UK office supplies and services industry gathered together on 13th October at the Hilton Metropole hotel for the annual BOSS awards. The main event of the night was the awards, split into twelve different categories. Hamelin Brands were awarded the…

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