Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Valentine and Sons

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of Westfield Works, Dundee, Scotland. London Office: 26 to 29 Poppins Court, Fleet Street, EC4. (1922)

of Westfield Works, 154 Perth Road, Dundee, Scotland. Telephone: Dundee 5088. Cables: "Valcard, London". (1929)

Ditto Address. Telephone: Dundee 3195 (4 lines). Cables: "Valcard, Dundee" (1947)

1851 The company Valentine and Sons was established by James Valentine (1814-1879), the son of John Valentine, engineer of wood blocks for linen printing, Dundee.

The firm began as early exponents of photography, became pioneers in the postcard industry and later developed the production of greetings cards, novelties, calendars and illustrated children's books.

James Valentine began in business aged 17 as an engraver. He began to practice Daguerrotype photography, first as an amateur, as an aid to engraving.

c1850 He was soon proficient and began to take views and portraits. He went to Paris to train under M. Bulow, one of the most skilful photographers in that city.

On his return to Dundee he set up a studio in the High Street.

1868 He received a commission from the Queen to photograph a set of 40 views of Highland scenery and in 1868 was appointed as the Royal Photographer.

James Valentine's sons were both early to develop skills in photography and by 1879 they were in great demand, having grown into one of the largest establishments in the country.

1897 The government allowed correspondence to be written on the reverse of a postcard. This coincided with Valentine's success in collotype printing, a lithographic technique which mechanically reproduced images for printing as postcards.

By the end of the century, Valentine's had established the perfect method for cheap reproduction of postcards. They were also able to use their immense collection of topographical negatives to issue series after series of scenes from throughout Britain.

By the early 1900s they also had a growing trade in Christmas cards and children's books and had begun to publish fancy cards.

1907 The company, Valentine and Sons, 1907 was registered on 4 April, to acquire the business of colour printers and publishers of a company of almost similar title. [1]

1908 They became the official postcard publishers for the international Franco-British exhibition at the White City, and began to publish exhibition cards which are noted for their high quality of design.

WWI By the time of the First World War they had become a world-wide name with office branches in Canada, South Africa, Australia, America and Norway.

1920s They expanded their trade in Christmas cards and calendars and then in greetings cards which forms the basis of their business today.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Producers of Calendars, Christmas Cards, Toy and Painting Books, Pictorial Postcards, View Albums; Colour Printers. (Stand No. L.38) [2]

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Humorous Block Calendars. Manufacturers of Picture Postcards, Photographic Views, Calendars, Christmas Cards, Toy Books, Books of Humour, etc. (Stationery Section - Stand No. R.50) [3]

1947 British Industries Fair Advert as Specialists in the production of Calendars, Christmas Cards and Greeting Cards for all occasions. (Stationery and Printing Section) [4]

1960 "Merger of interest" with John Waddington made Valentines a subsidiary of Waddingtons in all but name; this unusual approach was necessary because of the agreement with Norcros that any change of control in Valentines would allow that agreement to be terminated[5]

1963 The company became a subsidiary of John Waddington]][6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. 1922 British Industries Fair p81
  3. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 169; and p172
  4. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 439; and p284
  5. The Times, Apr 27, 1960
  6. The Times, May 15, 1963