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11 The High Cross Centre
Fountayne Road London N15 4QN
t +44 (0)20 8275 4280
Thomas Witherby at just the age of 21 was the founder of Witherbys. It all began in the exchange alley (also known as Birchin Lane) opposite The Royal Exchange. The location served as a convenient shortcut from the Royal Exchange on Cornhill and Lombard Street and still remains as one of a number of alleys linking the two streets. Clients were taking him wills and marriage settlements as well as articles of agreements between merchants for him to write up with his exceptional handwriting.
Witherby’s acquired a printing business in Holborn. This was the first time that letterpress printing wascarried out by the firm.
Witherbys City Office moved to 15 Nicholas Lane, just off Cornhill where we remained until 1972. During the war years our staff suffered major casualties in world wars I and II in the Great War alone 71 members of staff were called into the armed services. Sadly, 19 were killed in action with 17 others wounded or gassed. During these turbulent years, we continued to serve London with its printing needs which was often interrupted by German air raids while our staff had to take cover in the basement.
In World War 2 on the 10th May 1941 Witherby's was bombed, destroying the entire building everything was gone. That very same night, the Holborn factory was also hit. Over a 1 year period 134 high explosive bombs were dropped in this area alone.
Celebrating 250 years.
Witherby's celebrate 250 years by taking the staff to the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.
First Director Shareholders were appointed from outside the Witherbys family.
Gary Lineker came back to Tottenham to trace one of his ancestors as part of the programme "Who do you think you are?" Thomas Billingham carried out an apprenticeship at Witherbys in the early 19th century. This is where he learnt the art of calligraphy in many different fonts.
Celebrating 275 years.
Continued the tradition by taking our staff and partners for a weekend to The Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.
Fire broke out in Exchange alley, destroying 80 houses and 9 coffee shops, including Thomas' premises. Thankfully for Thomas, the court of common council relaxed its rules on a ban of non-freeman tradesman which resulted in a speedy rebuilding programme.
The magazine of 'British Birds' was published in the Holborn factory and continued to do so for the next 30 years.
After the 1929 Wall Street Crash, conditions had begun to improve slightly and the bonuses to employees started again.
After the bomb struck, it was decided that some of the work and stock would be transferred as a precaution to the country. A new factory was opened in Watford.
The Holborn factory had finally been put under good refurbishment and restored to health after the persistent bombing of London.
It was decided that the Holborn factory was too old fashioned for the company to progress and an agreement was made to move to a newly constructed building in Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell. In 1966, the Watford factory was closed.
Accounting systems improved, as computerised methods began to be used for estimates, costings, invoicing, ordering and administration. At the same time installing data management software to ensure more effective communication with customers.
Witherby's needed larger premises but wanted and needed to remain in London where the Company has been since its foundation in 1740. A modern building was located and refurbished in Tottenham N15.
To coincide with the Companies 275 years celebrations a new rebrand of the Companies logo was launched in July at the St. Brides foundation in Fleet Street (the home of printing) where a function was held for Witherby’s customers among them The Worshipful Company of Coopers a customer since 1741 who presented to the Directors a plaque to commemorate the occasion.