Baddeley Brothers to publish book documenting family history

By Jez Abbott, Wednesday 07 October 2015

Be the first to comment

Six generations of the Baddeley family will be celebrated in a book published this week by the eponymous specialist printer and envelope maker.


Baddeley Brothers' book chronicles a rich family history

Baddeley Brothers has been based in the East End since the 1820s, before which it was a clockmaker in the North of England dating back to 1650s.

Spitalfields Life blogger 'The Gentle Author' pays tribute to British design and print techniques from the East London company in the clothbound hardback, which traces the emergence of modern design and print from the journeyman clockmakers, die-sinkers, letter cutters, engravers and artisans of the 18th century – from which emerged the Baddeley Brothers business.

Pureprint produced the run of 2,500 copies of the six-chapter book that rolled off a B1 five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 with coater utilising image-control colour management.

A mixture of die-stamping, litho, foiling, debossing and gilding was used and stock included 170gsm Munken polar smooth crisp white as well as Vanguard red, deep blue, raspberry and daffodil shades.

In the early 19th century the Baddeleys worked in rural Hackney as plate engravers for printers, but in 1885 moved to a new factory in the City of London.

This was blitzed by German bombers in 1940, prompting the company's eventual return to a now urbanised Hackney.

The Gentle Author, who writes about the culture of East London, brings the story of print bang up to the present day via the latest generation of the Baddeley family.

Current directors, brothers Charles and Chris Pertwee, direct relations of the original Baddeleys, wrote a forward to the Baddeley Brothers book.

Father Roger and uncle David ran the company before the brothers and in its 1960s and 1970s heyday the business employed around 40 staff. The current roll call numbers 25 people.

Designer and typographer David Pearson drew illustrations, showcased as tipped-in pages, using a range of bravura print techniques.

Illustrator Lucinda Rogers drew craftsmen at work at the the company’s Hackney workshop while artist Adam Dant fashioned a map featuring the company's London sites over the centuries.

The book also features the anatomy of an envelope and illustrations of differing styles, helping readers recognise their tuck and slit from their topless thumb pocket.

A glossary on the final pages includes gems such as Bastard Title, Dandy Roll, Dead Horse, Mackle, Slug, Rat-House and Squabble.

Charles Pertwee said: “We’re very proud of our history and I’m delighted three of Britain’s top artists dedicated their time and talent to illustrating our book.

“The Gentle Author shares our passion for this part of London, meanwhile our work is all about creating the perfect ‘feel’.

“We wanted this book to be interesting, useful, tactile and glorious – ideal for lovers of design and typography.”

He added that Pureprint managed the print job because Baddeleys does not have suitable large litho print machinery or collating and binding kit in-house.

The book costs £35 from and bookstores. Visit

Share this

Related headlines

David Chipperfield Architects chooses Baddeley Brothers' traditional skills for stationery work
15 December 2009

David Chipperfield Architects has appointed Baddeley Brothers to produce materials to support its exhibition...

Article Tags

This Issue

Latest comments