Baddeley Brothers worked in Hackney since the early 19th century as plate engravers for plates for the printing industry, and making seal dies for embossing presses for the jewellery and pottery industries. By 1885 they had their own factory at Moor Lane in the City of London, where they manufactured envelopes, and engraved and embossed stationery. After this was completely destroyed in the Blitz in 1940, the business continued in loaned premises, run by W B Baddeley, the founder’s grandson, until 1946. At their new premises in Paul Street, London EC2 they welcomed back many employees from the pre-war years. Now in the hands of the fifth generation, the business moved into larger premises in Boundary Street in 1989 before relocating back to Hackney in 1993, and most recently to South Woodford in 2017. The company is still family-owned by the Pertwees, Christopher and Charles, direct relations to the original Baddeleys.

Roger Pertwee standing in die stamping room
Roger Pertwee standing in the die-stamping room at Bayford Street. 2013. By Colin O’Brien, courtesy of Jan O’Brien.

Roger Pertwee, Baddeley Brothers

“I think one of the interesting things we used to do an awful lot of, and it was always a panic to do, would be in the early part of the year we would produce any number of different report and account covers. Customers would be the big City printers who would be producing the report and accounts for their clients and it was a time when a report and accounts was very much the showcase for a company. They varied from bank or financial institutions and they would come up with the most elaborate things. The more elaborate, as far as we were concerned, the better. A lot of them were engraved. Well I don’t think anybody does report and accounts now. They are all done online now. I think if you insist as a shareholder, you can apply for a report and account but they are on demand. They’re just not produced. I mean there used to be hundreds, very often it would be quite commonplace to do a 100,000 run and we would have to do the cover which was then supplied back to the printer and he would have had to produce all the technical literature and everything that goes inside it and then insert it into it and staple them. Every shareholder got a copy in the mail. I mean it was big business.”