Records were deposited on indefinite loan by by D W Devier, General Services Manager, Harrison and Sons (High Wycombe) Ltd, Coates Lane, High Wycombe, HR13 5EZ in February 1983.
This deposit provides a detailed record of the business activities of the firm throughout its existence. The history of Harrison and Sons Ltd, government printers, is related in detail in Harrison and Sons Ltd 1750-1950 (see local studies collection) and The House of Harrison (see 1272/297).
Administrative / biographical background:
The founder of the company, Thomas Harrison, was apprenticed to the Confidential Government Printer in 1738, and was joined in the business by his younger brother James in 1743. The firm is best known for printing "The London Gazette" from 1765 to 1910.
When Thomas Richard Harrison entered into partnership with John William Parker in 1839, the company was called Harrison and Co., but this changed to Harrison and Son in 1849 and later Harrison and Sons in 1854. Their main premises were at 45-46 St Martin's Lane, but they also maintained private presses at the Foreign Office and the War Office. Another of their famous publications, "Burke's Peerage", was printed at the old Royal Library building in Pall Mall from 1853 to 1905.
The twentieth century saw branches of the business established outside central London in addition to the premises in St Martin's Lane, which they occupied until 1964. Postage stamps were printed first at Hayes, Middlesex, from 1911, and later from 1933 at High Wycombe, where the company is still based. The Hayes branch turned into a paper-coating mill. In 1923 Harrisons acquired the controlling interest in J G Hammond Ltd of Birmingham. The status of the company changed in 1920 to become a private limited liability company and again in 1948 to become a public limited liability company.
Two members of the family have been knighted: Sir Cecil Reeves Harrison in 1918 and Sir Guy Harrison in 1951. Both served as masters of the Stationers Company. The Harrison family connection with the company came to an end with Richard Harrison's departure in 1979 when the firm was taken over by Lonrho. It was taken over again by De La Rue International Ltd in 1997.