Catalogue description Records of Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd, printers, Aylesbury, 1709-c.1991

This record is held by Buckinghamshire Archives

Details of D/HWV
Reference: D/HWV
Title: Records of Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd, printers, Aylesbury, 1709-c.1991

This collection includes minutes, financial records, legal records, personnel records, photographs and printed material

Date: 1709-1991

It has not been possible to recreate the original order of these documents, nor arrange them according to the departments of the company, as these cover production rather than administrative areas. Consequently records are grouped according to their function. Within the photograph, plans and scrapbooks section the order has been maintained as they were found. Other sections are grouped chronologically.


D/HWV/1 Board and Directors' minutes


D/HWV/2 Director's Personal papers


D/HWV/3 Financial Records


D/HWV/4 Share Records


D/HWV/5 Legal Records - Company formation and alteration


D/HWV/6 Legal Records - Registers of Property and deeds


D/HWV/7 Legal Records - Plant and Works


D/HWV/8 Legal Records - Housing


D/HWV/9 Legal Records - General


D/HWV/10 Administration


D/HWV/11 Personnel - Welfare funds including pensions


D/HWV/12 Personnel - Social and Sports Clubs and events


D/HWV/13 Personnel - Staff Publications


D/HWV/14 Personnel - Housing


D/HWV/15 Personnel - General


D/HWV/16 Plant and works


D/HWV/17 Printing (incl examples)


D/HWV/18 Publicity


D/HWV/19 Photographs and Scrapbooks


D/HWV/20 Miscellaneous ephemera


D/HWV/21 Associated companies

Held by: Buckinghamshire Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd, 1875-1989, Aylesbury, printers

Watson and Hazell, 1867-1875

Physical description: 21 series
Immediate source of acquisition:

These records incorporate 3 accessions AR108/73, AR130/95 and the far larger AR106/93. Though extensive the records are far from complete, many production and accounting records having been destroyed in error shortly before deposit. A number of items are of a personal nature and relate to individual company chairmen and their research into printing techniques and travels abroad.




(AR 34/96)









Publication note:



H.J. Keefe A Century in Print, The Story of Hazell's 1839-1939. (London 1939)


Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd Hazells in Aylesbury 1867-1967; A Scrapbook to commemorate the first hundred years at the Printing Works Aylesbury. (1968)


See also PHX 150 Photograph of Hazell's band 1927


PHX 29/1-2 Photograph of the printing works, Tring Road 1896

Administrative / biographical background:

Company History


Hazell, Watson and Viney had its origins in the printing business established by William Paul in Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, London, in 1839. In 1843 Paul sold out to George Watson, then a jobbing printer and stationer at Tring, Herts, who soon introduced steam power and greatly expanded the business. In 1863 Walter Hazell (1843-1919) joined the firm and from 1867 it was known as Watson and Hazell. In the same year a branch was opened at Aylesbury in a disused silk mill at California, Aylesbury and in 1873 another branch in the Strand, London(it was sold in 1880). When J. E. Viney became a partner in 1875 the firm became Hazell, Watson and Viney. In 1884 it merged with Ford and Tilt of Long Acre, London to become Hazell, Watson and Viney, Ltd, with combined assets valued at £138,000. In the 1890s printing of periodicals was done at Kirby Street, where some sixty newspapers and periodicals were produced. Legal and commercial printing was carried on at Long Acre and book production was concentrated at Aylesbury. The head Office remained at Kirby Street until 1869, when it moved to Charles Street; in 1889 it transferred to Creed Street, Ludgate Hill, and in 1901 Long Acre. In 1920 the Kirby Street site was closed and the works transferred to Aylesbury and Long Acre. In the meanwhile the Aylesbury branch had moved in 1878 to purpose built premises on the Tring Road which underwent successive enlargements from 1885 onwards. By 1939 the total workforce there had risen to 1,700. The company also acquired a variety of other interests in this period including a share in Letts, the diary makers in 1886, a wholesale stationery branch in Shaftesbury Avenue, London in 1896, a photographic works at Lee, Kent in 1889 (wound up in 1898) and a packaging works at Slough in the 1930s.


The Watson connection with the company, severed briefly between 1880 and 1884, appears to have ended in 1903. Walter Hazell, who played a leading role in the company's affairs for over fifty years, was a social reformer and the author of pamphlets on social questions. He was a Liberal M.P. for Leicester from 1894 to 1900. Under his inspiration an employees sick fund was introduced in 1874, the first of many such welfare schemes which won the company a reputation as an enlightened employer. Hazell's Magazine, started in 1886, was an early example of a company house organ. Walter Hazell was succeeded as chairman by his sons W Howard Hazell (1919-1929) and Ralph C Hazell (from 1929). Several generations of the Viney family were also prominent in the direction of the company. Hazell's continued to expand in the post-war period as part of the Hazell Sun group of companies. In 1963 this became the British Printing Corporation, one of the largest printing and publishing organisations in the country. It was taken over by Maxwell Communications Corporation plc in 1981 and a management buy-out followed in 1989. Today (1995) BPCC Hazell Books occupies only a small proportion of the former Aylesbury site, the remainder having undergone redevelopment.


Chronological History


1839 William Paul starts printing business in Kirkby Street, Hatton Garden, London


1843 George Watson of Tring buys the business


1863 Walter Hazell becomes a partner


1867 George Watson sen, retires and firm becomes Watson & Hazell


1867 Aylesbury branch formed


1875 J. Elliott Viney becomes a partner and firm becomes Hazell, Watson & Viney


1879 Provident established


1884 Ford & Tilt Ltd acquired and HWV becomes a limited company


1890s First Social club established in Silver Street, Aylesbury


1895 First houses built for employees


1919 First full time welfare officer appointed


1920 Kirby Street branch (set up by William Paul in 1839) was closed


1936 Morbeck Gravure acquired


1936 Social club moved to Britannia Street


1937 Taylowe Acquired


1945 Sun Printers acquired


1952 Ink works, Aylesbury closed


1955 Hazell Sun Ltd formed as a holding company


1958 Long Acre works, London closed


1964 Hazell Sun merged with Purnell & Sons Ltd to form British Printing Corporation


1963 Formation of British Printing Corporation


1981 Takeover by Maxwell Communications Corporation plc


1989 Management buy-out


Constituent companies (in 1963)


Sun Printers


Whippendell Road, Watford, Herts


Formed in 1945 by the separation of Sun Printers and Sun engraving and HWV acquiring a controlling interest in the printing arm


Specialises in gravure printing


Hazells Offset


Leigh Road, Slough, Bucks


Housed the 1st heat-set web-offset press in the country, installed in 1957




Malvern Road, Furze Platt, Maidenhead, Berks


Founded in 1936 to manufacture printed folding boxes.


HWV purchased a controlling interest in 1937


Sidney Press


Sidney Road, Bedford, Beds


In 1911 the Bedfordshire Times set up a composing and printing department managed by William Palmer editor of the Beds Times and Previously editor of Hazell's Annual.


Sold to Westminster Press and then to Sun Printers Ltd in 1945 and became part of the Hazell Sun Group


1952 became a direct subsidiary




Wigman Road, Aspley, Nottingham


Founded in 1912 at Willesden to produce mainly cigarette cards


In 1954 Tom Browne & Co of Nottingham was acquired


1959 purchased both companies


Also its subsidiary Trent Photo-Litho


Keliher, Hudson & Kearns


15-17 Hatfields, London, SE1


Formed as a limited company in 1895 and merged with Hudson and Kearns in 1939


In 1962 Hazell Sun Group purchased a controlling interest in the company.


Canadian Printing and Litho


5670 Chauveau Street, Montreal 5, Canada


Acquired by the Hazell Sun Group in 1959


Offset Print and Litho


1460 Don Mills Road, Don Mills, Ontario


Formed in 1925 and acquired by the Hazell Sun Group in 1961


Hazell Sun Design Service


44 Great Queen Street, WC2


Set up in 1957

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