Our Circle of Life Part 2

World War Two started and again the world was thrown into very challenging times. Harold Graham and Henry Brown both played their part in the conflict and, happily, they both survived.

It’s 1946, the world had been in conflict and while the war was over, its legacy was still very much felt. Men were returning home, wives were home makers once again, many having supported the war effort by working in the factories. The desire to create homes rather than places to live must have been very tangible. And so it is that Harold and Henry sought to start the business. But there were challenges from the start. Paper, like many other commodities we today take for granted, was rationed. The British Government allocated your supply according to what the business used before the war. It was only through the support of Barbara Castle, MP for Blackburn, that we received our first allocation and the surface printing press rolled for the first time.


Our initial allocation of paper was insufficient. Henry saw a sale in Leeds of foil, which was wallpaper width. Used by the RAF during the war to confuse the German radar, he purchased this to supplement our meagre paper supplies.

Their partnership worked, Henry made it and Harold sold it. Our customer base then was very different to today. There were no big retailers, wallpaper was sold by small independent retailers throughout the country. The product was sold untrimmed and bundled together with string. Every Monday, Jack Kay would load up our lorry and be gone for the rest of the week as he delivered our product around the country. Whilst still a very small business, the foundations were being laid. Product quality, respect and building solid relationships were, and still are, cornerstones of our business. Wallpaper was an entirely functional product. Used to clean the house at a time before the Clean Air Act of 1956, collections were launched for the busy Easter spring clean. And so it was that the business rapidly grew, building on its reputation.


Read more about Our Circle of Life with part 1, coming next week part 3 #TraditionsThursday 


Written By Ian Brown - Director for CSR