At BLL we are immensely proud of our long and successful history as manufacturers of quality products. We find that customers value and trust us more than our competitors, given our staying power and years of experience.
We have spent over 100 years, honing our craftsmanship and developing long lasting relationships with customers over many, many decades.
As any lasting business will tell you we’ve had to adapt in order to stay relevant and competitive in a changing world. Being an old company does not mean that we stick to old methods. It’s quite the opposite. Innovation is woven into the fabric of who we are, without it we wouldn’t have survived a century and counting.
Our story began in 1850, when the company was founded by C.Cakebread as a “Trade Ruler”. Back then we made high quality lined paper used for accounting records. Sixteen years later in 1906, bookbinding was introduced, shortly followed by the facility to print. These investments gave us the ability to produce completed commodities.
The 1920s saw the fortuitous association between British Loose Leaf and Barr Engineers, heralding in the production of loose leaf products.
In 1957, in response to the growing popularity of the plastics industry, Regents Plastics Limited was formed supplying goods in PVC and 1959 saw the discontinuance of Ruling.
The 1960’s saw the acquisition of Supasigns Ltd and the formation of Adlin Ltd to manufacture and sell polypropylene. It also saw the relocation of Regent Plastics to Crayford and Barr Engineers to Deptford.
1970 started with the acquisition of Williams & Row Ltd, followed by the merger of C. Cakebread Group Ltd and Bensons International Systems Ltd. Next followed the amalgamations of Adlin Limited, Avon Bookbinding Limited, and Regents Plastic Limited with British Loose Leaf Manufacturers Ltd and by the end of the decade we had begun our association with Esselte.
It has been fascinating to look back over our history and see not just the evolution of the business from where it started to where it is now but to register the pace of that change.
Early in our history change was slow, with decades separating any real change but as we approached the end of 20th century the pace of change increased significantly and that acceleration of change continues today.
In part two we will talk about British Loose Leaf as part of Esselte and in later years the transition to an independent business again.