Mardon Printers (Pvt) Ltd

Mardon Printers (Pvt) Ltd

 

Mardon Printers started business in 1823 when John Price commenced his engraving business. In about 1829, Price moved the business to Bristol. The business was almost extinguished during the Bristol riots of 1831. Shortly after this, John Harris bought into the firm and in 1846, the name Mardon first appears because James Mardon, Harris’s brother-in-law came into the firm as a partner. Lithography commenced in 1849 with the purchase of two presses.

In 1851, Harris and Mardon set up a paper and stationery branch within the business. In 1860, the company moved to St. Stephen’s Street where newspapers had been printed – and steam presses were introduced. In 1863, George Hall entered the business and the name was changed to Mardon, Son & Hall. In the late 1870s, a factory in Caxton Street was opened and cardboard carton production commenced. Mardon supplied corset makers, boot makers drapers and tailors.

In 1849, the printing of Cigarette Cards commenced. By 1900, Mardon had two London offices to deal with the tobacco associated business and became a pawn in the Tobacco War between the American Tobacco Companies and the hastily assembled group which was named Imperial Tobacco. The war was won by Imperial Tobacco, led by Sir W H Wills. Mardon became a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco in 1902.In 1904, Heber Mardon retired. The growth in the tobacco industry continued after the Great War, in the 1930’s Mardon employed in excess of 5,000 people over 13 factories across Bristol.

In 1955 Mardon, Son & Hall purchased Aslin Read (Pvt) Ltd of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, whose premises were situated in Douglas Road at the corner of Charing Cross Road. In the same year Rhodesian Printers (Pvt) Ltd in Bulawayo was also purchased. The two companies became Mardon Aslin and Mardon Rhodesian Printers, respectively.

Rhodesian Printers had experience in printing stamps as they produced the Railway Parcel Stamps for Rhodesia Railways. In 1961, the two companies were merged to become Mardon Printers (Pvt) Ltd. A new Headquarters was built in the Beatrice Road, but the main lithographic work remained in the Douglas Road site. The Bulawayo site continued to function in much the same way. Eventually a main Headquarters office was established in Michael House on Baker Avenue, Salisbury.

In 1965, the Government of Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from Great Britain. Mardon was again in the right place at the right time, and entrepreneurial as ever. The need to issue an Independence stamp brought the Rhodesian Ministry of Posts to their door. Having established a relationship with the Ministry of Posts, Mardon went on to print postage stamps for the Rhodesian Post Office, and into the Zimbabwe independence era.

In the early 1970’s Mardon Printers purchased a company called Typocrafters Ltd, another lithographic printer which was based on Douglas Road, the new company became known as Mardon Typocrafters, although the printer’s imprint on the stamps did not change.

In 1988 the company was purchased by the Government controlled Mass Media Trust and the name changed to National Printing and Packaging (Pvt) Ltd, later known simply as Natprint.

Stamps

Postcards

References

Contributors
  • Geoff Brakspear
  • James Gavin

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