A personal project which took me 17 years to complete which was published in August 2013.
The House Of Waterlow – A Printer’s Tale (ISBN 9781783060160/eISBN9781783069729) is the true story of the rise and fall of one of the printing industry’s greatest family dynasties.
Starting from humble beginnings as descendants of immigrant Huguenot silk weavers, members of the Waterlow family went on to establish a stationery and printing business which quickly expanded to
become one of the biggest and most famous printing dynasties of the last 200 years.
The book follows the life of my family's firm, which started out providing printing and stationery for the legal profession and the expansion of the railways in the 1850s, to numerous prestigious security jobs for governments at home and abroad, and half a century of printing the media listings magazine, the Radio Times. However, in the late 1920s, Waterlow & Sons became an unwitting victim in one of the biggest fraud and forgery cases in British legal history. The firm was never really the same again and, like so many of its contemporaries, fell victim to the industry’s upheavals of the 1970s and 80s.
This fascinating story will take you through the Waterlow family’s origins, including great industrial expansion and the coming to prominence of one of the Victorian era’s great philanthropists, to ending up in the highest court in the land and eventually to the sad demise and obscurity of the company.
"An absolutely fascinating and compelling read, not only from an historical point of view for anyone researching the printing industry, for there is little doubt Waterlow was at the forefront
of the industrial revolution, but from the philanthropy and sociology administered by Sir Sydney.
Personally, it answered so many questions. What was the Portuguese Bank Note fiasco? Why my father, who came from a poor family living in Hoxton and went to Pitfield Street School, had the opportunity to join Waterlow's as an office boy at the age of 14 years in 1925, and stayed with the company for the whole of his working life; as did many of his colleagues.
My thanks to the author for bringing `The House of Waterlow` to fruition, and rekindling the many happy memories we had of a childhood within the extended family of Waterlow & Sons Limited. "
Sylvia Belcher nee Lane