A brief history of Jones and Palmer

We were born in 1906, the same year as Rolls Royce and Kelloggs.

In the early days of the twentieth century, Mr P H Jones bought a platen printing machine of German origin and, together with a few second-hand cases of type, installed these in the cellar of the house where he lived with his parents in Ellen Street, Brookfields.

Mr Jones produced a variety of small print, mainly from the needs of small trades-people with whom the district abounded at that time, and thus was created the embryo which has grown into Jones & Palmer Limited.

Mr H P Palmer joined Mr Jones in 1906, and the original machine, together with others that were purchased, were moved just around the corner to the old “Kingsway” public house, on the corner of Albion Street and Camden Street, in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, which was later occupied by a firm of silversmiths.

The firm continued to make progress and soon outstripped its available accommodation. In 1921 it crossed the road and commenced business at 98, 99 and 100 Albion Street, where, in fluctuating circumstances, it remained until 1961. The firm became a Private Limited Company in 1929 and during these years had a labour force with an average age of just 14.

One night in 1940, during an air onslaught of the city, the front of the premises were damaged by a parachute mine, which landed on and demolished a nearby public house, The Vine, in Carver Street. This occurrence had a curious consequence some 20 years later.

Mr Jones passed away in 1944 while Mr Palmer continued until 1953 when Mr R N Houston purchased the business. New machinery was installed to take the place of the antiquated machines that had nevertheless served their purpose well. After a few months of ownership, Mr Houston realised that the premises were not adequate for the expansion he had in mind, so he cast his eyes around several spots in the immediate area, one of which was the still-derelict site of the aforementioned public house.

The brewery company that owned the site were however not interested in disposing of it at that time and so after one or two other unsuccessful efforts, the company remained in the old premises, which expanded to add the number 97 to its Albion Street address.

In 1959, a call came from the brewery to the effect that the Carver Street site was now for sale. The following 12 months were spent in negotiations while tenders from builders were considered. On 8 June 1960, the first builders’ hut was erected on the site at 95 Carver Street and the business finally moved to its new premises on 3 September 1961. The new premises allowed the business to expand further and install more modern equipment to serve the increasing demands of local businesses.

Mr Houston’s son Ian had joined the company in 1960, and Ian has since been joined in the business by his own son and daughter. In 2000, the adjoining premises were bought from G Bechtel Ltd to allow further expansion, diversification and the labour force to reach 40.

As of 2014, the company now employs 48 staff and provides corporate and investor relations media services to public limited companies. But, retaining our heritage, we still love to publish the products we develop.

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