History

Trace back through Granthams history

From our humble beginnings follow our rise to success with over 100 years in the graphics industry
Booming Blackpool in the late 1800's

Booming Blackpool in the late 1800's

At the beginning of the 20th century Blackpool was growing at a phenomenal rate. William Grantham recognised the need for a sign writing service and by the turn of the century his new venture had grown to become the principal sign-writing business in the area.

Grantham Sign writers opens it's doors

Originally a sign making business founded in 1890 in Blackpool by William Grantham.  Grantham recognised a growing need for sign-writing services in the fast developing town of Blackpool.

Early sales logs

Early sales logs

Granthams Sales log from 1904 including an entry for the Grand Theatre Blackpool. Sign work to the value of 16 shillings!

Walter Hudders joins Granthams

Walter Hudders joins Granthams

Walter Hudders and his brother William Hudders began employment at Granthams as signwriting apprentices and stayed with Granthams for many years before going their seperate ways.

Mr Grantham retires at almost 80!

Mr Grantham retires at almost 80!

The firm remained the leading sign company in the area until the mid 1930’s but between then and the outbreak of WWII, gradually reduced in size down to the one working proprieter, Mr Grantham, who continued to signwrite until after the war had ended. 

At the age of  almost eighty, Mr Grantham negotiated for the company to
pass into the hands of Walter Hudders. At this point, in many respects, things were much same as the year the business was founded. At this same time Tom Hudders joined his father Walter at Granthams and the company moved into the area of plastics and electronics, involving them
in all aspects of sign manufacturing. Granthams rapidly established itself, once again, as the leading sign company in the Fylde coast area.

Granthams continued to grow

Granthams continued to grow

Granthams continued to grow and produced many exceedingly fine tradesmen, some of whom set up independently and the standard of work produced in the area became second to none in the country.

Granthams new moves into a new building

Granthams new moves into a new building

Granthams new moves into a new building  on Regent Rd. Blackpool. These new premises were needed to meet the huge demand locally and nationally for Letraset. 

Blackpool - Summer of 64'

At 55 seconds if you watch this area, the little boy with his cart is Mark Hudders - his Dad made him the cart and he used to collect bags (Bagging they called it) from the Blackpool Train Station and take them to the hotels for the holiday makers in return for a little money.

(not all the footage is of Blackpool)

A new material for the sign making industry

Granthams are invited to ICI HQ In Welwyn Garden city to train on the application of a new material for use in Sign Making ... this product is Perspex!

Granthams appointed first Letraset dealer/distributor in Lancashire.

Granthams appointed first Letraset dealer/distributor in Lancashire.

Instant dry transfer lettering was needed both for the manufacture of signs and for the production of artwork required for the offset litho process which needed origination of photographic quality. As a result, the company was one of the first in the country to set up a special department to cater for the demand of graphic materials and  equipment.

Mark Hudders joins Granthams

Mark joins his father Tom Hudders in Granthams to concentrate on developing the commercial Graphic Art supplies market across Lancashire.

The move into Granthams current head office

The move into Granthams current head office

Due to business growth, even more space was needed to include both sign manufacture (1st floor) and retail of art materials (ground floor). The building on Charnley Rd. was chosen as it perfectly fit this purpose. Over the years, adjoining buildings have been bought and are used for warehousing and storage. The site of the new building used to be the Co-Op’s old warehouse buildings that operated throughout Blackpool's hey day in the early - mid 20th century.

Appointed authorised commercial reseller for Agfa Geavart Copyproof reprographic supplies.

Granthams appointed authorised commercial reseller for Agfa Geavart Copyproof reprographic supplies.

Granthams begins selling art materials from it's Regent Rd. premises

Granthams begins selling art materials from it's Regent Rd. premises

As a result of the popularity of Letraset products, a demand for generic Art Materials to compliment the Letraset products also developed. This building was used to stock Letraset and a few complimentary art materials. The original Sign makers shop was just across the road. Unfortunately no photos exist of this building.

During this same year, Tom’s son Mark, having qualified as a technical illustrator joined Granthams, and applied his efforts primarily to this new 
graphics supplies side of the business, thus becoming the third generation of Granthams.

The birth of the Granthams print bureau.

The birth of the Granthams print bureau.

The birth of the Granthams print bureau.

Granthams spots a gap in the market. Colour copiers have just been introduced into the U.K. but the closest machine to Blackpool is in Manchester. Granthams purchases one of these new Canon copiers and this marks the birth of their print bureau. Colour copiers quickly progress into colour printers due to the availability of PC’s and Mac computers to run them.

Granthams print bureau becomes more and more popular.

Granthams print bureau becomes more and more popular.

Print Success. Over the course of the following three decades, Granthams print bureau becomes more and more popular.

The ground floor of the Blackpool head office is split into 2 sections, 1 part is the art materials showroom and the other is a walk in print bureau.

(See image above)

"The eighties proved to be the decade which witnessed the availability of computerised technology at a level affordable by business and domestic users."

Mark Hudders MD
The computer revolution

The computer revolution

Granthams involvement with graphic art materials and sign manufacture itself made it a logical move to venture into supplying computer cut materials. In the mid eighties a department was opened which concentrated solely on computer aided graphic systems for sign manufacturers and graphic artists. 

Commodore Amiga Launch

Granthams are invited to attend the dealer launch of the new Commodore Amiga computer.

Granthams appointed Authorised Dealer for Apple computer Graphic systems.

Granthams appointed Authorised Dealer for Apple computer Graphic systems. First desk top publishing systems to be introduced to the Graphics business in Lancashire.

Granthams offer first Apple Macintosh based Sign making systems in the U.K.

Granthams offer first Apple Macintosh based Sign making systems in the U.K.

'Datagraphix' begins

'Datagraphix' begins

Datagraphix was a service offering cut vinyl graphics to the public which ran alongside Granthams print bureau. This service offered vinyl lettering to the public which they would mainly fit themselves. Of course if a client wanted a van lettering up, Granthams were able to do this but the job would be passed to the sign manufacturing department.

Granthams shows the first WYSIWYG "Graphical interface".

Granthams shows the first WYSIWYG "Graphical interface" BASED ON A MACINTOSH Computer TO drive industry leading Gerber plotters/systems at the Hammersmith Sign U.K. National exhibition.

Granthams relocates system sales to Preston

Granthams relocates system sales to Preston

In 1991 Granthams decided to relocate all of its system sales and showroom facilities into it's Preston premises which occupied a prime corner site in Corporation Street. In this year Kirsty Reader joins the Granthams technology team in sales and support.

Also in this year, Granthams is appointed exclusive U.K. IMPORTER / distributor for FlexiSign software on behalf of Amiable Technologies of Philadelphia. Agreement negotiated and completed at Apple World Boston USA.

Appointed first U.K. Distributer of Isodraw' software.

Granthams appointed first U.K. Distributer of Isodraw' software for professional technical publishing and illustration.

Appointed authorised reseller of Mamaki Sign and Display Graphics printer plotters.

Granthams appointed authorised reseller of Mamaki Sign and Display Graphics printer plotters.

The birth of ArtDiscount.co.uk

The birth of ArtDiscount.co.uk

Mark foresees the popularity and potential of the internet and invests in taking the company's art materials retail business online. Over the course of the next decade to the present, ArtDiscount.co.uk would grow to be one of the largest and most successful art material websites in the UK.

Appointed authorised dealer for H.p. Latex systems

Granthams are appointed authorised dealer for H.p. Latex systems and later achieve Gold Partner status.

The birth of Posterprints.co.uk

The birth of Posterprints.co.uk

Granthams introduces it’s web2print website Posterprints.co.uk which sees steady growth up until the present day.

Accredited top Mimaki UK dealer 2015

Accredited top dealer in the UK for Mimaki systems into the Sign industry.

Accredited top Mimaki UK dealer 2016

Again named as top Mimaki dealer of the year for the second consecutive year.

Partnership with Antalis announced.

Partnership with Antalis announced to nationally co -promote both hardware/systems and consumables.