People and Paper

Bob Britain Posters

Bob Britain posters.
Picture: Dacorum Heritage Trust

A Dickinson's worker

A female worker at John Dickinson’s.
Picture: Dacorum Heritage Trust

The two major inventions of machine-made paper and moveable type helped to transform people’s lives. Books and newspapers became more accessible and the universal penny post revolutionised the sending of mail from 1840. Postcards, introduced in 1870, helped to spread the web of personal communication even wider.

Many children were employed in papermaking and their ages and hours were controlled by successive Acts of Parliament from 1833.

Benevolent employers, such as John Dickinson’s, provided benefits for the growing workforces. Free libraries and evening classes were made available. The Efficiency Training Centre of 1918 offered further education to under-16 year olds. The Union of the House of Dickinson was set up in 1926, with funds for sickness, pensions, unemployment and death.

The leisure time of employees was also well catered for, with outings, sports and social clubs. Volunteer Fire Brigades were willingly manned by the millworkers.

Family loyalties to the local paper firms remained until their closure in the 20th century.

By The Dacorum Heritage Trust

The Dacorum Heritage Trust Ltd.

The Museum Store, Clarence Road, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 3YL

Telephone/Fax 01442 879525   Email

Registered in England No. 2851313 | Registered Charity No. 1026161 | Accredited Museum No. 1594 | Status: Fully accredited museum.