Wallpaper firm wants wheel to turn on family milestone
AN ambitious family wallpaper firm plans to site a navy blue printing wheel in a prominent site outside its premises to mark four generations of involvement in the industry.
The 100-year-old piece of machinery is currently on the car park of Surface Print at Broadley Mill in Hill Street Clayton-leMoors.
It has been resprayed from yellow to navy blue while the firm, which produces the 1838 Wallcoverings brand, awaits planning permission to move it to a place of honour on a newly stone-flagged land in front of its manufacturing premises. The first wallpaper printing machine was invented in Lancashire in 1838.
The printing press, bought from a closing Lancaster firm 20 years ago, will mark four generations of the Watson family’s involvement in wallpaper printing.
It started with Walter Watson in the late 1800s at Crown Wallpaper in Darwen, where his son Jack followed in his footsteps.
His son John also worked there before setting up Surface Print in 1990.
Now 80 he is chairman of the company where his son James, 39, is managing director and his daughter Abigail, 40, is marketing director.
In 2019 the firm secured a £2.5million investment deal creating 20 new jobs to take their workforce to 65 and annual turnover to £8m selling wall coverings around the globe.
Now the printing press, has been resprayed in the company’s navy blue brand colour ready for its transfer.
It will move from near Henry Street to its new location on Hill Street near its junction with Whalley Road if and when planning permission is granted.
James Watson said: “We though this would be a nice way to mark four generations of the family in the wallpaper business and 60 years since my father John started in the wallpaper printing business at Crown.
“It is very much a family firm. Abigail and I both have young children and we are hopeful there might yet be a fifth generation involved in the business in 20 years time.”