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British Industrial History

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Clifford Milburn and Co

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Artists' colourmen, of 85 Fleet Street, London, EC4. Telephone: City 2307. Cables: "City : 2307". (1929)

  • as Clifford Milburn and Co from 1911-1960
  • as Clifford Milburn Ltd 1960-1977
  • Addresses:
    • 12-14 Red Lion Court, Fleet St, London EC4 1911-1925,
    • 85 Fleet Street 1926-1934,
    • also 184A Oxford Street 1928-1941,
    • 54 Fleet Street 1935-1976,
    • 107/115 Long Acre 1977, other addresses including those below.


The company specialised in materials for commercial artists, especially poster colours, describing itself on its notepaper in 1932 as "Poster Artists Colour Makers".

1911 First listed in the Post Office directory, despite later claims to have been in business from 1907.

Its poster colour chart, dating to the 1930s, advertised the business as Specialists in Commercial Artists' Materials All accessories which are required by the Commercial Artist. Their 1930 catalogue referred to inventing and introducing a finely ground, uniform body colour, some twenty-three years ago, a claim which subsequently featured in periodical advertising: 1907 The first makers of Poster Colours. In 1907 we started with a range of 40 Colours. In 1937 we offer a wonderful range of 64 Colours.

1928 and 1932 the name of H. W. Herron appears following the company's name on Clifford Milburn and Co's invoices and notepaper, suggesting that by then he was the business's owner or managing partner; these invoices also record that the business owned works in Wimbledon.

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of the "Milburn" Poster Colours for showcard and reproduction work, the Milburn Studio Easel and the Out o' door Sketching Easel, also the Cliburn, Adaptable Easel, Drawing Boards and Commercial Artists' Materials. (Stand No. R.25) [1]

1930 The catalogue also described the recent addition to their range of products made by Talens and Zoon of Holland, makers of 'Rembrandt' colours; these replaced the Winsor and Newton oil colours listed in the 1928 catalogue. These colours also featured in periodical advertising, for example in 1933: 'Rembrandt' oil and water colours and later in Milburn's 1939 catalogue where Talens's products featured, alongside other products including Winsor and Newton watercolours and E. Wolff's Royal Sovereign pencils.

By 1958 the business had been acquired by Reeves, which proceeded to use it as its retail arm, trading as Clifford Milburn Ltd until 1976, with outlets at 54 Fleet St, 13 Charing Cross Road (formerly Reeves), 178 Kensington High St (formerly James Newman Ltd; trading as Reeves in 1977), 11/12 Knightsbridge Green (formerly Mealands) and 311 Finchley Road (formerly C. H. West) (all these branches except that at Knightsbridge Green are listed on Reeves's notepaper).


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] The National Portrait Gallery