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British Industrial History

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John Waddington

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December 1938.
January 1939.
November 1952.
November 1963.

of Waddington's Printing Works, Wakefield Road, Leeds, 10. Telephone: Leeds 76011. Cables: "Wadding, Leeds." London Offices: 22 Charing Cross Road. John Waddington was the largest printer in the North of England (1937) and a lithographer, and became well known to the public as a publisher of card and board games.

1905 Company founded and initially established as a printing business. The company was founded by John Waddington and Wilson Barratt, under the name Waddingtons.

The name was changed to Waddington's House of Games, then John Waddington Limited, then Waddington Games, and finally just Waddingtons.

1921 Private company.

1922 The company started producing games, due to a boom in demand for playing cards during World War I. Waddingtons subsequently sold both original games (especially tie-ins for UK television programmes) and games licensed from other publishers.

1928 Public company.

Waddingtons became the UK publisher of Parker Brothers' Monopoly, while Parker licensed Waddington's Cluedo.

1941 the British Secret Service had the company create a special edition of Monopoly for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money and other objects useful for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners by the International Red Cross.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Printing by Lithography, Photo-Offset Lithography, Letter-press, Photogravure. Makers of Playing Cards, Cartons for Liquids, Fats, Solids. Advertising Novelties, Jig-Saws, Lexicon, Monopoly and other Games. (Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. H.2108) [1]

1957 John Waddington (Sales) Ltd was registered as a subsidiary to carry on business as makers and dealers in playing cards, greetings cards, etc[2]

1957 Formed Plastic Packaging,a JV with Mono Containers to exploit the research done on the impact of plastic materials on food packaging[3]

1960 "Merger of interest" with Valentine and Sons made Valentines a subsidiary of Waddingtons in all but name; this unusual approach was necessary because of the agreement with Norcros that any change of control in Valentines would allow that agreement to be terminated[4]

1961 Printers, lithographers, and manufacturers of playing cards, aluminium foil wraps and games. [5]

1961 Jointly-owned company, Liquid Packaging Ltd, was formed by Metal Box Co, John Waddington Ltd and International Paper Co of New York, to handle the distribution and sale of machines for making and filling Pure-Pak paper containers for liquids[6]

1961 John Waddington acquired one quarter of the share capital of Eagle Transfers; Eagle purchased from Waddingtons its Jenson transfer division[7]

1963 Acquired the remaining shares in Valentine and Sons[8]

1965 International Paper purchased Waddingtons' share in Liquid Packaging Ltd and sold Waddingtons their shares in the Waddington-International Paper JV which was renamed Plastona (John Waddington) Ltd[9]

1966 Acquired Tower Press (London) Ltd, makers of Tower jig-saw puzzles[10]

1967 Plastona acquired the plastics container business of Monsanto Chemicals which would be integrated with the Leeds production of transparent containers[11]


1995 The John Waddington part of the company, handling games, was bought by Hasbro after the government overturned an Office of Fair Trading recommendation[12].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1947 British Industries Fair p288
  2. The Times, Mar 19, 1957
  3. The Times , Dec 19, 1957
  4. The Times, Apr 27, 1960
  5. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  6. The Times, Jan 10, 1961
  7. The Times, Jun 26, 1961
  8. The Times, May 15, 1963
  9. The Times, Feb 08, 1965
  10. The Times, Apr 22, 1966
  11. The Times, May 31, 1967
  12. The Times March 01, 1995