A proper paper diary is silent and unobtrusive in use; it has no batteries to go flat; it doesn’t break if you drop it or tread on it; it helps you remember things because you have actually written them down; and you can write in it during meetings and so on (when your smart phone will be outside or turned off!).
When you are getting your next diary, planner or calander please choose a British made one. Before buying, check the inside or back cover and see where the diary you are looking at is actually made (printed and bound).
Letts (Letts Filofax Group Ltd. / Charles Letts & Co Ltd. / HSGP Investments) offer a wide range of diaries starting the week on a Sunday or starting the week on a Monday, day-per-page, and so on, some of which are made in the UK. Letts have manufacturing facilities in Scotland and abroad. Until recently Letts products have not generally stated country of origin, so you had to ask them direct if a product is made in the UK or not. I am pleased to say that from 2014 diaries Letts are clearly identifying which of their dairies are made in the UK with the words “Made in Great Britain” on the back. If buying from the Letts website you will still need to ask whether the diary you want is made in the UK as provenance is not shown on their website. Letts also produce calendars, notebooks, address books and visitor books; again you will have to look at the products or ask to find out if any of them are made in the UK.
All Filofax inserts and covers used to be made in the UK. Sadly this is no longer the case and many of their products are now foreign made. However Filofax have told me that most of their diaries and papers are still printed here in the UK (but, annoying they no longer seem to put country of origin on their paper insert products) and that their Original range of organisers are also produced in the UK, so it is not all bad news. A few of their note books are made in the UK. With careful shopping you can still get a UK made filofax – look for the words “made in England” before buying. There’s a filofax size guide here. Filofax do a Sunday start week-on-2-pages diary insert, in Personal size for example, but most diaries are Monday start.
This website provides a bit more info on the Letts Filofax Group – http://madeintheuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/letts-filofax-group-ltd-diaries.html. Filofax was bought by Letts in 2001. In 2012 the company was acquired by HSGP Investments, which is owned by Canadian entrepreneur Harolde Savoy and British entrepreneur, and chief executive of Letts, Mr Gordon Presly. Philofaxy in France did a tour of the Letts Filofax factory in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, in 2013 and there is a write-up and some pictures of the factory on their website. Letts produced the world’s first pre-printed diary in 1812, calling it the “Commercial Diary“. The origins of Filofax go back as far as the First World War.
Smythson diaries seem to all be made in England. They do not specify country of origin for the inside papers on their website but Smythson told me in August 2015 that they mill their own paper in United Kingdom, and that the printing and hand binding is produced just outside of London. Also, they told me that their “Feather weight paper has been specially milled for use with a fountain pen.” All the Smythson dairies I have seen on their website start the week with a Monday and they are not able to offer a Sunday start instead. Country of origin is not given on their website for their leather organisers. Their organiser refills (Monday week start only; personal and pocket sizes) are all made in England. Smythson page-per-day diaries give a whole page for Saturday and a whole page for Sunday. Their pocket Memoranda diaries have a week-to-view facing a notes page, as do some of their mid-sized diaries. They also do desk diaries in various layouts. Their diaries run from November to January (e.g. November 2015 to January 2017). Some of their diaries are rather exclusively priced. You can presumably see their diaries in their shops, for example at their New Bond Street shop in London. Their diaries can be personalised with initials and little pictures. Disappointingly, Sunday week start diaries are not available from Smythson. You can also find other made in England products on their website, such as their correspondence cards, but many of their other products are foreign made – http://www.smythson.com
Aspinal of London – Despite the name, Aspinal of London products are nearly all foreign made. On their Facebook page they say “Aspinal of London’s covetable contemporary classics are all handcrafted in the finest factories in Europe. Some families of bags and all of the brands stationery and notebooks are made entirely in England, some with English hardware, leather and fabric linings.” Their diaries for example are made in England. Of their diaries on their website they say “Leather Diaries from Aspinal of London are individually handmade in England in our own workshops by genuine leather and bookbinding master craftsmen and women.” They do not mention the country of origin of the diary innards. The country of origin of the leather used is either not specified or Italian. They do not give country of origin for their personal organisers and their organiser refills look foreign made. Day per Page or Week to View (Monday start only) formats. Pocket, A6, A5, or A4 sizes. Can be personalised with initials. – https://www.aspinaloflondon.com
“National Trust calendars and diaries are all made in the UK” (for 2016 in any case). Most of the calendars I have looked at on their website started the week with a Monday, but some start on the week on a Sunday, or start the month on the 1st in a list view. Their 2016 year planner diary (week-to-view) starts the week on a Monday. Their slimchart diary does not say what day of the week it starts on. Their small pocket (week-to-view) dairy starts on a Sunday. Their family dairy starts the week on a Monday. Their engagement diary starts the week on a Monday, as does their 2016 desk diary – http://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/calendars-diaries/c225
Paperchase diaries are mostly made in China, but the odd one is “printed in the UK”. It’s worth checking out the diaries in their shops as the year progresses and looking for UK made Paperchase dairies. For example I found a 2016 A6 page-per-day diary in Paperchase in Dubai in August 2015. Sadly country of origin is not generally given on their website. Most products in Paperchase are foreign made – http://www.paperchase.co.uk
Organiser Papers (by Office Insource Limited) make functional paper inserts. All their products are produced in the UK. On their website (as of 5th April 2015) is says “All our products are created and produced by ourselves here in the UK…” The Marvellous Miss Jones range is their retail range of filofax compatible personal or A5 sized inserts and products include weekly planners (Monday-Sunday), to do lists, budget planners, milage record sheets, exercise planners, diet planners, expenses forms, appointment logs, weekly timetables, etc – http://organiserpapers.com
Toad Diaries are “made in Britain” according to the first page of their website. Toad bespoke allows you to personalise the cover, format and date ranges of their diaries, planners, organisers, and notebooks. For individual consumers or branded for businesses and organisations. “Any start day, any start month, any duration”. There should be no trouble in getting a Sunday start diary from Toad then. Toad (which stands for ‘today or any day’) belong to TG Media Visions Ltd. Sizes available are A5 (148 x 210mm), Quarto (237 x 177mm) and A4 (210 x 297mm); no A6 (105 x 148mm) or pocket size. Toad told me, in August 2015, that they hope to be able to offer a pocket size option in the future, but at present the only sizes available for one-off online purchases are A5, Quarto and A4. Wiro bound. You can have a diary with a note page opposite a week-to-view, which few British manufacturers offer, week-to-view on 2 facing pages, page-a-day, and more options. You can start the week on any day. You can specify the duration of your diary and the start date. They also sell off-the-shelf diaries and some foreign made items such as Swedish made pens and Collins organisers. There’s a review of Toad custom made diaries here – http://www.toaddiaries.co.uk
Go Stationery make wire-bound and bound diaries in London, England. Go Stationery, together with their other brands, also make notebooks, ring binders, address books, note cards, postcards, gift wrap, placemats, coasters, calendars, products for museums, greetings cards, etc and do printing generally on paper and plastics. Page-per-day or Monday start week-on-2-pages dairies. A5 and A6 sizes. Very nice diaries. There is a review here and here and also here. Go Stationery 2016 diaries are available via their website, on Amazon and in stores such as John Lewis.
Go Stationery also do a bespoke service for diaries and other stationery and make branded diaries for many well-known retailers and well known museums. Of their bespoke diaries they say “GO Stationery produces bespoke stationery in small or large quantities…” and “Everything is designed and made by us in London, nothing is sub-contracted and nothing is on the slow boat from China!”. As they say they will produce in small quantities they might make a diary specially for an individual customer, although one may be too small a quantity for them?
Organise-Us make diaries, address books, notebooks, visitors books and so on. It states on their facebook page “A range of beautiful products to organise busy lifestyles. All of our stationery is proudly Made in England and is complemented by lovely leather goods” and on their website it says “All of our diaries are made in England”. They told me in August 2015 that “everything is printed, bound and finished in England”. All their diaries are made in England then, but perhaps not their leather goods and other products, as no country of origin is given for many of these. They say on their twitter “Our stationery is made in England” implying everything else is foreign made. Their Botany House Candles are made in England. Their dairies all start the week with a Monday. Organise-Us do not make Sunday start dairies which is a shame. Nice looking diaries – http://www.organise-us.com
Leathersmith of London make their beautiful diaries in England. Mini dairies, pocket diaries, desk diaries, and 5-year diaries. It is good that they do Sunday start diaries, as well as Monday start diaries, although most of their dairies start the week on a Monday. A few desk diaries are page-per-day (with full pages for Saturday and Sunday). Leathersmith quality leather bound books, diaries, leather gifts & accessories, have been manufactured in England, since 1839. On their website they say “Our books are crafted and bound at our own bindery in Essex, just outside London, using high quality soft leather, our trademark light weight Azure paper, gold stamping and edging.” Diary personalisation is available for an extra fee. Leathersmith of London belongs to Neale Dataday Limited (see below) – http://www.leathersmith.co.uk
Neale Dataday Limited (aka Canvey Island Bindery Company Limited). I wrote to this company in August 2015 to ask whether all or some of their dairies, planners and calendars are made in England, but disappointingly they have not bother to respond. They have their own bindery in Essex, so some products may be made in the UK. Their Leathersmith dairies (see above) are made in England. They sell a wide range of dairies, calendars, and year planners, including both Sunday and Monday start diaries. They Neale Corporate brochure says the following “whilst focusing its efforts on Marketing, Sales and Distribution, the Company continues to maintain a small but highly skilled bookbindery producing high quality products” suggesting most of their products are made elsewhere and presumably foreign made. Their Datedly site, their Lloyd’s Diaries site, their Sherwood Diaries site, and their Diaries Direct site, all fail to give country of origin information. I think then it can be safely assumed that the vast majority of Neal Dataday diaries, planners and calendars are foreign made, excepting their Leathersmith range.
Debrett’s diaries (leather bound, Monday start, with etiquette information, desk or pocket sized) are all UK made and bound. This was confirmed to me by email on 28 August 2015, but is not mentioned on their website – http://www.debretts.com
Lily Matthews diaries look nice. From their facebook page it appears everything is British designed and made, but do check before buying as I have no experience of this company. I’m not sure that Lily Matthews are selling diaries since 2013 – http://www.lilymatthews.co.uk
Under Cover make a small variety of leather bound diaries and organisers in the UK. They don’t give much information about them on their website though. Week-to-view (Monday week start only) or page-per-day dairies. They do not give much detail about the contents and they do not say where the contents are made. These leather bound dairies come in a wide choice of colours and are very reasonably priced. They can be personalised with text but that will cost you an additional £15. Under Cover make a wide range of leather goods in the UK. Purses, notebooks, travel goods (travel organisers, luggage tags, passport holders, travel card holders, travel games, make-up bags, sketchbooks, notebooks, pouches, book marks, leather envelopes, document holders, tidy trays, messenger bags, tote bags, i-phone covers, keyring, earphone cases, etc.), photo albums, notebooks, address books, leather envelopes, guest books, portfolios, pencil cases, diaries, bags, tote bags, clutch bags, coin purses, etc. Most items are made in the UK – http://www.undercoveruk.com
Oh So Cherished have a few UK made 5 year diaries. I’ve not seen one but they look nice on the net. Oh So Cherished own brand products are generally made in England and they say on their website “All our own products are designed and handmade in England which means a lot to us.” Many products they sell are foreign made though and it’s hard to tell which of their products are their own brand products – http://www.ohsocherished.co.uk
notonthehighstreet.com have a small range of British made desk planner pads, diaries, journals, calendars and notebooks (mostly 5 year diaries). Look for the words “made in Britain” when choosing. NotOnTheHighStreet also have quite a few other British made products on their website and again you should look for the words “made in Britain” to find these – http://www.notonthehighstreet.com
Hope House Press make personalised leather bound diaries, journals and notebooks. Bound in Italian leather in the UK. No information is given about the country of origin or content of the pages. A5, A6 and odd sizes – http://www.hopehousepress.co.uk
Clare Loves has a British made weekly planner pad (Monday through Sunday; made by Lollipop Designs; see below), British made notebooks and lots of other nice British made things – http://clareloves.co.uk
Lollipop Designs seem to produce quite a few of their stationery products in the UK. Their website does not work properly Apple Safari so you will do better to open it in Firefox. British made products include their mini ‘keyboard’ weekly planner (Monday to Friday, although there is space to start the week on a Sunday and end on a Saturday), yearly wall planner posters (starting at the beginning of the month; full year or academic year, poster size (50 x 70cm), portrait-orientated), weekly desk planner pads (21cm x 30cm, Monday through Sunday), magnetic to do lists and notepads, origami note sets, rubber stamps, mailing labels to re-seal envelopes, and fancy parcel tape – http://www.lollipopdesigns.co.uk/
Silvine make British made stationery – notebooks, pocket notebooks, exercise books, sketch pads, jotters, shorthand notebooks (reporter’s notebooks), scrap books, refill pads, record cards, postcards, raffle tickets, writing paper, envelopes, exercise books, memo books, cash books, duplicate books, triplicate books, receipt books, educational planners, petty cash vouchers, water resistant outdoor notebooks, etc. You can view their full range in their catalogue on their website. Nice quality stationery. There’s a review of a Silvine memo book here. British made. Good prices. Silvine paper products are made by Sinclairs in Yorkshire, who were established 1837, and also make bespoke own-branded stationery for companies. All their products are made in the UK. On their website they say “The Silvine brand has undergone many changes through the years, but some things will always stay the same. Like the ethical way we do business. And our insistence on manufacturing all our stationery right here in the UK.” Their stationery factory is in the ancient market town of Otley, in the Yorkshire Dales. Available in locals shops, good stationers, and online (for example on eBay, Amazon, and the Post Office). Their range includes undated student planners, teacher’s planners, lesson planners and homework diaries – http://www.silvine.com
For more British made notebooks click the hyperlink.
The Green Gables sell a UK made year wall planner, various to-do lists printed in the UK and various other UK and foreign made stationery. On their website, the Green Gables say they “…strive to make the green gables‘ products in Britain, wherever possible, to keep down the number of miles products travel and to support other British businesses.” Some products are foreign made and you should look for UK made labelling before buying – http://thegreengables.co.uk
Barabara Wiggins diaries are made in the UK – http://www.barbarawiggins.co.uk/index.php?cat=13&sec=66 Unfortunately this company appear to have now closed. As of August 2015 their website says “The Barbara Wiggins web site is now closed”.
London Transport Museum online shop has some (but not all) calendars that are printed in Britain. Some designs are Sunday week start; some Monday start; some start on the 1st of the month as a list. No country of origin is given for their dairies though, so these are probably foreign made, although in the past they have stocked British made diaries made for them by Go Stationery. You may also find other British made items in their shop, such as their Routemaster Moquette Dog Collar – https://www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk/gifts-and-souvenirs/calendars-diaries.html?Action=Cookie
Evocative Cornwall say on their website “All of our products are made in Cornwall”. They sell a range of Cornish themed calendars, dairies and greetings cards. They do not say if their calendars are Sunday start, Monday start or 1st of the month start, so you will need to ask. Their A5 spiral bound diary is week to view but they do not say if it is a Sunday or Monday week start dairy, so again you will need to ask – http://www.evocativecornwall.co.uk
J. Salmon Limited is the oldest established post card and calendar publisher in Britain, founded in 1880. On their website it says “Salmon is proud to say that its product range is still entirely printed in Britain at its site in Sevenoaks.” Post cards and calendars remain at the core of the company’s publishing but other product ranges include guide books, gift books, recipe books, greeting cards, notecards, prints, placemats, diaries and other associated items. Their publications feature colourful photography, nostalgic transport and countryside images, retro and vintage posters and contemporary artwork. Salmon products are available in many retail outlets including stationers, card shops, bookshops, garden centres and giftshops. You can also buy their calendars, diaries, recipe books, placemats, prints, greetings cards, notecards, picture guidebooks and gift books directly from their website.
Salmon have a very wide range of calendars like the London Transport Museum one above featuring poster art, and pets, wildlife, heritage transport, humour, art, countryside scenes, flowers and gardens, scenic photographs of the British Isles, etc. You’ll need to ask whether they are Sunday or Monday start if buying from their website, as they do not say. They also have organiser calendars with innovative use of columns which make for easy organisation – Mum’s Family Organiser (Monday start), the Family Organiser (1st of the month start), the Seaside Days Family Organiser (1st of the month start) and the Boldtype Family Organiser (Monday start). Salmon calendars simple and easy to read red coloured Boldtype range includes the aforementioned organiser calendar, large engagement calendar (start of the month start), desk calendar (Monday start), Weekly Appointment calendar (Sunday start), Monthly Planner (start of the month start), Monthly Appointment calendar (start of the month start), Monthly Engagement calendar (start of the month start), Large Boldtype (Sunday start, 3 months to view), Small Boldtype calendar (Sunday start), Small Engagement calendar (start of the month start), Cleardate Slim (start of the month start), and the Boldtype Engagement calendar (Sunday start, bold dates with Sundays and holidays highlighted in red and a useful write-on appointment date panel). They also do a handy pocket calendar (Sunday start, inch and mm rulers on the back) and handy Calendar Date Pads. Calendar and diary prices (and postage) are very reasonable.
J Salmon diaries include their week-to-view Sunday start simple Boldface desk diaries in red or blue; month-to-view (1st of the month start, 3 1/8ʺ x 2ʺ / 79mm x 51mm) mini diaries featuring various scenic photographs on the covers; pocket diaries with cover designs including steam locomotives, lifestyle coastal scenes and garden birds, cats, dogs and flowers (5ʺ x 3 3/4ʺ / 127mm x 95mm, week-to-view, Sunday start, with hard-wearing plastic covers to protects the diary); slim diaries with various covers featuring animals or scenic photographs (5 1/2ʺ x 3ʺ / 139mm x 75mm, week-to-view, Sunday start); and large illustrated diaries (5 7/8 x 8 1/2ʺ / 148mm x 210mm, Monday start, two weeks-per-page, wire-o-bound).
Alex Clark Art calendars seem to all be made in the UK. You can just make out what I think are the words “Designed and made in the UK” next to a little mouse and Union Flag bottom left on the back of their calendars. It doesn’t say if the calendar layout starts on a Sunday or a Monday. Country of origin is not given against products on their website, so whether any of the other products on their site are made in the UK I don’t know – http://www.alexclarkart.co.uk/calendars-by-alex-clark.html
Dodo Pad diaries loose-leaf versions made for Filofax organisers are all printed in the UK (Personal, A5 and A4 sizes; no pocket or mini sizes; Monday week start only). Country of origin is not given on their website, but I was told this by email on 6th August 2015. The wiro bound versions of their diaries are all made in China. Their other products (such as mugs) I assume are foreign made. They told me “We are trying to bring ALL our diary production back to the UK but at present the wiro bound versions are too expensive to produce here. But we are working on it and hope that for the next production all will be printed/produced in the UK.” Let’s hope they manage that – https://www.dodopad.com
Sloane Stationery are selling two Monday start diaries for 2016 that they describe as being “handmade in England”. They also sell notebooks and the like, a few of which are made in England. Made in England products are labeled as such on their website – http://www.sloanestationery.com
The Parson’s Pocket Book starts the week on a Sunday. Country of origin is not stated on their website, but the company who sell it told me by email on 21st August 2015 that the Parson’s Pocket Books are printed and bound in the UK. The loose leaf version is printed in the same material, and is produced by the same company who print and bind the pocket book itself. The paper quality is 80gsm white offset – the same as or similar to photocopier paper. This very attractive diary is made by Atkinson Publications. The layout is week-to-view Sunday start with a notes page on the facing left page. The size is a handy 100mm x 162mm, and it has 224 pages with a robust case bound cover and a ribbon. Optionally you can also have pockets in the front and / or rear covers. In its 106th issue for 2016, this comprehensive diary includes the Lectionary (a list or book of portions of the Bible appointed to be read at divine service) for Common Worship for Sundays and weekdays and Holy Days with additional readings. As you can tell, the pocket book is squarely aimed at churchgoers and Anglican clergy. The Parson’s Pocket Book is available direct from their website and elsewhere. I found a 2015 version on Amazon where you can look inside the book. Most clergy diaries begin in Advent, the start of the liturgical year (which commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day (30 November) – in 2015 it’s Sunday November 29th) , and I assume this one is no exception to that rule. Atkinson Publications also make books about railways – https://www.atkinsonspublications.co.uk
The Canterbury Church Book and Desk Diary 2016 (hardback / loose leaf) is printed and bound in the UK by the CPI Group in Croydon. This was confirmed to me by email on 24th August 2015, but is not mentioned on their website. These Church diaries by Canterbury Press for next year run from the start of Advent 2015 to the eve of Advent 2016. Designed especially for clergy, churchwardens and church staff, the church desk diary provides one page per weekday and a double page spread for Sundays. Desk diary in hardback or a loose-leaf personal organiser-sized or A5 organiser sized edition. Canterbury Press is an imprint of Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd – http://www.canterburypress.co.uk
Please note that Collins (Colins Debden) diaries are made in Singapore, including the dairies they produce for Unions such as the PCS diary and the ISU diary. Colins talk about their British history and their environmental credentials on their website, but they do not admit to manufacturing abroad on their website. As far as I know all Colins diaries and other products are foreign made. “In 1989 Wm. Collins & Sons merged with Harper and Row of the US to form Harper Collins publishing. In 1995 the stationery and diary division of Harper Collins, and the long established fountain logo was acquired by Debden to form the company we know today as Collins Debden Ltd.” (from the Collins website). William Collins & Sons have gone then, split into Collins Debden making diaries (but not manufacturing in Scotland anymore) and Harper Collins (part of News Corp of the USA) making books.
WHSmith diaries do not state country of origin in them and are presumably made abroad. WHSmith (Smiths) have a long British history and it is a shame they do not support British manufacturing by having their diaries made in the UK. WHSmith advise me that some of their diaries are made in the United Kingdom, with others being manufactured in South Korea or China, but unfortunately as they do not state country of origin in their diaries you cannot which ones are UK made.
Banner diaries do not state country of origin in them and are presumably made abroad. Banner was originally a division of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) before privatisation so it it is disappointing so many of their products are now foreign made. The 2014 diary work have given me was supplied by Banner and country of origin is stated on that (it is made in India).
Office Depot / Viking Direct / Niceday do not bother to give country of origin for their office diaries. I suspect all their own brand diaries are foreign made.
In case you didn’t realise, Italian notebook brand Moleskin (which does Monday start or page-per-day diaries) are not made in the UK or even in Italy for that matter, but in China, Vietnam or Turkey. Castelli diaries are made in Italy. Quo Vadis diaries seem reluctant to say where their diaries are made on their UK website, but from what I can gather from their US website and elsewhere, the paper used is made in France, the diaries themselves are then made in the USA and the covers are made in Canada; in any case they are not made in the UK.
Sadly, the SPCK Church Pocket Book is not made in the UK. Nowadays it is made in India.
Doubtless there are more British made diaries and calendars out there, but you will need to check carefully to make sure it is made and printed in the UK and that what you are buying really is British.
Please note that when it comes to diaries the size given often refers to the size of the internal pages not the size of the overall diary plus cover.
Do weeks start on a Sunday or a Monday?
A quick look on the net gives opinions in favour of both. I think this is very much down to personal choice. For me the week starts on a Sunday because that’s when my working week starts and because that’s what I am used to I want a Sunday start diary. For others a Monday start diary or calendar might be the choice, for example because it keeps Saturday and Sunday together in a week-to-view diary. Traditionally the week starts on a Sunday in the UK from what I remember and this is evidenced by the photographs of old diaries below which start the week on a Sunday (although other old diaries may have started the week on a Monday). “Sunday, in the ecclesiastical numbering system also counted as the feria prima or the first day of the week” according to Wikipedia. The Parson’s Pocket Book (see above) starts the week on a Sunday. In conclusion, the week starts on a Sunday!
British made diaries – UK made diary – UK 2014 diaries – Diary made in the UK – Diary made in Great Britain – British diaries – British made academic diaries – British datebooks – Diaries made in the UK – Appointment book – Engagement book – Organiser – Personal Organiser – Calendar – Agenda – Schedule – Filofax – British made appointment book – Mid year diary – Date book – Letts – Leathersmith – Go Stationery – Full diary – Sunday start diaries – Diaries made in the UK – UK made diaries – UK diaries.