Makers and suppliers of British Made Pens and Pencils, British Made Ink, British Made Crayons and Chalk, British Made Pencil Cases, and British Made Rulers:-
Derwent Pencils have been making pencils in Cumbria since 1832. Not everything they sell is made in the UK. Individual Derwent Pencils that say “England” on them are UK made. Multi-packs of pencils will say made in the UK on the packaging if they are made in the UK or look for the Union Flag on the packaging. Some of their Academy Sketching eraser tipped pencils and their Lakeland Jumbo pencils are made in Thailand or PRC. None of their sketch pads and accessories are made in the UK. Basically on their pencils if it does not say England or if it does not say made in the UK on the pack, then it is not UK made; best to go by what it says on the tin. The tins themselves by the way are not made in the UK. The Cumberland Pencil Company (Derwent Pencils) is a division of ACCO Brands (Rexel) and so is American owned. Lovely pencils for you to sketch, colour, illustrate and create! See the video below for some history of pencils and pencil making at Derwent Pencils today.
Video – How pencils are made today – Derwent Pencil Factory, Cumbria, UK.
Chambers Pencils is a small business manufacturing bespoke pencils in the UK. Chambers Pencils is home to 21 individual machines, that all contribute to the manufacturing process, some of which date back to the 1920’s and have been passed down through generations and it employs around half a dozen people. Chambers Pencils will provide you with a “…quality British-made pencil, made to your specification.” Minimum order quantities (usually 500) apply. Their factory is in Stapleford, Nottingham. They make pencils, with or without rubbers – round pencils, hexagonal pencils, triangle pencils, carpenter pencils, etc. Their pencils can be printed with names, logos, etc. Whilst re-started in 2014, Frederick and F. Chambers and Company Limited was originally formed in 1915. A factory was set up in Stapleford Nottingham, where it remained until 1973 when relocated to Sandiacre, Nottingham where it remained there until March 1991, when the company was bought by a company called Lyra, based in Germany. The Stapleford works in Nottingham, which had previously been the Fearfields lace factory, became known as the Garden Pencil Works. The garden factory in Stapleford was bought by Johnson and Barnes, the hosiery firm next door and was demolished in 1983. The Johnson and Barnes Stapleford factory had closed in 1981 and the company itself was closed down in 1987. The F. Chambers Sandiacre factory, known as the Pencil Works, became the Lyra factory producing cosmetic pencils and pencils from 1991. Lyra (UK) Ltd was dissolved in 2012 and no mention of a UK factory is made of a UK factory on the Lyra / FILA website and so I assume the Lyra UK Pencil Works in Lenton Street, Sandiacre, Nottingham has now closed. In May 2017 found a company called Polly and Team Cleaning Services who are based in The Pencil Works, Lenton St, Sandiacre, Nottingham and from that I guess the building may still exist. Lyra, once a German pencil making company, are now Italian owned by the FILA Group since 2008. F. Chambers & Company Limited were the first to manufacture cosmetic pencils for Boots, in 1931. In May 1991 Norman Chambers, the founder Frederick’s grandson, started doing odd bits of printing onto imported pencils, as Lyra had bought F. Chambers & Company with the intention of only producing cosmetic pencils. Norman re-built machinery from parts he inherited or could find and rented a small unit to accommodate what was then Chambers Pencils. Norman passed away in 2014, but his son Timothy, now runs the company. From 1991 to 2013, Chambers bought pencils in from the Far East and finished them here in the UK. In 2014 they started independently manufacturing pencils in the UK again. Today they produce pencils for the souvenir and advertising and promotional trade. Their website features a little round Union Flag logo surrounded by the words ‘Made in Britain’ – http://www.chamberspencils.co.uk
Conway Stewart are famous for their fountain pens. I know very little about the revived Conway Stewart, but they now produce exclusive pens. They make fountain pens (filled from an ink bottle I think), ballpoint pens, roll-balls and pencils. It states on their website that “each Conway Stewart is made in England at our workshop by hand”.
Onoto was a brand of fountain pen manufactured by De La Rue from 1905 until 1958. The brand was relaunched in 2005 by a company calling itself The Onoto Pen Company Limited and are now made in England (originally they were made in England and later in Scotland). These are exclusive pens retailing for £300 and much more. There’s a review here – http://www.onoto.com
Parker Pens have closed their factory in Wales and no longer manufacture pens in the UK. The old UK made Parker pens were keenly priced top quality writing instruments, but the new foreign made Parker pens are no good. Likewise Parker ink cartridges and Parker Quink Ink is no longer made in the UK. Parker is an American company, part of Sanford L.P. which is itself part of Newell Rubbermaid.
Diamine Inks – All Diamine products are manufactured in the UK at their Liverpool factory. Ink Manufacturers since 1864, Diamine produce quality fountain pen inks, calligraphy ink, drawing ink, India Inks and writing inks, standard International (or European) sized short ink cartridges supplied in boxes of 18 with a range of 17 colours, stamp pads, industrial marking inks, Registrar’s ink, adhesives, endorsing ink, and election inks. Inks are available in a very wide range of colours and are sold on their website, elsewhere on the net (for example at Cult Pens) and in shops. The best ink in the world.
Platignum Pens is a brand that has been steeped in history since 1919 until its demise in 1998. Snopake bought the rights to Platignum and launched their new range of pens in 2007. The new Platignum pens website is very keen to stress their Britishness but they are foreign made nowadays. The old UK made Platignum pens were keenly priced top quality writing instruments, but the new foreign made Platignum pens are no good.
German company Staedtler have long since ceased pencil production in the UK, and now most of its production is in Germany. They are also known for the Noris, Mars and Minerva brands, non of which are made in the UK anymore. They took over the factories of Royal Sovereign Pencil Company (B. S. Cohen and E. Wolff and Sons) in the 1970s, and closed down the factories in Wales in or around 2009 and no longer produce in the UK. The names Wolff and Royal Sovereign now belong to a different company who make pencils branded as Wolff and Royal Sovereign in Indonesia.
Berol are now part of American company Newell Rubbermaid (who also own Parker (see above) and Papermate, Waterman and Osmiroid (I think the Osmiroid name is no longer used), non of whom manufacture in the UK anymore. Berol was a British company that manufactured pencils, pens and other stationery items, based in Lichfield, England. Berol is now a brand of imported products (except for their paints and adhesives which are still made in the UK), with UK manufacturing in Kings’ Lynn closed since Berol’s purchase by Newell Rubbermaid in 1995. The brand is now marketed as Berol by Papermate. Their Mikado / Mirado and Venus pencils were well known, as were their Colour Fine felt tips. Scolaquip (see below) manufacture in the UK under licence exclusively Berol’s entire paint and adhesive range for the world market
Scolaquip (Creative Art Products Ltd; Scola) of Middlewich, Cheshire near Manchester are one of the few remaining manufacturers of art and craft items in Britain. Scolaquip is a private company, founded in 1920, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of children’s art materials, both Scola branded and Private label such as paints, crayons, chalk, modelling materials and adhesives. They say their products are found in every primary classroom in the UK. The majority, if not all, their own brand products are made in the UK and they use the “Made in Britain” marque. As always, check where something will be made before buying. They supply schools and other institutions and Scola products are available on the internet (use a search engine to find them as well as on on sites such as Amazon and eBay). They are also distributors in the UK for Berol (see above) and Crayola (see above), both of which are now mostly foreign made. However, in addition to distributing Berol products, Scolaquip also manufacture exclusively their entire paint and adhesive range for the world market and they may also manufacture some of Berol’s craft mediums, pens and crayons – http://www.scolaquip.co.uk
WHSmith used to have their branded pencils and other stationery made in the UK, but I do not think they do so nowadays. There is no information about country of origin on the WHSmith website and many of their products in-store no longer state the country of manufacture.
Bic (Société Bic) is of course French and have managed to maintain their independence and still manufacture in France. They make the famous and excellent Bic Cristal disposable ballpoint pen (which deserves the slogan “writes first time, every time.”), as well as razors, lighters, etc.
Teachers, school children, office workers, and people at home please take note of the pencils and pens that are not made in the UK anymore and consider buying British made stationery.
Yard-O-Led (also called Yard-O-Lead) make exclusive Sterling Silver fountain pens, ball pens and roller-ball pens but are most famous for their Propelling Pencils. Made in Birmingham. Owned by Letts-Filofax since 1988, the company was sold to Imperial Yard Limited in 2015. Diamine (see above) is the manufacturer of Yard-o-Led inks.
Symthson pens are made by Yard-O-Led.
Yard-O-Led on the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys.
“The Pen” by Ajoto is manufactured in England. It comes in a cork tray made in Portugal, wrapped in a British made paper box, in a British made aluminium box and uses German rollerball ink refills. Available in brass (from Greece) or aluminium (from Belgium). They also make a leather pen pouch (in a range of colours) and a leather wallet (again in a range of colours) in England, both using Italian leather. There is good information on product raw material sourcing and manufacture on their website – http://ajoto.com
Twiss Pens are handmade in England. Beautiful looking fountain pens, pens and propelling pencils handcrafted in the UK, using foreign made components. One of my twitter follows. I have not seen these in real life but they look great. Twiss fountain pens come with an ink filler so you can use bottled ink or they take standard international refills.
D. Leonardt & Co is still in business at Highley and still manufactures pen nibs and fountain pens. It would appear that the Manuscript Pen Company Ltd (also in Highley) now owns the D. Leonardt & Co brand name and trade mark with respect to pens and has the exclusive right to manufacture pen nibs with the D. Leonardt & Co brand name and trade mark. Manufacturing appears to be by D. Leonardt & Co who also manufacture metal corners and other accessories for stationery products. This company appears to still be going strong. They make corners or accessories for diaries/agendas, luxury leathergoods, small leathergoods, wedding/photograph albums, menu covers, pattern and carpet books, binders, portfolios or other stationery products, but they also make pen parts such as nibs (for dip pens and fountain pens), clips, pen holders and nib holders and clutch pencils and ballpens. Trade only but available via the Manuscript Pen Company Ltd (again trade only) but their site has links to retail outlets and online retailers. It is not clear to me whether the Manuscript Pen Company Ltd and D. Leonardt & Co are one and the same company, but I think this may be the case, under the Highley Pens Ltd name, although perhaps D. Leonardt & Co Ltd is a separate company but both have the same address and appear to share their factory and offices.
Joseph Gillott & Sons Ltd was subsumed into British Pens Ltd in 1969, and the company apparently continues to market artists’ and calligraphers’ pens and dip pens under the Gillott brand and William Mitchell brand at Oldbury in the Black Country. Joseph Gillott & Sons Ltd is now part of William Mitchell Ltd. Perry & Co Ltd. also became part of British Pens Ltd. as did others. British Pens Ltd. was originally formed in 1920 from the amalgamation of Hinks Wells & Co. (also famed as makers of Bulldog Clips) and William Mitchell. British Pens do not seem to have a website and this appears to be because British Pens was purchased by its current owner Byron Head, the owner of William Mitchell (Sinkers), in 1982 and was subsequently renamed William Mitchell (calligraphy) Ltd. I found both Gillot drawing and mapping nibs and William Mitchell nibs for sale on the Scribblers website.
Myers (M. Myers and Son) of Birmingham were another big maker of Bulldog Clips and Foldback Clips. The company was sold to an American label company, Avery International, who quickly closed down their UK production. I am not sure if any company makes Bulldog Clips and Foldback Clips in the UK nowadays; Faire Bros & Company Limited are licence holders of the Bulldog Clip (and also sell foldback clips), but I am not sure if they still manufacture bulldog clips themselves or if they are manufactured in the UK.
Dip pens were generally used prior to the development of fountain pens, and are now mainly used in illustration, drawing calligraphy, comics and mapping.
Much of the information about D. Leonardt & Co., British Pens Ltd. and others mentioned above is taken from http://www.jquarter.org.uk/webdisk/morepentrade.htm. More information can also be found in Grace’s Guide and on Wikipedia.
Stadium make wax crayons, chalk and play clay. All their products are made in the UK. They supply the police, restaurants, pub chains, forestry businesses, schools, retailers, councils, emergency services, utility companies and industry with crayons, chalk and modelling clay (similar to Plasticine), marking crayons, chalk sticks, and talc powder, either Stadium branded or own branded. Wholesale only, but available online and in shops I assume – http://www.stadiumcrayons.co.uk
Unison Colour Soft Pastels are made in England.
Winsor & Newton, Royal warrant holders by Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales, have a brushmaking plant in Lowestoft in the UK and use as factory in China. They manufacture fine art products, including: oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, artists’ brushes, canvases, and papers. No country of origin information is given on their website and no mention is made of their plant in China. Much of what they sell may now be made in China, but it is worth asking them about something you might be interested in – http://www.winsornewton.com/uk/
Brian Clegg sell arts and craft products (art paints for example), the bulk of which are made in the UK. You’ll need to ask if the art products you want are UK made before buying. Brian Clegg also manufacturers in England a range of trikes, scooters and other metal toys for the educational market. Wholesale only – http://www.brianclegg.co.uk
Remarkable recycled pencils and colouring pencils are made in the UK. Also, Remarkable tyre items and the items made from recycled polypropylene are UK made – like note pads, folders, etc. As are frisbees, coloured leather items and rulers made from cd cases. None of the bags or the wooden items are made in the UK. Many products from Remarkable Eco-Solutions Ltd. are made abroad. Products are available on their website and in some shops such as Waitrose and Paperchase. As Remarkable do not say which products are made in the UK on their website, you’ll need to check with the company before purchasing whether the product you are interested in is UK made. Note as of 2/8/14 – Sadly it appears Remarkable have gone into Administration and it simple says on their website “The company has gone into administration – please contact BDO, 125 Colmore Road, Birmingham B3 35D”. By 21/4/17 Remarkable are back and their website is running again, however there is nothing on their website to suggest any of their products are still British made.
Does anyone know of any other companies that still manufacture pens, pencils and ink in the UK please?
Are there any pencil sharpeners still made in the UK?
When I was looking for a British made pencil case I found these ones on the net:
Made in England canvas pencil cases from the Dartmouth Canvas Factory – http://www.canvas-factory.co.uk/index.php/pencil_case/?k=:17::
Made in Britain screen printed pencil cases from Megan Alice England – http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/meganaliceengland/product/screen-printed-pencil-cases
Made in England recycled tyre pencil cases made by Remarkable – http://www.remarkable-eco.co.uk/products/name/black-and-blue-tyre-pencil-case/product_id/9251-0000-002?size=&start=0
Alphabet Bags have some nice made in the UK pencil cases (canvas pouches). Their other products, except their Tote bags, are foreign made though.
MIRJA+MAUNO little canvas bags on “notonthehighstreet” are made in Britain. You may well find other British made pencil cases on “notonthehighstreet” (where you can now filter to just British made items).
Charlotte Macey Textiles long pouches will make ideal pencil cases and are made in England.
Jo Jo Accessories are made in England and they make a Union Flag pencil cases, as well as Union Flag design bags, purses, tea cosies, baby bibs, lavender bags and cushions. I found the pencil case on “notonthehighstreet” and she also has a stand at the Sunday Upmarket.
Some ZPM bags make great pencil cases and are made in Britain, such as the Hedgehog design pencil case below. ZPM make wash bags, shower caps, pencil cases, baby bibs, etc. in the UK. Please note that some of their items, such as their shopper bags, are foreign made. Look for the words Made in Britain to get British made.
Otis Batterbee make lovely pencil cases / travel cases.
I think there must be more pencil cases and rulers that are made in the UK?
For metal rulers and tape measures still made in the UK please see here.