Wallpaper Manufacturers Limited (WPM), later Reed Decorative Products Limited

Scope and Content

This collection includes: minutes; circulars; secretary's diaries; chairman of executive's weekly reports to directors; records concerning Monopolies Commission inquiry into supply of wallpaper.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Wallpaper Manufacturers Limited was established in 1899 as an amalgamation of the manufacturing interests of 31 undertakings. Soon it controlled 98% of UK wallpaper production and distribution. Known generally as the WPM, this firm employed most of the trade union members referred to in the National Union of Wallcoverings, Decorative and Allied Trades (MSS.39/W). The Wallpaper Manufacturers Ltd. became Reed Decorative Products Ltd in 1965. In 1983 Reed International Ltd divested itself of those paint and wallpaper activities acquired in 1965 and the Head Office of the WPM, where all the old records were stored, closed down. Samples of the old wallpaper were transferred to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and WPM records regarded as being of value were put into storage at Darwen. In 1985 the remaining wallpaper activities of Reed were sold to Borden Inc. In 1996 the wallpaper activities of Borden Inc. were sold to The Imperial Home Décor Group.

Reference: Deposit file and MSS.424/9/2.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/using/

Acquisition Information

The archive was given to the Centre by Imperial Home Décor Group (UK) Ltd in May 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

For many years the deposit was stored at the Darwen, Lancashire, headquarters of Crown Wallcoverings Ltd., one of the two survivors of the original WPM. That company has been taken over twice in the past decade and is now part of the US firm, Imperial Home Décor Group.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the papers of the National Union of Wallcoverings, Decorative and Allied Trades (MSS.39/W).