The Berkshire Printing Co. Ltd, Reading, 1930s
One of the more obscure British playing card makers, the company was founded in 1908 as the printing division of the Brooke Bond Tea Company in Reading. Much of their work was for the parent company, in particular tea packets, and in the 1920s litho printing machinery was introduced. In 1932 the company moved to new premises and the occasion was marked by the production of their first pack of playing cards, the backs of which featured a picture of the new factory. Further packs were produced, mainly with advertising backs but also some standard packs. Production of playing cards seems to have ceased with the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the company expanded its output of packaging materials and in 1954 they commenced printing vast quantities of insert cards for Brooke Bond tea packets.
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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.
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