A BRIEF HISTORY

The Stanborough Press Ltd is the official publisher for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the British Isles. It had its humble (official) beginnings in 1894, when it was registered under the Companies Act as the International Tract Society. At that stage it was located at 451 Holloway Road, London, but had already had premises in Southampton (briefly) and Heneage Road, Grimsby.

While at the latter address – where Adventist pioneer, John Loughborough, had established the Church’s British headquarters – the first issue of the magazine Present Truth was printed by Grimsby News Company Ltd in May 1884. Although it had only four pages, there was insufficient type to set and print them all at once. Hence, when the first part of the paper had been printed, the lead type had to be broken up and returned to Heneage Road in a wheelbarrow for use in the second part of the publication! Present Truth began as a fortnightly publication, but by the time it became a 16-page weekly in 1885 the press had acquired more type – and its own printing machine.

In 1887 the Church headquarters and its printing press moved to Holloway Road, London, and by 1892 it was producing hardbound books for sale to the public. The press moved again in 1907 to the new Church headquarters at Stanborough Park, Watford, from which it derived its present name in 1919.

The press continued to ply its trade from Watford, through both the Depression years and those of the Second World War. Then things changed dramatically on 3 January 1964, when its facilities were ravaged by a fire that ‘reduced the despatch department, the art department, the editorial department, the chapel and the paper store to ashes.’ Fortunately, ‘the engraving, photo-litho, silkscreen, composing and parts of the press room’ survived, and within weeks the books and magazines were in circulation again!

When the new Stanborough Press building was officially opened on 30 September 1966 it was in Grantham, not Watford. The Church had decided, for various sound reasons, to decentralise its publishing and printing activities to Lincolnshire, where commercial property was much cheaper and housing for the staff more affordable.

The next major change was the decision to close the production unit from June 2002, to make Stanborough Press a publisher, as opposed to both a printer and publisher. Printing and binding would be outsourced. This arrangement has worked well, and the press now has its books printed where it gets the best blend of price, quality and delivery time.

The Stanborough Press Ltd currently markets a wide range of products in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, North America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands, Africa and the adjacent Indian Ocean islands, Australia, parts of Europe and Asia.

We have come a long way since that first four-page issue of Present Truth was printed for us by Grimsby News Company Ltd in May 1884. The journey has been an arduous one, but thanks to the grace and guidance of God, and the work of our loyal employees (past and present), we are still publishing!