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History Of Rose Calendars

Mr George Rose

Rose Calendars were established in 1908 and have over the years helped many thousands of customers with their business promotion through the use of printed promotional calendars.

George Rose, the founder of the Company, was born in 1858 in Haddenham in Buckinghamshire. One of eleven children, he commenced his career as a restaurant proprietor in Nottingham but relinquished this due to ill health. In the 1890s he moved to Colchester with his wife Elizabeth to run the Peveril Hotel on North Hill. George had no capital and supplemented his income by working as a travelling salesman, selling calendars on commission and basing himself at the rear of his premises in what was known as Frost's Yard.

Ivor and Gladys Rose

Before long George started publishing his own calendars and had them printed by a local Colchester printer, before in 1908 starting his own printing business and the firm Rose & Co. The business quickly grew and in 1910 he took the opportunity to move into bigger premises in an old boot factory in Kendall Road. The new business was then registered in his wife's name E.Rose & Co., and the new factory operated on three levels, with printing in the basement, composing and collating on the ground floor, bindery and dispatch on the first floor and home to the company for the next 77 years. At this time, the illustrations were monochrome and adverts were composed using Founders Type from a case, and often included photographs or illustrations.

Richard Rose

In 1918, 19 year old Ivor Rose, George's nephew, came to Colchester to work for his uncle, acting as a salesman for the first half of the year and then helping with production during the busy second half. Eventually, Ivor was to take over the business from his uncle when George died in 1943. This was a very difficult time for the company: during the Second World War output was severely restricted due to paper shortage as well as staff being lost to the services.

After the war, Ivor introduced printing in 3 colours to the pictorial range. The printing process was entirely letterpress at the time and colour was achieved by passing a sheet through the printing press 3 times, each with a different copper plate for the different colours, yellow, cyan and magenta. Later black was added as a fourth colour to add more detail and contrast. Until then the range comprised monochrome pictorial calendars and a large range of commercial calendars without pictures.

Chris Rose

In 1956 the business became Limited, and Ivor's eldest son Richard joined the firm, with his brother Christopher, Ivor's youngest son joining later in 1959. With both his sons working in the business, Ivor was able to devote less time to work, but he continued with a keen interest in the business until his death in 1981.

In 1962 disaster struck. A fire which took an hour and forty minutes to bring under control, caused considerable damage to the building, contents, equipment and neighboring properties. This was a serious set back for the company, as many of the colour blocks used for pictures were lost and much of the factory had to be re-built.

Blaze at the Rose factory in Kendall Road

Investment into new machinery, equipment and manufacturing processes continued, with new letterpress printing machines from Heidelberg, collators and machinery being invested in over the years. In 1971 the company's first offset litho machine was purchased, a single colour Heidelberg Kord. The work on this machine soon progressed from two colour work to four colours and the use of offset litho greatly improved the quality of the illustrations, which in turn enabled the company to compete more favourably for better quality work and move forward in the market.

By the mid-70's, the starting base of 40 agents had grown to 75, and with the increased investment the number of calendars being produced grew considerably. It became apparent that the premises in Kendall Road, were no longer suitable. Paper was being delivered on articulated lorries, and with cars parked on both sides of the road it often became impossible to get the lorries close to the warehouse for unloading.

The Purpose Built Rose Calendars Factory

The decision was made to purchase an acre of land from Colchester Borough Council on the new Severalls Business Park, which was being developed on the outskirts of town, close to the A12. A purpose built, 15,000 square feet factory was constructed, with the move completed in 1987. Trading continued apace in the new factory, with turnover and productivity increasing significantly.

Michael Rose

In 1991, Chris' son Michael joined the business, with a background of having followed in his father's footsteps and trained at The London College of Printing, before working in 3 major printers in the City of London. Michael became the fourth generation of the Rose family to join the business, initially taking on responsibility for sales and marketing, before moving on to become Managing Director.

A Century in Calendars

In the past one hundred and ten years, our business has seen unprecedented change. The calendars that George Rose produced were functional date and memo types, printed in black on white and today Michael Rose manages a company with state-of-the-art production facilities, some digital printing yet still combined with litho printing and the traditional specialist finishing and binding processes which have evolved with the generations.

Times have changed and technology has transformed the way we do business, but we have remained dedicated to producing the highest quality specialist advertising calendars. From our sites in England we produce over 150 calendar designs, all of which are created, printed and finished in-house. It is thanks to our dedicated staff and loyal customers that we are now the leading UK owned and managed company in our sector and can celebrate with pride over 100 years of Rose Calendars.

To download Our Centenary Booklet please click on the image above right.

Top Selling Calendars

Some of our most popular advertising calendars this year