Excellence in print since 1885

As a fifth-generation family-run business, Hart & Clough has a rich history stretching back to 1885. Enjoy this brief overview , prepared by our Managing Director, Richard Clough.

The company saw its beginnings in Room 26 at 21 Swaine Street in Bradford, where it was set up as a printing business by George Hart. Expanding rapidly over the next few years, George Hart was joined in the business by Ezra Clough (pictured), the manager of J.Y. Knight & Co’s Bradford stationery shop in 1888. The company came to change its name to Hart & Clough in the mid 1890s.

Ezra went on to become the President of the Bradford Photographic Society and to help found the Yorkshire Photographic Union. The company was joined by his son Vincent in 1907, allowing George Hart to retire in 1910.

Vincent returned to the company in 1918 having been seriously wounded in action. His shrapnel punctured cigarette case is a treasured memento. In the meantime Hart & Clough had acquired the bookbinding firm of W.H. Butler (Bradford) which was relaunched as Woods (Bradford) Ltd.

Seven years later Vincent’s son Michael joined the company, thus firmly establishing the family run tradition of Hart & Clough Ltd. War years loomed yet again and the nearby Avro factory at Yeadon (now Leeds Bradford Airport) kept the firm busy printing documents and manuals for the Anson and Lancaster aircraft made there. The return of Michael from military service in 1946 saw the company expanding with significant investment in new printing equipment, and a move to premises in Summerville Road, near Bradford University.

By 1952, the company had installed its first lithographic offset press, the first of many which would be installed in subsequent years. In 1965 the fourth generation of Hart & Clough Ltd was established when Peter Clough graduated from the Printing College in Leeds. The following years saw the expansion of the firm’s activities in the camera, film-planning and platemaking departments, as well as an ever-increasing output in the field of litho printing.

This expansion was facilitated by the construction of new offices and warehousing, and an extension to the machine room. Close attention was paid to the lighting in the machine room as the company responded to the increasing demand for accurate colour printing with the installation of its first four colour litho press. Hart & Clough Ltd. could now boast of being able to offer high speed colour printing of an extremely high quality.

The introduction of computers into every day company administration in 1983 brought about vast improvements in the areas of costing and accounting using bespoke programmes written by Michael Clough. There was also considerable excitement around this time when the first fax machine was installed!

The Amadeus Press are a specialist book and magazine printer now firmly established as one of the leaders in short-run high quality book work. Hart & Clough Ltd. could now genuinely approach any print job from a small stationery run up to full-colour books, brochures and packaging, and, with continued investment in Woods, offer a complete finishing service as well.

With the introduction of its first computer controlled four colour press, and two years later a PC network was developed for running the company’s management information system (MIS) for estimating and costing. The work on this system was completed under Richard Clough, the fifth generation of the family who joined the business in 1993. Computers began to play an ever increasing role in day-to-day production reflected by the installation of an ISDN line and Apple Macintosh computers. A new management information system was introduced in January 1999, complete with new computers as the company braced itself for the Millennium Bug…

Hart & Clough and The Amadeus Press came together on one site. “Ezra House” next to Junction 26 of the M62 motorway provided 23,000 square feet of modern offices and production space. Woods followed soon after to give the Hart & Clough Print Group a fantastic range of equipment under one roof.

The print industry never stops evolving and Ezra House has already seen many technological changes. In 2004 CTP or computer to plate eliminated the need for film output increasing quality and accuracy. The company’s first B1 press was installed in 2005 and was replaced in 2015 by a state of the art Komori B1. Die-cutting and laminating have also been brought in house to improve lead-times and flexibility. In 2016 we installed our first digital press, an MGI Meteor with long sheet capability, further increasing our flexibility in producing print of all sizes.

With a growing global awareness of the need for eco-friendly practices, the printing industry is adapting and evolving. We are witnessing a move away from traditional printing methods that can be resource-intensive and harmful. Instead, the industry is embracing innovative, sustainable technologies and materials. From the use of responsibly sourced papers and vegetable based inks to energy-efficient printing processes, these advancements are reducing the environmental footprint of printing.

Clients are also becoming more eco-conscious, seeking responsible, local print partners. As we move forward, the future of printing lies in a harmonious balance between exceptional quality and a commitment to the planet, demonstrating that it’s possible to create beautiful printed materials while preserving the environment for generations to come.

Allow us to help you with your next project