OUR HERITAGE


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1768

a good year for endeavour!

1768

Captain Cook set sail in HMS Endeavour for his first voyage to the South Seas – and Stephen Austin established his printing business in Hertford.

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1772

a first for the county

1772

Stephen Austin’s newspaper, the Hartford Mercury, was the first to be published in Hertfordshire.

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1818

a new owner after Waterloo

1818

Stephen Austin died in 1818 – three years after the Battle of Waterloo – and was succeeded by his oldest son, Stephen Austin II

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1830

an important book

1830

Stephen Austin III’s first book was Lewis Turnor’s History of the Ancient Town and Borough of Hertford –accompanied by a set of prints.

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1832

electoral printing

1832

The family had been printing electoral material since 1790 – that above was the result of the Hertfordshire County poll in the 1832 Reform Bill election

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1834

a Liberal newspaper

1834

In 1834 Stephen Austin launched The Reformer, a paper supporting the Liberal Party, which was immediately lampooned by its Tory rival.

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1836

new offices

1836

In 1836, Stephen Austin moved to new premises next to their printing works in Fore Street, Hertford – as illustrated on their letter head.

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1842

first exam paper

1842

In 1842 Stephen Austin printed this Persian examination paper for the East India College.

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1855

The Lost Ring

1855

In 1855, Stephen Austin produced his most lavish volume of the Oriental classics – Sakoontala or The Lost Ring, translated from the Sanskrit by Professor Monier-Williams.

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1855

a clutch of medals

1855

In 1855 Stephen Austin received a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and gold medals from the Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria.

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1863

founding Haileybury College

1863

Stephen Austin had been associated with the East India College since boyhood. When it closed he was a leading member of the group which set up the public school in William Wilkins’s classical buildings at Hertford Heath.

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1872

Stephen Austin III

1872

When their father could not make the business pay, Stephen Austin III and his brother John took it over – both sang in the Hertford Glee Society.

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1892

death of the Patriarch

1892

Stephen Austin III – known as ‘The Patriarch’ died in 1892. Two sons, Stephen IV and Vernon Austin, tried to run the business but did not have the skill or commitment.

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1909

a new family takes over

1909

In 1909, Victor Harrison of the well-known printing family became managing director. The chairman was Richard Austin, another of the sons of Stephen III.

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1938

the Arabic Listener

1938

In 1938, the BBC Arabic Service was launched to counter Mussolini’s propaganda in the Middle East. Its magazine, the Arabic Listener, was printed by Stephen Austin and Sons.

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1942

a new managing director

1942

In 1942, Victor Harrison became chairman, relinquishing his executive role to give more attention to the family firm, Harrison and Co. His son, Stanley Harrison became managing director.

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1954

a new location

1954

In 1954, the printing works of Stephen Austin moved from Fore Street in the centre of Hertford to Caxton Hill, off the Ware Road. Later printing of the newspapers also moved to Caxton Hill, in a building opposite.

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1962

a totally new alphabet

1962

In 1962 Stephen Austin printed a version of G.B. Shaw’s play Androcles and the Lion in the alphabet proposed in his will.

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1966

John Harrison is MD

1966

In 1966, Stanley Harrison became chairman and his half-brother, John, took over as managing director.

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1972

a new family arrives

1972

In 1972, Stanley Harrison sold the newspapers and printing business to Peter Fowler, who had a City background.

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1993

from apprentice to md

1993

In 1981, Ken Hartfield who had joined Stephen Austin as an apprentice, became a director and in 1987 managing director. He is seen here with fellow directors (left to right) Bill Jordan, Richard Russell and Peter Lake.

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1993

the 225th anniversary

1993

In 1993 Stephen Austin celebrated its 225 years with a reception at the British Library, where the guest of honour was the Right Hon Peter Brooke, MP, Secretary of State for National Heritage (seen right).

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1998

a Royal Warrant

1998

Stephen Austin had been printing for the Royal Family for some years, including the service sheet for the Garter Ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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1998-2000

a hi-tech building

1998-2000

In 1998, Stephen Austin began building a new building to accommodate the technology of the 21st century. It is seen here at night – the company works 24 hours  Monday to Friday

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2015

the launch of GradeMaker

2015

Stephen Austin launches GradeMaker, a dedicated business designed to support examination boards’ digital workflow and transition to e-testing.

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2016

rebranding the image

2016

For decades the image of Stephen Austin and Sons was a drawing of its eighteenth-century founder – the so-called ‘bronze man’. The new image is of a face looking forward to an exciting future.

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2018

250th Anniversary

2018

Stephen Austin celebrates its 250th anniversary, including an event for customers and staff at the Divinity School – Oxford University’s oldest teaching & examination room.