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 Quite a character . . . Cornelius Denny of Lawshall (centre) with his offspring (from left) Walter (Boxer), Margaret, Edith, Florence, Dennis and Mary
‘ equal partnership began. To start with trade was slow and paper, along with everything else, was frequently in short supply. It wasn’t an easy time and it got even more difficult when Russell, then age 18, received call up papers for the army. He spent three years doing National Service mostly in Egypt and Palestine.
Douglas got busy whilst Russell was away. The family moved to 99 Fornham Road which had a large workshop in the garden for the printing equipment, accessed off Sandy Lane. He met and married Grace and they had a son, Barry, born in 1949. Russell helped Douglas whenever he was on leave from the army. When, as he put it, “the authorities decided they could run the army without him” he returned home and found Douglas had done well enough in his absence to put down a deposit on premises in Tayfen Road.
They comprised an old army hut with yard attached. They purchased a Dawson and Payne press from Russell’s old firm, Paul and Matthews. Money was tight and so they made do, or improvised other equipment. An ancient typewriter, an old dresser as a desk and a paper storage rack made from angle iron, hand drilled and bolted together. When trade was brisk they would work every evening. When
it was not so busy Russell would visit businesses in the local area on his motorbike looking for orders. They would go to equipment sales travelling two-up on their motorcycle with a
pocket full of address labels so that anything they bought could be
delivered to them. Russell disliked
From left: Andrew Denny – Strategic Development Director. Graham Denny, Managing Director. Barry Denny, Chairman
admin tasks and so focused on production whilst Douglas did most of the paperwork. They were a good team.
In 1951 a greyhound track had started on land off nearby Spring Lane owned by the Dutton family. The brothers were asked to produce programmes for the twice weekly meetings. Copy would arrive the day before the meeting and they would often work through the night to produce programmes for the next day. They did this job for 25 years. Russell said they greatly appreciated the work but it was also “a bit of a tie”.
In the early 1950’s Russell took up the fast growing sport of motorcycle scrambling. He was quite successful achieving “expert” status. He also had some success at circuit racing on his BSA Goldstar but he found the costs too high returning to scrambling until a big crash during a meeting in Kentford left him hospitalised with a head injury. He fully recovered but decided it was time to retire from racing and focus on the business. The same year Russell married Winnifred Parker (1960) the brothers purchased premises in St Andrews Street buying No. 50, or St Andrews Hall as it was known.
This former chapel had most recently been used as a car paint shop by T.H. Nice
and required significant refurbishment but, bought for the price of £3400 and now occupied by Denny Bros Supplies Ltd, it has proved to have been an excellent investment.
The business provided work for other family members including younger brother Haig and their younger sister Heather. Most profit was reinvested and on occasion, when cash flow was difficult, the brothers would forego their own pay so that there was enough money for staff wages. Barry, son of Douglas, joined the business in 1965 and, in the late 1970’s, was instrumental together with Russell in developing the product we are most known for now which is our “Fix-a-form” label.
This label, which is essentially a label with a fold-out leaflet or booklet attached, was initially developed for Bayer Agrochemicals who needed a way to get more information on their packs. It quickly became apparent that many businesses needed this type of label for their products and so International Patents were taken out. Demand was strong and in 1982 Fix-a- Form International Ltd was formed to seek international licensees for the idea. A global network of 20 or so global licensees was soon established with the first to sign being Pyrotech, South Africa.
In 1983 the partnership finally became a Limited Company and Denny Bros Ltd was formed with Barry as the first Managing Director. In 1987 we relocated to purpose built premises in Mildenhall Road (now Cecil and Larter) where growth continued before we relocated again to our current purpose built premises on Suffolk Business Park in 2001. Four years later we acquired Willowbridge Labels Ltd then in 2007 we bought a significant shareholding in our Indian Licensee, Unick Fix-a-Form and Printers Ltd, based in Ahmadabad.
Specialising in supplying the healthcare market their sales have quadrupled since we invested. In 2012 we acquired Harlow label printer, Ditac Ltd. In 2015, East Bergholt based engineering company Condor Tool and Die Ltd joined the group

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