Our History

estd 1712

Discover three centuries of paper making

Discover 300 Years of Paper Making

Early 1700’s

Henri Portal arrived in England and joined ‘The White Paper Makers Company of England’ at Stoneham Mills near Southampton.


Henri Portal took English nationality and changed his name to Henry. In the same period he set up his first mill, Bere Mill, in Whitchurch.  The business subsequently transferred to Laverstoke Mill to increase capacity. Interestingly, Laverstoke Mill is now the home of Bombay Sapphire Gin .


First order received from Bank of England (est. 1694). First watermarked paper supplied.


Bathford Mill first makes paper (previously the factory made corn, cloth, leather, flour). Bathford Mill later advertises itself as making ‘the finest writing papers in the Kingdom’


Portals wins the contract to produce paper for Indian Rupees


Following a major fire in 1910, Bathford Mill reopens with a new paper machine – initially selling lightweight papers for bibles, dictionaries and encyclopaedias


Portals’ introduces cylinder mould machines into papermaking process.


King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit Portals


On September 3rd 1939, the Bank of England moved its whole operation to Overton including 1,200 staff and the banknote printing presses. They remained until 1945


First banknotes with a security thread produced.  Security paper with a thread is still considered to be one of the most effective ways of preventing counterfeiting today.


Bathford Mill becomes part of the Portals business. The production of cylinder mould paper begins the next year.


The Interpol Counterfeit Conference Resolution No. 9 (Madrid 1977) recommends that watermarks for banknotes should be: mould made, three-dimensional, multi-tonal, of adequate size & quality so that the subject is easily recognisable and not covered by printing.


First windowed threads introduced. Portals pioneered the process where the thread appears on the surface at regular intervals, and a continuous thread is only visible when it can be viewed against the light.


Platinum® launched – the first durable paper substrate –  offering protection against soiling of banknotes


Cornerstone® launched responding to the market need for a solution for folded corners on banknotes and passports


Optiks™ thread launched – a  ground-breaking development introduced the first 18mm wide threads into the market. The product subsequently won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation in 2013


Following on from the very successful Cornerstone feature, Edgestone™ protecting the edges of banknotes and security documents against tears


Textmark™ launched – enabling the addition of personalised bright and/or dark text in the watermark design


Paper business sold by De La Rue with the Portals name resumed


Portals sites produce more than 12 billion banknotes, 200 million brand labels, 70 million passports and 60 million certificates each year, for use in more than 100 countries around the world.

Watch this video to see why we are #proudlyportals