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.

1711-1717

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 .

1724

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

1809

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’

1860

Portals wins the contract to produce paper for Indian Rupees

1912

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

1919

Portals’ introduces cylinder mould machines into papermaking process.

1938

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit Portals

1939-1945

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

1940

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.

1972

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

1977

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.

1984

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.

1996

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

2003

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

2004

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

2007

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

2017

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

2018

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