About Us

F.J Ratchford History

Old History Image

Since our foundation in Manchester in 1889 by Frederick John Ratchford (pictured left), we have supplied the finest materials which have covered many great works and lesser known volumes, with the same detailed attention to quality and craftsmanship.

We began supplying materials for the shoe linings and then for the hat industry, which was big business during those days, and Stockport was a front runner in the manufacturing of hats, and the museum in Stockport is a tribute to those days of old.

It was found over time that some of the shoe lining products could be adapted, and this is where the link to books began.

During the mid 1970’s we moved from our main premises on Minshull Street to a new site in Stockport just off junction 1 M60, which was built to our own specifications. In choosing this position, we are now in a prime location linking us to the motorway networks, to Manchester Airport, and helping provide a better service to all our UK and export customers.

Frederick John Ratchford (above left) started the business before 1889, but it was in 1889 that we became a listed business, and when Frederick died, the business was run by his wife Hanna Ratchford (centre) until her son Norman Ashton Ratchford (second left) and his brother Edgar Ashton Ratchford were old enough to run the business.

The picture second right shows Glynn Hughes, who joined the business from school, and worked his way through the ranks, ending his career as a director and family friend, with Norman Ashton Ratchford & John Ratchford outside our Manchester offices in the 1960’s.

The picture on the right shows Mr.John Ratchford, Mrs.W.M Ratchford (Norman Ashton Ratchford’s wife), Mr.G.Hughes & Fudge outside our Stockport offices in March 1976.

F. J. Ratchford History

New History Image

Today we are a thriving family business run by Jonathan & Mr. John Ratchford, and Mrs.Doreen Ferguson who continue to take the same business ethos forward, by combining the same high quality products with the same touch personal touch worldwide.

History Image

We had to say a sad goodbye to Mr.David Speedy, on his retirement after 20 years with the Company. David represented Ratchfords in and around London and the South East, and will be hugely missed by his friends and colleagues.

History Image

Three generations of Ratchfords sharing a joke. John, Marcus and Jonathan Ratchford Jan 2014.