Thomas De La Rue

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Guernsey postage stamp, 1971

Thomas de la Rue (24 March 1793 – 7 June 1866) was a printer from Guernsey who, from modest beginnings, founded De La Rue plc, a printing company which is now the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker.

Contents

Career

Born in La Forêt in Guernsey, Thomas de la Rue was apprenticed to a master-printer at St Peter Port in 1803.

He went into business with Tom Greenslade and together they launched the newspaper, Le Publiciste.

In February 1813, Thomas de la Rue launched his own publication, Le Miroir Politique.

In 1816 he left Guernsey for London where he initially established a business making straw hats. Then in 1830 together with Samuel Cornish and William Rock he founded a business of cardmakers, hot pressers and enamellers. By 1837 his wife, both his sons and his eldest daughter were involved in the business. In 1855 Thomas was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. In 1858 he retired from De La Rue handing over the management of the business to his sons William Frederick and Warren.

Thomas de la Rue died in London in 1866.

Family

He married Jane Warren in 1814.

See Descendents of Eleazar de la Rue (1697) for further details.

Memorials to his life

The Guernsey Post Office has issued two sets of postage stamps commemorating his life and achievements, in 1971 and 1993.

In 1963, a bronze bust of Thomas De La Rue was unveiled at Le Tourgand, St Peter Port, the site of his first printing business, to commemorate the company's 150th anniversary[1]. It was granted a license in 1967, and became a public house, named the Thomas De La Rue, with the bust serving as the signboard[2].

References and further reading

  1. The De La Rue Celebrations, RGS, 1963
  2. Priaulx, TF, Signboards, RGS, 1967
  • Thomas de la Rue at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Houseman, Lorna, The House That Thomas Built: the Story of De La Rue, Chatto & Windus (1968) ISBN 070111343X
  • Marr, L. James, Guernsey People, Phillimore (1984) ISBN 0850335299

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