Into the 20th Century12

Gouache Leaflet

Into the 20th Century

The land for the Greyhound Colour Works at Enfield was purchased in 1921 and this factory became well-known for its famous Greyhound pastels. By 1927 two bays were added to create a new plant for striking colour and mixing the newly developed Poster Colour (a ready-made dextrine/gum Arabic medium), which was used by the Commercial Art studios in the late twenties and thirties.

During the forties, Reeves developed powder colours called Tempera along with a more cost-effective form of poster colour called Redimix Liquid Tempera Colour.

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Inks Book

Reeves also developed products for teachers who were not able to cope with powder colour mixing in large classes. These were Tempo discs and Temprablocks; ‘solid-block’ powder colours. However, due to the bombing of the 2nd World War the Reeves premises at Cheapside were demolished, along with half the works at Dalston and many staff were also killed.

Nevertheless, Greyhound products were still being made in Melbourne, Australia by Thomas Bell and Winsor & Newton helped to produce the school materials. Recovery after the air raids was swift and Reeves Labourites now produced light-fast colours which brought  them to new markets in wallpapers, postage stamps, car spraying, and the manufacture of inks.

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Public Schools

Reeves then built a new factory at Enfield and moved from their main offices in Dalston in 1948.

After the War, Managing Director Archibald G. Simmons saw the future of Reeves in the promotion of his overseas markets and embarked on an adventurous foreign policy.

During the 1950s he visited Melbourne, Vancouver, New York and Chicago and developed business projects in each of these cities.

In the 1960s markets were opened in Latin America, India and South Africa. By the time of the Bicentenary in 1966, Reeves had changed from the old establishment family business of the 1950s to a multi-national company.

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Final old lab

In 1971 Reeves merged with Dryad Ltd Leicester, a successful manufacturer and wholesaler of art and craft materials for schools and hospitals, to form Reeves Dryad Ltd.

However by 1974 Reeves had extended its empire and its capabilities and needed the backing of a much larger organisation to provide stability and resources.

Reckett and Colman gave Reeves the backing it required and under their aegis Reeves provided for the changing needs of artists and teachers of art better than ever before.

In 1991, Reeves was acquired by ColArt and continues to be an important brand in the UK and internationally.

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  • In the Beginning

    In 1766 William Reeves opened his first shop near St Paul’s Cathedral in Well Lane, Little Britain where he ma...
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  • William & Thomas Reeves

    The Reeves brothers were very different. William had the inventiveness and intransigence of a genius and was t...
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  • Moist Watercolour Paint Cakes

    The embossed paint-cake was the invention of William Reeves. His training as a wire-drawer gave him the idea t...
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  • The Greyhound

    They greyhound crest was ’discovered’ by Thomas Reeves and adopted as trademark by William John Reeves, the st...
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  • Laying the Foundations

    Once established in England, the Reeves business grew effortlessly across foreign markets. This was mainly thr...
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  • Into education

    By 1866 Reeves was being run by Henry (son of William Reeves) Reeves’ two nephews, Henry Wild and Charles Kemp...
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  • Into the 20th Century

    In 1921 Reeves built the Greyhound Colour works at Enfield which became famous for its Greyhound Pastels. Unfo...
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  • Today

    Reeves continues to be a huge brand both in the UK and internationally. Manufacturing a range of quality acryl...
    Read more