Item RG 946.02.12.08 - The Wellesley Hospital playing cards

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

The Wellesley Hospital playing cards

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  • Object

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RG 946.02.12.08

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Dates of creation area


  • [1925-1950] (Creation)
    Chas. Goodall and Son Ltd.
    London (UK)

Physical description area

Physical description

106 cards : blue and white ;12.5 x 9.5 x 2.5 cm [in box]

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Administrative history

The founder Charles Goodall (1785-1851), came to London from Northampton, as a child. In 1801 He was apprenticed to J. W. Hunt, an old and established playing card manufacturer.
In 1820 The Goodall business was first established in Soho, printing playing cards and message cards. The earliest cards were traditional in appearance, and resembled those of Hunt.
1830s The firm expanded into premises in what was then Great College Street. The main factory lay behind the terrace in a building which had formerly been a gun factory and was later used for the production of steam engines. At around this time, Goodall started experimenting with 'modernised' and other court card designs which gradually evolved into those we are familiar with today. Charles’ two sons joined the family firm. By the middle of the century, Goodall and its younger competitor Thomas De La Rue, were between them producing two-thirds of all playing cards made in England. Fifty years later, Goodall and Son were leading the market with annual production of over 2 million packs. Demand was outstripping production, and new premises were secured nearby.
1868 From the new factory, an additional range of high-quality stationery was launched, plus games, toys, fountain pens and even toilet paper.
1879 New presses added a wide choice of multi-coloured calendars, Christmas and greetings cards and almanacs.
c 1880-1885 Goodall absorbed the firm of Reynolds and Co, acquiring their stock and equipment. Goodall made cards for Victor Mauger in the USA, and the designs were also copied by American manufacturers.
c1885 Goodall set up London Playing Card Co, a subsidiary outlet for lower grade cards. Special Aces of Spades were used: Goodall also produced many special Aces or Jokers for advertising.
In 1898, the company became 'limited', and this change was reflected in the lettering on the Ace of Spades.
WWI. With World War I, the business climate deteriorated, and since no successors were suitably qualified.
1922 British Industries Fair Advert for Goodall's Playing Cards. 'Linette' the Card with the World-wide Reputation. Manufacturers of Playing Cards, Game Cabinets, Visiting Cards, Boards, Stationery, Menus, and Ball Programmes. (Stand No. L.21 and L.23) [1]
1922 Charles Goodall and Son was merged with De La Rue.
c1929 The Camden Works were kept open until around 1929, and the Goodall name and brand names were still used until much later.
Subsequently, the old buildings became run-down, were purchased by The Post Office and partially demolished in the mid 1970s.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Two decks of playing cards - one white with blue (54 cards) and the other blue with white (52 cards) - in a box. Cards and box have The Wellesley Hospital coat of arms on the front. The white and blue deck of cards has two extra - one blank and the other has instructions for contract bridge.

Notes area

Physical condition

Box has been taped and is missing one side

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Open. Records are available for consultation without restriction.

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