The history of Packaging Design in Redditch, Worcestershire

I grew up in Redditch and have returned here to set up Pactivate due to the town’s unique and convenient location within the midlands. The connections here are great along with the local companies that we work closely with to ensure that our customers’ packaging meets the demands placed upon it within the supply chain.

Redditch is famous for a wide range of light industry and since the early 18th century has been shipping products around the world. Famous for needles, fish hooks and spring products, the most well known company was Abel Morrall Limited who’s ‘Clive Works’ site inspired product categories due to it’s prominence and reputation for quality.

Abel Morrall was founded in 1785 and became publicly listed in 1898. Their brands included Aero knitting pins, Flora McDonald Sewing needles along with a range of haberdashery smallwares and hypodermic needles.

Conveniently located on the main Redditch to Birmingham rail line, the Clive Works site has left a mark on the town with street names such as Clive Road and a dedicated exhibition within the forge mill needle museum.


The end of the Abel Morrall brand came when it was amalgamated with a Glaswegian firm in 1984.

As well as the interesting history of some of these brands, the mark left has been in the form of a wide range of technology and packaging related services. From CAD Software and machinery companies such as Barco Kongsberg who are now part of Esko Graphics, and Lasercomb Dies (creating specialist tooling for the industry) and Bobst group (who manufacture packaging machinery) along with a wide array of printing and print finishing services in the area well known within the industry.

We’re proud to be continuing this heritage and to service the packaging needs of the west midlands and Worcestershire and would love to hear from you if you have any similar interests or can add to this interesting story.

2 responses to “The history of Packaging Design in Redditch, Worcestershire”

  1. Robert White says:

    My family lived in Maidstone, Kent. My father, Jack White, was a rep for Abel Morrall’s. He worked really hard, travelling all over the south east, taking orders from different shops, and spent every evening, writing up his orders, before posting them in the mailbox. Because of my dad’s job, we were able to live comfortably. I thank you for everything. God bless…..Robert White and family.

  2. Sue Ainscough says:

    When I inherited my Mother’s sewing box I found a packet of Flora Macdonald rug/tapestry needles size 18/22. It contains seven needles – so how many would have been in there originally? The packaging is in good condition – the needles are fastened in to a piece of soft cloth which appears to be original.
    Is it possible you can date this style of packaging? I am a self-confessed hoarder – a trait inherited from my Grandmother and my Mother but just curious to see if you can help me!

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