About Letts of London

The history of John Letts and Letts of London

Our Story Starts in 1796

John Letts founded his printing, stationer and bookbinder business in the arcades of London’s Royal Exchange in 1796. The business did well but soon John saw an opportunity to provide local merchants and traders with a stationery product that would help them achieve their specific needs as merchants, recording financial transactions as well as tracking the tides.

The World’s Commercial First Diary Takes Form

Capitalising on the popularity of diary writing at the time and producing a product with information built in to diarise specific needs by trade, in 1812 John Letts created the world’s first commercial diary. In the clandestine 1800s the diary was a big hit for those looking to unburden themselves without social judgement, and by the 1850s, Letts were selling thousands of diaries in a variety of formats every year. Even using the advertising slogan:
‘Use your diary with the utmost familiarity and confidence. Conceal nothing from its pages nor suffer any other eye than your own to scan them.’

A Family Story

Business had never been better and by now the mantle had passed to John’s grandsons Thomas and Charles. The business was to become a family one, tied to the Letts family for the next two hundred years until Charles Letts, sadly passed away unexpectedly in 2014.

The FLB Group, who also own British stationery brand Filofax, took on the Letts brand with a mission to continue to produce quality Great British made stationery products to help people plan and journal their lives.

200 Years On, Still Manufacturing in Great Britain

Since day one in 1796 we have maintained a manufacturing presence in Great Britain, proudly passing the bookmaking knowledge and skills from one generation to the next.
From the initial location in London, the factory was eventually moved in the 1980s to just outside of Edinburgh, to Dalkeith in Scotland, where it remains today with a workforce in excess of 100 people. Many of whom have worked at the factory for decades having started as apprentices themselves, now pass their knowledge on to a new generation of craftsman who use a variety of machines and hand finishing techniques to product your Letts of London diary.

Written into History

As well as the many colourful personal tales that have filled the pages of Letts diaries over the years, Letts of London products have also been used by some of history’s most influential figures to capture their private thoughts and day to day lives.

Notable figures to have used Letts diaries include Queen Victoria, David Livingstone and Terence Conran to name a few.

Modern Day

Quality and craftsmanship are still important to us, that’s why all the paper used in our products is from certified sustainable sources and is compliant with EU Timber Regulations.
True to John Letts’ original vision, today we still produce quality stationery that helps you tell your story and plan for the future, designed, manufactured and hand finished in Great Britain and producing around 20 million products annually from our purpose built factory in Dalkeith.