Granthams has over 100 years of history in the graphics business and is a leading supplier of art & graphic materials to both amateur, professional and commercial users throughout the U.K.
Our fulfilment centre and warehousing is located in Blackpool and we offer a click and collect service for local customers.
We are distributors for most leading brands of art-related materials and equipment manufacturers and we also directly import materials and equipment from quality overseas suppliers and manufacturers.
We are part of the Colourlink International group of Art and Reprographic Retailers Trade Association with a collective purchasing power of over £50,000,000 of annual sales. As a result our prices are highly competitive, representing savings of up to 70% off local art shop prices.
Originally a sign making business founded in 1890 in Blackpool by William Grantham. Grantham recognised a growing need for sign-writing services in the fast developing town of Blackpool.
At the beginning of the 20th century Blackpool was growing at a phenomenal rate. William Grantham recognised the need for a sign writing service and by the turn of the century his new venture had grown to become the principal sign-writing business in the area.
Granthams Sales log from 1904 including an entry for the Grand Theatre Blackpool. Sign work to the value of 16 shillings!
Walter Hudders and his brother William Hudders began employment at Granthams as signwriting apprentices and stayed with Granthams for many years before going their seperate ways.
The firm remained the leading sign company in the area until the mid 1930’s but between then and the outbreak of WWII, gradually reduced in size down to the one working proprietor, Mr Grantham, who continued to sign-writing until after the war had ended.
At the age of almost eighty, Mr Grantham negotiated for the company to pass into the hands of Walter Hudders. At this point, in many respects, things were much same as the year the business was founded. At this same time Tom Hudders joined his father Walter at Granthams and the company moved into the area of plastics and electronics, involving them in all aspects of sign manufacturing. Granthams rapidly established itself, once again, as the leading sign company in the Fylde coast area.
Granthams continued to grow and produced many exceedingly fine tradesmen, some of whom set up independently and the standard of work produced in the area became second to none in the country.
Granthams new moves into a new building on Regent Rd. Blackpool. These new premises were needed to meet the huge demand locally and nationally for Letraset.
Granthams are invited to ICI HQ In Welwyn Garden city to train on the application of a new material for use in Sign Making ... this product is Perspex!
Instant dry transfer lettering was needed both for the manufacture of signs and for the production of artwork required for the offset litho process which needed origination of photographic quality. As a result, the company was one of the first in the country to set up a special department to cater for the demand of graphic materials and equipment.
Due to business growth, even more space was needed to include both sign manufacture (1st floor) and retail of art materials (ground floor). The building on Charnley Rd. was chosen as it perfectly fit this purpose. Over the years, adjoining buildings have been bought and are used for warehousing and storage. The site of the new building used to be the Co-Op’s old warehouse buildings that operated throughout Blackpool's hey day in the early - mid 20th century.
As a result of the popularity of Letraset products, a demand for generic Art Materials to compliment the Letraset products also developed. This building was used to stock Letraset and a few complimentary art materials. The original Sign makers shop was just across the road. Unfortunately no photos exist of this building.
During this same year, Tom’s son Mark, having qualified as a technical illustrator joined Granthams, and applied his efforts primarily to this new graphics supplies side of the business, thus becoming the third generation of Granthams.
Print Success. Over the course of the following three decades, Granthams print bureau becomes more and more popular.
The ground floor of the Blackpool head office is split into 2 sections, 1 part is the art materials showroom and the other is a walk in print bureau.
Granthams involvement with graphic art materials and sign manufacture itself made it a logical move to venture into supplying computer cut materials. In the mid eighties a department was opened which concentrated solely on computer aided graphic systems for sign manufacturers and graphic artists.
Granthams appointed Authorised Dealer for Apple computer Graphic systems. First desk top publishing systems to be introduced to the Graphics business in Lancashire.
Datagraphix was a service offering cut vinyl graphics to the public which ran alongside Granthams print bureau. This service offered vinyl lettering to the public which they would mainly fit themselves. Of course if a client wanted a van lettering up, Granthams were able to do this but the job would be passed to the sign manufacturing department.
In 1991 Granthams decided to relocate all of its system sales and showroom facilities into it's Preston premises which occupied a prime corner site in Corporation Street. In this year Kirsty Reader joins the Granthams technology team in sales and support.
Also in this year, Granthams is appointed exclusive U.K. IMPORTER / distributor for FlexiSign software on behalf of Amiable Technologies of Philadelphia. Agreement negotiated and completed at Apple World Boston USA.
Mark foresees the popularity and potential of the internet and invests in taking the company's art materials retail business online. Over the course of the next decade to the present, ArtDiscount.co.uk would grow to be one of the largest and most successful art material websites in the UK.
May 2018 sees ARTdiscount relaunch their website on the Shopify platform which at the time is one of the most advanced commerce platforms in the world offering extremely high levels of security and a multitude of new features improving user experience.
Remaining retail space converted to additional warehousing facilities for national wholesale order processing.
In May 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic was slowing down in the UK, ARTdiscount celebrated their 20 year online anniversary with a £20 off discount when £100 was spent on the website. This offer ended on Wednesday 26th May 2021. Find out more.