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Although many people assume that the Higgs Group celebrates its birthday with the Henley Standard, it is actually a few years older.

Thomas Octavius Higgs set up Higgs & Co as a printing office in Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, in 1877.

Caxton House was built in 1885 and Higgs moved into their new offices there, on the corner of Station Road and Reading Road, where they remain to this day - albeit in an extended and expanded format.

Around the same time, the company became the official printer for the Henley Royal Regatta and in 1892 won the contract for printing the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard, which was then owned by a company whose directors included the well-known local brewer Mr Archibald Brakspear.

Thomas Higgs died suddenly at the age of 58 in 1896 leaving the day-to-day running of the business in the hands of the foreman, Mr R Jacob.

Meanwhile, a young man not yet 18, Charles Luker had joined the firm two years previously as an 'improver'. No one knew the great influence he would have on the company in years to come.

Thomas Higgs's widow Eliza disposed of the company in 1897 to a partnership of members of Henley's Hobbs family.

Later, in 1900, Charles Luker became the sole proprietor of Higgs Printers. He would have to wait until 1919 to unite the printers and the Henley Standard under one ownership though, when the previous owners finally relinquished their connection to the paper.

A second generation of the Luker family joined Higgs & Co in 1926, with the arrival of elder son Charles Thomas Luker, known as 'Mr Tom', aged 20.

The Second World War saw many members of staff called up to help the war effort including Mr Tom, so it fell to his father, Charles 'the Guv'nor' Luker, to keep the business running through this difficult time, often single-handedly.

In 1955, John Luker completed his National Service and started working full time at Higgs & Co, cementing the link between the firm and the Luker family for a third generation.

He went on to become a partner in 1959.

In 1968 Charles Luker died and Tom Luker retired from the partnership in March 1976, but died less than a year later.

After a brief spell as a sole proprietor, John Luker and his wife Anne formed a limited company which started trading in April 1980.

He served 28 years as chairman of the company before retiring from the Board in June 2008, when he became the company's life president.

His children, Stephen Luker and Julie Smith, who have both been on the board of directors since 1994, are now joint chairmen.


Higgs Publishing:
Henley Standard
Henley Pages
Henley Life & Homes

Higgs Printing and Design:

Higgs Office Supplies


Printing & Design: 01491 419429
Office Supplies: 01491 419499
Publishing: 01491 419419
News: 01491 419444
Advertising: 01491 419419

Higgs Group
Caxton House
Station Road
t: +44 (0)1491 419400

Higgs & Co. (Printers) Limited © 2019