Founded in 1793 by Joseph Wickwar, Wickwar & Co. based in London, United Kingdom is the original manufacturer of the Iconic Red Despatch box - commonly called “The Red Box”. Wickwar boxes have been made for 90% of UK’s Government ministers including H. H. Asquith , Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin, Gladstone and Theresa May. The Red Box has been made by Wickwar for over 200 years. Originally founded as a book binder by William and John Wickwar. They also had been making the Red Box or despatch boxes since 1823. These wooden and handcrafted despatch boxes or “Red Boxes” are used by the British government from the different ministries to the monarchy. It is a briefcase style box covered in red leather. In terms of the monarchy, the boxes’ purpose is to communicate daily dispatches from the government to the monarchy. It serves as an iconic, symbolic, and practical facet of the British democratic system for the transport of papers, documents, and information. It includes important and sensitive documents for the United Kingdom and other countries. It allows the Prime Minister also to gain Royal Seal from the queen or kind. As such, Wickwar & Co., as one of the makers of the Red Boxes, directed the despatch boxes into its red colour and iconic presence, such as those of the late Queen Elizabeth II. She received Red Boxes every day since her coronation in 1952 except on Christmas and Easter.
Founded in 1773 , by Joseph & William Wickwar , Wickwar started as a luxury paper mill outside Newbury . In 1786 HMSO was founded and Joseph Wickwar won the contract to supply paper to Parliament .
In 1788 Joseph partnered with Joseph Bramah to produce luxury Despatch boxes for Royalty & Government and went on to produce in excess of 5,000 boxes and became the premier supplier of the Iconic red box .
The simple design of the famous Gladstone Box continues today & Wickwar manufacturers around 100 boxes per year using traditional skills & tools from its workshop in London .