Thomas de la Rue

Thomas de la Rue

Thomas de la Rue (24 March 1793 – 7 June 1866) was a printer from Guernsey who founded De La Rue plc, a printing company which is now the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker.

Thomas de la Rue
Born 24 March 1793
Forest, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Died 7 June 1866 (1866-06-08) (aged 73)
Occupation Printer
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Jane Warren
Relatives Warren de la Rue
William Grantham
Alexander Grantham


Born in La Forêt in Guernsey to Eleazar de la Rue and Rachael de la Rue(Nee Allez), Thomas de la Rue was apprenticed to a master-printer at St Peter Port in 1803.[1]

He went into business with Tom Greenslade and together they launched the newspaper Le Publiciste. Shortly thereafter Thomas de la Rue launched his own publication, Le Miroir politique.[1]

In 1816 he left Forest, Guernsey, for London, where he initially established a business making straw hats.[1] Then in 1830 together with Samuel Cornish and William Rock he founded a business of "cardmakers, hot pressers and enamellers".[1] in 1831, De la Rue was granted the right to print playing cards, making it the first company to do so; it printed its first pack the following year. Soon afterwards, Thomas hired Owen Jones, a well-known designer and architect.[2] By 1837 his wife, his two sons William Frederick and Warren De la Rue and his eldest daughter were involved in the business.[1] In 1855 Thomas was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.[1] In 1858, he retired from De La Rue, handing over the management of the business to his sons.

Thomas de la Rue died in London in 1866.[1]


He married Jane Warren (17 June 1789 – 22 September 1858) on 21 March 1816.[1] He had six daughters and two sons: Mary, Elizabeth, Georgiana, Louisa, Jane, Warren and William.


The Guernsey Post Office has issued two sets of postage stamps commemorating his life and achievements, in 1971 and 1993.

There is a pub in the Pollet, St Peter Port, Guernsey, named after him.


Further reading

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