Ryman Through The Years

Ryman Through The Years

As we’re celebrating our 130th anniversary this year, we thought now would be the best time to reflect on our history and how we’ve come to be the UK's leading high-street store for all of your stationery needs. 



In the bustling city of London in 1893, our founder Mr. Henry J. Ryman opened the doors to his first store on Great Portland Street and there is still a store there today. The first week of takings amounted to £13, which is the equivalent of roughly £1,400 in today's currency. Just 19 years after opening in 1912, Ryman had extended the Great Portland Street shop twice and acquired 4 stores in different locations around London. 

Our Colleagues


In 1893 the staff consisted of only 1 boy and by the beginning of the 1945 war, there were 236 people on payroll, of which 230 were male. As of today, we have over 1,600 members of staff across the UK; male, female, non-binary, and of different ethnicities.

Over the past 130 years, we’ve grown a rather large family of colleagues. Take Eric for example, he is a regular at our Harrow St Georges store and he was very kind to share with us an old photograph of himself at Great Portland Street back in 1950, where he worked for 3 years before joining the RAF. 


Theo Paphitis

In 1995, 28 years ago, Ryman was acquired by Chancerealm Ltd (later known as Ryman Group Ltd), in which our chainman Theo Paphitis was the controlling shareholder. Since the sale, Theo Paphitis has grown Ryman significantly by acquiring the stationery retail Partners with 86 stores and later purchased 61 stores of Stationery Box. This helped Ryman grow on a national scale, bringing us to today with over 200 stores. 

Interesting Facts about Ryman!

  • The London Blitz destroyed Great Portland St and two other branches received direct hits. All of the other London stores were damaged, however, none of this affected the business to any great extent. 
  • Queen Victoria reigned when our first store opened.
  • The legal school leaving age was 10 years old.
  • We currently have over 200 stores across the UK.
  • Ryman had originally opened as a book printer, however, this quickly changed to focus on selling stationery.
  • We were the first stationer to introduce the concept of colour to filing, with both cabinets and folders.

Ryman Design

Almost 130 years after opening our doors on Great Portland St, we’re proud to say we’ve come a long way. Whilst still offering the usual stationery and office necessities,  we recognise how the world has changed and the freedom we now have to express ourselves. This is why we’ve created a one-stop shop for all of our stationery enthusiasts, artists, and professional customers looking for something a little more unique and fashionable (if we do say so ourselves!) 

Opening our first store in June 2023 on Bishopsgate, London; Ryman Design has since opened 2 other stores in different locations.


We are extremely excited to see where the next 130 years will take us.