Over 100 Years Of Box Making



  1. 1907

    Rigid ContainersIn 1907 a 24 year old Howard Burditt founded a business fabricating wicker and wooden boxes, which were used to transport products on the railway. The picture shows the founder as a Colonel who served in both world wars.

  2. 1907

    Rigid ContainersHoward Burditt rented two rooms in his former employer’s premises in Paddock Lane. He founded the business after saving 50 shillings (now £2.50) and using £100 borrowed from his family.

  3. 1907

    Rigid ContainersReasoning that box making required the minimum of capital and with a boy, two girls, a hand cutter, a gas engine powered treadle scorer and a cart, Howard started on the venture.


  1. 1910

    Rigid ContainersTaken in about 1910, the photo shows the workroom in the original factory with Howard Burditt standing in the centre. The total wage bill for the people shown in this picture was under £20.


  1. 1951

    Rigid ContainersHoward Burditt expanded into manufacturing fibreboard. Local shoe making customers joined in the venture and Rigid Containers was born. In the early 1930s, a new plant was built in Rushton Road, Desborough.

  2. 1956

    Rigid ContainersAfter WW2, demand was high but paper supplies were difficult and a joint venture with Radcliffe Paper Mills saw the creation of a new plant and associated company in a former munitions factory in Kirby, Liverpool.

  3. 1957

    Rigid ContainersA future Rigid interest, the Rostron family had a diverse operation on the banks of the Ouse making paper sacks, tubes, corrugated and other speciality paper products from their own paper and had extensive manufacturing facilities.

  4. 1958

    Rigid ContainersExpansion in Selby: paper supply remained a constraining issue for Rigid during the 1950s, 1960s and partly with this in mind, John Rostron and Sons was acquired in 1978.


  1. 1960

    Rigid ContainersLeft to right (in the photo) are three of the founding Directors – Fred Tebbutt, Howard Burditt and Edgar Sarjeant, pictured at Rushton Road in front of reels of single face board.

  2. 1960

    Rigid ContainersManufacturing was labour intensive and centred on a range of buildings on the Rushton Road site.

  3. 1960

    Rigid ContainersThis photo (and the previous shot) were taken in the three storey building in Rushton Road. Meanwhile the Liverpool operation was sold and further expansion was planned in Desborough.

  4. 1960

    Rigid ContainersThe company expanded its existing site on the outskirts of Desborough and built an integrated corrugating plant, which came on stream on 29th April 1960.

  5. 1960

    Rigid ContainersPictured is the construction of the 'bridge' which enabled continuous running on the corrugator.

  6. 1960

    Rigid ContainersPhoto shows the construction of the floor over the underground water tank, which has a capacity of 100,000 gallons of rainwater collected from the roof. 

  7. 1960

    Rigid ContainersInstallation of the double cut-off and double backer. The operations prospered and in 1970 further expanded with the opening of a corrugated plant in Crudwell, Wiltshire. 


  1. 1970

    Rigid ContainersThe operation of John Rostron & Sons in Selby, Yorkshire was acquired by Rigid Containers in 1978 and the single face business of Reed in Tovil, Kent in 1984.


  1. 1982

    Rigid ContainersThe companies were restructured in the early 1980s around a holding company – now Rigid Group, a box business – Rigid Containers and Rigid Paper.


  1. 1992

    Rigid ContainersInvestment continued apace with the installation of a CHP plant (combined heat and power) and a new paper machine in Selby. In Desborough, the corrugating plant was upgraded with a major building expansion.

  2. 1992

    Rigid ContainersInstallation of part of the BHS Corrugator: conversion machinery was also radically altered, increasing output with a new Mitsubishi rotary die-cutter and Martin Midline Printer Folder Gluer.

  3. 1992

    Rigid ContainersThe site's footprint was doubled adjacent to Stoke Albany Road and the new BHS Corrugator was located in a new bespoke bay. It was supported by expanded paper storage, now stacked vertically.


  1. 2000

    Rigid ContainersThe VPK Packaging Group buys UK corrugator plants and a paper mill. An extensive investment plan to support rapid growth, generated by high service levels, is launched.

  2. 2001

    Rigid ContainersFirst phase of investment plan is completed with an extensive makeover of the Desborough site. Costing £1 million this phase enables Rigid to deliver shorter lead times and expand its stock holding.

  3. 2007

    Rigid ContainersThird phase of investment is completed with the opening of a state-of-the-art warehouse and logistics facility at Desborough. This adds storage capacity of 8,000 pallets to an existing capacity of 6,000.

  4. 2008

    Rigid Containers A new Latitude four colour casemaker installed at Selby to boost shelf ready packaging production. 

  5. 2009

    Rigid Containers Rigid acquires majority shareholding in Willowmart, and renames company Rigid Aston.

  6. 2009

    Rigid ContainersSecond phase of investment with the opening of a state-of-the-art operation on a greenfield site in Selby. This plant is BRC/IoP accredited with a storage capacity of 14,000 pallets (after Phase Two development).


  1. 2010

    Rigid ContainersA £6 million investment in a state-of-the-art six colour Gopfert Evolution for Selby to cater for high quality post print boxes.

  2. 2011

    Rigid ContainersA £2.5 million investment in a new Latitude casemaker for Desborough ordered, and plans for factory improvements and extensions confirmed.

  3. 2011

    Rigid ContainersRigid Aston is re-branded Rigid Charta in May 2011 to mark acquisition of the company by Rigid Containers Ltd.

  4. 2011

    Rigid Containers Four colour Latitude case maker installed at Desborough for shelf ready packaging.

  5. 2012

    Rigid ContainersNew BHS corrugated dry-end for Desborough, part of factory revitalisation. 

  6. 2013

    Rigid ContainersRigid opens a new site in the South West of England. The site, in Wellington, Somerset, starts out as a distribution hub, but soon starts up as a production site with the arrival of new machinery.

  7. 2014

    Rigid ContainersRigid roll out a revised brand to align itself with parent company, VPK Packaging Group.

  8. 2015

    Rigid ContainersAcquisition of ICS Europaks in Ireland completed in March increases our manufacturing footprint outside of the UK. In the same month, we win a Gold at the EFIA 2015 Industry Awards ceremony.

  9. 2015

    Rigid ContainersRigid's state-of-the-art Agnati corrugator in Wellington, Somerset is inaugurated following a £5 million investment.

  10. 2015

    Rigid ContainersIn November 2015, a Chroma EVO 1700 flexo printing machine was installed at the Desborough site to feed a Bobst SPO 1600 automatic flatbed die-cutter.

  11. 2016

    The Desborough plant took delivery of a Gӧpfert 16/24 HBL Rotary Die-Cutter, four colour machine machine.

  12. 2016

    Rigid ContainersRigid’s Selby site invests in a Mitsubishi EVOL flexo folder gluer for high volume, high quality case production.

  13. 2016

    Rigid ContainersRigid wins the Supporting Young People in Print award at the Packaging Solutions Awards.