20 March 2019

True Vintage - Norman and Hill Leather Organiser

This last weekend I got to see my brother in law. He has loaned me his 'vintage' Norman and Hill leather slim organiser.

He's not the original owner, he inherited it from a previous engineer at his workplace back in about 1994.

Tony (B.i.L.) has been using it as an address book! And as you can see from the photos it's not in perfect condition, but it has not had an easy life! He has a few old inserts, just lined paper.

The organiser could do with a little TLC as some of the stitching has come undone and may be give it a light clean and a little leather conditioning. But it is in lovely condition for its age. I will not do anything to it until I have had a chance to talk with him.

The rings are the modern linked type, not the very old independent type I've written about before. They are approximately half an inch in internal diameter.

It has a very practical set of pockets on the inside front and rear inside covers. The small pockets, top and bottom of the front inside cover would have been used for postage stamps or railway tickets.

The presence of this emblem might help us give an accurate date to this organiser. 'N&H Ltd London' is of course Norman and Hill Ltd London. 

Norman and Hill is the original company that started to import organisers from Lefax in the USA in the early 1920's, they later renamed their products Filofax from 'File of Facts' 

The original 'cover page' which also shows the Norman Hill address in Newgate Street.

In discussion with 'GMax' we seem to believe that this model is as shown in the 1937 catalogue page 2 as shown below.

We think it is a model A.299 Lefax “pocket book” this matches the pocket layout. Additionally given the address details shown on the cover page, which is an address we know that Norman and Hill occupied before World War 2.

This design was continued through until about 1980/1981 when it became the Filofax 6CL (Gloucester) it also changed from Morocco leather to Calf leather.

This is one of the oldest examples of the Norman and Hill Ltd products that we have seen to date.

Thank you to GMax for his help and knowledge in dating or narrowing down the period we are confident that this organiser is from. Of course thanks also to by brother in law Tony for the loan of this organiser.


  1. Train tickets in the UK were known generically as “Edmondson Card” (after the original inventor in Victorian times). They measured 2 1/4” x 1 7/32” (approx 57mm x 31mm) and the small pockets in your Norman & Hill organiser should accommodate this size, if designed for traditional train tickets.

    Edmondson card ticketing was still very common when I joined British Rail in 1982 with even the smallest station booking office having huge racks of pre-printed tickets ready for date stamping. Incredibly BR still had Victorian printing presses in Crewe producing hundreds of millions of different pre-printed tickets. It was all swept away as the ticket issuing process was completely computerised by 1990.

  2. What looks to be an identical example, albeit in poorer condition, was exhibited at a "system notebook salon" in Japan in 2017. (The link uses Google translate, which isn't perfect.)

    1. Did you notice that the photos of the radio engineering inserts are mine!


    2. :-) I think the exhibits were official Filofax corporate ones, and may have drawn upon the 1937 catalogue images too, although that’s more defensible.
      I’ve noticed the logo on that A.299 is on the opposite side.