1. Home
  2. A long history in packaging – celebrating 115 years in the UK!

A long history in packaging – celebrating 115 years in the UK!

We’re celebrating an amazing milestone of 115 years of corrugated packaging manufacturing in the UK! Did you know that they’ve also been under VPK ownership for over 20 years? 

Rigid Howard Burditt The long history of corrugated packaging manufacturing stretching back over a century started in 1906 in Desborough, Northamptonshire.
Previously known as ‘Rigid’ and then under VPK ownership the company has gone through significant expansion and investment. Rigid was first established by Desborough business man Howard Burditt, who started out making boxes in one room in a factory based in the town. At that time boxes were completely made by hand except for the cutting and scoring. Fuelled by providing boxes for the thriving Northamptonshire shoe industry, the company soon grew and expanded.
Rigid first production run

New premises and expansion

In 1922 Howard saw the possibility of fibreboard containers replacing hampers and wooden cases and he then formed Rigid Containers with a capital of £1,000. After turning his attention to corrugated packaging manufacturing the business soon thrived. During the 1930s the company moved into new premises in Desborough, and then in the 1960s a major expansion saw the construction of a state-of-the-art corrugated conversion plant on the outskirts of the town.

For the first 90 years of its history it was a family owned business, growing from a single plant in Desborough to six plants in the 1990s, which during this time included sites at Selby in North Yorkshire (incorporating a paper mill), Middleton in Manchester, Crudwell in Wiltshire and a tube site at Tovil in Kent.
VPK Desborough

Extensive VPK Investment

In 2000 Belgium-based VPK Group acquired Rigid which culminated in an extensive investment plan. Back then they had capacity of 33.000 tons of corrugated packaging. Rigid was re-branded as VPK Packaging UK & Ireland in 2020 and the company now has seven sites, which are based in Desborough, Wellington, Selby, Banbury, Leeds, East Kilbride and Limerick in Ireland. As part of its exciting acquisition strategy VPK Group acquired corrugated packaging supplier Encase in October 2020, as well as increasing shares of its ownership of sheet manufacturer CorrBoard.

VPK Packaging UK & Ireland now houses some of the most advanced corrugated converting machinery in the UK, making it one of the most significant players in the corrugated manufacturing industry. In 2021 they will sell more than 300.000 tons of corrugated packaging!