1924 Jessie Brown, an orthopaedic nurse, went to Nepal to nurse the daughter of a Maharajah. For the next ten years contact was maintained until the death of the Princess Nani in 1934. Then Jessie returned to Yateley to nurse her ageing mother. It was at this point that Jessie began a project to combine the craft of block printing as seen in India, with after care for disabled girls.
With the help of Grace Finch, a friend whom she has nursed through polio, Jessie set up a small workshop in an outbuilding in the grounds of her Yateley house. Grace Finch struggled to learn the techniques of hand block printing from a selection of fabric samples brought back from India and Nepal. The experiment was successful enough to secure backing to set up a small hostel and workshop for 8 girls which was opened in 1937.
Unfortunately, things came to a halt at the outbreak of the war, but started up again shortly afterwards in 1948 with a new workshop building opening in 1952 followed by the bungalows in 1956 and having charity status in 1963. This created the Yateley Industries estate as we know it today.
Over the years Yateley Industries has progressed and flourished into a thriving organisation providing an invaluable service to the entire spectrum of vulnerable and disabled people. In the early 1980’s men were given the opportunity to work at Yateley.
To move with the times we are also now working in partnership with companies producing finished packaging. Although lots of new exciting changes have been made, we still must pay tribute to Jessie Brown for her foresight and dedication in founding Yateley Industries over half a century ago, for which she was awarded the MBE in 1952.