About Us

A short history of a long established business

In the early 1880’s a young man from Penwortham Preston set out to seek his fortune in the California goldfields. After some success he returned to England and enjoyed a few years living off the proceeds of his endeavours, but these early funds did not last. And so he returned again to North America in 1896 to the Yukon Territory of North West Canada along with many others in the Klondike Gold Rush.

Daniel Sanderson, or “Klondike Dan” as he later became known, was indeed fortunate as an article in the Victoria Daily Colonist newspaper on Friday 2nd September 1898 explains:-

The Mother of the Klondike

The periodical finding of the Klondike mother lode has taken place again, Daniel Sanderson being the last prospector to strike the alleged source of the golden streams that filter through the rich quartz formations of the North.

Nearly 1000 feet above the nugget lined bed of French Gulch, Sanderson last May struck a pick into a bunch of moss and rock, and, he says, surveyed a glittering mass of quartz and gold.  One piece the size of your hand rolled out and was taken to the miner’s cabin on the shores of El Dorado Creek.  It weighed over $1,000 in gold according to Sanderson.

Sanderson is an Englishman and went to Juneau nearly 15 years ago.  He crossed the snowy summit of Chilcoot in the late winter of 1897, before word of Indian George Carmack’s find on Bonanza had reached further than the town’s on the coast of Alaska.  He was one of the first locators on French Gulch where Joe Stanley and his partner had overturned a couple of bounders and had fond beneath them glistening nuggets of pure gold.  After locating a fractional claim at the junction of French Gulch and Eldorado creek, Sanderson secured three claims from which he and Martin Wolstadt, his partner, took $150,000 last winter.  During the late Spring Sanderson crawled to the top of the ridge above the Gulch in search of the quartz ledge which he believed had supplied the rich placers of French Gulch and lower Eldorado with their golden store.  After days of hard work, he located the ledge.  Proof of his find is contained in 200 pounds of coarse gold and quartz, which he brought back with him on the steamer St Paul and which he is to take to Liverpool, his old home to show his relations and friends what the Klondike can produce.  Rough assays made from the mass of quartz and wire gold contained in the two sacks run from $1,000 to $250,000 per tonne.

*sadly, the rates of exchange were significantly different than now.

A family story suggests that Daniel returned home early one morning from the Yukon to find his father departing for work. “Where are you going dad” he asked. “Why to work of course son” replied his father. “No” replied Daniel “Yesterday was your last day at work; you don’t have to go to work ever again”.

Daniel seems to have liberally applied the monies he accumulated following his return, but his enduring legacy was the formation of D Sanderson Bookbinders in 1899.

The business passed, through the Family, until Frank Sanderson, a Master Bookbinder and a Grandson of  Klondike Dan, acquired the business in stages from 1946 through to 1971.

Frank Sanderson sold the business in 1993 to two of his experienced workers, John Doherty and Stephen Turton, but he continued to attend Primrose Mill to help until his death aged 82 in 2004.

John and Stephen continue to run the business but the family connection is not however lost in that the Sanderson Family bought into the Company in 2010 to assist expansion and Frank Sanderson’s son-in-law is now a non executive director.

“Sanderson’s Bookbinders” is one of Preston’s oldest businesses and one of the UK’s oldest continually operating bookbinding and print finishers.