Friday, September 2, 2016

Jas. Pearsall & Co.

James Pearsall & Co. is a long-established silk thread manufacturing company in London. The firm was founded in 1795 as Pearsall & Green, wholesale and retail silk merchants. The company supplied the lace industry in the west of England, which was flourishing at this time. The company shop at 134 Cheapside, London EC., became a well known resort for the ladies of London to buy silks for the knitted and netted purses fashionable at this time.

In 1865, William George Rawlinson, a silk merchant from Taunton in Somerset, purchased the company, by now titled James Pearsall & Co. Rawlinson left the company name unchanged and ran the business in connection with his silk mills in Taunton. During the early and mid 19th century, the staple trade consisted of the import of Berlin wools, needlework and embroidery silks from Germany, together with a considerable trade in silks for fringes, scarves and for use in machines.

The company continues today as Pearsalls Ltd., producing silk thread for embroidery and gosamer silk thread for fly tyers and fishing rod makers.

H. J. Searle & Son Ld.

H. J. Seaele & Son Ltd. were furniture manufacturers and upholsterers. The company was established in 1904 and had a factory in Old Kent Road, London SE1, and showrooms in Westminster and Croydon. The firm's primary furniture brands were Berkeley Easy Chairs and Berkeley Upholstery. By 1934 the business had expanded, with branches in Dagenham, Dartford, Watford, Birmingham and Manchester. The company continued to trade until at least 1956.

                                               Advertisement 1921

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

H. S. W. & Co. Ltd. (H. S. Whiteside & Co. Ltd.)

H. S. Whiteside & Co. Ltd. was a family-run confectionery company in south-east London. The firm produced a great variety of sweets, jellies, nut and chocolate products, nougat and toffee. In 1949 Whitesides took control of Maconochie Brothers including their factory on the Isle of Dogs and began to market peanuts and peanut butter under the Sun-Pat brand name. In the 1960s Whitesides overstretched themselves financially and the company was acquired by Rowntree & Co. Ltd. in 1967. The Sun-Pat brand is currently owned by Hain Celestial Group.
                                             Advertisement 1953

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Woodford Bourne & Co.

Woodford Bourne is a wine and spirits business currently based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. In the 1840s John Woodford was running a grocery shop on the Grand Parade in Cork, Ireland. The principal product was loose leaf tea, which was imported from India and China then blended and packaged within Woodford & Co. John Woodford died in 1847 and a couple of years later his widow married an employee of the company called James Bourne. In 1850 the firm was renamed Woodford Bourne & Co.

In 1869 the company purchased the entire stock of the Cork wine merchants Maziere & Sainthill, and expanded the business to include wines and later spirits. Woodford Bourne was the first company in Ireland to import wine from the south of France. It arrived in Cork in tankers with a capacity of 30,000 bottles. The Woodford Bourne store became the place where professionals and well-off Cork residents would come to buy tea, wine, and whisky, including a curiously named Extra Old Mild Invalids' Whiskey. Port was bottled for the exclusive Cork and County Club. Liqueurs, sherry, coffees, spices, pickles, fish sauces, beer and flowers were also sold.

James Bourne retired in the late 1860s and an employee of the firm, James Adam Nicholson, an immigrant from England, eventually became sole owner and the company remained in the hands of the Nicholson family for generations. In 1988 Woodford Bourne was acquired by an Irish drinks company called Wardell Roberts.

R. G. S. Ltd. (Radiation Group Sales Ltd.)

R. G. S. Ltd. was a manufacturer of gas appliances formed in 1919 in Birmingham following the amalgamation of John Wright & Co. Ltd.., The Richmond Gas & Meter Co. and Davis Gas Stove Co.

In 1923 Regulo thermostats were first fitted by Radiation as standard to its gas ovens. At this time the company was manufacturing gas cookers, water heaters, gas radiators, gas operated hot water apparatus, and large cooking apparatus for hotels and boarding houses. By the late 1940s, the company was offering a number of solid fuel appliances such as the Siesta stove, the Yorkdale range, and the Sutton coke grate, and had developed a cooking range for railway use that could use locomotive fuel.

In 1958 Radiation acquired Jackson Electric Stove Co. and the company's factory in Luton was given over to electric appliances. A year later Parnall Ltd. was acquired, which broadened the range of domestic appliances, especially washing machines and gas water heaters. By the early 1960s the Radiation Group were also producing light engineering products, light alloy castings and specialised products in vitreous enamels.

In 1967 R.G.S. Ltd. was taken over by Tube Investments which became T I Group plc in 1982. In 2000 T I Group merged with Smith Industries to become Smiths Group.
Advertisement from 1933 for Radiation New World gas cookers.

Sharp, Perrin & Co.

According to Kelly's London Directory of 1877, Sharp, Perrin & Co. were lace manufacturers and wholesalers of ladies underclothing, children's clothing and baby linen. The company was active from at least 1868 at 31 Old Change and 1 Cannon Street in London and by the late 1880s it also had showrooms in Belfast, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle. The company traded until at least 1940.
                                           Advertisement 1888

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Spencer (Banbury) Limited

Spencer (Banbury) Limited was a subsidiary company of Berger Brothers, an American company which specialised in the design and manufacture of foundation garments and in surgical and other orthopaedic supports. Spencers was formed in 1927 at Britannia Road in Banbury, Oxfordshire, a town which had developed a national reputation as a centre for weaving. The company manufactured exclusive, individually designed foundation garments such as Spencer Dress Corset, Slenderette, Spencerette, and Spencer Supporting Corset. The business was developed through trained professional corsetieres visiting clients in their own homes. In the 1930s Spencers emphasised the British nature of their products. The company desired to use only British materials; corset cloths were mainly from Lancashire mills, hooks from Birmingham, and hose supporters came from Leicester.

By the late 1930s the company needed to expand and a new factory was constructed in 1937. During the Second World War, the Spencer company assisted the war effort by designing and manufacturing light-weight anti-gravity suits for fighter pilots. The company prospered and at the end of the War employed 600 people, mainly local women. At this time there were over 2,000 Spencer Corsetieres. This figure had dropped to 250 in the 1970s. From the 1970s onwards Spencers diversified into bespoke and ready wear surgical supports. In 1982 the company acquired a lingerie manufacturer called Silhouette and in 1985 rival firm Spirella Corset Co. was purchased. In the early 1990s Spencers was taken over by the Remploy Healthcare Group who continued with the production of surgical supports and lingerie under the trade names Spencers and Silhouette.

                                         Spencer Dress Corset 1930