Sunday, February 27, 2011

Waterlow & Sons Limited

Waterlow & Sons was a major worldwide printing company and was one of Britain's largest printers of bank notes, postage stamps, and other material.

James Waterlow founded the company in 1810 in London. Waterlow adopted the idea of employing lithography and printing as a substitute for copying where a large number of copies of legal documents were required, thus effecting a saving of both time and expense. The business grew steadily in importance and Waterlow's five sons were taken into partnership.

Following the death of James Waterlow in 1876, the business was converted into a limited liability company. By the 1920s Waterlow & Sons Ltd. was one of Britain's largest printers of bank notes, postage stamps, stocks, cheques, and bond certificates. The works of the company comprised of six factories in London, one at Watford and one at Dunstable. The bulk of Waterlows' work was the designing and executing of commercial printing of every kind. Posters, catalogues, booklets, travel guides, and engraved labels were all produced in huge quantities.

Waterlow & Sons Ltd. was acquired by Purnell & Sons Ltd. in 1960. Subsequently, Waterlows' part of the business, which printed bank notes and stamps, was sold to De La Rue & Co Ltd. Following further mergers, what remained of Waterlows became part of a new printing conglomerate called the Polester Group in 1998. Waterlows was a dormant company until it went into voluntary liquidation in 2004 and its history ends on 20th January 2009 with the dissolution of the company. The Waterlow name does, however, continue to live on as a result of specialist parts of the business having been sold over the years.

By Mark Matlach

Although Waterlow and sons used commercial overprints for more than 40 years, their overprints are difficult to find.

Stapley & Smith Limited

Stapley & Smith was a clothing manufacturer that specialised in foundation garments and underwear such as bustles and corsets. The company was founded by Richard Stapley and Henry Smith in London. Stapley & Smith advertised widely in the 1870s and 1880s and were one of the first companies to register their underwear designs.

By Mark Matlach

Stapley & Smith used a variety of overprint patterns from the end of the 19th century to the mid-1940s.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Burberry Limited

Burberry is a designer clothing and fashion accessories manufacturing company. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its iconic trench coat, which was invented by the founder of the company, Thomas Burberry.

Burberry was founded in 1856 when Thomas Burberry, a former draper's assistant, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire. By 1870 the business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoors clothing. In 1880, Burberry invented gabardine, a hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving. By the turn of the century, Burberry offered an extensive line of outerwear for men and women. The company designed hats, jackets, pants and gaiters especially for hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, and skiing.

In 1914 Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to create a coat to suit the conditions of contemporary warfare. The result was the "trench coat". After the war, the trench coat became popular with civilians and in the 1920s the iconic Burbery check was created and used as lining in the coats.

During the 1980s Burberry successfully broadened its appeal to a younger, more fashion-conscious clientele. By 2000 Burberry operated 58 company-owned stores, and its products were also found in department and speciality stores around the world.

By Mark Matlach

Burberry used commercial overprints at least as late as SG 465.

British Linen Bank

The British Linen Bank was a commercial bank with its headquarters in Edinburgh.

The Bank has its roots in the creation of the British Linen Company, which was formed in 1746 by a Royal Charter from King George II. Although a Scottish organisation, the prefix "British" was used instead of "Scottish" due to the suspicion aroused by all things Scottish following the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The initial aim of the company was to promote the linen industry, although from the late 1760s it moved into banking and issued its first notes in 1747. The great strength of the British Linen Company was its spread of agents throughout the country, developed as a result of the company's earlier involvement in the linen trade. By 1780 there were nine branches throughout Scotland.

In 1906 the British Linen Company formally changed its name to the British Linen Bank. In 1919 it was acquired by Barclays Bank, although it retained a seperate board of directors and continued to issue its own bank notes.

British Linen Bank coat of arms, granted 1934

In 1969, the Bank of Scotland agreed to a deal with Barclays to acquire the British Linen Bank, with Barclays taking a 35% stake in the enlarged bank. The merger with the Bank of Scotland was finalised following the Bank of Scotland Confirmation Act 1970, confirming the transfer of the assets and liabilities of British Linen Bank to the Bank of Scotland. The Act allowed the British Linen Bank to continue as a seperate company, and in 1977 the Bank resumed as the merchant bank arm of the Bank of Scotland.

In 1999 the Bank of Scotland decided to stop using the British Linen Bank name, renaming its merchant bank activities as Bank of Scotland Treasury Services (later HBOS Treasury Services). In April 2000, the British Linen Bank finally closed down its headquarters in Edinburgh.

By Mark Matlach

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dottridge Bros. Limited

Dottridge Brothers was arguably the most important firm of funeral wholesalers from the mid nineteenth century to the 1950s. Supplying undertakers with coffins, handles, coffin trestles, wheel biers, embalming fluids and equipment, vehicles and many other accouterments, the firm occupied a crucial position meeting the needs of the numerous family funeral businesses operating throughout the UK.

Described as "Undertakers’ Manufacturers and Warehousemen", Dottridge’s advertisement from Kelly’s Post Office Directory published in 1890 gives an insight into the extensive array of services it supplied to the industry. Coffin, caskets, carriages, drapery, palls, plumes and brassware were some of the goods. Just before the turn of the twentieth century, monumental masonry, embalming and arrangements for cremation funerals would also be added to the list.

When a representative from the Undertakers Journal visited the newly rebuilt premises in 1913, it was noted that there were over 321 employees within the office and works as machinists, electroplaters, engravers, packers, warehousemen, coffin-makers, coffin-late makers, coach builders, engineers, show-room hands, drivers, chauffeurs, ostlers, etc. There were 115 – mostly black - horses in the stables and three motor hearses with a fourth under construction.

During 1983 the last Dottridge family member had withdrawn from the business, thus ending 150 years of family control. By this stage the firm had 200 employees and thirty funeral directing businesses located in north London, East Anglia, and the south east.

Dottridge was purchased by Kenyon Securities PLC in January 1988 for £11.5M. Two years later Kenyon merged with the Birmingham based funeral director Hodgson Holdings which became PHKI. In 1994 Service Corporation International purchased PHKI.

Following a management buy-out in 2002, this became Dignity Caring Funeral Service PLC. The last branch trading as Dottridge Bros was at Roman Road and this closed around 2000 thus bringing to an end over a century and a half of heritage.

By Paul Green

Day & Sons Crewe, Limited

Thomas Day began manufacturing animal medicines at Wantage, Oxfordshire, and Red Lion Street London, in 1834. In the same year he launched the first known equine tonic "Black Drink" at a price of 10 shillings for half a dozen bottles

In 1840, the business was incorporated as a limited liability company, Thomas Day Ltd. Thomas continued to develop his business, concentrating on the manufacturing of equine remedies for working horses across the country. In 1846 he closed down his London operation and concentrated the entire business in Wantage. Days son, William Henry Day, became a partner in 1852 after which the business traded as Day & Son Ltd. In 1856 the company re-established itself in London, with premises at 12 Sheldon Street, Paddington, although the Wantage site continued to be active.

Shortly afterwards, George Fredrick Hewitt was taken into partnership and the company was renamed Day, Son & Hewitt Ltd. In 1862 it moved from Sheldon Street to 22 Dorset Street, London and during the 1880’s relocated to Hope Street Crewe, where it was renamed Day and Son (Crewe) Ltd.

Thereafter the business flourished, and was for a time the largest manufacturer of equine medicines in the country. During the 1920’s however, the demise of the working horse led to a corresponding decline in the company’s fortunes that continued until the 1950’s.

In the 1970’s Day and Son (Crewe) Ltd. relocated to purpose built premises in First Avenue, Western Road Crewe, and expanded its product range to include veterinary preparations aimed mainly at the large animal market. However by the early 1990’s the company was again in decline and in 1994 it was sold to its managing director Geoffrey Mclaughlan, who set about turning it around and increasing its product range. It continues to trade today as Day & Son (Crewe) Ltd.

By Paul Green

Croydon Commercial Gas and Coke Company

In August 1846 the Croydon Commercial Gas and Coke Company was formed with a capital of £20,000. A rival company--The Croydon Gas & Coke Company--was also in existence and, in December 1846, the latter agreed to dispose of their rights to the Croydon Commercial Gas & Coke Company on condition they could retain the lands already purchased to build a gasworks.

In March 1847, Mr. Patton was appointed the first manager and by 1866 the Company had acquired further land at Waddon; a year later the company had completed the new works.

An Act of Parliament in 1904 authorised the undertaking to change its name to the Croydon Gas Company and, by 1906, the works occupied an area of about 31 acres.

In 1929 the company acquired further premises in Purley Way which were converted into stove repair shops, meter stores, a testing station, and a garage (the William Cash Workshops). A further gasholder station at Whyteleafe had also been added by 1935. The company absorbed a number of companies including:
  • The Carshalton Gas Company in 1894
  • The Caterham and District Gas Company in 1905
  • The Oxted and Limpsfield Gas Company in 1931.
By 1936 it supplied an area of 73 square miles. On nationalisation in 1949, the undertaking became part of the East Surrey Division of SEGB.

By Paul Green

Dollond & Aitchison

On April 21, 1750, Peter Dollond opened a small optical business in Vine Street, near Hatton Garden in London. He was joined by his father John Dollond in 1752. The Dollonds became quite famous for the quality of their optical products, such that during 1768 John Dollond, now a partner in business, was appointed optician to King George III of the United Kingdom and the Duke of York.

At the Great Exhibition 1851 in London, Dollonds were awarded a medal for the excellence of their optical instruments.

In 1927 Dollond & Co. merged with Aitchison & Co., established by James Aitchison in 1889 in Fleet Street, to form Dollond & Aitchison, also known as D&A.

During the 1960s Dolland & Aitchison was a subsidiary of the former British television company Television Wales and West. From 1970 until 1982, D&A were successful in a series of acquisitions in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. Although in 1994, management buy-outs of the UK, Spanish and Italian companies took place.

The Italian frame manufacturer De Rigo purchased D&A in 1999, later during 2001 D&A sold its manufacturing arm to BBGR. In the same year, restructuring of the company took place, consisting of the three wholly-owned subsidiaries and holding company.

The company currently employs more than 2,500 staff, including more than 400 opticians. It has approximately 380 branches within the UK, consisting of around 240 group-owned sites and 140 franchises.

On 29 January 2009, it was announced that Boots Opticians were to merge with D&A, forming a chain of 690 stores and 5,000 staff after Boots purchased a controlling share in D&A.

Dollond & Aitchison were Royal Warrant holders and supplied glasses to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

By Paul Green

D.H. Evans

Dan Harries Evans was born in South Wales around 1856. He was apprenticed to a draper in Wales before moving to London, England, in 1878 to start up in business on his own account. He rented a small shop at 320 Oxford Street in 1879 for the sale of linen drapery and fancy goods, where he employed two assistants. As the trade grew very quickly Evans was able to lease three adjoining properties in Oxford Street by 1885.

During the latter part of 1892, Dan Harries Evans acquired the leases of shop premises at 290-294 Oxford Street, on the opposite side of Old Cavendish Street. The store was opened to the public in 1893.

Dan Harries Evans continued to develop the business by the introduction of new lines, such as groceries, general provisions, ironmongery and glassware. This growth required a considerable capital investment and, in April 1894, Evans announced the creation of a limited liability company, D H Evans & Co Ltd. The new company had a capital of £202,000. Evans retained a majority holding and the remaining shares, offered to staff and customers, were subscribed several times over.

In January 1915, D H Evans retired from the business and was succeeded by Ernest Webb's son, William Wallace Webb.

In 1928 when Harrods Ltd (previously Harrod's Stores Ltd) proposed merger, its approaches were welcomed. Harrods Ltd acquired the entire ordinary share capital and Woodman Burbidge became chairman.

Woodman Burbidge was aware of the problems of trading in two buildings and determined to consolidate the business in a new west block. By 1935, a large island site, bounded by Oxford Street, Old Cavendish Street, Henrietta Street and Chapel Place, had been acquired and demolition of the rear portion had begun.

The building, with a 140-foot frontage on Oxford Street, was opened in February 1937. It comprised eight and one-quarter acres of selling space on eight floors, it was to cost over £600,000 and the entire sum was loaned by Harrods.

In February 1954, the entire preference share capital of the company was also acquired by Harrods and converted to ordinary shares, and D H Evans & Co Ltd became a wholly-owned subsidiary.

In 1954, Harrods Ltd, the store's owner, was acquired by House of Fraser Ltd, department store retailers, Glasgow, Scotland.

The store traded successfully during the following decades and, in 1987, the store was renamed House of Fraser and continued to trade under this name.

By Paul Green

Australian Mutual Provident Society

AMP Limited is an Australian financial corporation. It operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand., it was formed in 1849 as the Australian Mutual Provident Society, a non-profit life insurance company.

In 1998 it was demutualised and listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges. The company provides banking, life insurance, managed funds, superannuation, property, listed assets and infrastructure.

AMP has one of Australia’s largest shareholder registers, with most shareholders living in Australia and New Zealand. This is because when the society demutualised, all policy holders received shares in the new company. Its UK operation was the subject of a demerger in 2003, separating out Henderson Group plc. The CEO is Craig Dunn.

AMP is Australia's largest retail and corporate superannuation provider, and one of the region's most significant investment managers with more than A$111 billion (as at 30 June 2010) in assets under management.

By Paul Green

Associated Newspapers Limited

Associated Newspapers, a large national newspaper publisher in the UK, is a subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust. The group was established in 1905 and is currently based at Northcliffe House in Kensington. It takes responsibility for Harmsworth Quays, the London Docklands print works plant at which it produces all of its London, South of England, and South Wales editions of the national titles.

It publishes four major national newspaper titles and two local newspapers situated in London. Its sister group is Northcliffe Media, who take care of DMGT's regional newspaper titles. Associated Newspapers is also responsible for overseeing and developing the Group’s consumer businesses within Associated Northcliffe Digital and Teletext and for the Group’s UK newspaper printing operations.

Associated Newspapers publishes the following titles:

Daily Mail - The main national newspaper owned by Associated. Its circulation is more than two million, giving it one of the largest circulations of any English language daily newspaper, and the twelfth highest of any newspaper in the world.

The Mail on Sunday - The sister paper of the Daily Mail, published weekly on Sundays since 1982.

Metro - Metro is the UK’s only urban national newspaper. Launched in March 1999 as a free, stapled newspaper, it was distributed initially in London. But since has been published every weekday morning, around Yorkshire, the North West, the North East, the East Midlands, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff, and Glasgow.

Loot - A classifieds directory, not a mainstream newspaper, although it is available nationally.

Mail Today - A 48-page compact size newspaper launched in India on November 16 2007 that is printed in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida with a print run of 110,000 copies. Based around a subscription model, the newspaper has the same fonts and feel as the Daily Mail and was set up with investment from Associated Newspapers.

By Paul Green

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Underprinted Advertisements

You might think that this is an underprint from New Zealand, but it is not. Go to Joe Hahn's Philately Blog to learn about the origin of that stamp...

James Keiller & Son Limited

Keiller's marmalade, named after its creator Janet Keiller, is believed to have been the first commercial brand of marmalade, produced in Dundee, Scotland.

The apocryphal story tells that James Keiller bought a ship load of oranges from a ship which was seeking harbor from a winter storm. The ship was on its way from Seville and due to the storm the oranges were already less fresh than they ought to have been. The bargain gave his wife (Janet Keiller) the opportunity to manufacture a large quantity of marmalade. In reality the Keillers adapted an existing recipe for manufacture by adding the characteristic rind suspended in the preserve. The first commercial brand of marmalade along with the world's first marmalade plant was founded in 1797.

By the late 19th century the marmalade was shipping as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and China.

The firm was acquired by Crosse & Blackwell in 1919. It was subsequently sold on multiple times before ending up with Robertson's.

By Paul Green

Edinburgh & Leith Corporations Gas Commissioners

Gas production in the Edinburgh area started in 1818, when the Edinburgh Gas Light Company opened in New Street, Edinburgh. In 1823, the Edinburgh and Leith Gas Company set up in opposition, with works in Baltic Street, Leith. In 1824 a third company started up--the Edinburgh Oil Gas Company, based at Tanfield (at Canonmills). This company was absorbed by the Edinburgh Gas Light Company in 1829.

The two remaining companies continued in competition, although in 1866 they came to an arrangement to divide the area between them rather than each laying their own gas mains throughout the area.

To improve the situation, it was decided that gas manufacture and supply should be taken into what was effectively municipal ownership.

In 1889, gas production and supply was taken over by a Commission controlled by the two major local authorities in the area, Edinburgh Corporation and Leith Corporation. The Commissioners represented the two authorities, and included the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Provost of Leith, and a number of councilors from each authority.

The Commissioners had wide-ranging authority, including permission to buy out the existing companies, to dig up streets, carry out construction work, supply gas, sell or hire gas appliances, and so on.

The need for the Commission came to an end in 1920 when Edinburgh and Leith amalgamated and the city boundaries were extended. Gas supply and distribution was transferred to the Gas Department of Edinburgh Corporation.

By Paul Green

Dunns Farm Seeds Ltd.

The firm's origins go back to 1832 when S. Dunn opened a seed and corn store in Gillingham, Dorset, subsequently being joined by his son James H. Dunn. In 1871 the latter assumed sole control, and was later joined by his son, Hammond Dunn.
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The business, still specializing in agricultural seeds, moved to Bournemouth in 1890 and changed location again in 1918 with a move to Castle Street, Salisbury. In 1920, the limited company of Dunns Farm Seeds Ltd. came into being. Business thereafter grew steadily until, by 1934, Dunns farm seeds were available throughout southern England, the Midlands, and Wales. In addition, they developed a large grain business. In the following years Dunns expanded by buying other companies, including:
  • 1948 Dardis
  • 1949 J.J. Inglis of Ayr
  • 1960 Cundy & Son Ltd. of Sudbury
In 1966, Dunns Farms Seeds Ltd. was taken over by the Bath & Portland Group Ltd., and joined with Soil Fertility Ltd., of Corsham, Wiltshire to form Soil Fertility Dunns Ltd.

By Paul Green

Arnott & Co. Dublin Limited.

Since its establishment in 1843, Arnotts has been a Dublin landmark for generations of Irish people and visitors to the capital city. The largest department store in the country, it is regarded with much affection by those who have grown up with it at the centre of their shopping experiences. With a selling area of more than 300,000 square feet, it is ranked in the top five stores in Britain and Ireland, alongside such icons as Harrods and Selfridges.

In 1843 George Cannock and Andrew White established a small business at number 14, Henry Street in Dublin 1. In 1845, bankers Andrew and Patrick Reid loaned them £6,000 to extend the business. After White’s death in 1848, the Reids were joined by a successful Victorian entrepreneur named John Arnott. When Cannock departed the company in 1865, the Reids allowed Arnott to give his name to the company.

Arnotts endured the economic and logistical repercussions of both World Wars. The end of World War II in Europe in May 1945 brought with it an outbreak of euphoria. Trading between countries became more fluid and stores were enticing customers with luxurious fabrics and textiles from overseas. Arnotts reacted to the increased demand for product by adding new departments such as The Beauty Shop, Novelties, and Separates.

Arnotts celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1993 with significant redevelopment and the construction of an octagonal dome, which fills the floors below with light. Since then, the store has continued with an extensive modernization programme. In October 2009, Arnotts unveiled its new look ground floor, with double the floor space devoted to the beauty, jewelery and accessories departments.

By Paul Green

Comptoir d'Escompte de Paris

The Comptoir National Bank of Paris, or PSC, is one of four banks that became BNP Paribas. The PSC was created by decree on 7 March 1848 by the Provisional Government of the Second Republic.

In 1860, the PSC opened its first foreign agency in Shanghai. In subsequent years, new offices opened in Calcutta, Bombay, Hong Kong, and Saigon; and then London, Yokohama, and Alexandria.

1867 saw the opening of the first provincial agency in France, in Nantes, followed by Lyon and Marseille. The same year established the National Counter discount Mulhouse capital of one million francs.

The PSC is a company with a capital of 20 million francs, made up of one third in cash by the subscribing shareholders, one third in bonds by the City of Paris, and one third in treasury bills by the state.

By Paul Green

Comptoir d'Escompte de Paris appears to have used the C. d'E. de P. overprint in the early 1880s, then the full COMPTOIR D'ESCOMPTE DE PARIS wording at least as early as 1884. By 1899, they seem to have given up on overprints.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wiggins, Teape & Alex. Pirie Ltd.

Wiggins, Teape & Alex. Pirie Limited was one of the oldest paper manufacturing companies in Britain.

The origins of the company can be traced to 1761 when Henry Teape established a printing company in Tower Hill, London. Edward Wiggins became a partner in the business in 1828 and so Wiggins & Teape was formed. In 1890 the company bought the Withnell Fold paper mill in Chorley and began to manufacture paper. Wiggins & Teape continued to expand, acquiring another paper mill in Devon Valley near Exeter in 1920.

In 1922 Wiggins & Teape merged with another well established paper maker called Alexander Pirie. Alexander Pirie had been manufacturing paper since the late 18th Century in Aberdeenshire, where the company owned the Stoneywood paper mill. The amalgamation of these two old firms, now called Wiggins, Teape & Alex. Pirie Limited, set the new company on the road to expansion and the development of new paper. The company established its new headquarters at Aldgate House. In addition to letter paper the firm began to manufacture coated papers, gummed papers for stamp base, card material, abrasive base for sand paper and carton boards for food and milk containers. By 1956 the business was producing 150,000 tons of paper annually.

In 1991 Wiggins, Teape & Alex. Pirie Limited merged with Appleton Papers and then with Arjomani Piroux in 1999, creating ArjoWiggins Appleton. In 2000 a £2.2 billion takeover bid was accepted from Worms of France, forming ArjoWiggins. The company currently employs 8000 people in 35 mills around the world, with four paper mills in the UK.

Wiggins, Teape & Alex. Pirie Ltd. used their address "Aldgate House, London E.1" as the overprint on their stamps. At least three other companies who resided in the Aldgate House office building also used this overprint. The companies (also paper makers) were F. Keay & Co. Ltd., and Portals and Allied Paper Merchants Ltd. The overprints are most common on the George VI 2d stamps but are also known on SG 573. There are varieties in the style and font of the overprint.

By Mark Matlach

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Miller and Sons Limited

Miller and Sons were manufacturers and retailers of lamps and candles. They also imported and sold clocks and chandeliers.

The company was established by George Alexander Miller in 1851. A shop was opened at 178 Piccadilly in London's West End and separate manufacturing facilities were established nearby in Shaftesbury Avenue in the 1890s.

George Alexander's brother, Taverner Miller, had a whaling business and spermaceti refinery at Dorset Wharf by the River Thames. Spermaceti is a wax present in the head cavities of the sperm whale. Once refined it could be used to make candles. This enabled George Alexander to have an easy access to and ready supply of the wax, which he used to make high quality candles.

Miller and Sons stayed in Piccadilly until about 1908, when presumably their fortunes changed for the worse, and they moved to 55 Conduit Street for a few years, before finally moving to 5A Burlington Street. They stayed there until their demise in the 1940s.

By Mark Matlach

Displaying commercial overprints

How do you display your commercial overprints?

I use something similar to the blog postings on this site. Each page has the company name, their type of business, the period of their use of commercial overprints, the period the company was in operation, a brief description of the company, and a representation of the overprint.

I keep overprints on receipts on separate pages from overprints on loose stamps mainly because the receipt generally fills the page.

I create the pages using Microsoft Publisher and mount the receipts using Lighthouse self-adhesive photo corners.

By Michael Behm

Bainbridge & Co. Limited

Emerson Bainbridge, together with his partner William Dunn, opened a drapers' shop in Market Street, Newcastle in 1838. From the beginning the two men stressed that all prices in the shop were fixed, which was a novelty at this time. They prided themselves on offering a wide assortment of products and good value for money. Sales were for cash only, and stocks were replenished by sea from London. Despite the success of the store, the partners fell out and Dunn left the business. In terms of retailing history, one of the most significant facts about Bainbridge's shop is that as early as 1849 weekly takings were recorded by department, making it one of the earliest of all department stores.

Emerson Bainbridge died in 1892 and control of the business passed to his sons. In 1897 the firm became a private, limited company.

In 1923 Bainbridge & Co. Limited opened a marble-lined food hall, which offered such delicacies as speciality sausages, galantines and haggis. There was also a thriving trade in unusual services such as the production of trade union banners.

In the 1930s the Depression in the North East of England caused business to suffer badly. During The Second World War part of the Bainbridge store was requisitioned. A large air-raid shelter was built and observation turrets on the roof provided lookout posts for air-raid wardens.

At the end of the war, George Bainbridge, who was the great-grandson of Emerson Bainbridge, was eager to revive the business and he set up the "Bainbridge Renaissance" project. However, financial resources were short and by 1952 it had become clear that if the business was to continue to expand, it needed to ally itself with a larger organisation and so an offer from the John Lewis Partnership was accepted. In 1953 Bainbridge formally joined the Partnership.

In 1976 Bainbridges was relocated to a new shopping centre in Eldon Square. In 2002 the Bainbridge name was finally dropped and the store became John Lewis, though many locals continue to call the store by its original name.

By Mark Matlach

Bainbridge's retail operation used commercial overprints into the 1970s; their wholesale division used overprints at least in the early 1950s. If you look closely, you'll notice that the font used on the SG 488 overprint above is different from the one used on the SG 465 overprint at the top of this post.