Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Clay Cross Company

While driving the tunnel for the North Midland Railway, the railway pioneer George Stephenson discovered deposits of coal, iron, and limestone near a small village in Derbyshire called Clay Cross. In 1837, Stephenson moved into Tapton Hall, near Chesterfield, and set up a mining company called George Stephenson & Co. Although the company had been formed to mine coal and manufacture coke, by 1847 the price per ton of coal had fallen sharply and Stephenson turned to brick making and the production of iron. George Stephenson died in 1848 and his son Robert took over the business. When Robert left the firm in 1852, the name was changed to the Clay Cross Company.

The Clay Cross Company became a limited company in 1913. It comprised of brickworks, three blast furnaces, a foundry, coke ovens, and gas plant, seven collieries, a lime works, a limestone quarry and ironstone mines.

In 1966 the Clay Cross company went public and in 1974 it was acquired by RMC (Ready Mixed Concrete), mainly for its quarries. In 1985, after RMC changed ownership a number of times, the company was bought by the Biwater Group. In 2000 Biwater sold the Clay Cross site to French company, Saint-Gobain. Some months later it was closed down with the loss of around 750 jobs. Demolition of the vast site began in late 2008.

By Mark Matlach

J. & N. Philips & Co. Limited

J. & N. Philips & Co. Ltd. was a textiles and clothing manufacturer. The business was established by John and Nathaniel Philips in Tean, Staffordshire in 1747. John and Nathaniel were joined by their brother Thomas a few years later. As the company grew, branches were established in Manchester, Radcliffe and Whitefield, near Bury. The two younger brothers also set up a hat-making enterprise under the name of Thomas & Nathaniel Philips.

J. & N. Philips & Co. went on to become a nationwide merchanting and manufacturing company. The firm produced Dorcan fabrics and all types of ready-made clothing. In 1915, the business became a limited company: J. & N. Philips & Co. Ltd. During the Second World War, the company's Manchester premises were requisitioned as a site for the censorship of mail of British prisoners of war.

J. & N. Philips & Co. Ltd. ceased trading in 1970.

By Mark Matlach

Baxendale & Co. Limited

Baxendale & Co. was a firm of hardware manufacturers and suppliers that was established in 1863 by Laban Baxendale and his future brother-in-law, Alfred Innes.

The company was originally based in Salford, Greater Manchester, but in 1892 moved to Shudehill Mill (commonly known as Arkwright's Mill) in Miller Street, Manchester where it remained until the building was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940.

By 1914 Baxendales were described as furniture, lead, and electrical manufacturers as well as hardware and builders' merchants. The business, which had expanded to Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Dublin, had a staff of 1,250.

1951 Advertisement

Baxendale's centenary catalogue (1963) describes the business as "manufacturers, merchants, and suppliers to the plumbing, building, decorating, electrical, glass, hardware, and ironmongery trades." The catalogue lists a huge range of products from shop signs and lead-light windows, to tools, paints, taps, cisterns, and sinks.

By Mark Matlach

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfins of the Former Yugoslavia

Alfred Kruse has written me to announce the upcoming publication of Perfins of the Former Yugoslavia. This work will span the postal usage of perfins from the beginning of the k.u.k-period to World War II. The catalog is 92 pages, 17x24 cm, softcover, and contains over 500 color illustrations.

The pre-release price for COSGB members is € 24.80 (or € 29.80 after 01/12/2011).
Shipping costs are:
  • In Germany: free
  • EU: € 4.00
  • Global: € 5.00
The catalog is expected to be available in late August.

To order, contact:
Alfred Kruse,
Im Deepen Bund 7,
28876 Oyten,
Tel. 04207-699296,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Ellerman Lines Ltd.

Ellerman Lines was a cargo and passenger shipping company that operated from the late 19th century and into the 20th century. It was founded in the late 19th century, and continued to expand with the acquisition of smaller shipping lines until it became one of the largest shipping firms in the world. Setbacks occurred through heavy losses to their merchant fleet during the First and Second World Wars, but were overcome in each case.

The company suffered from competition and modernizing trends in the shipping industry that occurred during the second half of the 20th century. Its shipping assets were subsequently sold off to larger companies until the name was dropped in 2004, and Ellerman finally ceased its long association with shipping.

The company was incorporated in 1892, by the businessmen John Ellerman, Christopher Furness and Henry O'Hagan, who purchased the assets from the Liverpool based shipping firm Frederick Leyland and Co., Ltd. The company started with an initial capital of £800,000 to buy the fleet of 22 vessels from the executors of Frederick Leyland, the former head of Frederick Leyland and Co. Ellerman was initially the managing director, and Furness the chairman, but Ellerman had taken on the role of chairman himself by 1893.

The company expanded in 1900 with the acquisition of 20 ships from the West India and Pacific Steamship Company. The firm was then reorganised as Frederick Leyland (1900), and operated with a capital of £2,800,000. In 1901, the company was bought by J. P. Morgan's International Marine Mercantile Company, though Ellerman remained as chairman, and owner of 20 ships. He later acquired the Papayanni Steamship Company and eight of their ships. He used these assets to form the London, Liverpool and Ocean Shipping Company, based at Moorgate, in London.

The London, Liverpool and Ocean Shipping Company then went on to acquire 50 percent of George Smith and Sons' City Line, Glasgow, and 50 percent of the Hall Line Ltd in 1903. Its capital was further increased, and the name was changed to Ellerman Lines. The company had its head offices in Liverpool and Glasgow, with a subsidiary office in London. Further acquisitions followed in 1908, when the company bought Bucknall Steamship Lines who operated on numerous routes between the United Kingdom, South Africa, the near East and North America. The Ellerman group of companies now occupied a dominating position in the Mediterranean and Near East. By 1914, the Ellerman group controlled four subsidiary companies, Ellerman City Line, Ellerman and Bucknall (Steamships) Company, Ellerman and Papayanni Lines, and Hall Line.

Ellerman's position as a major shipping firm meant that a large portion of its fleet was requisitioned by the British Government on the outbreak of the First World War, for use as troop carriers, munitions carriers, or for conversion into Armed merchantmen to augment the Royal Navy. Ellerman continued to operate a skeletal service with their remaining ships, and in 1916 the Wilson Line of Hull was purchased by Ellerman personally, bringing sixty-seven short-sea vessels into service with the company.

Heavy losses were suffered by the various companies controlled by Sir John Ellerman. In all, 103 ocean vessels, with a total cargo capacity of 600,000 to 750,000 tons, were destroyed. Ellerman Lines sought to restore a pre-war level of service after the end of the war. This entailed the purchasing of several German liners as well as placing orders for new ships. Before long the old networks of passenger and cargo services had been restored. John Ellerman died a baronet with a fortune of £37 million in 1933.

By 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War the fleet had been successfully rebuilt and expanded, to the extent that the Ellerman groups owned a total 105 ships with a combined capacity of 920,000 tons. This made Ellerman's one of the biggest fleets in the world. Many of these ships were subsequently requisition by the government, whilst others were kept as cargo vessels to transport supplies to the United Kingdom. Losses during the war were heavy, particularly to Germany's U-boat fleet. In total, the Ellerman Group lost 60 ships out of its fleet of 105.

As with the period after the losses of the First World War, a new building programme was undertaken. The focus was on re-building their international trade routes and to this end they purchased outright 12 cargo ships from the Government which they had managed during the war. By 1953, Ellerman's fleet had been almost completely rebuilt, consisting of a total of 94 ships with a carrying capacity of 900,000 tons.

Trading was however becoming more difficult with newly independent nations, such as India, setting up their own shipping companies. The nature of shipping was also changing, with the advent of containerization. In 1966 Ellerman Lines joined the Associated Container Transportation (ACT) Group consortium and started the successful containerization of its Mediterranean services. By the early 1970s the Ellerman group had expanded its commercial interests into other areas, including hotels, brewing and printing. In 1973 it merged all its shipping companies into one division. Ten years later its profitability had plummeted and it was making heavy losses. The whole business was then sold to the Barclay brothers. In 1985 the shipping business was purchased by its management, then sold to the Trafalgar House conglomerate, who merged it with their ownership of the Cunard Line to form Cunard-Ellerman in 1987. In 1991 they passed it to the Andrew Weir Shipping Group, who sold it to Hamburg Süd in 2003. During 2004 the name was dropped and Ellerman Lines ceased to exist.

by Paul Green

Richard Wheen & Sons

Richard Wheen was a soap manufacturer of Deptford, who lived at Colonnade House, No. 7 South Row, Blackheath, from 1853-1863.

Wheen had been in partnership with brother John from the 1830s, with a soap factory on Ratcliffe Highway, Finsbury. The factory had been founded in 1769 and was eventually owned by Joseph Moate. Moate was Richard Wheen's uncle and the boy married Moate's daughter (also his cousin) Anna-Maria, eventually siring 13 children. He encouraged his brother John Frith Wheen (1816-1903) to join the business. By 1837 they were manufacturing 645 tons of soap. In 1838 the figure had risen to 715 tons, worth then over £10,000. But, after a few years, they decided it was not profitable enough to support two families and they parted company. Richard moved to Creek Road, Deptford taking over a pin factory on the water's edge and once the Ravensbourne Wood Mill. He pioneered a number of techniques in soap manufacture, including the first use of soap coppers boiled by steam and not direct heat.

Before taking Colonnade House, Richard Wheen had lived at York Terrace, Regent's Park. The move was clearly necessary: Over the ten years the Wheens lived in Blackheath, the family grew and Richard and Maria Wheen were blessed with 11 children at Blackheath, and employed no less than 11 resident servants, including a butler, footman and coachman - the largest number in any house in the district. The Wheens moved in 1863 to Hayes Place, Keston, then to Lancaster Gate. Mr. & Mrs. Wheen finally retired to Courtlands, at Tunbridge Wells, where Richard died in November 1885. He left £50,000 as well as property and a prosperous business. Maria Wheen had died in 1881, aged 63.

The business passed to the control of three of the sons; Richard (1838-1910), Francis (l850-1925), and Charles Wheen. It was floated as a public company in 1898 but remained with the Wheen descendants until competition from the big names led to an agreement with Lever Bros. and its closure.

by Paul Green

S. Lendon & Sons

The following was in the London Gazette November 2 1883:

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership formerly subsisting between us the undersigned, Samuel Lendon, Walter Tom Lendon, and John Alexander Lendon, formerly carrying on business as Provision Merchants, at Waterbeer-street, in the city of Exeter, under the style or firm of S. Lendon and Sons, was dissolved, by mutual consent, as and from the 19th day of February, 1883. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Walter Tom Lendon and John Alexander Lendon, who will continue to carry on the said business.—

Dated this 29th day of October, 1883.

Samnel Lendon.
Walter Tom Lendon.
John Alexander Lendon.

by Paul Green

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pellatt & Co.

Apsley Pellatt (27 November 1791 – 17 August 1863) was an English glassware manufacturer and politician.

The son of glassware makers Apsley Pellatt (1763–1826) and Mary (née Maberly) Pellatt, Apsley joined the family glass-making company of Pellatt and Green in 1811. He took over the London-based glass-works on his father's death, renaming it Apsley Pellatt & Co.

Apsley Pellatt married twice; first in 1814 to Sephonia Kemp and second in Streatham in 1816 to Margaret Elizabeth Evans of Balham, with whom he had one son (who died young) and four daughters.

His main interest lay in the chemistry of glass-making. In 1819, he took out his first patent for the manufacture of "sulfides" or Cameo Incrustations. Pellatt originally called them "Crystallo-Ceramie," reflecting their French origin. The process involved the embedding of ceramic figurines into the glass sides of paperweights, jugs, decanters, etc., by cutting a hole in the hot glass, sliding in the insert, and resealing the glass afterward.

Pellatt became the most famous and successful producers of sulfides in England from 1819 to the mid-century rivalled only by Baccarat in France. He described their manufacture in a book on glass-making entitled "Curiosities of Glassmaking" published in 1849. After his retirement around 1850, the glass-works went into decline in the hands of his brother Frederic.

Pellatt was a public-spirited man who for some years served on the Common Council of the City of London. He unsuccessfully contested Bristol at the 1847 general election, and was elected at the 1852 general election as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Southwark. He held the seat until his defeat at the 1857 general election, and was unsuccessful when he stood again in 1859.

He died in Balham in 1863 and was buried at Staines, where he had lived in later life. His wife died in 1874 and was buried in the same vault.

by Paul Green

Illustrated London News

The Illustrated London News, has a long, colourful history. This pioneering publication was the world’s first illustrated weekly newspaper. Launched on 14 May 1842 by Herbert Ingram, it provided a vivid pictorial commentary on domestic and world affairs.

From its first issue 1842, Illustrated London News was published weekly until 1971, monthly until 1989, and bimonthly until ceasing publication in 2003.

ILN closed after an impressive 161 years and, as a result, holds one of the richest magazine archives.

The entire run of The Illustrated London News has been digitized, along with our seven other historic titles: The Graphic, The Sphere, The Sketch, The Bystander, The Tatler, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, and Britannia and Eve. The archive is managed by the Mary Evans Picture Library and boasts a rich seam of illustrations, engravings, and photographs, demonstrating a long heritage of editorial excellence that continues to push the boundaries of both print and digital publishing.

Since ceasing publication ILN has now become a customer engagement agency offering digital marketing and customer publishing services. At the heart of their thinking is that inspirational, well-crafted content is the most effective way to connect with audiences.

by Paul Green

News of The World

The News of the World is a national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom every Sunday. It is published by News Group Newspapers of News International, itself a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and is the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrates on celebrity-based scoops and populist news.

The newspaper was first published on 1 October 1843, in London by John Browne Bell. Priced at just three pence, even before the repeal of the Stamp Act (1855) or paper duty (1861), it was the cheapest newspaper of its time and was aimed directly at the newly literate working classes. It quickly established itself as a purveyor of titillation, shock and criminal news. Much of the source material came from coverage of vice prosecutions, including transcripts of police descriptions of alleged brothels, streetwalkers, and 'immoral' women.

Before long the News of the World established itself as the most widely read Sunday paper, with initial sales of around 12,000 copies a week. Sales then suffered because the price was not cut following the abolition of newspaper taxes and the paper was soon no longer among the leading Sunday titles, selling around 30,000 by 1880, a greater number but a smaller proportion as newspaper sales had grown hugely. The title was sold by the Bell family in 1891 to Lascelles Carr who owned the Welsh "Western Mail". As editor he installed his nephew Emsley Carr, who held the post for 50 years. But the real engine of the paper's now quick commercial success was George Riddell who reorganized its national distribution using local agents. Matthew Engel in his book "Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press" says that the "News of The World" of the 1890s was "a very fine paper indeed". The paper was not without its detractors, though. As one writer later related:

Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell, who died a few years ago, and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, "You know, I own a paper." "Oh, do you?" said Greenwood, "What is it?" "It's called the News of the World—I'll send you a copy," replied Riddell, and in due course did so. Next time they met Riddell said, "Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?" "I looked at it," replied Greenwood, "and then I put it in the waste-paper basket. And then I thought, "If I leave it there the cook may read it —so I burned it!"

By 1912 the circulation was two million and around three million by the early 1920s. Sales reached four million by 1939. This success encouraged other similar newspapers, of which the Sunday People, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror are still being published.

By 1950 the News of the World had become the biggest-selling newspaper in the world with a weekly sale of 8,441,000 and individual editions sold over 9 million copies.

The newspaper passed into the hands of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. in 1969, snatching the paper from Robert Maxwell's Pergamon Press after an acrimonious year-long struggle. Maxwell's foreign origin, combined with his political opinions, provoked a hostile response to his bid from the Carrs and from the editor of the News of the World, Stafford Somerfield, who declared that the paper was—and should remain—as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

News Ltd. arranged to swap shares in some of its minor ventures with the Carrs and by December it controlled 40 percent of the NOTW stock. Maxwell had been supported by the Jackson family (25% shareholders), but Murdoch had gained the support of the Carr family (30%) and then-chairman William Carr.

In January 1969, Maxwell's bid was rejected at a shareholders' meeting where half of those present were company staff, temporarily given voting shares. It was Murdoch's first Fleet Street acquisition. Maxwell accused Murdoch of employing "the laws of the jungle" to acquire the paper and said he had "made a fair and bona fide offer... which has been frustrated and defeated after three months of [cynical] manoeuvering." Murdoch denied this, arguing the shareholders of the News of the World Group had "judged [his] record in Australia."

Illness removed Sir William Carr from the chairmanship in June 1969, and Murdoch succeeded him.

The newspaper has often had to defend itself from libel charges and complaints to the Press Complaints Commission as a result of certain news-gathering techniques, such as entrapment, and contentious campaigns. Some of the best-known cases have been the "Bob and Sue" case with reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and various cases involving journalist Mazher Mahmood.

From 1981, a magazine (Sunday) was included with the paper, and in 1984 the paper itself changed from broadsheet to tabloid format. The paper is printed in London, Liverpool, Dinnington near Sheffield, Portsmouth, and Glasgow, with separate Irish editions produced in Belfast and near Dublin. It is also printed at a number of sites abroad including Madrid, Brussels, Cyprus, and Orlando in Florida, USA.

by Paul Green