Sunday, August 26, 2012

Holland and Coombs

From The London Gazette 30th September 1904:

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between Robert Coombs, Herbert Edwin Chattock, Joseph Barkla, and Walter Brown Vowles, carrying on business as Corn and Cake Merchants and Compound Cake Manufacturers, at Penner Cake Mills, Nos. 141, 142, 143, and 144, Redcliff- street, in the city of Bristol, under the style or firm of HOLLAND AND COOMBS, has been dissolved by mutual consent so far as regards the said Robert Coombs, who retires from the firm, as and from the 30th day of June, 1904. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Herbert Edwin Ohattock, Joseph Barkla, and Walter Brown Vowles, who will continue the said business under the present style or firm of Holland and Coombs.

—Dated twenty-sixth day of September, 1904.


In the name and on behalf of himself, the said Herbert Edwin Chattock, and the said Robert Coombs, Joseph Barkla, and Walter Brown Vowles.
From The London Gazette 16th January 1920:
Penner Cake Mills, 141, 142, 143, and 144, Redcliff-street, in the city and county of Bristol, under the style or firm of HOLLAND & COOMBS, has been dissolved by mutual consent as and from the 27th day of June, 1910.
—Dated the 10th day of January, 1920. HERBERT E. CHATTOCK. JOSEPH BARKLA. WALTER B. VOWLES.

by Paul Green

Thomas Wallis & Co. Limited

 Wallis's began as a linen drapery in 1826 and moved to No 7 Holborn Circus, which covered an acre of land in 1869. By this time Wallis’s described themselves as 'General Drapers and Complete House Furnishers'; they also had a reputation as a supplier of quality linens.

The building was struck by incendiary bombs at 2.30am on 17 April 1941, the night that became known as 'The Wednesday' of the Blitz. Over 1,000 civilians were killed in the attack, which targeted mainly central and south London. Gamages, which stood opposite, survived. Police Constables Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs took this photo the following morning.

In 1961, the Daily Mirror built its premises on the former Wallis site.

by Paul Green

Drayton Paper Works

The Drayton Paper Works opened in Sullivan Road Fulham near what is now South Park in 1910, occupying a 3-acre site on former market-garden land and was one of the area's main employers until the mid 1980s.

Founded in 1856 and trading as G.W.Dray and Sons, the Company soon built a reputation for manufacturing toilet paper in a "curled" or rolled form rather than the single sheets as was the norm at that time.

It also produced a range of papers, printed items, paper carrier bags, and high-quality envelopes.

The company closed its doors for the last time in 1986 and since then the buildings have been demolished.

by Paul Green

Sunday, August 19, 2012

George Henry Lee & Co., Ltd.

 Founded in 1853 by Henry Boswell Lee, George Henry Lee started life as a bonnet warehouse at 12 Basnett Street on the corner of Leigh Street Liverpool. The shop prospered and grew, gradually developing into a department store.

In 1874, the last of the Lee sons retired and control passed to Thomas Oakshott, who, in 1887, became the first tradesman to become Lord Mayor of Liverpool, an appointment which added to the prestige of the enterprise.

In 1910, the year Thomas Oakshott died, the company had over 1,200 employees and the Basnett Street frontage was rebuilt with elegant Edwardian marble pillars.

Shortly after the First World War, the Oakshott family sold the shop to an American, H. Gordon Selfridge, who in turn sold the business, together with the other 14 stores in his Provincial Stores Group, to the John Lewis Partnership in 1940.

by Paul Green

Thames Conservancy

The Corporation of London administered the lower River Tames from Staines to the estuary for 660 years, but in the 1850's, a financial crisis arose. Income fell dramatically (£16,000 in 1839 to £8,000 in 1849) as railways became established and took over the transport of many goods. The river was becoming heavily polluted from the increase in industry, and the wash from the modern steamboats was eroding the banks of the river. The corporation was also failing to raise enough income to properly fund its responsibilities, and so a dramatic solution was found.
In 1857 the Corporation of London handed over the management of the river from Staines to the estuary to the newly formed Thames Conservancy. The Thames Commission was now also in financial difficulties due to the competition of transport by rail. In 1866, the upper river was also handed over, resulting in the Thames Conservancy being responsible for the whole of the river Thames from its source near Cricklade, Wiltshire to the estuary at Yantlet Creek on the Isle of Grain a distance of 177 miles.

During its long period of control the Thames Conservancy:
  • Built / refurbished 49 locks
  • Introduced tolls + speed limits
  • Prevented the water companies from dumping sewage in the river
  • Passed The Thames Preservation Act in 1885 to enshrine the preservation of river for public recreation.
  • Constructed the Desborough Cut between 1930 and 1935. (The 3/4/mile cut took the river on a straight course between Weybridge and Walton on Thames, and avoiding a meandering stretch past Shepperton and Lower Halliford.)

Responsibilities were reduced when the Tideway was transferred to the Port of London Authority in 1909 and in 1974 the Conservancy was taken into the Thames Water Authority.

by Paul Green

W. N. Froy and Sons Limited

W. N. Froy and Sons Limited was founded in 1850 by William Nathaniel Froy as a builders' merchant, concentrating its efforts on selling fittings, sanitary appliances, baths, stoves and many other items for the home.

During the Edwardian period, the first designs of bathrooms products and taps as we know them today were produced.

W. N. Froy and Sons was, in its heyday, one of the largest merchants in England, with the main premises in Hammersmith--still remembered by many--called the Brunswick Works. The company was so large that it had its own warehouses adjoining both Twyford Bathrooms and Trent Bathrooms in Stoke-on-Trent.

by Paul Green

Sunday, August 12, 2012

J. & R. Smith

J. & R. Smith was a carpet wholesaling company established in 1838 at South Castle Street in Liverpool. The firm moved to new premises in Williamson Square in 1868.

Kelly's 1947 Directory of Liverpool describes J. & R. Smith as "suppliers and fitters of carpets and linoleum" and "importers of Oriental carpets."

The company traded from the Williamson Square premises until at least 1962.

by Mark Matlach

Gardiner, Sons & Co. Ltd.

In 1865 Alfred Gardiner purchased an ironmongery business at 11 John Street in Bristol. When Alfred's two sons, John and Thomas joined him in 1871, the company became Gardiner, Sons & Co. The firm bought an ex-boot factory in Nelson Street and began to manufacture windows, ironwork, and church furnishings.

The business prospered and expanded, becoming a limited company in 1893 and establishing the Midland Ironworks in 1897. The Ironworks produced shop signs and steel products for the building trade. There were also lighting and gardening departments as well as a huge range of plumbing and building equipment for sale. By 1914 Gardiner, Sons & Co. Ltd. had 300 employees. During the First World War the company made trench mortars, bombs, and aeroplane parts.

In 1930 Gardiners purchased the Queen's Hotel in Bristol. It was renamed Beacon House and was converted into the company's main retail showroom. During the Second World War the firm made transport boxes for torpedoes, gun mounts, rocket launcher bases and aircraft parts. The business continued to grow after the War. By the 1960s the workforce numbered 900 and the company was manufacturing constructional steel work, metal windows, lifts and fire-proof doors.

In 1970 Gardiner, Sons & Co. Ltd. was taken over by Canton Industries and the manufacturing part of the business was discontinued.

Stamps with Gardiner overprints can be found up to the George VI period.

by Mark Matlach

Aitken & Wright

Aitken & Wright was a wholesale grocery business that traded from 1855 to 1973.

The company was established by Thomas Aitken and John Wright at Charlotte Lane, Leith on 26th November 1855 before moving to enlarged premises at 66 Constitution Street in 1868.

Originally the company dealt with the importation of flour and wholesaling of flour, butter and oils and the manufacture of margarine, but for several years before its voluntary liquidation in 1973, Aitken & Wright dealt in groceries and provisions generally.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, August 5, 2012

M A C (Metal Agencies Co. Ltd.)

Metal Agencies Co. Ltd (M.A.C. Ltd.) was a firm of builders merchants and wholesale ironmongers established in Bristol in 1894.

M.A.C. Ltd. trade catalogues from the 1930s to the1950s listed a huge range of products including fireplaces, scaffolding, stoves, tiles, tools, paints and gardening and kitchen equipment.

The company traded until at least 1970.

by Mark Matlach

LEP Transport

LEP Transport was a freight company established in 1910 in London. The company name was derived from the initials of the three founding partners; Longstaff, Ehrenberg and Pollack.

Following the First World War, LEP became involved in air freight by transporting aircraft to race meetings. An air freight office was opened at Hounslow airport in 1919 and in 1924 the company was appointed exclusive freight agent to the newly established Imperial Airways. The business expanded over the next twenty years with offices opening in several European countries. During the Second World War LEP formed a special unit to carry out salvage of crashed fighters and bomber aircraft. LEP's expertise in the handling and assembly of motor vehicles led to a contract to process 360,000 military vehicles for British and Canadian forces.

After the War LEP expanded into Asia and Australia. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1947, becoming LEP Group plc in 1951. In 1996 the business was acquired by International Logistics, which was renamed GeoLogistics two years later.
Head Office of LEP Transport at Sunlight Wharf, London

by Mark Matlach

Brown, Davis & Co.

Brown, Davis & Co. was a wholesaler and manufacturer of mens' clothing in Aldermanbury, London. The company produced shirts, collars, shirtings, and linen goods and in 1871 registered the first patent for a shirt that buttoned all the way down the front--up until this time, shirts were pulled on and off over the head.

by Mark Matlach