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
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