In 1846, two brothers--John and Joseph Cash--began a silk ribbon manufacturing company in Coventry. The city of Coventry was at this time already famous for its silk weaving. Skilled jaquard weavers (Huguenots escaping persecution in Europe) had settled there and soon thousands of local people were employed in this cottage industry. Workers owned their own jacquard looms and the Cash brothers distributed the silk for them to weave in their own homes. A fixed price was paid for each finished piece.
The Cash's soon outgrew this system and in 1857 they commissioned the construction of a series of three-storey weavers' cottages in Kingfield. Initially 100 such cottages were planned, but actually only 48 were built. On the top floor of each cottage was a well-lit work area, known collectively as "Cash's Topshops", housing a jacquard loom, powered by a central, steam-powered beam engine. J. & J. Cash opened for business in 1857 and the individual workshops were combined into single, large workspaces in 1862. The cottages still stand today.
The Cottages at Kingfield
During the 1960s, J. & J. Cash Ltd. absorbed a number of other Coventry weaving companies. Other local competitors failed, leaving Cash's the only survivor of the type in the city. The company was sold to the Jones Stroud Group in 1976, ending the involvement of the Cash family. In 1984 the Kingfield site was vacated and the company moved to more modern premises on Torrington Avenue where it remains today.
by Mark Matlach
Roy Gault, the Perfin Society Catalogue Editor, believes that the commercial overprint is from J & J Colman, Mustard Mfrs, Norwich.
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