Sunday, March 31, 2013

The White House

The White House is a retailer of linens, china, toweling and other home interior accessories, currently based in Chessington, Surrey. The company also has a yachting division that supplies bed and table linen to some of the world's most glamorous super yachts.

The White House was established in 1906 when Jean Delliere, a Frenchman from Paris, opened a clothes shop at 51 New Bond Street in London's West End. The shop specialized in up-market blouses and lingerie, or “whites”. The shop grew into an exclusive department store which sold linens, china and clothing.

The store closed down in 1997 and the company relocated to Chessington.

by Mark Matlach

Pride & Clarke Ltd.

Pride & Clarke Ltd. was a retailer of motorcycles and motor accessories at 158 Stockwell Road in south London. The company was established in 1920 by John Pride and Alfred Clarke and grew to become probably the largest motorcycle retailer in the world in the 1960s.

The firm was famous for its special deals with manufacturers, enabling it to offer motorcycles at very low prices. Before the Second World War, Pride & Clarke Ltd. was best known for the "Red Panther", "AJW" and "Cathorpe" motorcycle models.

In 1939 the company added its own model called "the Club". It was a machine with a 122cc Villiers engine, three-speed gearbox built in-unit, a simple loop frame and blade girder forks. It was only listed for one year.

As Pride & Clarke Ltd. expanded during the 1960s, it took on many additional premises located on Stockwell Road. The whole front of these shops was painted with the company's trademark maroon paint. There were departments for new and secondhand motorcycles, new and secondhand spares, a mail order section, an export and import department, as well as finance and insurance offices. Mail order was a specialty of the business and products were dispatched all over the world.

Besides motorcycles, Pride & Clarke Ltd. sold cars, three wheelers, bicycles and sailing dinghies, plus clothing for motorcycling and sailing. In 1960, when motorcycle sales were at an all-time record high in the UK, Pride & Clarke Ltd. displayed no fewer than 2000 new machines and a good selection of secondhand bikes in the company showrooms.

In 1982 Pride & Clarke Ltd. was sold to Inchcape plc for around £3 million. Inchcape plc is currently a multinational automotive retail and services company headquartered in London.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hobson & Sons

Hobson & Sons is a leading manufacturer of uniform clothing and equipment in the UK. The company's wide range of uniforms and accessories is used by the Armed Forces, the Police, Girl Guides and Scouts, the Fire Brigade and other uniformed personnel within the UK as well as many other countries.

The company was established in Woolwich, south London in 1850. The main customer was the locally based Royal Artillery. By 1860, Hobson & Sons had five shops in and around the Woolwich area. In 1880 additional premises were established in Tooley Street where gold and silver wire embroidery was produced along with the weaving of lace.

In the 1930s, Hobson & Sons established large, new premises at Thundersley, Essex. A high volume of tropical uniforms were manufactured for the war effort. The company began to produce leather goods for uniformed forces world-wide, which by the 1950s accounted for 25% of the firm's turnover. The Thundersley site was expanded in the 1970s and 80s. Business now included uniforms and regimental regalia to over 80 countries, along with a design and development service for many military and civilian uniform requirements. Between 1992 and 1997 all the Hobson businesses were finally drawn into the modern factory and office site at Thundersley and all of the company's products are now manufactured from there.

Hobson & Sons, Thundersley, Essex

by Mark Matlach

B S & S | B. S. & Co. (Burton, Son & Sanders Limited)

Burton, Son & Sanders Ltd. was a retail grocery business that specialized in products for the bakery and confectionery trades.

The company was established as Burton & Sons in 1824 by Charles Burton who purchased a retail grocery business in Ipswich. The company gradually expanded as successive members of the family ran the concern. The company dealt in the full range of commodities used by the baker and confectioner, supplying such items as butter, lard, jams, spices, gelatine, and sugar.

In 1897, Burton & Son merged with Evatt Sanders & Son of Colchester, to form Burton, Son & Sanders. The firm expanded and became a  public limited company in 1920 as new branches were opened throughout the country. In the 1950s and 1960s various companies were acquired and a number of diverse interests were added to the traditional bakery and grocery business.

Burton, Son & Sanders Ltd. merged with Matthew Holding Ltd. in 1970 and began to concentrate on exports. In 1977 Matthew Holding Ltd. was purchased by Thomas Borthwick & Sons Ltd. Following a decline in profitability, Borthwicks sold the Burton business to Unilever in 1993.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, March 17, 2013

J. Bolding & Sons Ltd.

J. Bolding & Sons Ltd. was a manufacturer of sanitary ware, lead merchant and ironmonger.

The company was established in 1822 at South Molton Lane in Mayfair, London. In the 1880s the business expanded to the Grosvenor Works in Davies Street and in 1894 became a limited company.

In 1914 the company was described as a manufacturer of high-class sanitary appliances, specializing in both public and private systems of sanitation.

In 1961 J. Bolding & Sons Ltd. had 280 employees and was a manufacturer of sanitary fittings such as water closets, pumps and valves. In 1966 the company purchased its rival, Thomas Crapper & Co., only to go into liquidation three years later.

by Mark Matlach

Wright Brothers Limited

In 1896, brothers Alfred and Harold Wright opened a draper's shop in George Street, Richmond in London. The shop grew to become a small department store which became incorporated as Wright Brothers Ltd in 1929.

In 1940 Wright Brothers was purchased by a department store in Kingston called Hide & Co. Ltd who ran it as a subsidiary company. Hide & Co. Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, was acquired by House of Fraser in 1975.

The department store in George Street was closed down in 1990 and the site is now occupied by a Tesco supermarket.

by Mark Matlach

John Moir & Son Limited

John Moir & Son Ltd. was a pioneer in the manufacturing of preserved foods. The business was established in Aberdeen in 1822 when it was the first company to introduce preserved food products in the UK.

The firm began by preserving salmon for export and subsequently added meats, soups, game and vegetables. Trade was slow for a time as public prejudice had to be overcome and a market had to be created. Once the preservation methods adopted by John Moir & Son had been proved, a demand in the UK and overseas sprang up and the company expanded to become the largest of its kind in the country, with offices in London and extensive connections with India, China and Australia.

In 1880 the company was incorporated as John Moir & Son Limited. By the end of the 19th century the business had introduced condensed milk, marmalade, jams, jelly powder, and baking powder to its product range.

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by Mark Matlach