Friday, September 2, 2016

Jas. Pearsall & Co.

James Pearsall & Co. is a long-established silk thread manufacturing company in London. The firm was founded in 1795 as Pearsall & Green, wholesale and retail silk merchants. The company supplied the lace industry in the west of England, which was flourishing at this time. The company shop at 134 Cheapside, London EC., became a well known resort for the ladies of London to buy silks for the knitted and netted purses fashionable at this time.

In 1865, William George Rawlinson, a silk merchant from Taunton in Somerset, purchased the company, by now titled James Pearsall & Co. Rawlinson left the company name unchanged and ran the business in connection with his silk mills in Taunton. During the early and mid 19th century, the staple trade consisted of the import of Berlin wools, needlework and embroidery silks from Germany, together with a considerable trade in silks for fringes, scarves and for use in machines.

The company continues today as Pearsalls Ltd., producing silk thread for embroidery and gosamer silk thread for fly tyers and fishing rod makers.

H. J. Searle & Son Ld.

H. J. Seaele & Son Ltd. were furniture manufacturers and upholsterers. The company was established in 1904 and had a factory in Old Kent Road, London SE1, and showrooms in Westminster and Croydon. The firm's primary furniture brands were Berkeley Easy Chairs and Berkeley Upholstery. By 1934 the business had expanded, with branches in Dagenham, Dartford, Watford, Birmingham and Manchester. The company continued to trade until at least 1956.

                                               Advertisement 1921

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

N (Nettlefolds Ltd.)

In 1823 John Sutton Nettlefold opened a hardware store at 54 High Holborn, London. This was followed in 1826 by a workshop to make woodscrews based in Sunbury-on-Thames. The Sunbury factory was powered by a waterwheel and Nettlefold saw the importance of motive power when he took advantage of steam power in a new factory at Baskerville Place in Birmingham. In 1854 Nettlefold purchased a licence to manufacture to a U. S. patent for a novel woodscrew. The additional investment required, meant Nettlefold took his brother-in-law, Joseph Chamberlain, into partnership and the company became styled Nettlefold & Chamberlain.

A new factory to produce woodscrews was soon established in Smethwick. The partnership of Nettlefold & Chamberlain in Birmingham became one of the world's leading screw manufacturers. The factory in Smethwick had 2,000 machines producing half a million screws per week.The management of the company later passed to Nettlefold's son, Joseph Henry Nettlefold. The Chamberlains left the firm in 1874 and the company was incorporated as Nettlefolds Ltd. in 1880. The company expanded, and by a series of astute mergers and acquisitions, went on to establish a virtual monopoly in the British woodscrew market. The company was later acquired by Guest, Keen & Co. to create Guest, Keen & Nettlefold. The company, now known as GKN plc, continues to trade today as a multinational automotive and aerospace components business, headquartered in Redditch, Worcestershire.

London & County Bank

The Surrey, Kent & Sussex Banking Co. had been established in Southwark, London in 1836 and soon had branches in places like Croydon, Brighton, Maidstone and Woolwich. It was renamed London & County Bank in 1839. The bank expanded steadily by making a series of acquisitions. By 1875 it had over 150 branches and was the largest bank in Britain.

Handstamped security overprints of the London & County Banking Company can also be found on Queen Victoria Foreign Bill stamps.

In 1909 London & County Bank merged with London & Westminster bank to form London County & Westminster Bank. In 1918 Parrs Bank was acquired and the bank was renamed London County Westminster & Parrs Bank, making it the fifth largest bank in England. In 1923 the name was simplified to Westminster Bank. The bank continued to expand through acquisition and by 1939 there were 1,100 branches.

                                                         Cheque 1930

In 1968 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank and the new company, National Westminster Bank Ltd., opened its doors for business on 1st January 1970. NatWest, as it became known, is now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Twck. & Tedd. Elec. Supply Co., Ltd. / L. & H. C. J. E. A.

The Twickenham & Teddington Electric Supply Co. Ltd. was created in 1900 and bought the land west of Talbot Road, (now 37 Hamilton Road) Twickenham, on which to build an electricity works. Electricity supply began in 1902 providing power for a modest 3,000 lights at first and quickly expanding. The works buildings were substantially extended after the First World War as the works began to supply a larger area including Hampton and Hampton Wick as well as Twickenham and Teddington.

The Twickenham & Teddington Electric Supply Co. Ltd was acquired by the London & Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority on 1st January 1931. The L. & H. C. J. E. A. had been established following the London Electricity Act of 1925. The joint electricity district covered by the Authority contained 82 separate authorities distributing electricity which were able to amalgamate following the Act. These consisted 16 metropolitan borough councils inside the County of London; and in Outer London of 22 municipal corporations, 6 urban district councils and 24 companies.

The L. & H. C. J. E. A became part of the South Eastern Electricity Board upon nationalisation of the electrical power industry in 1947. The electricity works at Hamilton Road were closed down in 1960 and the works buildings were partly demolished towards the end of the 20th century.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Godfreys Limited

Oliver Godfrey was a motorcycle racer who was the very first winner of the Isle of Man Mountain Course TT in 1911 at the age of 23. In 1912 the Senior TT winner was Frank Applebee. The two men became partners, establishing a motorcycle retailers at 208 Great Portland Street, London, called Godfreys.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Oliver Godfrey enlisted to become a pilot. Following his training he was posted to 27 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps which had arrived in France in March 1916. The squadron was equipped exclusively with single-seater fighter scouts called the Martinsyde “Elephant” G100. The plane was nick-named the Elephant because it was big and slow to respond. The squadron was deployed on missions up and down the western front to bomb and reconnoiter. The start of the Third Battle of the Somme on 15th September saw the squadron attack General von Bulow's headquarters at Bourlon Chateau, followed by more bombing of trains around Cambrai, at Ephy, and Ribecourt. It was during a bombing mission to Cambrai on 23rd September that Oliver Godfrey lost his life. Godfrey was one of 252 crew and 800 planes lost during this four month campaign; the Royal Flying Corps losing some 75% of its men in battle.

Godfrey's entire estate was bequeathed to his business partner Frank Applebee. The Godfreys store continued and began selling new and second-hand cars as well as motorcycles and in 1945 the firm was incorporated as a limited company. The business expanded, adding outlets in Croydon and Stamford Hill in north London. Godfreys Ltd continued trading until the 1960s.

The overprint shown here in SG 421 is also known on SG 465. Only handstamped overprints are known on the later issues, as pictured above.

          Oliver Godfrey aboard his winning TT motorcycle in 1911

Friday, June 24, 2016

Richard & Tucker Nunn Ltd.

Richard & Tucker Nunn Ltd. were retailers of clocks and watches at 108 Hatton Garden, London. The company acted as a dealer for Smiths English Clocks Ltd., which was one of the most prolific clockmakers of the 20th century. In 1959 the firm merged with another dealer for Smiths Clocks called Grimshaw Baxter & J.J. Elliott Ltd. to form Tucker Nunn & Grimshaws Ltd. The new company continued until at least 1978.