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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Foster Brothers

The company was founded as an oilseed business in Evesham, Worcestershire in 1730. In 1862 Thomas Nelson Foster and his brother Richard Gibbs Foster, moved the company to Bakers Quay in Gloucester following a fire which devestated the Evesham premises. Foster Brothers established an oilseed crushing mill on Bakers Quay and the mill continued to be managed by three generations of the Foster family until 1945.

Batches of imported linseed oil and cotton were crushed, heated and then pressed to extract the oil, and the residue was sold as cattle cake. A major expansion of premises was carried out in 1891-93 to provide more milling capacity and warehouse space with a detached boiler house and a tank house. The output capacity was 600 tons per week, and the workforce increased from an initial 10 or so to over 100.

In 1899 Foster Brothers joined with sixteen other similar firms from around the country to form British Oil & Cake Mills Ltd. (BOCM). Another phase of expansion took place in 1910, including the installation of a second mill and a deodorising plant. The production capacity subsequently increased to 1000 tons per week. In 1925 BOCM was taken over by Lever Brothers, but the mill in Gloucester continued to be managed by members of the Foster family until 1945.

During the 1920s and 30s, Foster Brothers mainly processed linseed (from Argentina, India and Canada), cotton seed (from Egypt, Bombay and Greece) and groundnuts (from the west coast of Africa). Most of these products came by large ship to Sharpness and then by barge to Gloucester. Much of the linseed oil was sold to paint and varnish manufacturers and some was used in making linoleum. Cotton seed was sold for fish frying and soap making, and groundnut oil for making margarine. It was all sent out in barrels made on the premises. Much of the residual cake was sold as slabs direct to farmers, while some was mixed with grain and certain additives to produce a range of animal feeds.

In the early 1950s, BOCM installed a large, new oil extraction plant at Avonmouth. This led to the closure of the Gloucester mill in 1955, and the building was later sold to West Midland Farmers who used it as a distribution depot.
                                                      Receipt 1904

Foster Brothers' oilseed crushing mill, built on Bakers Quay in 1862.

Pauldens Ltd.

Pauldens Ltd. was a department store in Manchester and later also in Sheffield. The business began in the 1860s when William Paulden opened a carpet and soft furnishing shop in Stretford Road. Pauldens was regarded as an innovative retailer; as the shop expanded to become a department store, it became the first to introduce electric lighting, lifts, escalators, and plate glass windows to the shop. There was also a moving picture show in the window, presumably advertising goods and services.

In 1928 Pauldens was taken over by Debenhams although the store continued to trade under the Pauldens name. Debenhams also established another Pauldens store in Sheffield. The Manchester store was rebuilt in 1930. In 1941 the store had a lucky escape when it received a direct hit from a German bomb which went straight through the lift shaft causing minimal damage. In 1957 Pauldens was completely renovated, however a fire broke out on the Sunday before it was due to open and the building was completely destroyed. The business was forced to start trading temporarily in an army barracks in Medlock Street. In 1959 Pauldens transferred its business to the Rylands Building (which also housed the warehouse of Rylands & Co.) in Market Street.The store was renamed as Debenhams in 1973. The site of the original Pauldens store which had burned to the ground, is today occupied by the Manchester Metropolitan University's Cambridge Hall of Residence.
The original Pauldens department store in Cavendish Street, Manchester.

H. S. W. & Co. Ltd. (H. S. Whiteside & Co. Ltd.)

H. S. Whiteside & Co. Ltd. was a family-run confectionery company in south-east London. The firm produced a great variety of sweets, jellies, nut and chocolate products, nougat and toffee. In 1949 Whitesides took control of Maconochie Brothers including their factory on the Isle of Dogs and began to market peanuts and peanut butter under the Sun-Pat brand name. In the 1960s Whitesides overstretched themselves financially and the company was acquired by Rowntree & Co. Ltd. in 1967. The Sun-Pat brand is currently owned by Hain Celestial Group.
                                             Advertisement 1953

N. L. Fernandes and Co.

Nowell Luis Fernandes was involved in a family business of wine merchants and worsted spinners in Wakefield, West Yorkshire in the 1830s. In 1839 this business was dissolved and Fernandes established his own brewing company in 1850 at the Old Bridge Brewery, Doncaster Road, Wakefield, called N. L. Fernandes & Co. The company was acquired, along with 42 tied pubs, by John Smiths in 1919 and a year later the Old Bridge Brewery closed down.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Woodford Bourne & Co.

Woodford Bourne is a wine and spirits business currently based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. In the 1840s John Woodford was running a grocery shop on the Grand Parade in Cork, Ireland. The principal product was loose leaf tea, which was imported from India and China then blended and packaged within Woodford & Co. John Woodford died in 1847 and a couple of years later his widow married an employee of the company called James Bourne. In 1850 the firm was renamed Woodford Bourne & Co.

In 1869 the company purchased the entire stock of the Cork wine merchants Maziere & Sainthill, and expanded the business to include wines and later spirits. Woodford Bourne was the first company in Ireland to import wine from the south of France. It arrived in Cork in tankers with a capacity of 30,000 bottles. The Woodford Bourne store became the place where professionals and well-off Cork residents would come to buy tea, wine, and whisky, including a curiously named Extra Old Mild Invalids' Whiskey. Port was bottled for the exclusive Cork and County Club. Liqueurs, sherry, coffees, spices, pickles, fish sauces, beer and flowers were also sold.

James Bourne retired in the late 1860s and an employee of the firm, James Adam Nicholson, an immigrant from England, eventually became sole owner and the company remained in the hands of the Nicholson family for generations. In 1988 Woodford Bourne was acquired by an Irish drinks company called Wardell Roberts.