Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sir Joseph Causton & Sons Limited

In 1863, Joseph Causton and his son, also named Joseph, developed the printing company which was to become the large and well known Joseph Causton and Sons Limited.

In 1867 the company was described as being a wholesale stationer and printer with a large warehouse at Southwark Street, London.

Joseph Causton was also a politician. He became a Councillor for Billingsgate, East London in 1868 and Sheriff for London and Middlesex in 1868. The pinnacle of his career came when Queen Victoria opened Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct in 1869 and he was knighted at Windsor Castle to mark the event. The company name now became Sir Joseph Causton and Sons Limited. Sir Joseph died just two years later, but his sons, Joseph, Richard, and James, continued as partners of the firm.
The company moved to a large new printing works in Eastleigh, Hampshire in the 1930s. The printing works made labels for household brands including Marmite and Guiness. During The Second World War they printed secret maps for the Government in a specially bricked off part of the building.

By the end of the 1960s Sir Joseph Causton and Sons Limited fortunes were in decline. In the mid 1970s the company was losing money but it was not until 1984 that the firm was taken over by Norton Opex. They in turn were acquired by Bowater and Sir Joseph Causton and Sons ceased trading.

The Causton name has survived only as Causton Envelopes Ltd. and Causton Cartons, which is a subsidiary of the Bowater Group, manufacturing cartons for the pharmaceutical industry.

By Mark Matlach

In addition to the overprint shown above, the pattern
is known on the F22 revenue stamp.

Cerebos Ltd.

Before the introduction of free running table salt as we know it today, household salt had to be purchased in blocks.

In 1891 a pharmacist by the name of George Duncan Bowie decided to mix a carefully prepared mixture of phosphates with salt, thereby inventing dry-pouring salt. Another pharmacist named George Weddell experimented further with Bowie's invention and managed to improve upon it, creating a dry, free-flowing salt. He called it Cerebos.

The name Cerebos is derived from the words Ceres (Roman goddess of agriculture and harvests) and os (the Latin word for bone—the phosphates in salt strengthen the bones).

Weddell built a factory close to the salt deposits at Seaton Carew, County Durham. The business soon took off, employing a manager, a chemist, an engineer and a small group of workers for packing. The company also sold baking powder and health salts.

By 1896 salesmen were working throughout the U.K. They sent samples to doctors and chemists for comment and so the name of Cerebos spread.

The Cerebos advertising slogan was "see how it runs" describing how fine the salt was. A boy chasing a bird and pouring salt on it is an icon which became synonymous with the brand.

In 1900, small traces of arsenic found in the phosphates Cerebos were using caused a panic amongst the salt buying public. However, the amounts involved were found to be very small and steps were taken to remove the impurities.

In 1904 the company became Cerebos Ltd and two years later the manufacturing operation was moved to Greatham.

In 1919 Cerebos Ltd acquired Middlewich Salt Co Ltd., giving them a total workforce of 850 women and 150 men.

After the Second World War new methods of production came in and Cerebos Ltd continued to expand. The company was acquired by RHM Ltd in 1968, which in turn was acquired by Premier Foods in March 2007.

By Mark Matlach

Cerebos Ltd. used a variety of different overprint styles, including:
  • For / Cerberos Ltd. on SG 421
  • For / Cerberos Ltd. on SG 442 and 465 (different font)
  • Received for / Cerberos Ltd. on SG 488 (as shown above)
  • Received for / Cerberos Ltd. on SG 506

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Angus Watson and Co. Limited

While on holiday in Norway in the summer of 1903, Angus Watson had a brilliant idea. He had been observing the local fishermen landing their catch and noticed that many of the smaller fish were discarded and thrown back into the water. He asked a local fisherman why this should be so and was told that there was no demand for such small fish.

Watson did not agree. He was sure that he could import the unwanted fish and sell them in the U.K.

Watson returned home to Newcastle and rented a small warehouse hardly larger than a room. He employed one man and a youngster to help him. Angus Watson and Co. was born.

As Watson had anticipated, the business was a huge success. The small fish became known as Skippers sardines.In 1921 Watson was able to open a factory to actually can the fish he had been importing. The firm continued to expand rapidly as other canned food products were added to the fish they were selling. By 1928 the number of employees had risen dramatically to 10,000.

In 1961 Angus Watson and Co Limited merged with two other fish canning companies to form John West Foods. Since 2006 John West has been owned by MW Brands.

By Mark Matlach

Smiths, Gore and Co.

In 1847 John Pickering and Edmund Smith opened an estate agents at 14 Whitehall Place in London. In 1851 the company was appointed as Agent and Receiver to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (who managed the revenues of the Church of England).

The business prospered and in 1863 they were able to open a second office in Darlington. Around this time Robert Watkins became a partner.

Robert Watkins died in 1874, enabling Edmund Smith to admit his son Charles into the partnership, along with Spencer William Gore, his son-in-law.

Spencer William Gore

Spencer William Gore was a keen sportsman. In 1877 he entered and won the first ever Mens' Singles Tennis Championship at Wimbledon. He won the Final in 50 minutes and commented afterwards, "Lawn tennis is rather dull—it will never catch on." The firm also changed its name in this year to Smiths, Gore and Co.

Smiths, Gore and Co. continued to expand rapidly, especially after the First World War when the value of agricultural land increased dramatically. The company currently operates from 25 offices and 18 estate offices across the U.K. and is considered a leading specialist in the rural sector of land management.

By Mark Matlach

There are several varieties of overprint:
    known on SG 172
  • SMITHS / & GORE.
    known on SG 172 and used on Dec. 31, 1891 and May 23, 1889
  • SMITHS, / GORE & Co.
    (with square punctuation)
    known on SG 172 and used on Dec. 23, 1892
  • SMITHS, / GORE & Co.
    (with round punctuation)
    known on SG 172 and used on June 26, 1894; Dec. 22, 1900; and Jan. 2, 1902
  • SMITHS, / GORE & Co.
    (with a square "." and a round ",")
    known on SG 219 and used on Oct. 15, 1904; Dec. 31, 1908; and Dec. 30, 1911
    also known on SG 341 and used on Jan. 1, 1913.