Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thomas Lea & Co.

In the 1820s Charles Lea became a coal merchant in London. His sons, Thomas, Charles, and John, followed him into the family business to form Lea & Sons. In 1836 Charles Lea retired and dissolved the partnership with his sons. Each of the sons then went into business for himself as a coal merchant.

The 1841 the London Post Office Directory listed the business address of Thomas Lea & Co., coal merchants, as Northumberland Wharf, Augustus Street, Regents Park Basin.

Thomas Lea lived in Middlesex and would drive to work in London each morning with two loaded pistols. He feared being robbed in Highgate, which was the northern approach to London and still had a reputation for highway robberies at this time. Thomas Lea was never robbed and died a very wealthy man in 1874.

Portrait of Thomas Lea (1807-1874) by the artist Henry Charles Heath

by Mark Matlach

BBL (Brown Brothers Ltd.)

Brown Brothers Ltd. was a manufacturer and wholesaler of bicycles and cycle accessories, and later in its history, of motorcycles and aircraft parts.

In 1889, Albert and Ernest Brown rented the company's first premises at 7 Great Eastern Street, London, and began dealing in bicycles, cycle parts, and tools. In that same year, Dunlop patented and developed the pneumatic tyre. By 1890, practical tyres had replaced the solid tyres that had been used until then, and bicycles suddenly became hugely popular. The 1890s were the bicycle trade's first boom years and Brown Brothers were in an ideal position to capitalise. In 1891 the premises at Great Eastern Street were expanded and in the following year the company opened a branch in Paris.

The beginning of the 20th century saw a slump in the bicycle market and Brown Brothers Ltd. diversified into the motorcycle and motor car business. Brown motorcycles were manufactured from 1902 until 1915. After the First World War, all production of motorcycles had ceased and the company focused on motor accessories, aircraft parts, and the popular Vindec bicycles.

Brown Brothers Ltd. continued until at least 1989. The site of the company's original premises in Great Eastern Street is now occupied by an office block.

Brown Brothers original premises in Great Eastern Street c.1900

Despite the long history of Brown Brothers, the B B L overprint appears to have been used only in the George VI period on SG 465 and SG 488.

by Mark Matlach

British Jaeger Instruments Ltd.

British Jaeger Instruments Ltd. was a manufacturer of speedometers, tachometers, and other motoring instruments. The origins of the company can be traced to 1880 when the renowned French watchmaker Edmond Jaeger established a company in Paris. Jaeger devoted his life to developing mechanisms for measuring speeds and was a pioneer in the development of chronometers, tachometers, and automobile and cockpit clocks. Jaeger's company grew to become the largest manufacturer of speedometers in the world.

A British arm of the French company, called Edmond Jaeger (London) Ltd., was soon established. In 1927 this company was acquired by Smiths, the well-known clock-making company. In 1931 the business was renamed British Jaeger Instruments Ltd.

British Jaeger continued with the French styling of the speedometers it manufactured, which typically featured a black face imprinted with stark contrasting white lettering, numerals and indicator needle. Other instruments made by the company included: tachometers, electrical themometers, car clocks, water, oil and temperature gauges, and fuel indicators. The vast majority of British cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles manufactured from the late 1920s to the 1990s were equipped with instruments manufactured by British Jaeger.

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spero (Richard Haworth & Co. Ltd.)

The Spero overprint belongs to the textile manufacturing company Richard Haworth & Co. Ltd. The overprint is notable for its uncommon V1f  style.

In 1852, Richard Haworth established a company in Manchester as a yarn and cloth commission agent. The firm prospered and expanded by leasing a large mill at Broughton Bridge and spinning was added to cloth weaving. Further mills were added, Egyptian Mill (1864), Tatton Mill (1870), and Ordsall Mill (1872). Richard Haworth died in 1866 and his two sons, G.C. And J.F. Haworth, took control of the business, which they converted into a limited company.

The early part of the 20th century was a boom time for the company. Richard Haworth & Co. Ltd. began to offer a wide range of products under the trade mark "Spero", such as dress fabrics, handkerchiefs, corsets, blankets, and sheets. The company also produced canvases for tents and sails. The major portion of the manufacturing was carried out at the company's factories in Salford, Padiham, and Hinkley Green, which employed a total workforce of 2400 people.

Today the company is part of the Ruia Group that comprises of a number of companies that import, supply, and distribute household textiles and hosiery. Richard Haworth & Co. Ltd. supplies bed linen, table linen, and towels to the hospital, hotel, and restaurant markets.

by Mark Matlach

Ind Coope & Co.

 The origins of Ind Coope brewing company go back to 1709 when brewing was begun behind the Star Inn in Romford, Essex. In 1799 this pub was purchased by Edward Ind, who built a larger brewery on the site. In 1845, brothers Octavius and George Coope became partners in the business, which took the name Ind Coope & Co.

In 1856, the company opened a much larger brewery in Burton-upon-Trent. This was the first instance of an Essex brewer opening an establishment in Burton to take advantage of the Staffordshire town's famed water. Part of the original brewery, including the water tower, is still standing today.

Ind Coope & Co. went into receivership in 1909 and was subsequently re-registered in 1912 as Ind Coope & Co. (1912) Ltd. The (1912) was dropped from the name in 1923. After merging with Samuel Allsopp & Sons Ltd. in 1934, the company name was changed again to Ind Coope & Allsopp Ltd., and then to Ind Coope Ltd. in 1959.

In 1961 the company merged with Tetley Walker Ltd. and Ansells Brewery Ltd. to form Allied Breweries Ltd. The company is now part of the Carlsberg-Tetley group.

by Mark Matlach

William Cory & Son Ltd.

William Cory & Son Ltd. was formed in London in 1896 following the merger of eight companies in the coal trade. Cory had a comprehensive business transporting and supplying 5 million tonnes of coal per year to customers in London. The company had a fleet of 2,500 railway wagons and also operated barges on the River Thames. So that the barges did not return empty after delivering coal, Cory used them to carry refuse from London to be dumped in the marshlands of Essex and Kent.
One of Cory's tugs, called "Don", purchased by the company in 1914.

During the First World War, most of Cory's tugs were requisitioned for the Royal Navy. The company lost fifteen ships, most confirmed sunk by enemy action. In the Second World War fuel supplies were vital to the war effort. Cory colliers sailed in coastal convoys and 13 of them were lost.

By the 1950s Cory was transporting and supplying fuel oil as well as coal. In 1956 the company began to develop a fleet of barges designed specifically to carry refuse rather than coal. Cory had its own barge-building yard, which produced more than 400 such vessels between 1962 and 1972.

In 1972 William Cory & Son Ltd. was acquired by Ocean Group plc. By the end of the 1970s Cory was the largest waste carrier on the Thames. In the 1980s Cory withdrew from coal and oil distribution altogether, to concentrate solely on waste transport and disposal. In 1990 the company became Cory Environmental and currently operates in more than thirty locations in England, providing services in the collection, recycling and disposal of waste as well as municipal cleaning.
by Mark Matlach