Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Queen's Old Castle Co.

For well over a hundred years the Queen's Old Castle department store was one of the best-known shops in Cork, Republic of Ireland. The site of the store is one of the most historic and interesting sites in the city center. Confusingly, it was originally the site of the King's Castle, one of the two fortresses guarding the entrance to the medieval port of Cork. The original Queen's Castle was further to the north near present day Castle Street and Cornmarket Street. The King's Castle was built in 1206 and functioned until the late 15th century. Following an order from King James I in 1609, the castle was demolished and the County Courthouse was built in its place.

After the opening of a new City and County Courthouse on Great George's Street in 1835 the site of the old County Courthouse/ King's Castle was developed as a department store owned by a man named William Fitzgibbon. It is around this time that the site became known as the Queen's Old Castle, perhaps in honor of Queen Victoria, and the older name King's Castle came to be forgotten until modern historians drew attention to the fact that the original Queen's Castle was to the north of the department store.

From the 1840s to the 1970s. The Queen's Old Castle was one of the most popular department stores in Cork. The ownership of the store changed over the years. Brown Thomas Ltd. and Primark, trading under the name Penneys, were among the last owners of the premises while it was still a department store. Power Securities bought the store in 1978 and converted it into a shopping center consisting of 37 individual shops and restaurants.

Interior view of the Queen's Old Castle department store in 1866

by Mark Matlach

Pyne Brothers

Pyne Brothers was a department store in Lewisham High Road (now Lewisham Way) in Deptford, south east London. The store began as a draper's shop in the mid-19th century and expanded progressively, becoming the centerpiece of Lewisham High Road, which was a thriving shopping street at the time.

The business continued into the 1960s; in the 1980s the premises were converted into flats.

Pyne Brothers in 1891

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, June 23, 2013

L.E.P. (Lancashire Electric Power Company)

The Lancashire Electric Power Company was one of the largest private electricity companies in the UK. It was established by Act of Parliament in 1900. The original power station was the Radcliffe Power Station which was opened by the Earl of Derby on 9th October 1905.

The first customer was the Acme Spinning Company in Pendlebury which with 75,000 spindles was the first cotton spinning mill in Lancashire to be designed for powering by electricity. A second power station opened in Padiham in 1926 and a third at Kearsley in 1929.

Following the nationalization of the electricity industry by the Electricity Act 1947, the Lancashire Electric Power Company became part of the North Western Electricity Board, which was privatised in 1990, becoming Norweb plc.

Kearsley Power Station, 1964

by Mark Matlach

Kendal Milne & Co. (Harrods Limited)

Kendal Milne & Co. was a department store in central Manchester which traces its origins to a draper's shop opened by John Watts in 1796. The shop catered for the elegantly dressed women of the era and proved so successful that by 1830 it had expanded into purpose-built premises across the road. In 1835, the business was sold to three young managers; Thomas Kendal, James Milne and Adam Faulkner. The store was re-opened as Kendal, Milne & Faulkner. When Faulkner died in 1862 it became Kendal Milne & Co.

By the close of the 19th century Kendal Milne & Co. had grown into a department store offering a wide range of consumer goods. More than 900 staff were employed and extravagant tearooms, featuring oriental rugs, palms, and velvet-covered seats were the most fashionable venues in town.

Kendal Milne & Co., Manchester

In 1919, the store was bought for £650,000 by Harrods who would maintain it until the 1959 sale to House of Fraser. Expansion continued during the 20th century to include a hairdressers, library, travel and estate agencies, a glass and china department, haberdashery, milliners and a furrier. In February 1939 the store was gutted by fire and a new purpose-built building was constructed at the end of the 1940s. The department store continued to trade as Kendal Milne & Co. until 2005, when it was renamed House of Fraser Manchester.
by Mark Matlach

Sunday, June 16, 2013

D. M'Coll

Donald M'Coll was a successful businessman before embarking on a career with the Corporation of Glasgow.

In 1868 he joined the newly formed Glasgow Cleansing Department and in 1883 he was appointed Assistant Superintendent of the department.

In 1892 M'Coll became the General Manager of the Tramways Department and in 1898, on the foundation of the Association of Cleansing Superintendents of Great Britain and Ireland, the value of his work was acknowledged by his being chosen its first President.

Donald M'Coll

The receipt shown is for the Glasgow Police Department dated 20th March 1899(?), so presumably M'Coll was employed there in some capacity at this time. The receipt is for over £2 worth of turnips, though just why the police in Glasgow needed so many turnips is unclear!

by Mark Matlach

Cassell & Co. Ltd.

Cassell & Co. Ltd. is a publishing company, founded in 1848 by John Cassell and currently owned by the Orion Publishing Group.

In 1847 John Cassell established himself as a tea and coffee merchant in London, and soon after started a publishing business with the aim of supplying good literature to the working classes. The company's first publication was on 1st July 1848, a weekly newspaper called The Standard of Freedom, which advocated religious, political, and commercial freedom.

In 1851 Cassell rented part of a London inn called La Belle Sauvage and by 1852 he had expanded the premises and was printing magazines and books. The company prospered for just three years before going bankrupt. In 1855 the printing firm of Petter & Galpin took over Cassell's business. John Cassell rejoined the company as a junior partner after becoming solvent in 1858, the firm trading as Cassell, Petter & Galpin. Petter resigned in 1883 and in 1888 the company name was changed to Cassell & Co. Ltd. following Galpin's retirement and Petter's death. The company's publications during these years included: The Popular Educator (1852-55), The Technical Educator (1870-72), The Magazine of Art (1878-1903), Cassell's Magazine (from 1852), and numerous additions to standard works.

Cassell & Co. Ltd. continued as an independent company until 1998 when it was acquired by the Orion Publishing Group.

Advertisement 1912

by Mark Matlach

Sunday, June 9, 2013

St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society

The St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society opened its first shop in Ponton Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1859 as a Consumers' co-operative. This society was part of the movement started by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844, and followed the Rochdale Principles with the aim of providing decent food at affordable prices in a shop controlled by its customers as a co-operative. It took its name from Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.

As early as 1913 St. Cuthbert's had bought the Cliftonhall Estate which was almost 970 acres in area. In 1918 four more farms were bought on the Newtonhall Estate and in 1919 780 acres were purchased at Bonnington. By 1949 the Association owned over 3,000 acres of land.

 The former Co-op headquarters in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

St Cuthbert's Co-op largest department store in Bread Street, Edinburgh was built in three stages to designs by three architects: John McLachlan in 1892; Thomas Purves Marwick in 1898 and 1914 and Thomas Waller Marwick in 1936.

The 1930s section features a glass 'curtain wall', the first of its kind in Scotland, in contrast to the stone facades of its late 19th-/early 20th-century neighbors. The store closed in the early 1990s and buildings were converted for use as the Point Hotel and Conference Centre in 1999.

St Cuthberts expanded to become one of the largest societies in the British co-operative movement, employing some 3,000 at its peak, before amalgamating with the Dalziel Society of Motherwell in 1981 and being renamed Scotmid. Its dairy used horse drawn delivery floats until 1985, and between 1944 and 1959 employed the future actor Sean Connery as a milkman.

To this day, the Scotmid Supermarket opposite the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh still has, on the goods in access road, gates that read "SCCA" - St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association".

by Paul Green

Sweet & Maxwell

Sweet & Maxwell is a British publisher specializing in legal publications. Sweet & Maxwell publishes Westlaw-UK, as well as the Lawtel, LocalawUK, Legal Hub, and DocDel on-line services. It also published many well-regarded loose leafs and books. Its flagship print products include the White Book (publishing the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) along with extensive commentary and additional material) and Archibald Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice (the leading practitioners' text for criminal lawyers in England & Wales and several other common law jurisdictions around the world).

Sweet & Maxwell is part of the European law publisher’s initiative Law Publishers in Europe.

Brief history of Sweet & Maxwell
  • 1799: Stephen Sweet begins trading as a law bookseller. Based in Chancery Lane, London, his first published work was Parker's Reports of Cases in the Court of Exchequer (1800).
  • 1800: Alexander Maxwell commences as a bookseller and auctioneer in Fetter Lane, London, initially specialising in religious books.
  • 1802: First publication of Woodfall on Landlord and Tenant - Sweet & Maxwell's oldest title still in print.
  • 1810: Stevens & Sons started in business.
  • 1831: Alexander Maxwell granted a Royal Warrant as Law Bookseller in Ordinary to King William IV.
  • 1882: The White Book commences publication as The Annual Chancery Practice
  • 1889: Sweet and Maxwell merge. Stevens & Sons refuses to join.
  • 1897: Sweet & Maxwell started the publication of the Encyclopaedia of the Laws of England, the first modern work of its kind.
  • 1941: The third edition of the Encyclopaedia of the Laws of England is destroyed by enemy action during the Blitz on London during the Second World War. Paper stock and manuscript copy were all destroyed, and publication abandoned.
  • 1950: Stevens & Sons merges with Sweet & Maxwell - 61 years after first refusing to do so. Palmer's Company Law and Treitel on Contract are now added to the list.
  • 1956: Sweet & Maxwell acquires W.Green, the Scottish Law Publisher.
  • 1994: Brehon Publishing and The Round Hall Press acquired and merged to form Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell in Dublin.1995: First CD-ROM published: The Supreme Court Practice. Sweet & Maxwell acquires Legal Information Resources (LIR), based in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. LIR had been founded by law librarians to assist legal researchers in tracking articles and key information. This led the company to greater development and application of computer technologies and the importance of standard authority files and taxonomy. This in turn made LIR a perfect fit for Sweet & Maxwell's ambitions in this area, highlighted by the transfer of the Current Law publishing process to Yorkshire. 
  • 1996: IRA bomb explodes outside offices in London's Docklands - Sweet & Maxwell relocate to current address at Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage, London.
  • 2001: Sweet & Maxwell merges with the Thomson-owned GEE Publishing to form one of the UK's leading legal & regulatory publishers. The GEE brand is retained for regulatory products.
  • 2002: The acquisition of Lawtel adds to Sweet & Maxwell's family of complementary online brands. Lawtel offers current awareness and other legal services designed to allow lawyers to keep in touch with the latest developments at their desktops.
  • 2003: Its Asia division, with headquarters in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, won the contract to supply law books to the Hong Kong government.

by Paul Green

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Royal Typewriter Company

The Royal Typewriter Company was founded in January 1904 in a machine shop in Brooklyn, New York by Edward B. Hess and Lewis C. Myers.

In 1905, with their limited cash running out, Hess and Myers turned to Thomas Fortune Ryan, the wealthy financier. They demonstrated their machine which had numerous innovations including: friction-free, ball-bearing, one-track rail to support the weight of the carriage, a new paper feed, a lighter and faster type bar action, and complete visibility of the words as they are typed. Ryan was impressed and put up $220,000 in exchange for financial control.

In March 1906 the first Royal typewriter, the Royal Standard, was sold.

With demand increasing, Royal purchased 5¼ acres in Hartford, Connecticut as the new site for its manufacturing facility. Original plans called for floor capacity of 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) and cost $350,000 to build. In 1908, Royal began manufacturing there.

Royal entered the portable typewriter market in 1926 - years behind its competitors such as Underwood, LC Smith Corona, and Remington. In order to promote the new portable, Royal president, G. E. Smith, secured the exclusive sponsorship of the September 23, 1926 Dempsey-Tunney championship fight for $35,000. This boxing match was the first nation-wide radio hook-up. "The Daily News" of New York estimated that 20 million fans from coast to coast listened to the broadcast. Royal's introduction of its portable line of typewriters was an immediate success and launched the company to become the world's #1 selling typewriter brand.

On October 9, 1926, the "Hartford Daily Courant" reported that Royal had just produced its one millionth typewriter.

To promote the ruggedness of its typewriters, George Edward Smith, president of Royal bought a Ford-Stout tri-motor airplane in August 1927. This plane, commonly called the Royal Airtruck, dropped over 200 typewriters in crates with parachutes to dealers over the eastern seaboard of the USA on its maiden flight. Royal eventually delivered over 11,000 this way with only 10 being damaged.

World War II brought tremendous change to Royal. In order to aid the war effort, Royal converted its manufacturing to war work exclusively. Royal would manufacture machine guns, rifles, bullets, propellers, and spare parts for airplane engines. It wouldn't be until September 1945 that Royal would start typewriter production full-time again and not until December 1948 that Royal would catch up on its pre-war backlog.

In February 1950, Royal introduced its first electric typewriter.

In April 1954, the Royal typewriter Company announced its plan to merge with McBee, a leading manufacturer of accounting and statistical machines and supplies. By July, Royal stockholders approve the plan and Royal McBee was formed, from 1954 to 1964 sales soared from $84.7 million to over $113 million. Royal McBee was consistently listed as a Fortune 500 company.

In December 1964, Litton Industries' stockholders approved the acquisition of Royal McBee. The deal became final in March 1965. Litton would change the name of Royal McBee back to Royal Typewriter and reorganize the company.

In March 1979, Volkswagen, seeking to diversify, announced its intention to acquire a 55% stake in Triumph Adler. Included in the deal is Royal Typewriter, sales continued to climb and by 1982 sales in North America of Royal and Triumph Adler totaled over $600 million.
In April 1986, Olivetti, the Italian typewriter/computer manufacturer, announced plans to purchase Triumph Adler and Royal from Volkswagen. For nearly two decades Royal was a part of the Olivetti family.

In September 2004, Royal became a private American company again.

Now known as Royal Consumer Information Products Inc., Royal’s product line has evolved to include cash registers, shredders, PDAs/electronic organizers, postal scales, weather stations, and a wide range of original and compatible/remanufactured imaging supplies supporting today’s most popular printers, faxes, and copiers.

by Paul Green

Nicholas Temperley & Son

In 1827 Nicholas Temperley was a grocer selling butter, bacon, cheese, tea, and flour from premises in Market Street. The Temperleys are described in a directory from the late 19th century as "an old established and well known firm of merchants and importers with premises at Hexham, and Newcastle." The directory goes on to state that, "The name Temperley has been a familiar one on Tyneside for several generations, and the establishment of the firm dates from 1801… the firm do an extensive business in home produce, and as importers of cargoes, and direct steamer shipments of various descriptions of foreign oil-cakes, grain, and other feeding materials…They also act as agents in the district for one of the largest Hungarian flour mills at Budapest."

The Temperleys left quite a mark architecturally in Hexham. In 1826 Temperley Place was built on the north side of Hencoates and in 1859 William Temperley built Westfield House at Hexham at the substantial cost of £1,047. His eldest son Nicholas laid the foundation stone on his fifteenth birthday, February 14th 1859. The house was sold in 1877, after being let for a few years, to J. Hope for £11,000 and later became Hexham Hydro. The same year, 1877, 9 Beaumont Street, an "essay in free Baroque" according to Pevsner, was built for W. A. Temperley and Co, followed in 1897 by 7 Beaumont Street.

by Paul Green