Category Archives: Industry

1827 auction of Patent Steam Laundry at Phipps Bridge

clip from Merton Memories reference Mit_Work_Industry_2-3

From the Sun (London) – Wednesday 08 August 1827, via the British Newspaper Archive

The Patent Steam Washing Company’s Valuable and Extensive Premises, at Phipps-bridge, Mitcham, Surrey, with Two Steam Engines, and all the Capital Machinery.

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION,
By WINSTANLEY and SONS,

At the Mart, on TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, at Twelve, in One Lot, by Order of the Assignees, and with consent of the Mortgagees.

THE Valuable and Extensive PREMISES, comprising a newly-erected Building about two hundred and fourteen feet long and sixty-one feet wide, situate adjoining that well-known and fine stream the River Wandle. Together with Two Steam Engines, one of ten-horse and the other six-horse power ; seven large washing wheels, an Hydraulic Press of immense power, with ironing and calendering apparatus, and all other suitable fittings and machinery for the various departments, and forming one of the most complete establishments of the kind in the Kingdom, and the whole is easily applicable for a Brewery, Calico Printing, and many other descriptions of manufacture.

Also, very extensive Stabling, Coach or Waggon-houses, Yards, &c. The above Premises are holden by Lease for Ninety-nine Years, at £31 10s. per annum.

Likewise a New Brick Erection fitted up as a Dyehouse, containing several large Coppers, with Leaden Cisterns and other apparatus of the most approved constructions, and upon a very excellent scale, held for thirty years, at £9 per annum.

And a Field of Meadow Land, about Fifteen Acres, well calculated for a Drying or Bleaching Ground, with a Timber Building about 110 feet long and 21 wide, fitted up as a canteen, and supplied with suitable cooking apparatus and appendages.

To be viewed by Tickets only, which with particulars l may be had of Mr. de Mole, solicitor, at Merchant Tailors’ , Hall ; of Messrs.. Rankin and Rickards, solicitors, Basinghall-street ;of Messrs. Gregson and Fonnergau, Angel Court, Throgmorton-street ; and of Winstanley and Sons, Paternoster-row ; particulars may also be had at the Buck’s Head, Mitcham ; Greyhound, and King’s Arms, Croydon ; the King’s Arms, Carshalton ; Spread Eagle, Epsom ; Griffin, and Castle, Kingston ; of Thomas Winstanley and Son, at Liverpool and at Manchester ; and at the Inns at Glasgow.

From the Sun (London) – Wednesday 08 August 1827, via the British Newspaper Archive.

The ‘Field of Meadow Land, about 15 acres’, is likely to be the area shown on this 1894 OS map on the west side of the river Wandle with the horizontal lines. Using the National Library of Scotland’s area measurement tool, this area is 0.06 square kilometres, or 14 acres. Currently this area is the site of Wimbledon Studios on Windsor Avenue.

1893 OS map

1945 : Kempat Ltd fined for overcharging for bras

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th January 1945, page 1.

£3,435 in Fines
for Overcharging
for Brassieres

Fines amounting to £3,435 were imposed at Mitcham Court, on Monday, when Kempat, Ltd., James’s Estate, Western-road, Mitcham, a firm manufacturing women’s underclothes, and three directors of the firm, were summonsed for overcharging on 15 sales of brassieres involving a sum of £14 5s. 5 1/2d. The case, which opened last week, and involved 47 summonses, took over five hours to hear.

Describing the case as “flagrant,” the Chairman of the Bench (Ald. S.L. Gaston) said the Bench accepted the firm’s plea of guilty, and the firm would be fined £200 on each of the 15 summonses. The Bench found the case against the three directors proved, and Mr Vivian Fitch-Kemp, managing director, All Saints-road, Sutton, would be fined £20 on each of the 15 summonses against him; Major Walter Maxwell Henderson-Scott, Burley Beacon, Burley, Hampshire, £10 on each of nine summonses; and Mrs Ruby Olive Knobel, Gibsons Hill, Norbury, £5 on each of nine summonses. Fifty guineas costs were given against the firm.

At the opening hearing last week it was stated that the proceedings were brought by the Board of Trade under an order limiting profits to 7.5 per cent, on the manufacturers’ costs of production. It was alleged that the firm’s accounts at one time showed a profit of 63 per cent.

Major Henderson-Scott told the Bench that he was a qualified mining engineer, and director of a group of companies engaged in mining industries, which in 1939 acquired shares in Kempat, Ltd.. He had no technical knowledge of the brassiere trade, and took no part in the costing of the company’s goods. When in March, 1944, he saw the accounts for the year ending November, 1943, he had no idea that the firm was overcharging. He did not realise that the figure 34.6 per cent had any bearing on the margin of profut allowed on utility goods. He held no shares in the company apart from his qualifying shares as a director.

Questioned by prosecuting counsel, he said he had been director of companies for about 22 years. He had looked after his own part of the business, and denied that he had any intention of “screwing money out of the public.”

Mrs Knobel, who, it was stated at the previous hearing, had become director simply for the convenience of signing cheques, told the Bench she was no longer a director since Mr Fitch-Kemp’s return. During her directorship she continued to receive her salary of £5 15s., but had nothing extra. She had sent the production figures to Mr Fitch-Kemp nat intervals, but had not understood the costings, nor could she read a balance sheet. The turn-over figures from 1940 to 1942 had dropped from £37,000 to £24,000. Asked for the figures for 1943, she admitted they had risen to £29,000. She was accustomed to send the bank balance to Mr Fitch-Kemp.

The Chairman asked if Mrs Knobel hadhad prepared a monthly financial statement; had she not some knowledge of figures and of balance sheets. “There is evidence of some knowldge of figures. There is little use of her pleading ignorance when she is in a position to prepare statements of this kind,” he said.

Mrs Knobel said she knew the prices the company was charging and that retailers added a percentage, but she insisted that she did not know the firm was overcharging.

At this point defending counsel submitted that proof of the regulations should be before the court. The prosecuting counsel replying that the suggestion was “fantastic,” said that in five years of this kind of work he had never met the point before. The documents were produced.

For the defence it was said that although much had been said about culpable and gross neglect, there was no suggestion of fraud. The firm had carried on under difficulties. When Mr Fitch-Kemp went into the R.A.F. managing directors were difficult to get, and were not as plentiful as gooseberries on bushes. If the company had had the proper staff, they would have made the discovery that the costs were wrong.

Adjusted for inflation, £3,435 in 1945 is equivalent to £150,000 in 2019.

ICL 2904 computer at Downs Surgical

An ICL 2904 mini-mainframe was installed at Downs Surgical Ltd., Church Path, around 1978.

The company had previously used two Honeywell computers: a 716 and a 2020. Both were batch processing machines, with no interactive terminals. The ICL 2904 came with direct data entry terminals for fast entry of orders, and also Multi-Access terminals, for which an online Sales Order Processing system was written in COBOL. The ICL 2904 operating system including a terminal message routing system and a ‘riro’ file for ‘rolling-in and ‘rolling-out’ large Transaction Processing programs.

The main computer room. The three units on the left were EDS60 disc drives. A disc pack holding 60 megacharacters could be mounted on the drive. On top of the drive are the empty disc pack cases. At the far wall are two magnetic tape decks. Spools of tape were mounted on these decks for backup purposes.

The ICL 2904 computer was based on the ICL 1900 series of computers and used a six-bit character instead of the 8-bit byte used today. This meant that the character set did not have lower case letters. The EDS60 drive, ‘Exchangeable Disc System 60’, would hold up to 60 million of these six-bit characters. One of the drives had to be online when the computer was started as it contain the ‘boot’ system. The other two drives could be used for other programs. Typically during the day they would hold the indexed sequential orders file that was updated from the terminals using the Sales Order Processing system. In the evening other disc were put online to perform batch processing. Backups were taken to magnetic tapes.

The ICL 2904 computer as seen from the other side of the machine room. The operator sat at a video terminal or console in the centre. On his left was a teletype printer that printed a hardcopy of the displays on the console; also a slow card reader for input of batch processing jobs. In addition there was a FEDS 5 disc drive that had a fixed 5 megachacter disc, with an exchangeable 5 megacharacter disc on top. To the right of the operator’s console was the main system printer.

The operating system used disc based spooling of output from batch programs. This meant that as batch jobs finished their output was written to file for printing later. The operator controlled what printouts were then spooled from disc to the printer, as he might also have to change the stationery, e.g. invoices etc. In the event of a failure with the printer this spool file could be taken off site to another ICL 2904 customer to use their printer. Heron Suzuki in Beddington Lane was frequently used for this purpose.

Advert in Computer Weekly on 25th January 1979 for more computer staff to work with the ICL 2904.

An operator was recruited with ICL 1900 series experience to work on the 2904, and was paid £3,600 per year.

Operator job offer dated 8th Feb 1978

Kempat Ltd.

Listed in the 1954 phone book as Kempat Ltd., Brassieres, Girdles, 1 Block James Estate, Western Road, telephone Mitcham 1664.

Presumably named after its managing director Vivian Fitch-Kemp, who named in a 1945 court case involving overcharging on the sale of bras. Mr Fitch-Kemp patented in 1934 a bra with bust support:

U.S. Patent No. 2,104,867
BUST SUPPORT
Vivian Fitch Kemp. London, England
Application August 19, 1935, Serial No. 36,909
In Great Britain August 30, 1934.

A bust support comprising two separate breast pockets; a single pivotal connection between said pockets situated above the line corresponding with the maximum chest expansion; a resilient coupling between said pockets situated
below said line so that said pockets can move relatively about said pivotal connection to permit the girth measurement below the pivotal point to vary; shoulder straps respectively secured at one end to the upper edges of said breast pockets and at the other end to the back of said bust support and means for securing said bust support on the wearer.

Mr Vivian Fitch-Kemp, born 13 Jul 1899, served in the Grenadier Guards at aged 17 in 1917. He died in 1958.

The newspaper articles below are via the British Newspaper Archive

Adverts

Norwood News – Friday 02 January 1953

Kempat Ltd. have a few vacancies for school-leavers and teen-agers who wish to become sewing machinists; frequent rises, and when fully trained (approx. 2 years) over £6 p.w. can be earned. no Saturdays, music, canteen, also ex-employees welcomed. Apply Kempat Ltd. James Estate. Western-rd.. Mitcham.

Norwood News – Friday 22 February 1946

EXPERIENCED machinists reqd.; good wages; our best machinists earn up to £3 12s. 6d., 44 hours, no Saturdays; music while you work; willing to train inexperienced applicants. Apply Kempat Ltd., “M” Block, James Estate (opposite Gas Works), Western-rd., Mitcham.

Company ceased trading in 1962, as stated in the
London Gazette, Publication date:20 August 1965 Issue:43743 Page: 8015

Name of Company: KEMPAT LIMITED.
Nature of Business: Ceased trading on 27th March 1962 as LINGERIE MANUFACTURERS.
Address of Registered Office: Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff.
Liquidator’s Name and Address: Paul Francis Spurway, of Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff.
Date of Appointment: 7th August 196S.

W.E. Horsman, Son & Co., Iron Foundry in Eveline Road

William Ernest Horsman’s iron foundry that was at 34 Eveline Road, possibly between 1924 and 1938.

Photo taken 20th August 2109.

Listed in the 1924 commercial directory as W.E. Horsman & Co., general engineers.

In the 1930 commercial directory it is listed W.E. Horsman & Co., general engineers, Eveline Road, trading as “ Horseman, Ironfounders ; ” Telephone number MIT 1586. Note the spelling of Horseman with an ‘e’.

The foundry is listed in the 1938 directory as May’s Mitcham Foundry.

The use of ‘Son’ on the manhole cover shown above suggests that it was made between 1930 and 1938. The 1932 robbery refers to the offices of Messrs. W. E. Horsman, Son and Co., whereas the 1930 directory doesn’t mention ‘Son’.

From Ancestry.com, Stanley Bertram Horsman, foundry manager, was married on 9th February 1932 in Sutton. His father was named as William Ernest Horsman, occupation Ironfounder. Electoral registers show W.E. Horsman as living at 1 Greenhill, Sutton.


News Articles and Ads
Norwood News – Friday 12 February 1932

MITCHAM ROBBERY DAMAGE AND LOSS AT OFFICES

A daring robbery was successfully carried out early on Tuesday morning at the offices of Messrs. W. E. Horsman, Son and Co., iron founders and sanitary engineers, Eveline-roud. Mitcham. The front office door was forced with a jemmy, and evidently the thieves spent several hours ransacking the whole place. They attacked three safes, ripping the back out of one. Papers and documents were ruthlessly thrown all over the floors, and considerable damage done to the property. Thecentents of all three safes were emptied, and all the loose money and stamps taken away. All the workmen’s Health and Insurance cards are missing, also all the money in the hospital collection boxes.

Mr. Horsman told one of our reporters: “I don’t know whether my son’s wedding had anything to do with the robbery, but it was well known that my son, who is works manager, was being married on Tuesday. Possibly the thieves thought there might be more here, and we should not be so particular in removing things on such an occasion. We have proof that there were at least two men on the job. They must have spent hours about it. What a mess they left! It troubles me more, the damage and mess, than all the money they took. I should estimate the loss and damage at quite a hundred pounds. The collection boxes for the hospital and blind were broken open and the money taken. They found the key for the big safe, but the other two they broke open. It must have taken them hours to do that. From the appearance of the floor in my office, they attacked the safes in one corner, where a light would not be so easily seen from outside. What puzzles me is what good the workmen’s Insurance and Health cards will do them, unless they are negotiable. I understand the police have obtained some finger-prints.”

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Monday 14 October 1929

WANTED at once Iron Moulders, for jobbing shop: permanency for good men.—Write Horsman’s Foundry, Eveline Road, Mitcham.


The Sanitary Inspectors Report of June 4th, 1928, included complaints by local residents:

Several complaints have recently been made by residents in Eveline Crescent and Eveline Road of the nuisance from smoke and fumes from Messrs. Horsman’s Iron Foundry. I have kept observation on the works, and I find the fumes from the cupolas in which metals are heated are very strong. I have not seen much smoke, but, according to my reading of the new Smoke Act, these works are exempt from the operation of the Act.

Source: page 99, Mitcham Urban District Council minutes, volume XIV 1928-29.

1880 : Gas Workmen’s Outing

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 25 September 1880

MITCHAM.
Workmen’s Excursion.

— A party of tradesmen and other inhabitants of Mitcham, accompanied by Mr. William Jones, foreman of the Mitcham gasworks, left the “Nag’s Head,” Mitcham, on Tuesday morning, at 8.30, on an excursion to Kingswood, accompanied by a band, who played a variety of lively airs on the way.

The first stop was made the “Red Lion,” Kingswood, and from thence to Walton-on-the-hill. An unfortunate accident occurred here. As one of the musicians was ascending the steps of house he missed his footing, and was precipitated to the ground, where he lay for some time senseless. As soon the man was sufficiently recovered, the party entered the dining-hall of one of the chief public-houses in the place, where sumptuous repast had been prepared by the host.

After dinner the usual loyal toasts were proposed by Messrs. Rough, Baker, Wigmore, and others. Having spent some further time in the rural scenery of the surrounding neighbourhood, the party proceeded home, having spent a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Ludlow Brothers Ltd.

Birmingham based company that was listed in the 1930 and 1938 commercial directories as Ludlow Bros (1913) Ltd., galvanized holloware manufacturers, Western Road, telephone number MITcham 0848. Listed as Ludlow Bros. Ltd. in the 1954 telephone book.

Note that ‘Hollow-ware’ refers to buckets etc.

A credit note offered for sale on eBay, dated 1943, shows its address as 132 Western Road, which was part of the former Holborn Union workhouse at the corner of Bond Road. The site in 2019 is occupied by Asda.

credit note extract Ludlow Bros dated February 1943

According to Graces Guide to British Industrial History, the company was founded privately in 1868 and became public in 1913, hence that year in its name in the directories. At the time of the credit note, the ‘1913’ was typed over, suggesting that the company name had changed but stationery hadn’t yet been changed.