Showing 139 results

Corporate body

Artist Teachers' Exhibition Society

  • C31
  • Corporate body
  • fl c1910-1916

The Artist Teachers' Exhibition Society was established c1910-1911 in Glasgow, Scotland, and was open to all who were artist teachers, with its object being to maintain a high standard of personal work on the part of its members. James A Dron acted as Secretary and Treasurer for the Society.
The first exhibition was held in 1911 and the fourth in 1916, an exhibition which gave its proceeds to the Scottish branch of the Red Cross Society and the Soldiers' & Sailors' Families Association. Members included many staff from The Glasgow School of Art, including Fra Newbery, Ann Macbeth and Maurice Greiffenhagen as well as teachers from other institutions in Scotland.

Bedford Lemere & Co

  • C45
  • Corporate body
  • 1861-1967

Bedford Lemere & Co was the pre-eminent English firm of architectural photographers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taking photographs at a time of extraordinary change and unparalleled optimism, its customers were leading architects, designers, industrialists, estate agents, hoteliers and retailers. Over the years Bedford Lemere & Co photographed country houses, factories, hospitals, shops, banks, railway stations, cruise liners and, during the First World War, armaments manufacture. Its work centred on London, but it received commissions throughout the British Isles and occasionally from abroad. The firm's work was technically outstanding and executed with a distinctive sympathy for its subject matter.

Begg, Currie & Russell

  • C110
  • Corporate body
  • Early 20th century

Responsible for printing and publishing The Annual Reports of The Glasgow School of Art. Regarding the Needlecraft Exhibition, the material presented indicates that the firm were in touch with The School regarding the paper type and quality for the exhibition catalogue.

Birch & Co

  • C46
  • Corporate body
  • 1895-1954

William Birch was a furniture maker, based in High Wycombe. In the 1840s, according to family tradition Birch began chairmaking. In 1853 he made his first appeared in trade directories. In 1883 William son's Walter started his own chairmaking business in Castle Street, after beginning some years before at the back of The Woolpack pub in Oxford Road. By 1888 another son, Charles, had started a furniture factory in Queen’s Road and carried on in business until World War One. In 1895 Walter took over his father’s firm as Birch and Company with premises in Denmark Street. The Denmark Street factory was rebuilt in 1898 according to the latest modern specifications. The factory burned down very soon after it was built, despite being designed to be fire-proof. By the end of the 1890s, Birch's was supplying furniture for Liberty's and other prestigious London stores Around 1900 the firm seems to have been one of the first to branch out into making general furniture in addition to chairs alone. Pioneered the development of Arts and Crafts-influenced furniture locally, and employed well-known designers such as EG Punnett, George Walton (who worked with Mackintosh) and Whitehead. Birch’s opened a second site in Wycombe at Leigh Street, and between 1931 and 1935 the whole business concentrated in Leigh St, in 1938 employing 350. The company was acquired by E. Gomme in 1954.

Brian & Shear

  • C55
  • Corporate body
  • fl c20th century

Industrial photographers, Glasgow.

Centre for Advanced Textiles

  • C123
  • Corporate body
  • 2000-

The Centre for Advanced Textiles (CAT) at Glasgow School of Art was established in 2000 with a Research and Development Grant of £661,000 from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. The remit of the centre is to: i) provide cutting edge facilities for textile design education; ii) investigate the aesthetic, technical and commercial opportunities presented by digital textile printing, and; and iii) operate a commercial service bureau for industry and individuals.

Charles Smith & Sons

  • C109
  • Corporate body
  • Late 19th-mid 20th century

Charles Smith was a plaster figure and sculptor's moulder in London active from at least 1886 until his death in 1918. After the death of Charles Smith, his sons, George Smith and Charles Smith Jr continued the business. The firm experienced financial difficulty in the 1920s, although the family continued to be involved in mould making and plaster casting until 1953.

Clydesdale Bank

  • C117
  • Corporate body
  • 1838

Clydesdale Bank plc (Scottish Gaelic: Banca Dhail Chluaidh) is a commercial bank in Scotland. Formed in Glasgow in 1838, it is the smallest of the three Scottish banks. Independent until it was purchased by Midland Bank in 1920, it formed part of the National Australia Bank Group (NAB) between 1987 and 2016. Clydesdale Bank was divested from National Australia Bank in early 2016 and its holding company CYBG plc, trades on the London and Sydney stock exchanges. CYBG plc's other banking business, Yorkshire Bank operates as a trading division of Clydesdale Bank plc under its banking licence.

Crown & Rose

  • C118
  • Corporate body
  • 1700

Crown & Rose Pewter, Englefields Ltd., London, England.Brown & Englefield founded in 1885. Makers stamp on this piece mark used from 1948. Englefields was bought by Royal Selangor (of Malaysia) in 1987.

D Brucciani & Co

  • C108
  • Corporate body
  • Early 19th-mid 20th century

Domenicho (Domenico) Brucciani (1815-1880) was born in Lucca, Italy and migrated to England in the first half of the nineteenth century. He established a business which produced casts of sculptural works from international collections. By 1837 he owned a showroom near Covent Garden and was selling works to the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). By 1857 D. Brucciani & Co. were working for the British Museum, making moulds and casts of their classical sculptures, bronzes and other pieces, to be sold commercially. The company was successful during Brucciani's lifetime as it capitalised on the nineteenth century fashion to have plaster casts of sculptural works in the home. Following his death his business was purchased by another Italian, Joseph Caproni (1846 - 1900), who retained the name D. Brucciani & Co., and the business continued to manufacture casts, with customers including the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Museum of Classical Archaeology. However, as demand for plaster casts declined in the twentieth century, the business failed. Consequently, it was purchased by the V&A and operated as the Department for the Sale of Casts until 1951 when it was forced to closed due to financial losses.

D. Cunninghame Die Sinkers & Co

  • C116
  • Corporate body
  • c1900

Cunninghame, David, die sinker, stamp and seal engraver, stamper and embosser in relief, embossing press manufacturer, and special machine engraver, sole agent for parallel motion endorsing machines, 48 Buchanan Street ; house, 12 VaJeview terrace, Langside .

Daily Mail

  • C61
  • Corporate body
  • 1896-

David J Clark Ltd

  • C124
  • Corporate body
  • 1921-1999

Glasgow based printing company based on Blythswood street, specialising in offset photolithography printing.

Donald Brothers Ltd

  • C29
  • Corporate body
  • 1896-1980

Donald Brothers emerged out of the coarse jute and linen industry of Dundee, manufacturing rugged textured Art canvasses and linens for use as wallcoverings and furnishings by 1896. Their Art fabrics were extensively used within art galleries and the Arts & Crafts interior in Britain and America between 1896-1914. Building on their early success with craft manufacture between the 1930s and 1960s the firm made a significant contribution to the design of furnishing textiles, gaining international recognition for their fabrics marketed under the trade name Old Glamis Fabrics. Best known for their high quality woven linen furnishings, their range included textured weaves, jacquard woven tapestries and prints. In 1983 the company was taken over by William Halley & Son, and has since re-emerged as active makers of quality furnishings.

George Outram & Co Ltd

  • C65
  • Corporate body
  • 1903-2002

George Outram & Co Ltd was the publisher and printer of The Glasgow Herald, The Bulletin, The Evening Times and a number of weekly periodicals. It was incorporated as a limited liability company, George Outram & Co Ltd, in 1903.

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia

  • C66
  • Corporate body
  • 1927-1987

William Alexander Kidd was born in Greenock in 1879, the son of William Kidd, ironmonger and his wife Margaret Colquhoun Barr. He joined the practice of James Salmon & Son in 1898 as an apprentice and studied at Glasgow School of art from that year until 1902, also attending classes at the Glasgow & West of Scotland Technical College. He became chief draughtsman in the Salmon practice sometime before 1911, by which time the firm had become Salmon Son & Gillespie. He remained with John Gaff Gillespie after the latter took charge of the practice following the death of William Forrest Salmon, and Gillespie took him into partnership in 1918. When Gillespie died on 7 May 1926, leaving estate of £1,950 4s 11d to his wife Agnes, Kidd was his executor and became sole partner.

Jack Antonio Coia (born 1898) had been taken on by Gillespie as an apprentice in October 1915 at a salary of 4 shillings a week with no demand for a premium, and had subsequently worked with Alexander Nisbet Paterson and Alexander Hislop in Glasgow, and with Herbert A Welch and Hollis in London, before returning to Glasgow in 1927. On hearing he was back in Glasgow, Kidd appealed to him to return to assist in the reconstruction of the Smith warehouse as the Ca' d'Oro, for which Gillespie had left only sketch designs. Kidd died in 1928 while the work was in progress and Coia inherited the practice, which now became Gillespie Kidd and Coia, but there was little business apart from the fitting of Leon's shop at 89 St Vincent Street, and Coia joined the teaching staff of Glasgow School of Art.

In 1931 Coia approached Archbishop Donald Mackintosh for work on the programme of church extension then planned. This resulted in a series of important brick-built church commissions of continental inspiration and in about 1938, his senior assistant T Warnett Kennedy was taken into partnership. Kennedy was born c.1913 and articled to Coia in about 1927, after a brief spell with James Austen Laird. He returned to Coia thereafter, and remained with him apart from a short period with Honeyman and Jack. As a student he had been editor of the magazine 'Vista' published quarterly which included articles by Hans Poelzig, Ragnar Ostberg, R H Wilenski and other major names of the 1930s. Coia and Kennedy worked closely together but in Kennedy's words 'Jack thought with his fingers. He sketched at lightning speed. I pontificated on the emergence of abstract art … During the 1938 British Empire Exhibition we slept on the floor of the office an average of three nights a week.'

In 1939 Coia married Eden Bernard. Earlier in the same year he was commissioned to design Knightswood Secondary School and complete Gillespie’s Municipal Buildings at Stirling but both these projects were cancelled. When Italy entered the war in 1940, Coia briefly lost control of his office and practice at 239 St Vincent Street. The Salmon Son & Gillespie records were lost to salvage at that point but he did manage to retain those relating to his own practice from 1927. He quickly re-established himself under the same practice title at 199 Bath Street. Although admitted FRIBA on 20 May 1941, lack of business obliged him to retrench, combining house and office at 7 Hamilton Drive. In the later war years his income came mainly from work in the family café, such free time as he had being spent on obtaining a degree in town planning.

In 1945 Sam Bunton asked Coia to help with repairing war damage in Clydebank, Kennedy having earlier been asked to help at Dumbarton. This enabled him to restart the practice, taking on as apprentice Isi Metzstein, who was a refugee, and for a time his own brother John. In 1948 the practice moved out of Hamilton Drive to 19 Waterloo Street and in 1954 Andrew MacMillan joined the practice from East Kilbride Development Corporation. In 1956 both house and office moved to 20 Park Circus, and in the course of the move a burst water pipe destroyed most of the practice drawings. (At this time John Peter Coia, Jack's much younger brother, was working in the practice, having undertaken his apprenticeship there from 1933 to 1938.) Thereafter Metzstein and MacMillan undertook most of the design work. The last important building in which Coia had a major hand was St Charles, Kelvinside, where his design was developed by Andrew MacMillan and Joe Taylor.

Coia was elected ARSA in 1954 and full academician in 1962. He was appointed CBE in 1967 and awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 1969 followed by honorary degrees from the universities of Glasgow (1970) and Strathclyde (1976). In person he was in Patrick Nuttgens's words 'small, intense, unkempt, angry and bloody-minded', mainly as a result of wartime experiences and the post-war decision not to complete the Stirling Municipal Buildings as Gillespie had designed them. The poverty of contemporary architecture, dissatisfaction with the competition system and the destruction of some of his favourite buildings also coloured his outlook in his later years, his views being trenchantly expressed at the Royal Fine Art Commission of which he was for a time a member. In his retirement he spent much of his time at Glendaruel. He died on 14 August 1981, the funeral homily being preached by his pupil Father Kenneth Nugent SJ.

Metzstein and MacMillan were to carry out most of the practice’s design work from around 1957 onwards, as Coia approached retirement. Metzstein was elected a student member of the RIBA in 1957 though he does not seem to have become an Associate. MacMillan was elected ARIBA in 1963. In 1987 he is listed as being Professor in the Mackintosh School of Architecture.

Working in a bold and highly original Modernist idiom, Metzstein and MacMillan collaborated on a series of notable Roman Catholic churches between that year and 1980, of which St Bride’s in East Kilbride (1963–4) is among the most remarkable. Their masterwork is considered to be St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, completed in 1966, which was to be the first modern building to be awarded Category-A listed status. They were also responsible for a series of important university buildings, including halls of residence at Hull (1963–7), additions to Wadham College, Oxford (1971–7), and Robinson College, Cambridge (1974–80). Although strongly inspired by Le Corbusier, they drew on sources as diverse as Victorian Glasgow, medieval urbanism and abstraction, and Metzstein always emphasised the importance of designing from first principles. The company was wound up in 1987.

MacMillan and Metzstein were to receive RIBA lifetime achievement awards for teaching in 2007. Metzstein died in 2012, and MacMillan passed away in 2014.

Glasgow 1999 Festival Co Ltd

  • C32
  • Corporate body
  • c1995-2002

In November 1994, Glasgow, Scotland, was awarded the title of UK City of Art and Design 1999. This formed part of the decade of annual celebrations that were promoted by the Arts Council of Great Britain (later to be the Arts Council of England). Competition for this title was fierce, with the 17 cities that originally competed for the title finally being reduced to a choice between Glasgow and it's east-coast neighbour and capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. At stake was GBP 400,000 from the Arts Council, plus the opportunity to generate much more income for the winning city through future funding bids, sponsorship, grants, tourism, exhibitions, and sales (including the production of catalogues and other merchandise). The Glasgow 1999 Festival aimed to celebrate excellence in architecture and design from around the world; to promote awareness in the people of Glasgow, its communities, organisations and business of the cultural and economic importance of the design process; and to highlight new thinking to help position Glasgow as a major European city of ideas. In order to do this, the Glasgow 1999 Festival Co Ltd created a programme of individual projects and events that encompassed a variety of issues raised by contemporary concerns about architecture and design and that addressed the economic significance of design and architecture for Glasgow's businesses and institution. Further to this, the Festival was to leave a legacy to the city in the form of the Lighthouse Centre for Architecture and Design situated on Mitchell Lane. Events and projects included exhibitions, conferences and displays; the development of the Lighthouse centre; the Glasgow Collection project that helped to fund new product ideas to a prototype stage; education and community programmes; Homes for the Future, a project to build a new residential area incorporating innovative design principles near Glasgow Green; Millennium Spaces to develop high quality public spaces designed by artists in consultation with local communities; and the Partnership Fund to fund various small scale projects with goals compatible with the aims of the Glasgow 1999 Festival. The Lighthouse was the largest and most high profile Glasgow 1999 project. It had a further significance as it was the most important legacy of the festival. The Lighthouse cost nearly GBP 13 million and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, European Structural Funds, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of England, Glasgow Development Agency, Glasgow City Council, Historic Scotland and private sponsors. The Lighthouse is housed in the former Glasgow Herald offices built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Its aim is to combine excellence with accessibility, introducing architecture and design to a mass audience, alongside specific programmes tailored to appeal to children, school and colleges, architecture and design professionals and the business community. In 2002, the Glasgow 1999 Co Ltd was still an active company.

Glasgow League of Artists

  • C33
  • Corporate body
  • 1971-1981

The Glasgow League of Artists, Glasgow, Scotland, was founded in 1971 as an artist's co-operative designed to overcome some of the difficulties encountered by the artist working in isolation. By pooling resources, and with the assistance of the Scottish Arts Council, they were able to provide workshop facilities and studios at 45 St Vincent Lane, Glasgow. The group saw themselves as "a framework within which artists have been able to exchange ideas and information; and from which lines of communication have been opened between the artists and the public". The League exhibited frequently in Scotland, and also had exhibitions in England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, often facilitating exchanges with artists from the host country. Members organised and supported other ventures including the Gable-end Scheme in Glasgow and an exhibition of prints and sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi at the Glasgow Print Studio in 1979. Founder members included Ronald Forbes, Stan Bell, George Docherty and Gregor Smith. Members included several Glasgow School of Art graduates and staff, but there were also graduates of Edinburgh College of Art, Duncan of Jordanstone and other British art schools. They were usually no more than twenty members at a time.

Glasgow Print Studio

  • C143
  • Corporate body
  • 1972-

Glasgow Print Studio was founded in 1972 to provide fine art printmaking facilities and workshop space. It now "promotes contemporary and innovative printmaking through supporting artists, exhibitions, learning and conservation." The Glasgow Print Studio has been based in a number of locations, including 43 St Vincent Crescent, 128 Ingram Street, King Street and Trongate 103.


Glasgow School of Art Club

  • C34
  • Corporate body
  • 1969-

The Glasgow School of Art Club was established by the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland, in 1969. The Club was affiliated to the Students Union and was therefore open to present students and also current staff. The society's constitution claims that it object was "the provision for for the members thereof of recreational, social and educational facilities." The Club provided a snack bar and licensed bar as well as meeting rooms.

Glasgow School of Art Graduates Association

  • C35
  • Corporate body
  • fl c1966-1969

Established in 1966 to enable graduates of the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland, to work and exhibit together. The association held annual exhibitions.

Glasgow School of Art Modern Embroidery Group

  • C42
  • Corporate body
  • 1956-1995

The Glasgow School of Art Modern Embroidery Group was formed by Kathleen Whyte (1909-1996) in 1955-6 with the express intention of creating an exhibition vehicle for graduates of the Glasgow School of Art. This would encourage them to continue to pursue innovation in modern embroidery, for which the GSA was well known in the UK. In 1956 former students of the Embroidery & Weaving Department of the School held the first exhibition of their work at Blythswood Square Gallery, Glasgow. The group was formally constituted and a registered charity run by a committee of GSA graduates elected annually at an annual general meeting.
Two years after the group's first exhibition, a touring exhibition sponsored by the Scottish Arts Council visited many towns in Scotland and lasted over a year. By 1970 three such touring exhibitions had been held as well as a bi-annual exhibition held in the Glasgow area or occasionally in London. By the mid-1970s the group had over 70 members.
As well as exhibiting, the group held regular meetings, lectures and events that covered areas such as techniques, textile history, dyeing and design, all of which were intended to encourage new work.
The move by the Arts Council to award grants more readily to national groups in the mid-1990s led to the formation of EDGE, the Scottish National Textile Group, about 1995. This group brought together the Glasgow School of Art Embroidery and Textile Group known by this time as 167, the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art Embroidery Group known as Embryo, and the New Scottish Embroidery Group, based in Edinburgh. The Dundee group was formed by graduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art taught by Marion Gracie, later Stewart, herself a graduate of GSA Department of Embroidery & Weaving.
One independent group remains called 167 On the Road. This was formed to support graduates willing to offer day and weekend courses in embroidery around Scotland.

Glasgow School of Art Students' Representative Council

  • C36
  • Corporate body
  • c1941-

A student common room was established at The Glasgow School of Art in the new Mackintosh building in 1909. On the completion of the Assembly Hall on the other side of Renfrew Street in 1928, the students' common room was moved across the road. This building housed the School refectory, and student bodies such as the Glasgow School of Art Students' Representative Council, which was to organise lectures, debates and entertainments. The building also had stage facilities which were used by the Drama Club. In the late 1930s a constitution was drawn up by the School Council for the establishment of a Students' Representative Council. The SRC was to be a means of communication between the student body and the School authorities, and was to represent the students and to promote social and cultural intercourse among students. The constitution was accepted in 1941 and the SRC has been ongoing since that date. The Assembly Building is still home to the SRC, and was refurbished in 2014 as part of the new Seona Reid Building by Steven Holl Architects. The SRC is now responsible for the running of the Union (The Art School), which comprises the Vic Bar and the upstairs venue, and events such as freshers week and the annual fashion show.

Glasgow Society of Lady Artists

  • C142
  • Corporate body
  • 1882-

The Glasgow Society of Lady Artists was founded in 1882 by eight students of The Glasgow School of Art. The names of the eight women are often disputed but are thought to include "first president Georgina Mossman Greenlees, Mrs Joseph Agnew, Elizabeth Patrick, Margaret M Campbell, Henrietta Robertson, treasurer Frieda Rohl, Jane Nisbet, Helen Salmon, Jane Cowan Wyper, Margaret Macdonald (not Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh), Isabella Ure and Mrs Provan" (see Wikipedia source below).

The society was formed to promote the study of art, and exhibits on an annual basis.



  • C126
  • Corporate body
  • c20th century

Department store.

GSA Enterprises Ltd

  • C52
  • Corporate body
  • 1985-

GSA Enterprises Ltd was established in 1985 to generate income for the School, a Company Limited by Guarantee. Organised public guided tours of the Mackintosh Building began in 1985 and continue now, a Mackintosh shop was set up in the foyer of the Mackintosh building c1986, and following the Heritage Lottery Funded Mackintosh Conservation and Access Project has relocated to the former Animal Studio in the basement of the Mackintosh Building. A second shop, focusing on the work of recent graduates, opened in the Reid Building in 2014.

Guthrie and Wells Ltd

  • C44
  • Corporate body
  • 1890-2002

Guthrie & Wells, designers and decorators, Glasgow, began as J & W Guthrie, decorators, furniture dealers and makers of stained glass. In the 1890s this was the most prestigious firm of its kind in the city, and commissioned furniture designs from C R Mackintosh, among others. In partnership with Andrew Wells, the firm of J & W Guthrie & Andrew Wells Ltd was formed, and this remained its official title until the early 1960s, when it moved from the city centre to Lawmoor Street and adopted the style of Guthrie & Wells. Guthrie & Wells Ltd was incorporated as a private limited company in 1981 and dissolved in June 2002.

Harrison & Sons Ltd

  • C122
  • Corporate body
  • 1920-1997

Harrison and Sons Limited was a major worldwide engraver and printer of postage stamps and banknotes.The company was established in 1750 by Thomas Harrison; in 1839 Thomas Richard Harrison entered into partnership with John William Parker, creating Harrison and Co. It went through similar names and retained a link with the Harrison family until 1979 when Richard Harrison left the company.It obtained its first Post Office contract in 1881. The company won the contract to print the single colour United Kingdom Edward VII stamps in 1911 after the Post Office decided not to renew its contract with De La Rue. Initially, using printing machines manufactured by Timsons of Kettering it went on to produce most of the British stamps over the 60-year period from the 1930s until the 1990s, including the first UK stamp using the photogravure method in 1934 and the first photogravure commemoratives in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. The first UK Christmas issue in 1966, on the specially designed Jumelle press, was also printed at Harrison and Sons. They printed their last British commemorative issue, referred to as ‘Queen’s Beasts’ issue, in 1998. The stamps actually being printed one year before they were issued to the public.The company (abbreviation H&S) also printed stamps, banknotes, passports and gift vouchers for over 100 other countries from 1881 until 1997 when it was acquired by De La Rue security printers. Some of its most famous publications were The London Gazette and Burke's Peerage.In addition to union related issues at Harrisons, rumours suggested that the sale was also prompted by the steady inroads being made by Harrisons into De La Rue's banknote bus

Harrods Ltd

  • C139
  • Corporate body
  • 1849-

Henry Widnell & Stewart Ltd

  • C41
  • Corporate body
  • 1832-1983

Richard Barnett Whytock was born in Dalkeith, Midlothian and was the son of a minister. In 1806 Whytock opened his first business, a haberdashery in Edinburgh, with his brother William. By 1810 Whytock had changed business partners and was now in a furnishings and upholstery business with Robert Grieve. Initially this business was more concerned with sales rather than the manufacture of these goods. However, by 1818 Whytock and Grieve began to make decorative fringes for furniture and employed skilled workmen from London which showed their transformation from sales to upholstery manufacture.
It was during this time that Whytock took on a new partner in Henry Henderson. It was this partnership that can be seen as the foundations for Henry Widnell & Stewart Ltd. The premises of Whytock and Henderson's new business were in Queensberry House in the Canongate which had been the previous residence of the Duke of Queensberry. In 1827 Whytock and Henderson took on another partner by the name of William McCrie. McCrie was a wallpaper stainer and from this partnership it was possible to see Whytock and Henderson's interests in different forms of decorative arts. By 1828 Whytock had become a Burgess of the Canongate.
In 1830 the Board of Trustees asked Whytock to go to Brussels to see how the Manufacturers of the Netherlands produced their carpets. Whytock returned to Edinburgh unimpressed by what he had seen. Around this period Whytock became interested in the process of carpet manufacture which led him to invent and patent the Tapestry carpet loom in 1832. This loom differed from the Brussels and Jacquard looms as its process allowed one thread to be used rather than five or six. The single thread could then be dyed a variety of colours in half inch blocks depending on the pattern. By dying the thread different colours it meant that there was no dead pile left in the carpet from any of the other coloured threads that were not used. This also meant that an unlimited number of colours could be used compared to only five or six that were available in other loom processes. Whytock's loom was also one third the size of the Brussels loom. Contemporaries believed that Whytock's invention would supersede all other looms including that of the Jacquard loom.
By 1833 Whytock had patented his new invention and the company had grown. Whytock and Henderson took new premises at St Anne's brewery at Lasswade in Midlothian along the banks of the River Esk. It was here that the company produced Persian and Turkish style hand knotted carpets. During these years Whytock's carpets gained much notoriety. In 1838 Whytock became Patent Carpet Manufacturer to the Queen.
By 1846 the company entered a new era and with that came a new name and partner. During 1846 Richard Whytock left the carpet manufacturing business to concentrate on the development of fabrics and returned to the selling of carpets. Henry Henderson gained a new partner in Henry Widnell and the company became Henderson and Widnell. Henry Widnell had previously been involved in carpet manufacture in Kidderminster which had been a central town for carpet production in Great Britain. Henderson and Widnell continued to produce high quality carpets and at the Great Exhibition of 1851 the company won a medal for the quality of their carpets and their designs.
The next stage of the company came in 1856 when Widnell took complete control of the company. Henderson and Widnell became known as Henry Widnell & Company. By 1859 the company was in financial difficulty and Henry Widnell (son of the aforementioned Henry Widnell) took complete control of the company's stock which was now bankrupt. Eventually things improved for the company financially and in 1868 a new site was rented out at the Old Bleach Works at Roslin in Midlothian. The company now had two sites of manufacture including that at St Anne's in Lasswade four miles away.
By 1873 Henry Widnell (Snr) had passed away. It was around this time that George Stewart of Stewart Brothers of Eskbank became a partner in Henry Widnell & Company. However, the two manufacturers continued to trade as two separate companies in competition with each other. Harry H. Widnell, Henry Widnell's (Snr) son, became a new partner in the company between 1873 and 1878. However, his involvement in the company was short lived and Harry H. Widnell passed away in 1879 leaving the company in the hands of George Stewart. George Stewart was joined by his sons George Stewart (Jnr) and John George Stewart in 1882.
In 1895 both Stewart Brothers of Eskbank and Henry Widnell & Company were sold to Henry Widnell & Stewart Ltd for £270,000. The company continued to manufacture a variety of carpets until being disrupted by World War II. Between the years 1939-1945 the sites were put to use for the war effort. The Lasswade site was used to make cotton cloth for the army, the Roslin site was used as a food store, and the Eskbank site was used to produce Ever-Ready batteries.
The final stage of Henry Widnell & Stewart Ltd began in 1955 when the company held talks concerning A F Stoddard & Co Ltd taking over the company. However, the take over was not completed until 1959. Although A F Stoddard now owned the company it still traded under the name of Henry Widnell & Stewart Ltd until 1983 when the company finally closed its doors for business for good.

J & P Coats (UK) Ltd

  • C28
  • Corporate body
  • 1808-1981

In 1802, James Coats, snr, (1774-1857), a weaver from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, set up in business, laying the foundation of the business that was later to become J & P Coats Ltd, thread manufacturers, Paisley. James Coats senior was born in 1774, into a family of Paisley weavers. After serving his apprenticeship as a weaver, he spent six years in the army with the Ayrshire Fencibles, a cavalry regiment. He returned to weaving in 1796 on leaving the army and in 1802, shortly after his marriage, he went into business on his own. Seeing a market for Canton Crape, the majority of which was at that time imported from China, he set about trying to reproduce this material in his own factory. Canton Crape was made from silk, the manufacture of which had been introduced to Paisley in 1760 by Humphrey Fulton; hence both the raw material and the skilled labour were readily available. Another manufacturer, James Whyte, had also been trying to produce Canton Crape, with much the same degree of limited success as James Coats. He and Coats decided to combine their knowledge by entering into partnership, and were eventually successful in producing Canton Crape in such quantities as to virtually corner the market.
As his fortunes increased so James Coats began to look to the future. He built a house in Back Row, Ferguslie, Paisley, and became a sleeping partner in the Paisley firm of Ross & Duncan, a firm of thread twisters. At the same time he acquired knowledge of the business which would be useful to him in years to come since the production of Canton crepe requires yarn which has a particular twist. When his contract with Ross & Duncan expired in 1826, James Coats built a small mill at Ferguslie, and began producing his own thread, using a 12 horsepower engine. The mill at Ferguslie was the forerunner to the larger works which J & P Coats developed on this site. On his retirement in 1830, the management of the manufacturing department was passed to his partners and his son William, and the thread business was transferred to his sons James Coats, jnr, (1803-1845) and Peter Coats (1808-1890), the firm becoming known as J & P Coats. Shortly after its inception another son, Thomas Coats (1809-1883), entered the firm as a partner.
Each of the three brothers had knowledge of a different area of expertise: James in manufacturing, Peter in merchandising, and Thomas in engineering. The company expanded rapidly during the 1830s, both at home and overseas, and by 1840 three-quarters of their trade was with the USA. For twenty years the selling department of the American branch of the business was managed by Andrew Coats (1814-1900), a younger brother of James, Peter and Thomas. The high quality of Coats' thread made it extremely popular, to the extent that several companies produced inferior imitations, resulting in a number of legal cases In addition to the Paisley mills, J & P Coats built mills in the USA at Pawtucket, Rhode Island State, between 1870 and 1883. James Coats of Auchendrayne, Ayrshire, the son of Sir Peter Coats managed these mills. Production at Paisley continued apace, with new markets opening up at home and abroad. In some cases high customs duties were overcome by building mills abroad, so that in a short time J & P Coats had branches in Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Spain.
In 1883, the firm became a private joint stock company of family shareholders and in 1890 the business was floated as a public company, with a capital of £5,750,000 and an average annual profit for the preceding seven years of £426,048. James Coats, jnr, remained unmarried, but a number of the sons of Peter and Thomas Coats entered the firm as partners, thus retaining the family interest in the company. One of the leading competitors of the Coats' firm was the firm of Clark & Co, another Paisley thread company, which had grown up through the same period as Coats. With the death of John Clark of Clark & Co in 1896, the way was opened for take-over. J & P Coats amalgamated with Clark & Co, its American associates and also with Brook of Meltham and Chadwick of Eagley Mills, Bolton, England, to form the enlarged firm of J & P Coats Ltd, with a market value of around £22 million, and approximately 25,000 shareholders. The company, with its headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, had 17 production centres, 60 branch houses, 150 selling depots, and around 21,000 employees throughout the world, the UK workforce totalling around 11,000. One of the leading figures in the company at this time, was Otto Ernst Philippi, Foreign Sales Manager, whose selling policy has been regarded as one of the major keys to the firm's success.
The company continued trading as J & P Coats Ltd throughout the first half of the 20th century, expanding by acquiring controlling interests in several other textile companies. In 1960, following the takeover of Patons & Baldwins Ltd, the company became known as J & P Coats, Paton amp;& Baldwin Ltd. In 1965, they acquired a controlling interest in the Pasolds group, which included 'Ladybird' children's wear, 'Donbros' knitwear, and 'Chilprufe' garments. In 1967, they acquired both Dynacast Precision Engineering and Jaeger fashions. In June 1967, the company became known as Coats Patons Ltd. In 1967, Coats Patons Ltd amalgamated with Vantona Viyella to form Coats Viyella plc, a company registered in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, which became Coats plc in 2001.
Between 1934-1939 the company sponsored the Needlework development in Scotland scheme, a collaboration between art and design education and industry. The scheme encouraged needlework and therefore also the sale of J & P Coats thread. This developed into the nation-wide Needlework Development Scheme managed by the The Central Agency Ltd of J & P Coats Ltd. Loan collections of historical and modern embroideries were developed with examples being purchased by, or donated to, the Scheme. These collections were then exhibited and loaned to schools in order to help teach and promote embroidery as an art form. In 1961, the company withdrew funding for the Scheme and it ceased to function. The collection of over 3000 textile items was broken up and disseminated between around 14 universities, colleges and museums in the UK.

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