Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,337 pages of information and 233,846 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of The Butts, Coventry
1879 Advertisement: 'Coles and Matthews, Engineers, Millwrights, and Contractors, Coventry Engine Works, Butts, Coventry. All work guaranteed to be fitted on North Country system, under the personal supervision of R. Coles, late of Leeds. Repairs executed on shortest notice. Second hand engines and machines bought or exchanged. Estimates given for new fire boxes, tubes, boilers, and brasses. Agents for all kinds of implements. Agents for J. Fowler and Co., Agricultural and Mining Engineers, Leeds.'
1882 'The Removal of Great Paul. — A Coventry firm, Messrs. Coles and Matthews, engineers, Butts, is to have the honour of carrying the great bell to its destination in London, and a special carriage of great strength and weight-carrying capacity has been constructed for the purpose, from plans and patterns designed by Mr. J. Hamer, coach builder and wheelwright, of Bayley-lane. The wheels are of iron, and these, with the other ironwork, were cast at Messrs. Coles and Matthews' works ; the building of the waggon being entrusted to Mr. Hamer. The bell will be conveyed by road.' 
1886 Partnership dissolved. '... the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Robert Coles and Frank Sotham Matthews, carrying on business as Engineer's and Machinists, under the firm of Coles and Matthews, at Queen's-road, Coventry, in the county of Warwick, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent...'
1887 One of the directors was William Herbert
1887 Alfred Herbert became the manager of Coles and Matthews; began producing machinery for the cycle trade, with guaranteed orders from the Hillman, Herbert and Cooper in which his brother was a partner.
1888 The firm was offered to Alfred Herbert for the price of £2,375. He immediately entered into partnership with a former school friend and fellow apprentice, William Sammons Hubbard, under the name of Herbert and Hubbard, making boilers and general engineering equipment. The fathers of each of the two men provided their sons with a capital of £2,000 each. Initially, production concentrated on ploughing tackle and steam rollers but moved very swiftly to making machine tools and tubing directed at the cycle trade.