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British Industrial History

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Edward Wilson and Son

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Jan 1873. Universal Disintegrator.
Late 1880's. View of Exeter Works.
Late 1880's. View of Exeter Works.
1891. "Eclipse" Butt Striker, "Eclipse" Disintegrator, "Wilson" Dead-weight Butt Roller.
1912. Early Works.
1915. Hawthorne Road Works.
1923. Double-Band Scouring Machine.
1923. Twin - Bed Leather Rolling Machine.
1923. Rolling Machine for Leather Offal.
1941. Blitzed Aintree Road Works.
1942-1947. Temporary Offices at Maghull.
1949. New Aintree Works.
Fernhill Road Works.
c1970s. Aintree Road Offices and Works.

Edward Wilson and Son of Bootle, Liverpool.

Founded by Edward Wilson (1846-1917)

1875 Established as 'Edward Wilson, Engineer', a sole business set up by Edward Wilson in Exeter.

1905 Evan G. Wilson, noticing a decline in trade from Exeter, and with the financial backing of his uncle Charles Tremlett, established a branch factory in Liverpool.

1906 Edward Wilson obtained a lease on a factory in Hawthorne Road, Bootle and with the help of a handful of men from the Exeter works, he moved up to Liverpool.

c1908 Eventually the Exeter works were closed, and so the connections with the South West were severed. Edward Wilson joined his son Evan, in Bootle.

1908 The firm became a Limited Company.

1909 The name was changed to present title Edward Wilson and Son Ltd. with Edward Wilson, Evan G. Wilson and Charles Tremlett as directors.

"In 1910 Harold J. Hollingsbee joined the Company from Tremlett Brothers, Exeter, and was appointed Secretary. He became a Director in 1916, a life Director in 1921, and continued to run the financial side of the business until his death in May 1953, after almost a lifetime of loyal service."[1]

During the First World War, the company continued to expand, and the range of machines produced was extended.[2]

1917 Edward Wilson died aged 70.

1918 A large part of the Hawthorne Road Works were burned down. It was decided to carry out minimal repairs and to build a new factory on an adjacent freehold site in Aintree Road.[3]

1920 The offices and main works were moved to the Aintree Road Works in January.[4]

1920s Improved and developed the Wilson Patent Tanning Rotor.[5]

1922 Geoffrey L. Wilks of the Kingston Tanning Co became a director of the company, and served the Board until his death in 1961.[6]

Read about their exhibits in the 1923 Shoe and Leather Fair here.

1924 Took over Joseph Hall and Co of Leeds.[7]

1926 Aintree Road Works were extended by the addition of a smithy in 1926.

1928 Took over Huxham and Browns of Exeter.[8]

1928 Kenneth L. Wilson joined the business.

1928 Built a new joiners' shop.

1929 Built a new stores and frame shop building.

1930 Lawrence R. Wilson joined the business.

1931 Took over John Melbourne Ltd. of Warrington.[9]

1934 Constructed a new detached joiners' and pattern-makers' building.

1936 Took over the machinery, patterns and other assets of Farrar and Young Ltd. in addition to the services of Thomas William Farrar when the firm of Farrar and Young ceased to trade.[10]

1941 The whole works were destroyed in a fire following enemy bombing of Bootle in the night of 2nd May. The company had to start all over again as everything from patterns and drawings to machinery and records were lost.[11]

Urgent work was being turned out at Aintree Road within two or three weeks, and full production under make-shift conditions was achieved by the autumn of 1941.

Temporary offices had been found at Bowers Garage, Maghull, in June 1941, and in 1943 a substantial workshop was built on waste land at the same site to augment the garage facilities which were being used for additional production.[12]

Rebuilding of the Works and Offices at the present site was completed after the war, and the Maghull premises were vacated in July 1947.[13]

1955 Evan G. Wilson died in February. Kenneth and Lawrence Wilson were appointed Joint Managing Directors on the death of their father.

1957 New premises were purchased in Fernhill Road, and a Mechanical Handling Division was set up to deal outside the leather trade.

1962 Overstall and Sons Ltd. were taken over in a continuing effort to build up the Mechanical Handling Division outside the leather trade.

1963 Raymond Wilson joined the company.

1966 Graham Wilson joined the company.

1967 Michael Wilson joined the Blading Division.

In 1968 the largest single order ever received was obtained from Canada for special stainless steel washing drums, following a visit from the then Works Manager, Charles Schofield.[14]

1971 Took over James Cooke (Bootle) Ltd. on the death of the Managing Director Mr James Cooke.

1974 Kenneth L. Wilson died.

Post 1970s the business organised into four well-defined divisions:[15]

1.The Engineering Division' - Taken care of by Raymond L. Wilson. Consisting of the traditional manufacturer and repair of the firm's full range of tanning machinery.

2.The Blading Division - Taken care of by Michael A. Wilson. Consisting of the manufacturer of spiral blades and blading of cylinders, types for the leather, textile, carpet and associated trades.

3.The Parts and Accessories Division - Taken care of by Graham K. Wilson. Including spare parts/ accessories supplied to the tanning and allied industries.

4.The Cooke Division - Taken care of by Graham K. Wilson. Consisting of the manufacturer of all cutting equipment etc. fo timber and other trades by James Cooke (Bootle) Ltd.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  2. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  3. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  4. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  5. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  6. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  7. Early Leather Trades' Engineers of Leeds, Part IV, Farrar, Whitley and Co and Farrar and Young by T. Lyons (Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists & Chemists (SLTC), Vol 73 (1989), pp160-163).
  8. Leather Trds' Rev., 1928, 61,813.
  9. Leather Trds' Rev., 1931.64,455.
  10. Early Leather Trades' Engineers of Leeds, Part IV, Farrar, Whitley and Co and Farrar and Young by T. Lyons (Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists & Chemists (SLTC), Vol 73 (1989), pp160-163).
  11. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  12. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  13. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  14. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.
  15. Over One Hundred Years of Service to The Leather Industry - Edward Wilson and Sons Ltd. (1875-1975) Company booklet.

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