Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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H. J. Gray and Sons

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H. J. Gray and Sons

of P.O. Box 7, Cambridge. Telephone Cambridge 406. Cables: "Sports, Cambridge." (1929)

of Playfair Works, Cambridge. Telephone: Cambridge 3488. Cables: "Sports, Cambridge". London Office: 26 St. James's Street, SW1. Telephone: Abbey 3370. (1947)

  • 1855 The company of H. J. Gray and Sons was founded in Cambridge, by world rackets champion, Henry John Gray, who started manufacturing wooden racquets for Cambridge students, among them Ranjitsinjhi, King Edward VII and King George VI.
  • 1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Lawn Tennis Rackets, Badminton Rackets, Racquet Rackets, Squash Rackets, and all Goods connected with Sports and Games. (Stand No. B.17) [1]
  • 1941 Alison Gray merged the company with hockey stick manufacturer J. Hazells, to form Grays hockey and also acquired the world-renowned cricket bat business of L. J. Nicolls, resulting in Gray-Nicolls. At this time the company also acquired the famous brands of Shaw and Shrewsbury and Wainwrights.
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Racquets, Tennis Balls, Court Equipment, Hockey, Football, Golf, Boxing, General Sports Goods and Equipment, Indoor Games. (Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. F.1828) [2]
  • 1950s and 60s. The brand went from strength to strength and at one stage the captains of all 5 test playing countries (Ted Dexter, Richie Benaud, Frank Worrell, John Reid, Trevor Goddard) all used Gray-Nicolls. Major innovations included the revolutionary "Steel Spring" and the first shoulderless "Superlite" bat.
  • 1970s Gray-Nicolls were the first to introduce coloured labels. Top Cricketers using the trend-setting Gray-Nicolls red flash included the Chappell brothers, Clive Lloyd, Tony Greig and Barry Richards.
  • 1974 The company broke new ground with the introduction of the revolutionary scoop bat. A new Gray-Nicolls factory was opened in Melbourne to supply the growing demand from the Australian and New Zealand markets.
  • 1980s and 90s Expansion meant Gray-Nicolls had to move to larger premises in Robertsbridge.
  • The company grew by expanding into clothing and footwear, and by acquisition including the ‘Gilbert Rugby’ brand, which doubled the size of the company in 2002. It is still run by members of the Gray family.

Gray Arnold Court Construction Co

of Playfair Works, Cambridge. Telephone: Cambridge 3488. Cables: "Sports, Cambridge". London Office 26 St James's Street, SW1. Telephone: Abbey 3370. (1947)

  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Builders, Constructors and Fitters of Squash, Badminton, Tennis, Fives and Racquets Courts. (Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. F.1828) [3]

Gray-Nicholls

of Playfair Works, ditto as above. (1947)

  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Cricket Bats and Cricket Balls, including the "Walter Hammond" autograph Cricket bat, Stumps, Pads, Gloves, Bags and all Cricket Equipment. (Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. F.1828) [4]

See Also

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  • [1] Warwick the Magazine
  • [2] Gray-Nicolls Website

Sources of Information