Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,470 pages of information and 233,895 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Knight

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June 1911.
John Knight Ltd Silver Box for Knights Castile competition 2nd half year 1927.
John Knight Ltd Silver Box Detail.
John Knight Ltd Silver Box Detail.

John Knight Ltd, of Old Gravel Lane, Wapping, London; The Royal Primrose Soap Works, London.

of Silvertown, London, E16. (1922)

1817 Company founded by John Knight, at Wapping, London.

1844 Produced 'Royal primrose' soap.

1851 Won a Prize Medal at the 1851 Great Exhibition.

1850s Employed 150 persons and produced between two and three thousand tons of soap per annum.

1880 Business moved to Silvertown. The Royal Primrose Soap Works, Knights Road, Silvertown, was opened by John Knight Ltd.

1906 The company of John Knight Ltd was registered on 13 November, to acquire the undertaking of John Knight and Sons, soap makers and perfumers. [1]. Public company incorporated.

By 1922 was an associate company of Lever Brothers[2]

1922 Listed Exhibitor. Soap; Household, Laundry, Perfumed, Soft, Medicinal, Shaving, Flakes, Powder; Dye Soap. Toilet Preparations; Glue; Tallow; Edible Dripping; Edible Oils; Oil Cake for Cattle Feeding. (Stand No. A.68) [3]

1939 Knight's Castile and Solidox adverts

1940. Zixt advert.

1946 Entered into an arrangement with R. S. Hudson Ltd to form a new marketing company called Hudson and Knight to act as selling agents for the products of both companies to grocers and chemists[4]. Food rationing affected the supplies of raw materials to the fat melting and bone processing department; the vegetable adhesive department continued to make progress despite constraints on supplies of paper and cardboard, the main users of these products; seed crushing and oil refinery department was supplying makers of cattle cake and edible oils.

1949 Hudson and Knight were unable to satisfy demand for the 2 major products, Knights Castile and Family Health Soap, due to rationing; demand for Shavallo Shaving Cream increased by 50 percent (not restricted by rationing)[5]

1959 Over 1,200 employees, making soap, tallow, glue, fertilizers, vegetable adhesives, and dripping

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] British History - West Ham Industries
  • The History of Unilever by Charles Wilson. Published 1954 by Cassell and Co
  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. The Times, Apr 08, 1922
  3. 1922 British Industries Fair Page 46
  4. The Times, Aug 26, 1946
  5. The Times, Jul 09, 1949