Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,708 pages of information and 235,205 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Metal Box Co

From Graces Guide
1950. Worcester Ware.
Dec 1955. Dinner Dance Programme - to celebrate the completion of the new factory buildings and canteen.
March 1960.
1961. Worcester Ware.

of The Langham, Portland Place, London, W1. Telephone: Langham 2040. Cables: "Metaboxes, Wesdo, London". (1947) Maker of plain and decorated tins and tins for fruit and vegetables (1932), of Baker Street, London

of Reading (1974)

1810 Claimed foundation although several of the constituent companies preceded that date.

1921 Formed as a private company , Metal Box and Printing Industries Ltd[1], when it acquired controlling interests in Hudson Scott and Sons of Carlisle and Newcastle (est. 1799), Barclay and Fry Ltd of London and Portsmouth (est. 1799), F. Atkins and Co Ltd of Hull (est. 1897), Henry Grant and Co Ltd, of London (est. 1895)[2]

1924 Acquired I. A. Hodgson and Co Ltd of Newcastle (est.1904)

1927 Acquired E. T. Gee and Sons of Liverpool (est.1860)

1929 Acquired Edward C. Barlow and Sons of London (est.1869)

1929 Acquired a perfume factory in Blind Lane (Chequers Way), Palmers Green.

1930 Acquired T. F. Boutle and Co of London (est.1880) and the British Sure Seal Co of London (est.1900)

1930 Took over G. H. Williamson and Sons of Worcester (est. 1838) and Excel Canister Co Ltd of London (est.1915)

1930 Became a public company. Name changed to Metal Box Company Ltd.

1931 Acquired the British Can Co, of Acton, London.

1932 Public issue of shares; fruit and vegetable canning represented only 20 percent of the business but was growing rapidly and was expected to be an important part of the business in future[3]

1934 Metal Box started rebuilding when the Blind Lane factory disappeared due to the construction of the North Circular.

1935 Two brewers in the Llanelli area, where tinplate was made, saw the opportunity for increased local employment from canning beer. One of these was Felinfoel Brewery, with family interests in the tinplate industry, who prompted Metal Box Co to work with the St. Davids Tinplate Co to make the first British beer cans; these were then sent to Felinfoel for filling.

1935 Purchased the Eaglesbush Tinplate Works at Neath from Baldwins Ltd

1937 Opened new can-making factory in Neath, next to the Eaglebush Tinplate Works.[4]

WWII Made many things for war service including 140 million metal parts for respirators, 200 million items for precautions against gas attacks, 410 million machine gun belt clips, 1.5 million assembled units for anti-aircraft defence, mines, grenades, bomb tail fins, jerrican closures and water sterilisation kits, many different types of food packing including 5000 million cans, as well as operating agency factories for the government making gliders, production of fuses and repair of aero engines[5]

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Metal Containers, Composites, Cartons, Caps, Closures, Advertising and Show Material Paper. A Complete Packaging Service Packed by Extensive Technical Research. Market Research and Publicity Departments, and Design and Photographic Studios. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 593) [6]

1954 Acquired Flexible Packaging Ltd, a subsidiary of Transparent Paper Ltd[7]

1955 Sold that part of the business concerned with the manufacture of cork and liners to Capseals Ltd[8]

1961 Jointly-owned company, Liquid Packaging Ltd, was formed by the company with a new company to be formed by John Waddington Ltd and International Paper Co of New York, to handle the distribution and sale of machines for making and filling Pure-Pak paper containers[9]

1961 Ten subsidiary and 13 associated companies. More than 25,000 employees. Largest packaging manufacturer in the Commonwealth. Manufacture containers, plain and decorated, in tinplate, blackplate, aluminium, paper and card; composite containers of paperboard and metal; containers in rigid and flexible plastics; printed labels; advertising novelties and display stands. [10] [11]

1961 Acquired Wallis Tin Stamping Co[12]

1964 Metal Box was the largest user of tinplate in Britain[13]

1973 The company had some 900 employees at the Blind Lane factory.

1973 As part of its policy of diversification into domestic heating, Metal Box acquired Stelrad[14].

1974 Used a Modulex model system when deciding on the layout of its new factory in Peterborough in order to arrange services and machinery.[15]

1976 Added to its domestic heating business by acquiring the domestic and industrial boiler business of Ideal-Standard[16].

Changed name to MB Group

1989 Acquired Caradon[17]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Oct 02, 1976
  2. The Times, May 05, 1932
  3. The Times, May 05, 1932
  4. Western Mail, 16 November 1938
  5. The Times, Aug 9, 1945
  6. 1947 British Industries Fair p184
  7. The Times, Mar 06, 1954
  8. The Times, Jun 11, 1955
  9. The Times, Jan 10, 1961
  10. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  11. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  12. The Times, Nov 30, 1961
  13. The Times, Dec 18, 1964
  14. The Times, Jun 12, 1976
  15. The Engineer 1974/07/18
  16. The Times, Jun 12, 1976
  17. The Times, October 03, 1989
  • [1] British History Online: Edmonton