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British Industrial History

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Samuel Alexander Benetfink

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Samuel Benetfink (1816-1869) of Benetfink and Co

1836 May 8th. Married at Newington to Esther Leng.

1851 Living at 21 Mitre Terrace, Hackney: Samuel Benetfink (age 35 born Shuttlesfield, Middlesex), Ironmonger employing 11 men. With his wife Esther Benetfink (age 36 born Christchurch, Surrey). One servant.[1]

1856 Patent. '2196. An improved construction of coal-box'[2]

1869 March 24th. Died at 44 Graham Road, Dalston, aged 53 years.'[3]

1884 December 11th. Death of his wife Esther Benetfink. Probate to her sister Elizabeth Ling.

1907 History of the company [4]


A romantic story, recalling, in some respects, the legend of Dick Whittington, was unfolded on Friday, concerning the founder of one of London’s great business emporiums. The incident arose at Benetfink luncheon, served at the Holborn Restaurant, in connection with the public announcement of the amalgamation of two well-known London firms, Messrs. A. W. Gamage. Ltd., and Messrs. Benetfink.

Mr. A. W. Gamage, who presided, gave the history Samuel Alexander Benetfink, who established the business Messrs. Benetfink and Co., in 1844. It was an illustration of the possibilities of every child to achieve success in life, no matter how humble its origin.

Samuel Alexander Benetfink was a foundling who was discovered in 1816 upon the steps of the church St. Benetfink, in Old Broad-street. His Christian names were probably derived from the good citizen who found the child, whilst the surname came from the title of the old church, which, by strange coincidence, was sold almost simultaneously with the sale of Benetfink business to Messrs. Gamage. Benefink’s early youth was spent amidst such gloomy surroundings that he had to get his education under the worst possible conditions, yet it redounded to his credit that at twenty-eight years of age, after serving an apprenticeship to the ironmongery trade, he had saved sufficient enable him to embark in business.

Under the title of Benetfink and Jones there was opened in Cheapside the business of furnishing ironmongers. Subsequently the firm became Benetfink and Fox, and in 1860 the house had international reputation. It occupied the site of the residence, and probably the business, of John Gilpin, the famous London draper, immortalised by Cowper in 1782. Gilpin might be said to have added his share in making Cheapside so notorious.

At the present time was estimated that half a million people passed up and down Cheapside within the eight business hours the day. It had always been centre of the fight for trade between the East and the West of London.

When Mr. Benetfink passed away in 1869 the business was carried on by Mr. George Evans for nearly a quarter a century. He was good citizen, having left large legacies and bequests his employees, hospitals, and police institutes. Like his predecessor, he gave his best energies the advancement the City, and helped carry Benefink’s to the successful position it now enjoyed.

Mr. Albert Evans, who succeeded to the business, took into partnership Mr. Ebenezer Skelt, and under thin regime the departments devoted to sports, athletics, outfitting, cycle and motor accessories, etc., had hugely developed. In 1906, for family reasons, the business was turned into a limited but ill-health compelled Mr. Albert Evans resign Mr. A. W. Gamage, of (Limited), Holborn, purchased his interest in the business, and had become a governing director of Benetfink and Co. (Limited).

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1851 census
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:17 October 1856 Issue:21932 Page:3413
  3. London City Press - Saturday 03 April 1869
  4. Gloucestershire Echo - Saturday 10 August 1907