Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Reckitt and Colman

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Colman's Mustard Advertising Plaque
Advertising Sign.
Advertising Sign.
Advertising sign.

1814 Jeremiah Colman began milling flour and mustard in Norwich, UK. Diversified mid-century into starch, wheat flour and laundry blue.

1840 Isaac Reckitt rented, then subsequently (in 1848) bought a starch mill in Hull, diversified into other household products, and became renowned for starch, washing blue and black lead for polishing. His four sons took over after his death. (Reckitt's history page).

1886 Reckitt and Sons began its expansion and opened businesses around the world - the first in Australia.

1888 Reckitt and Sons was launched on the London Stock Exchange.

1904 Hull's Garden Village was inaugurated by Sir James Reckitt, Bart.

1913 Joint venture set up in South America between Reckitt and Sons and J. and J. Colman - Atlantis Ltd. So successful that it is extended, in 1921, to cover all trading outside U.K.

1913 In the UK, Reckitt and Sons joined the Mason brothers to form the Chiswick Polish Co. Diversification into other branded household products continued through the war years and the Twenties.

1932 A major breakthrough for Reckitt and Sons, with the decision to market a germicide, Dettol, endorsed by the medical profession.

1938 Reckitt and Sons merged with J. and J. Colman to become Reckitt and Colman Ltd.

1954 The Chiswick Polish Co merged with Reckitt and Colman.

1968 Rationalisation programme planned; the divisions of the company would be:[1]

1970 The Meltonian Wren factory at Cricklewood was to be closed

1991 Sold the shoe polishes to Sara Lee; as a result of a Monopolies and Merger Commission investigation, the government required Sara Lee to sell Cherry Blossom[2]

1995 The Colman's part of the business was demerged and Colman's became part of Unilever.

1999 Reckitt and Colman and Benckiser N. V. merged to become Reckitt Benckiser, the world's biggest household cleaning product manufacturer[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Dec 11, 1968
  2. The Times, August 14, 1992
  3. [1]
  • [2] Hullwebs History of Hull
  • [3] Reckitt Benckiser Website