Goldmine: a history of Cavenham

How did Jimmy Goldsmith build the third largest food company in Europe?

Early life of Jimmy Goldsmith
Jimmy Goldsmith (1933 – 1997) was born in Paris, the son of Major Frank Goldsmith, a former British Member of Parliament, and one of the leading hoteliers in France during the interwar period.

Jimmy Goldsmith was educated at Eton, where he found himself somewhat of an outsider. He was not keen on academics, but he soon developed an interest in gambling. At the age of 16 an accumulator win netted the schoolboy a payout of nearly £8,000, an immense sum at the time.

Goldsmith left Eton at the age of 17 and spent five years engaged as a professional gambler. He eventually entered into debt, which his father cleared on the condition that he enlist in the army. Goldsmith completed his service with the rank of lieutenant in 1953.

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Goldsmith enters the pharmaceuticals business
Following his army service Goldsmith returned to France to discover that the family fortune had been depleted. He entered into business as a pharmaceutical product wholesaler, and found success marketing cortisone tablets.

Goldsmith eloped with Isabel Patino, the daughter of a Bolivian tin magnate, in 1953. His young wife died from complications due to childbirth in 1954. Goldsmith was ridden with grief, and threw himself into his work with an almost manic energy.

Goldsmith began to manufacture generic medicines such as antacids at prices that undercut the large drug producers. The business was successful and profitable, but it grew so fast that it ran into liquidity issues, forcing Goldsmith to sell out to Laboratoires Roussel in 1957.

Goldsmith later commented, “in those days I understood very little about finance”. The loss of his first business instilled in Goldsmith a fear of failure which was to subsequently motivate him.

Goldsmith next won the licence to market Prednisolone, an anti-inflammatory drug, in Britain.

Goldsmith partnered with Selim Zilkha (born 1927) to acquire Lewis & Burrows, a 28-branch pharmaceutical chain, from Charles Clore (1904 – 1979) in 1959. Goldsmith relocated to London in order to manage the business.

Zilkha and Goldsmith next acquired the 50-strong chain of W J Harris, pram and nursery furniture specialists, in 1961. The business was renamed Mothercare.

Goldsmith sold his retail holdings stake to Zilkha in order to concentrate on pharmaceuticals in 1962.

Goldsmith enters the food industry
Goldsmith introduced a range of slimming foods in France, in direct imitation of Metrecal, a product that had already enjoyed considerable success in the United States.

Goldsmith acquired 20 percent of Procea, a British manufacturer of slimming foods, in 1963.

Charles Clore introduced Goldsmith to Sir Isaac Wolfson (1897 – 1991), who provided expansion capital.

Goldsmith acquired full control of Procea, as well as controlling stakes in Carson’s (chocolate), Carr’s of Carlisle (biscuits) and Holland of Southport (toffee) in 1964.

Goldsmith had identified all of the companies as mismanaged, with strong brands that were under-utilised. Carson’s was loss-making, Holland was troubled, and Carr was under pressure from larger biscuit manufacturers. Goldsmith was able to acquire the companies at depressed prices. Goldsmith would later comment:

I wanted to break into business in a big way and the only way I could do so with my limited resources was to buy up down-at-heel companies.

Goldsmith floated his interests as Cavenham Foods in 1965. The company employed 6,000 people and produced 15 percent of all toffee sold in Britain. Goldsmith intended to develop Cavenham into a food multinational along the lines of Unilever and Nestle.

Goldsmith modernised Cavenham in order to render the business profitable. He installed a professional management team, with staff poached from blue chip consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble, Mars and Beechams. Six factories were immediately closed in order to leave five sites, which were modernised. Less popular product lines were discontinued, with marketing and research concentrated on the highest-selling products. Non-core assets, such as the Holland of Southport paper and plastics division, were divested.

Singleton & Cole of Birmingham, a tobacco wholesaler, was acquired in 1966. The business had entered into difficulties after the large supermarket chains had established their own wholesale networks. The merged business was the largest confectionery and tobacco wholesaler in Britain.

Singleton & Cole was sold to Palmer & Harvey for £2.4 million in order to reduce debt in 1968. The wholesale business was unprofitable and had proved a drain on capital.

The R S McColl newsagent chain was acquired, with 420 shops, for £900,000 in 1971.

Goldsmith had a mixed relationship with the British press. In the Evening Standard he was described as having “something of the bumptious undergraduate about him”. A Daily Telegraph profile regarded him as, “a highly amusing man with a distinctively forceful style”. The Economist argued that he was “regarded as altogether too theatrical, always pulling a deal out of a hat here, a continental connection there”.

Goldsmith acquires Bovril
Goldsmith identified Bovril as another business with mismanaged and underutilised assets. He particularly liked the three leading brands of Bovril, Marmite and Ambrosia. Goldsmith explained:

we think we can do more with the existing business. Bovril’s profits have not really moved since 1961. Last year they made nine percent on net tangible assets; we made 50 percent. The difference speaks for itself.

A 50 percent stake in the Cavenham retail operation was sold to Southland Corporation for £3.3 million in order to finance the acquisition. The Economist described the deal as “derisory” and a “Goldsmith bloomer”, but Cavenham needed the cash urgently.

Bovril was acquired for £14.5 million in 1971 (around £500 million in 2020 prices). The deal was transformational for Cavenham.

Eight of Bovril’s ten board members departed shortly after the takeover. Overheads were decreased. Research and development funding was redirected to support the three main brands.

Bovril had valued its dairy interests on its balance sheet at next to nothing, but Goldsmith sold them shortly after the takeover to Grand Metropolitan for £6.3 million in cash. Goldsmith strenuously denied accusations of asset stripping.

Goldsmith expands his retail interests
Cavenham acquired Allied Suppliers, one of the largest supermarket groups in Britain, for £92 million in January 1972. Allied’s Lipton tea subsidiary was sold to Unilever for £18.5 million. Goldsmith had the Allied Suppliers property portfolio revalued at £55 million.

The Cavenham biscuit interests, with 2,500 employees, were sold to United Biscuits for £4 million in July 1972. The business had lacked sufficient scale, with just 2.5 percent of the biscuit market.

1600 freehold properties, mostly acquired with the Allied Suppliers purchase, were sold for £17.5 million in 1973. Two office buildings in the City of London were sold for a further £11.7 million.

A 50 percent stake in Grand Union, the ninth largest food retailer in the United States, was acquired for £25.5 million in 1973.

Cavenham had a market capitalization of £79.7 million by 1974, and was the third largest food company in Europe, after Nestle and Unilever.

Goldsmith constantly reassessed what was central to his business. Procea was sold to Spillers for around £1.5 million in 1975.

Goldsmith received a knighthood in 1976.

Cavenham extended its ownership of Grand Union to 80 percent in 1976. Allied Suppliers was the third largest supermarket chain in Britain.

Goldsmith’s attempt to create a food multinational along the lines of Unilever ultimately ended in failure. He realised that he could never hope to dominate the food industry, but he could become a significant force in retail. Bovril was sold to Beechams for £42 million in 1980.

Goldsmith resigned as chairman of Cavenham in 1980.

Cavenham Confectionery was sold to its management for around £8 million in 1981.

Goldsmith retired from business in 1990. Fortune magazine assessed his net worth at $1.3 billion in 1991.

Goldsmith died in 1997. His obituary in the Financial Times characterised him as a “corporate buccaneer”.

Lessons on brand custodianship

This post looks to explore why some well-established brands fail.

Introduction: give me some sugar
Henry Tate (1819 – 1899), the proprietor of Tate & Lyle sugar, once described the nature of his highly lucrative business: “[I] pull on a string and gold sovereigns come tumbling down”. Tate & Lyle sugar is still a highly valuable brand today, and it remains a truism that great fortunes remain to be gleaned in the consumer goods sector.

Once a brand is well-established it seems relatively straightforward, as Mr Tate implied, to sit back and watch the money amass. But that negates to reflect the intrinsic difficulties of brand management. What I find to be more inherently illustrative is when a well-established brand declines and ultimately fails. What causes the brand to fail, and what lessons can it demonstrate?

Family troubles
Quarrelling families are a subject as old as time. However they can cause havoc for a family-run enterprise. Nathan Baraf Walters (1867 – 1957) developed Palm Toffee and became one of the largest toffee manufacturers in Britain. However he refused to pass on the business to his four sons. The sons contested their father’s will in the Probate Court, and the QC reflected, “unhappily this family was riven with difficulties and troubles for years. I dare say the deceased bore his share of responsibility for them”. The business was subsequently subjected to a takeover by Holland’s toffee, a larger rival. The Walters factory was immediately closed, and the Palm Toffee brand disappeared.

Gin fails to blossom
The Distillers Co acquired much of the English gin industry in the early twentieth century. Marketing strength was consolidated behind Gordon’s, their leading brand, and long-established brands such as Booth’s (est.1770s), Boord’s (1774) and Vickers (1820) withered from neglect.

Fading sparkle
Showerings was a small brewery business in rural Somerset. They introduced Babycham sparkling perry in post-war Britain to immediate success. Showerings operated the largest bottling plant in the world by the late 1950s. At its height, 90 percent of licensed premises stocked Babycham. But annual sales plummeted precariously from 144 million bottles in 1977 to just one million in 1993. The conventional explanation suggests that Babycham ceased to be fashionable. Was this a failure of marketing or was a decline in the public perception of the brand intrinsically inevitable?

You butter believe it
James Epps introduced instant cocoa to the mass market. At its peak Epps & Co processed half of all cocoa imports into Britain. But the business failed to respond to rivals such as Cadbury and Rowntree, who introduced the Van Houten press to remove some of the unpalatable cocoa butter from the product. The business declined over time, and was eventually acquired by Rowntree, and the Epps brand disappeared.

Whilst far from exhaustive, this post sketches some reasons why brands can fail: management and family disputes, consolidation, poor marketing and a failure to respond to consumer demand.

Procter’s gamble: Thomas Hedley & Co

How did Procter & Gamble challenge Unilever’s control over the British soap industry?

Thomas Hedley
Thomas Hedley (1809 – 1890) was born at Harnham, Northumberland. He settled in Gateshead from 1826.

Hedley entered into partnership with John Greene (1800 – 1870), to form John Greene & Co, soap manufacturers of City Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, from 1838.

John Greene left the partnership in 1860 and Thomas Hedley assumed full control. The name of the business was changed to Thomas Hedley & Co. He was assisted by his brother, Edward Armorer Hedley (1826 – 1909).

Thomas Hedley served as Mayor of Newcastle in 1863-4. He was also a director of the Consett Iron Co from 1869 until his death, and was closely identified with its success.

Thomas Hedley & Co employed 26 men and eight boys by 1871.

Thomas Hedley died in 1890. He was succeeded by Edward Armorer Hedley as the principal of the business.

Fairy soap is introduced and subsequent growth
Thomas Hedley & Co was incorporated with a capital of £30,000 in 1898. Up to fifty different types of toilet, household and manufacturing soaps were produced.

Fairy soap had been introduced by 1899.

Thomas Hedley & Co had a capital of £70,000 in 1905. Soap, candles, varnish and chemicals were manufactured. It was a private company, and the shareholders all resided in Newcastle upon Tyne, Stocksfield and Gosforth.

Fairy soap was reformulated from 1926; low-cost rosin was removed and replaced by olive oil, which was advertised as leaving hands feeling smoother and softer. Thomas Hedley acquired olive groves and established a packing plant in Andalusia, Spain.

Thomas Hedley & Co had an issued capital of £500,000 by 1929. Output of soap amounted to 750,000 boxes a year, with annual sales of between $2.5 million to $3 million. Thomas Hedley & Co was the largest soap manufacturer in the North of England, and the largest independent soap manufacturer in Britain. Hedley products enjoyed distribution across Britain and Ireland, and the company claimed around two percent of the British soap market. As well as the Newcastle site, there were two subsidiary factories in Birmingham and one at Wath upon Dearne, Yorkshire.

Acquisition by Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble, the largest soap manufacturer in North America, acquired the majority of the shares in Thomas Hedley & Co of Newcastle in 1930. It was the first overseas acquisition for Procter & Gamble, and was motivated, in part, by a desire to divert the attention of Lever Brothers from the American market by challenging the rival soap manufacturer on its home turf. The takeover also provided Procter & Gamble with entry to the Southern European market, which Thomas Hedley & Co supplied with soft soap.

Procter & Gamble doubled the capacity of the Newcastle factory and increased production. Oxydol, a Procter & Gamble washing powder, had been introduced by 1931. Soon, Thomas Hedley & Co was manufacturing all Procter & Gamble products sold in the British and European markets.

Procter & Gamble introduced one week paid annual leave for employees at Thomas Hedley. Previously holiday had been unpaid.

Two new factories were established on a ten acre site at Trafford Park, Manchester from 1934. It was of a similar size, if not larger, than the Newcastle site. Manchester was chosen due to its accessibility for deep water shipping via the Manchester Ship Canal, and for its large consumer market. Tennis courts and athletic fields were provided for the use of staff.

Growing sales of the three leading brands; Fairy Soap, Oxydol and Sylvan Flakes, a soap flakes product, saw the Trafford Park site increased to 15 acres by 1937.

Dreft soapless detergent was introduced from 1937.

Thomas Hedley & Co claimed a 15 percent share of the British soap market by 1938, largely due to strong investment from Procter & Gamble.

A view of the West Thurrock works (2011)

A 15-acre site was acquired at West Thurrock in Kent, and a large factory was established in 1940. The site was chosen for its strong distribution links, and its proximity to the London consumer market.

About two thirds of after-tax profits were reinvested in the business between 1930 and 1956.

Procter & Gamble claimed 25 percent of the British soap and detergents market by 1949.

Tide, an all-purpose synthetic detergent, was introduced from 1950. Accompanied by an unprecedented marketing campaign, Tide was a great success, and its sales challenged that of its Unilever rival, Persil, by 1953.

Daz washing powder was introduced from 1953.

Thomas Hedley & Co was the largest producer of synthetic detergent in Britain by 1954. Success was in part due to a significant investment in press advertising.

A 45 acre site was acquired at Whitley Road, Longbenton in 1954. Research and development was transferred there, and later production. The site was chosen by mapping the homes of the workforce and finding the location that would be most convenient for their daily commute.

Thomas Hedley & Co sold $48 million worth of detergent a year by 1955. 3,700 people were employed by 1958.

Flash, a household cleaner, was introduced from 1958.

A recreation of the original Fairy Liquid bottle (2009)

Fairy Liquid was introduced from 1959. It was the market leader in washing-up liquid by 1961.

Recent history
Thomas Hedley & Co was renamed Procter & Gamble Limited from 1962. The change was intended to assist with export sales, as the Procter & Gamble name had greater recognition overseas.

Fairy Liquid held 37 percent of the British washing-up liquid market by 1968.

Procter & Gamble Ltd was the largest Procter & Gamble subsidiary in 1969. It was the production centre for the British and Scandinavian markets. The principal products were domestic packaged soaps and detergents.

Ariel biological detergent was introduced from 1969. Bold, a low suds biological detergent was introduced from 1972. Head & Shoulders shampoo was launched in 1973. Lenor fabric conditioner was introduced from 1974. Crest toothpaste was introduced from 1975.

Procter & Gamble was the third-largest business in the North East of England as measured by turnover by 1987. Over 1,000 people were employed in the region.

The Procter & Gamble UK head office was relocated from Gosforth, Newcastle to Weybridge, Surrey from 2000.

The Newcastle site concentrates on the manufacture of fragrances for Procter & Gamble as of 2010. The Manchester site produces Pampers, and the West Thurrock site produces soap and detergents.

Bubble market: William Gossage & Sons

William Gossage & Sons was the largest soap manufacturer in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world, by 1877.

Early life and Stoke Prior
William Gossage (1799 – 1877) was born in Lincolnshire. After serving an apprenticeship to his uncle in Chesterfield, Gossage commenced trade as a chemist and druggist at Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.

William Gossage (1799-1877)

Gossage was appointed chemist to the Stoke Prior Salt and Alkaki Works in Worcestershire from 1830. Gossage sank a shaft that was to prove highly successful in pumping brine. He was eventually appointed a director and managing partner of the business.

Gossage commences the manufacture of soap in Widnes
Gossage established a soda-making plant at Widnes, Merseyside, from 1850. He also produced alkali from crushed limestone. He soon gave up soda-making, and commenced the smelting of copper, which was to prove successful.

Soap prices increased during the Crimean War (1853 – 56) due to inflated tallow prices. Gossage began to manufacture a low-cost alternative soap of similar quality using sodium silicate and palm oil from 1855.

Gossage introduced blue mottled soap from 1857. Mottled soap served no superior utilitarian function, but gave the soap the pleasant aesthetic appearance of marble.

William Gossage was considered a model employer, and was highly popular with his workforce. He employed 80 men by 1861.

The two sons and T S Timmis enter the business
Alfred Howard Gossage (1831 – 1904) and Frederick Herbert Gossage (1832 – 1907), sons of William Gossage, had entered the business as partners by 1861.

Thomas Sutton Timmis (1830 – 1910) joined the business from 1865, and became a partner.

Thomas Sutton Timmis (1830 – 1910) c.1892

A H Gossage retired in 1866.

William Gossage & Sons held a contract to produce dry soap for R S Hudson from 1869.

William Gossage & Sons was the second largest soap manufacturer in Britain by 1870.

William Gossage retired from business due to ill health from 1874.

Frederick Gossage and Thomas Timmis were to drive the business forward. Gossage had the technical expertise, and Timmis possessed a keen aptitude for finance.

William Gossage & Sons was the largest soap manufacturer in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world by 1877, with an output of no less than 500 tons a week.

William Gossage & Sons employed 500 men and 40 boys by 1881.

Over 200,000 tons of mottled soap were produced between 1862 and 1887.

William Gossage & Sons held a contract to produce Sunlight soap during the early days of Lever Brothers. Frederick Gossage was said to have taught William Lever how to make soap.

Gossage and Timmis converted the business into a private limited company, William Gossage & Sons, from 1894.

William Gossage & Sons produced 1,400 tons of soap a week by 1897, and was probably the second largest soap manufacturer in the world after Lever Brothers. The business focused on the overseas trade, and had a large market in China.

Frederick Gossage died with a net personalty of £709,396 in 1907.

Thomas Timmis died in 1910 with a net personalty valued at £643,247.

Thousands of tons of blue mottled soap were produced annually by 1911. William Gossage & Sons accounted for 57 percent of all soap exported from the United Kingdom, and held 33 percent of the foreign soap trade worldwide.

Acquisition by Brunner Mond
Brunner Mond, the largest chemical manufacturer in the world, acquired William Gossage & Sons and Joseph Crosfield & Sons of Warrington, a rival soap manufacturer, in 1911. Brunner Mond was a major supplier of raw material for the soap industry, and the merger was motivated by an intent to create a strong competitor against the increasingly dominant Lever Brothers.

The Widnes site covered about fourteen acres by 1914. About 1,500 people were employed. Exports were strong throughout the British Empire, and in the Far East.

Sale to Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers acquired William Gossage & Sons and Joseph Crosfield & Sons in 1919.

William Gossage & Sons employed around 1,300 people in 1928.

The Widnes site was closed in 1932, and production was transferred to Lever Brothers-controlled plants in Bromborough and Warrington.

William Gossage & Sons was merged with Joseph Watson & Sons, a Leeds soap manufacturer that was also controlled by Lever Brothers, to form Watson & Gossage from 1937.

The English patent: Holloway’s Pills

How did Holloway’s Pills and Ointment became the highest-selling medicines in the world?

Thomas Holloway establishes his patent medicine business
Thomas Holloway (1800 – 1883) was born at Devonport, the son of a baker. He was apprenticed to a chemist.

Thomas Holloway (1800 – 1883)

Holloway relocated to London from 1828. He established himself as a merchant on Liverpool Street from 1836. One client was a Felix Albinolo (1785 – 1872), the proprietor of Albinolo’s ointment, a patent medicine. The success of Albinolo’s product inspired Holloway to introduce an equivalent.

Holloway’s Family Ointment was introduced from 1837. Holloway’s Pills were launched two years later. Holloway was the first person to advertise medicines on a massive scale, and it was this that would cement the success of his products.

George E Barclay was granted the sole licence to manufacture the pills and ointment in the United States. Between 1857 and 1858 his sales totalled $250,000.

Holloway’s Pills and Ointment claimed the largest sales of any medicine in the world by 1862.

Thomas Holloway became a very wealthy man. He retired in 1873 and, as he was without issue, appointed his brother-in-law, Henry Driver (1830 – 1909) as manager of his business.

Thomas Holloway dedicated much of the rest of his life to charitable ventures; he established the Holloway Sanatorium at Virginia Water, Surrey at a cost of £250,000 in 1873. He later went on to found the Holloway College at a cost of £350,000.

Holloway College in 2015

Death of the founder and gradual decline of the business
Thomas Holloway died with an estate valued at £550,000 in 1883.

Sole control of the Thomas Holloway business was assumed by Henry Driver, who added the Holloway name to his own to become Henry Driver Holloway.

An analysis of Holloway’s Pills conducted for the British Medical Journal in 1903 found the product to consist of aloes, rhubarb, saffron, sodium sulphate decahydrate and pepper. The pills would have likely had a laxative effect. Holloway’s ointment was found to consist of turpentine, resin, olive oil, lard, wax and spermaceti.

Holloway’s Pills was registered as a company in 1929, with a modest capital of £5,000. Holloway’s Pills had lost considerable market share to Beecham’s Pills, whilst falling prey to an increased scepticism among the public regarding patent medicines.

Holloway’s Pills was acquired by Yeast-Vite Ltd, which itself came under the control of the Beecham Group in 1931.

Production of Holloway’s Pills and Ointment ended in 1951.

Oranges and lemons: Samuel Hanson & Son

Samuel Hanson & Son traded independently for over 200 years.

The early years of the business
Samuel Hanson established premises at 47 Botolph Lane in the City of London from 1747. The Hanson family are believed to have originated from Yorkshire.

Hanson traded as a fruit importer, mostly dealing in oranges, but also importing lemons and dried fruits from the Mediterranean area.

Samuel Hanson’s son, also called Samuel Hanson (1744 – 1829), took control of the business from 1763. He continued the trade in oranges. The business remained modest yet profitable.

Samuel Hanson III
Samuel Hanson (1804 – 1882), grandson of the founder, became the senior partner from 1825. He was a dedicated Evangelical Christian.

Nathaniel Smith Machin (1775 – 1837) had joined the business by 1830. His daughter was married to Samuel Hanson in 1832.

Batger & Co, the sugar refining and confectionery business of Bishopsgate Street, London, was acquired in 1856. Frederick Machin, son of N S Machin, was appointed manager of Batger & Co.

Frederick Machin had assumed full control of Batger & Co by 1864.

Reginald Hanson (1840 – 1905) joined his father in the business from the 1860s.

Merger with Jones, Evison & Barter
Samuel Hanson & Sons merged with Jones, Evison & Barter, tea and coffee merchants of Borough, Southwark, to form Samuel Hanson, Son, Evison & Barter from 1871. Samuel Hanson took the opportunity to retire, and the business was operated by Reginald Hanson, Edward Evison (1833 – 1907) and Henry Barter (1831 – 1889).

A branded coffee, Red White & Blue, was introduced from 1872. It was to prove one of the most successful product lines.

The Botolph Lane premises were enlarged and refronted in 1882.

Samuel Hanson died as a highly wealthy man in 1882. His personal estate was valued at over £134,000.

Edward Evison left the partnership in 1885, and the firm was continued by Reginald Hanson and Henry Barter under the name Samuel Hanson, Son & Barter. Reginald Hanson was the senior partner. The firm traded in fruits, tea, coffee, sugar, spices and wine.

Frederick George Ivey (1845 – 1914) was admitted into the partnership from around 1885.

Supported by able partners, Reginald Hanson was able to pursue outside interests. He served as Sheriff of London in 1881-82 and as Lord Mayor of London in 1886-87. He was knighted in 1882 and created a baronet in 1887.

Sir Reginald Hanson (1840 – 1905) in 1899

Henry Barter died in 1889 with a net personalty valued at £149,000.  Upon his death the name of the firm reverted to Samuel Hanson & Son. That year Thomas Cameron Tanner (1848 – 1930) became a partner.

Francis Stanhope Hanson (1868 – 1910), son of Sir Reginald Hanson, and his cousin, Percy Machin (born 1866), entered the firm as partners from 1899.

Sir Reginald Hanson died in 1905 with a gross estate valued at £495,416.

Edward Evison died in 1907 with an estate valued at £142,916.

Red, White & Blue was one of the most successful branded coffee products in Britain by 1907.

Francis Stanhope Hanson was knighted in 1909. He died the following year, and left a net personalty valued at £159,055. He was the last member of the Hanson family line to work for the business.

Hundreds of people were employed in 1914. The active partners were Frederick George Ivey, Thomas Cameron Tanner, Percy Machin and R C Tanner.

Frederick George Ivey died in 1914 and left an estate valued at £70,667. He left £40,000 for charitable causes and about £10,000 to Samuel Hanson & Son employees.

Noel Percy Machin (1898 – 1977) joined the firm in 1921. He became a partner from 1929.

Thomas Cameron Tanner died in 1930 with an estate valued at £191,094.

Samuel Hanson & Son is incorporated
Samuel Hanson & Son was incorporated as a private limited company in 1932. Noel Percy Machin was made joint-managing director.

A large trade in tinned lobster from Newfoundland had been established by the early 1930s. Tinned salmon was imported from British Columbia from around 1933.

A large canning factory was established at Toddington, Gloucestershire, from 1934.

Samuel Hanson & Son went public from 1935, with Percy Machin as chairman. The head office was located at the same site as 1747. Share capital amounted to £550,000.

The company had approximately 14,000 regular trade customers on its books. The business had never sustained an annual trading loss.

Samuel Hanson & Son largely supplied the armed forces during the Second World War. Red White & Blue coffee production continued for the duration of the conflict.

Financial difficulties and acquisition by Cerebos
Samuel Hanson & Son entered into difficulties during the Second World War and in the post-war period. Owing to a national dollar shortage, the company was forced to end its £1 million a year trade in California canned fruits and in Alaskan and Canadian tinned salmon, with a consequential loss of around £100,000 a year in gross profit.

Following the Second World War Samuel Hanson & Son acquired Home Grown Chicory, a chicory processing plant at Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Samuel Hanson & Son employed 500 people by 1947.

Samuel Hanson & Son paid its last ever dividend in 1949. Despite its economic troubles, Samuel Hanson & Son was able to maintain its reputation for high quality goods.

Samuel Hanson & Son had largely made the transition from importing foods to manufacturing finished products by 1951.

Samuel Hanson & Son was subject to a friendly takeover by Cerebos for £195,000 in cash in 1965. By this time Hanson was engaged in citrus processing, canning, chicory processing and wholesale distribution. Hanson also owned a South African subsidiary in Durban.

* The British Newspaper Archive
* The Times Digital Archive
* The Financial Times Digital Archive
* Hansons of Eastcheap by George Godwin (1947)

Andrews Liver Salts

Andrews Liver Salts became the highest-selling antacid product in the world.

Scott & Turner introduce Andrews Liver Salts
William Henry Scott (1860 – 1922) and William Murdoch Turner (1862 – 1932) were proprietors of a successful margarine wholesale business based at Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England.

W H Scott was a prominent Wesleyan Methodist. He was a well-liked man, and was held in a high regard by his workforce.

Scott & Turner began to manufacture Andrews Liver Salts, an antacid and stomach reliever, from 1895. The product was named after their office, located at St Andrew’s Buildings.

W M Turner entered into retirement from 1907. Andrews Liver Salts had an annual sale of over two million tins by this time.

Sales of Andrews Liver Salts continued to grow, and the Gallowgate works were repeatedly expanded to accommodate increased production.

Scott & Turner advertised Andrews Liver Salts as the highest-selling antacid in the United Kingdom by 1922. Around 300 people were employed by this time.

W H Scott continued to act as chairman of Scott & Turner until his death in 1922.

Sterling Drug acquires Scott & Turner
Scott & Turner was acquired by Sterling Drug of the United States in 1923.

Andrews Liver Salts were introduced to the Canadian market from 1924.

Andrews Liver Salts were advertised as the highest-selling antacid in the world from 1926.

Scott & Turner was acquired by Drug Inc of the United States in 1929.

A new gas-powered factory was established in 1934. A total of 350 to 450 people were employed.

Staff hours were reduced to five days a week, with no reduction in pay from 1935.

There were around 500 employees by 1944.

A new factory at Fawdon, Newcastle was opened in 1949 in order to meet rapidly growing demand overseas for Liver Salts. 27 percent of Liver Salt production was exported. The Gallowgate site was divested.

Export sales of Liver Salts ran at about £1 million a year by 1952.

Scott & Turner rebuilt the Fawdon site in 1956. The new factory was thoroughly modern, with utmost standards of cleanliness and high levels of automation.

Sterling Drug merged Scott & Turner with another subsidiary, Charles H Phillips Chemical Co, manufacturers of Milk of Magnesia, to form Phillips, Scott & Turner in 1960. The head office was at Acton Vale, London, and the northern sales office was based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Andrews was the clear market leader in stomach remedies in the UK as late as 1978. A television campaign featuring the Pink Panther cartoon character boosted sales by 40 percent in 1986.

Andrews Liver Salts contained sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and magnesium sulphate as of 1993.

Recent ownership and closure of the Fawdon site
Sterling Healthcare was acquired by SmithKline Beecham in 1994.

About 700 people were employed at the Fawdon plant in 1994.

SmithKline Beecham merged with GlaxoWellcome in 2000 to form GlaxoSmithKline.

Andrews Liver Salts was the fourth highest-selling indigestion remedy in the UK in 2011, behind Gaviscon, Rennie and Remegel.

The Fawdon site was closed in 2015.

Andrews Liver Salts are still sold in the UK as of 2020, and are manufactured in Spain.

Notes on the Carlsberg UK merger with Marston’s

Some initial thoughts on the merger of the businesses of Carlsberg UK and the Marston’s Beer Company.

On 22 May 2020 it was announced that Carlsberg UK will merge with the brewing arm of Marston’s. Carlsberg will control 60 percent of the equity in the venture and Marston’s will hold the remainder.

The Twittersphere seems to believe that this is a “classic case” of “Big Beer” exercising control over the British brewing industry. Perhaps it is, but I would characterise it as more of an act of desperation on the part of Carlsberg. Not only will Marston’s continue to hold a large minority stake in the business, but they will receive a one off cash payment of £273 million.

As things stood, Carlsberg UK was undoubtedly in a position of weakness. Despite a major rebrand and overhaul of its recipe, Carlsberg lager remains stuck at third place in the standard lager market, behind Carling and Foster’s. Their only powerful brand in the premium lager market is San Miguel, which admittedly has enjoyed somewhat of a surge in popularity in recent years.

Other than the licence to brew Brooklyn Brewery products, Carlsberg’s most noticeable commitment to craft beer consisted of closing down their Leeds site, the largest cask ale brewery in the world, in 2008. The tie-up with Marston’s effectively reverses this decision, buying into a business that operates six breweries, largely producing cask ale.

Furthermore, the Marston’s tie-up represents a reversal of strategy for Carlsberg. They closed their own distribution network in 2016. Now, four years later, having access to the Marston’s distribution network is an appeal for them.

I honestly wish the venture success. I believe that both businesses are stronger together. Carlsberg has neglected its Tetley cask ale brand, which was the largest in the world as late as the mid-1990s, whereas Marston’s has nurtured and heavily invested in its own. Meanwhile Marston’s lacks strong lager brands, which Carlsberg provides.

Craven A cigarette: a history of Carreras

Carreras became the second largest cigarette manufacturer in Britain. The business made its owner, Bernhard Baron, one of the richest men in the world. Carreras introduced the Craven A cigarette brand, which is still sold.

Jose Joaquin de Carreras
Jose Joaquin de Carreras (1824 – 1887) was the son of a Spanish nobleman who had claimed political asylum in Britain. Carreras had established a tobacconist business at 61 Princes Street, later renamed 7 Wardour Street, near Leicester Square, London, by 1853.

Carreras catered towards an affluent market, including George Craven, 3rd Earl of Craven (1841 – 1883), for whom he created a personalised tobacco blend in the early 1860s. The reputation of the product grew through the Earl’s social circle, and it was packaged in tins and sold to the wider public as Craven’s Mixture from 1867.

William Johnston Yapp
William Johnston Yapp (1861 – 1946) acquired the Carreras tobacconist shop for £3,525 in 1896.

The business was to prove successful under Yapp, although he would later claim that he simply got lucky. Business practices were certainly lax by the standards of today, and no financial accounts were kept.

Carreras continued to supply the quality upper-class market. It was a relatively small, though well-regarded business. J M Barrie (1860 – 1937), the author best known for Peter Pan, was a keen smoker of Craven’s Mixture.

Bernhard Baron
Bernhard Baron (1850 – 1929) was born to a poor French Jewish family in Brest-Litovsk, now part of Belarus, but then a part of the Russian Empire. When he was a child the family relocated to Rostov-on-Don in Southern Russia. His father was keen for him to avoid military conscription, so the family emigrated to Maryland, United States, in 1866.

Baron worked in a tobacconist’s shop, then a cigar factory. He had established Baron & Co, cigar manufacturers, on Pratt Street, Baltimore by 1879.

An inventive man, Baron designed a cigarette manufacturing machine. After he failed to sell it successfully in the United States, he relocated to England in 1896. He sold the patent rights to John Player & Sons, and other manufacturers, and made £150,000.

Carreras becomes a public company
Yapp had previously approached Imperial Tobacco and the American Tobacco Company regarding a sale of Carreras, but his proposed price of £150,000 was regarded as too expensive.

Yapp registered Carreras as a public company with a capital of £200,000 in 1903. The company was controlled by John Crowle (1841 – 1906), chairman, Baron, managing director, and Yapp.

Black Cat cigarettes were introduced from 1904.

Crowle died in 1906, and Baron took over as chairman and managing director. Baron struggled for his first five years with Carreras, but maintained his faith in extensive advertising.

From left to right: Louis B Baron; Bernhard Baron; Edward S Baron

Black Cat cigarettes had national distribution by 1908.

A large new factory was established on City Road, London, from 1910.

The Craven A cigarette, based on the Craven blend, had been introduced by 1914. It was to prove an immediate success. Carreras sales increased significantly during the First World War, and the factory had reached capacity by 1916.

The Baron cigarette manufacturing machinery was constantly improved. Baron claimed that Carreras had “the fastest, most efficient, and up-to-date cigarette-making machine in the world” by 1920.

Carreras became one of the first tobacco companies in Britain to package gift coupons with its cigarettes from the early 1920s.

The Carreras share price rose fourfold between 1922 and 1926. Half of production was exported by 1927.

Baron was notable for the exceptional treatment of his employees. He was quoted as saying, “My workpeople I regard as my children. I have only done what I think was right”.

Baron established a new factory in Mornington Crescent in 1928.It was perhaps the largest tobacco factory in the world, with nine acres of floorspace. It was the largest reinforced concrete building in Britain, as well as the largest factory in London, and boasted air-conditioning.

The former Carreras factory at Mornington Crescent (2016)

Baron established a charitable trust for hospitals in 1928 to which he donated £500,000. He gave away over £2 million across his lifetime, and was perhaps the most generous benefactor that Britain had known at the time.

Carreras was the second-largest cigarette manufacturer in Britain by 1928.

Bernhard Baron died in 1929 with an estate valued at £5 million. He was one of the richest men in the world. He was succeeded by his son, Louis Bernhard Baron (1876 – 1934).

Louis Bernhard Baron (1876 – 1934) by William Orpen in 1926

John Sinclair Ltd was acquired in 1930.

Advertising claimed that Craven A was the most widely smoked cork-tipped cigarette in the world by 1932.

Carreras held 14 percent of the British cigarette market in 1933. The company employed 4,000 people by 1934.

Louis Baron died in 1934, and he was succeeded as managing director by his nephew, Edward Samson Baron (1892 – 1962).

Yapp died in 1946 with an estate valued at £4.3 million. After making some bequests, he dedicated his fortune to charity.

Carreras acquired the valuable trademark rights to Alfred Dunhill cigarettes in the United Kingdom from 1952. Within three months Dunhills were the third highest-selling cigarettes in the London area.

Acquisition by Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation
The end of quota controls in 1955 allowed Imperial Tobacco to increase its sales of Players cigarettes. The Carreras brands such as Craven A and Dunhill suffered, and the company’s share of the cigarette market had declined to just three percent by 1955.

In the face of steadily declining profits, Carreras was acquired by the Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation of South Africa, controlled by Anton Rupert (1916 – 2006), for £1.3 million in 1958. Rupert merged Carreras business with Rothmans, which he already controlled.

Rupert was a dynamic man, who described business as like a game of chess, but with dynamite for pawns.

A 1927 advertisement for Craven A cigarettes

Edward S Baron retired as chairman and managing director of Carreras in 1958, but was retained as president and consultant.

Carreras Rothmans opened a new factory in Basildon, Essex, in 1959. The Mornington Crescent factory was unsuitable for modernisation, and was sold off and converted into offices. Guards and Piccadilly cigarettes were the principal brands.

Rupert was highly critical of the former Carreras management and board of directors. He suggested that brand sales had suffered due to “a lack of sufficient research, proper planning and packaging”. The company had not downsized its superstructure to reflect its declining sales. Much of the machinery was outdated. He found inefficiencies everywhere.

Rupert outsourced some operations to lower costs. He also focused on filtered cigarette production.

Edward S Baron, once reckoned one of the wealthiest tobacco manufacturers in Britain, died in 1962 with a net estate valued at just £20,549.

Carreras had captured six percent of the British filtered cigarette market by 1963. 90 percent of Carreras production for the British market was for filtered cigarettes. The Basildon factory produced half of all cigarettes exported from Britain.

A cigarette factory was opened in Jamaica in 1963.

A factory was opened in Northern Ireland in 1965, which doubled production capacity.

Carreras Rothmans profits increased fourfold between 1960 and 1966. Carreras Rothmans was the third largest tobacco manufacturer in Britain by 1967.

The company held the majority of the Jamaican cigarette market by 1972.

The Basildon factory was among the most modern in Europe by 1973 and employed 2,500 people. Carreras Rothmans accounted for 61 percent of all British cigarette exports.

A factory was opened in Darlington in 1977 to meet increasing export demands. The Spennymoor factory was opened in 1979.

Craven A cigarettes were produced in 17 factories in 14 countries by 1979. British-made Cravens were exported to a further 82 countries.

The Basildon site was closed with the loss of 1,200 jobs in 1984.

Carreras Rothmans was acquired by British American Tobacco in 1999.

As of 2020, Craven A cigarettes are still sold in various markets, including Jamaica, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

The vat of the land: Beaufoy & Co

Beaufoy & Co was the largest vinegar brewer in Britain.

Mark Beaufoy establishes the business
Mark Beaufoy (1719 – 1782) was the son of a Quaker maltster from Evesham, Worcestershire. The Beaufoy family claimed Huguenot ancestry.

Mark Beaufoy was apprenticed to a gin distiller in Bristol. A guilty conscience ultimately convinced him to leave the business, and he re-trained in vinegar brewing in the Netherlands.

Mark Beaufoy (1719 – 1782), from a Thomas Gainsborough portrait

Beaufoy leased a vinegar brewery on the site of Cupar’s Gardens at Strand Bridge, London from 1740. The brewery itself had been established in 1730.

In an age before refrigeration, vinegar was a much more important commodity than it is today, due to its preservative effect on foodstuffs. Beaufoy soon secured contracts to supply the Admiralty with vinegar.

The Dutch vinegar brewers used the waste from their indigenous raisin wine industry to filter and flavour their vinegar. No such industry existed in Britain, so Beaufoy was forced to buy raisins in order to maintain true to the method. He steeped the raisins to extract their sugar and mucilage, and then used the remaining solids in vinegar manufacture.

After Dr John Fothergill (1712 – 1780), a Quaker physician, suggested that Beaufoy might make raisin wine with this juice, he became a leading producer of “British wine”.

Mark Beaufoy died in 1782. His brother, John Hanbury Beaufoy (1761 – 1836), took over management of the business. John H Beaufoy was a cultured and erudite man.

Henry Beaufoy era
Henry Benjamin Hanbury Beaufoy (1786 – 1851) became senior partner in the business when he came of age.

Beaufoy & Co was one of the largest manufacturers in Lambeth by 1810.

Henry Benjamin Hanbury Beaufoy (1786 – 1851) by Henry William Pickersgill in 1848

The Beaufoy & Co site was subject to compulsory purchase for £34,705 in order to build Waterloo Bridge in 1812.

The brewery was relocated to Caron Place on the South Lambeth Road. The site was chosen as it was the closest place with a plot of land large enough to accommodate the works.

Beaufoy & Co was the largest brewer of vinegar in Britain by 1832, with 15 percent of the market in Britain and Ireland.

Beaufoy & Co was the fourth largest producer of vinegar in Britain in 1844.

H B H Beaufoy developed one of the finest private libraries in England. A Shakespeare First Folio was acquired in 1851.

H B H Beaufoy was a charitable man; he founded six scholarships at the City of London School, at a cost of £10,000, and spent £14,000 to build a ragged school (school for the poor) in Lambeth in 1851.

H B H Beaufoy died in 1851, and his brother Colonel George Beaufoy (1796 – 1864) took over management of the vinegar brewery. By this time the Caron Place site occupied over ten acres.

Colonel George Beaufoy enjoyed an annual income of around £6,000 by 1852.

Mark Hanbury Beaufoy
Colonel George Beaufoy died in 1864 and left a personal estate valued at under £250,000.

Ownership of the brewery passed to his only son, Mark Hanbury Beaufoy (1854 – 1922), for whom it was placed in trust and managed by his uncle until he came of age.

Dr Samuel Johnson’s armchair was acquired for the library in 1859.

Owing to public preference for a darker vinegar, caramel was added to the product by 1865.

Mark H Beaufoy was a cultured and genial man. He soon effected changes after he took over the business. He scrapped overtime, which had resulted in poor quality control from overworked employees. Beaufoy increased employee wages in order to compensate for the loss of overtime earnings. He argued, “all the work I now paid was for good work; previously a large percentage of it was bad work”.

The business employed 125 men in 1881.

M H Beaufoy introduced the eight hour working day for his workforce from 1889. With a half day on Saturday, this created a 45 hour working week. The change was regarded as successful, and Beaufoy was well-regarded by his workforce.

Vinegar production amounted to 790,096 gallons in 1898.*

Pott & Co, vinegar brewer of Southwark, was acquired in 1902.

The library was relocated to the family country residence at Coombe House, Wiltshire, from 1909. Some of the library contents were auctioned off. The Shakespeare First Folio was auctioned off in 1912.

Mergers and consolidation
Beaufoy was the oldest surviving manufacturer of vinegar in Britain by 1919.

Mark Hanbury Beaufoy died in 1922, and left a net personalty of £54,474.

The vinegar industry suffered from falling prices and decreasing demand in the post-war period. Consolidation seemed a reasonable defensive measure.

Beaufoy & Co merged with Grimble & Co to form Beaufoy Grimble, a public company with a capital of £160,000 in 1928. The head office was at Caron Place, South Lambeth. George Maurice Beaufoy (1893 – 1941) was appointed managing director.

Crosse & Blackwell merged their vinegar interests, including Champion & Slee and Sarson, with Beaufoy Grimble and Distillers to form British Vinegars in 1932. Beaufoy Grimble held a 21 percent stake in the venture, and G M Beaufoy became chairman of British Vinegars.

George Maurice Beaufoy was killed in the Blitz in 1941. He left a net estate of £19,678. Beaufoy, who had married in 1940, had no children, and his only brother had died in 1925. His death ended the Beaufoy family association with vinegar.

Beaufoy Grimble & Co was based at Leith, Scotland by 1954.

The Beaufoy vinegar brand was phased out after around 1961.

The Beaufoy site was closed in the 1970s. The brewery building still stands, and has been converted into housing.

The Scottish business was closed in 1983, and all production transferred to British Vinegars plants in England.

Beaufoy Grimble was voluntarily wound-up in 1986.

* ‘Beaufoys of Lambeth’, David Thomas and Hugh Marks, Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society (2014).

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