T Wall & Sons was the largest ice cream manufacturer in the world.
Richard Wall (1777/8 – 1838), pork butcher, was apprenticed to Edmund Cotterill, a pork butcher in St James’ Market, London. Wall became a partner, and was the sole proprietor from 1807.
Richard Wall received his first Royal Appointment as “pork butcher to the Prince of Wales” in 1812. This was renewed when the prince succeeded as George IV in 1820, and by William IV in 1830.
Richard Wall leased larger premises at 113 Jermyn Street from 1834.
Wall died in 1838 and was succeeded by his widow, and then his son, Thomas Wall (1817 – 1884).
Thomas Wall Jr (1846 – 1930) became partner from 1870. He was joined by his brother Frederick C Wall (1855 – 1924) from 1878 and the firm became known as Thomas Wall & Sons.
Thomas and Frederick Wall transformed the firm into the best-known sausage business in Britain. Queen Victoria was supplied with sausages on a weekly basis from the Jermyn Street shop. The sausages for the monarch had a special recipe including freshly-laid eggs and hand-chopped mince.
The firm was beginning to wholesale across Britain by 1900. Increasing demand saw a factory opened at Battersea in 1903.
The business was registered as T Wall & Sons Ltd in 1905, when it acquired an Acton rival.
The six acre Friary House and grounds in Acton was acquired in 1919, and a large sausage factory was built there.
William Hesketh Lever (1851 – 1925) acquired the company in 1920. He sold the business to Lever Brothers in 1922, which from 1929 became a part of Unilever. At Lever’s request, the company began to produce ice cream during the summer months, when sausage sales slacked off. Production began in 1922 at a rate of 150 gallons a week.
Thomas Wall Jr was devoted to charities dedicated to the education of young people. The capital released from the sale of his company allowed him to established the Thomas Wall Trust, with capital of £233,000, to fund students at schools and universities. Wall died in 1930 with an estate valued at £288,116. The bulk of his estate went to the Thomas Wall Trust.
Seven million tons of ice cream were produced in 1945.
T Wall & Sons was the largest manufacturer of sausages and meat pies in Britain by 1954. They had a factory at Willesden.
A new sausage factory was opened at Godley, Cheshire in 1955. It had a weekly output of 350 tons.
Much of the meat business was relocated to Atlas Road, Park Royal, London from 1956, with Acton left to concentrate on ice cream production. The Acton factory employed 4,000 people by 1960.
20 million tons of ice cream were produced every year by 1960, and Wall’s was the largest manufacturer of ice cream in the world.
Mattessons, a processed meat manufacturer, was acquired in 1965.
Robert Lawson & Sons of Aberdeen was acquired for £2.6 million in 1965. Lawson had the largest bacon factory in Scotland, and had a valuable contract to supply Marks & Spencer.
Wall’s employed a total of 4,000 people during peak periods by 1969.
113 Jermyn Street remained as a Wall’s shop, where all Wall’s products could be purchased, as late as 1970.
The Atlas Road site was closed around 1978.
Wall’s was one of the largest processors of meat in Britain by 1980.
Viennetta, the first branded ice cream dessert, was introduced from 1982.
The Acton ice cream plant was closed in 1988.
The Cornetto was established as the highest-selling Wall’s product line by 1990.
The meat business was sold to Kerry Group of Ireland in 1994. The Wall’s ice cream business remains a subsidiary of Unilever.