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 principally dealt in the importation of oranges. He also traded in other similar items, such as lemons and imported 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 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.

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 began to import tinned salmon from British Colombia from around 1933. A large trade in tinned lobster from Newfoundland had already been established by this time.

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

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 maintained its reputation for good quality.

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.

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

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