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W.D. & H.O. Wills of Bristol & London - (Very Image Heavy)

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  • Started 3 years ago by misterlowercase
  • Latest reply from docwatson
  1. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    This installment of Antiquarian Nicotiana Brittanica will look at the largest firm of them all, but a comprehensive examination is far beyond the scope of possibility in a forum thread like this and I happily defer this responsibility to B.W.E. Alford, who wrote a marvelous history of the company, yet at a hefty 500+ pages, it is still an incomplete picture, but it remains the best available resource on Wills as well as the many other companies and the overall larger picture of the tobacco industry in the United Kingdom.

    You can find a large portion of it online for free,
    here:
    W.D. & H.O. Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry: 1786-1965
    By B.W.E Alford

    If the book does interest you, I would suggest finding yourself a proper paperbound hardcover edition of it - look for a 1973 edition as it can be found a good bit cheaper than the modern reprint.

    Here's a partial review:



    Wills had many factories and bonded warehouses.

    See this thread for a look into the factory operations:
    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/ye-olde-british-tobacco-factory-wills-circa-1934















    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSY1QaW4PWY

    :

    The Bristol location was crucial to Wills's success.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Harbour

    Bristol boomed in the late 17th century as new colonies were founded in the West Indies and North America. Bristol was, obviously, well placed to trade with them because of its position in the West. Tobacco was imported from North America and sugar from the West Indies.

    By 1670 half of Bristol's shipping was engaged in the tobacco trade, which was confined to London and Bristol until about 1710 when Liverpool, Glasgow, and northern ports such as Whitehaven began to challenge their dominance.





    The 1901 Tobacco War would alter the landscape dramatically, forever changing both Wills itself and the entire tobacco manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.


    Here's a timeline courtesy of
    http://www.davenapier.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/wills/wdhowill.htm

    A timeline of Events in the History of W.D & H.O. Wills

    1786 Wills, Watkins & Co., 72 Castle Street (Henry Overton Wills' name appears in a Bristol Trade Directory for 1st time).

    1789 Firm renamed 'Wills & Co.' (Watkins retired). H.O. Wills married Anne Day, the daughter of a Bristol Draper.

    1790 Firm renamed 'H.O Wills & Co.' (Collins and Northcote retired).

    1791 Firm renamed 'Lilly, Wills & Co' (Peter Lily, Henry Overton Wills, Richard Bowsher and Henry Cooke, partners), Business moves to 111-112 Redcliff Street (Lilly's premises).

    1793 Firm renamed 'Lilly & Wills' (Cooke and Bowsher retired).

    1803 Firm renamed 'Wills and Ditchett' (Lilly retired, Samuel Ditchett joined).

    1804 Total net capital liability of the Company in June was £15,435 (2009 value: £1,080,000).

    1805 Snuff Mill at Stapleton purchased for £850 (the firm had previously leased it from the Corporation since 1792).

    1815 William Day and Henry Overton (2nd) joined the firm.

    1819 Firm renamed 'Wills, Ditchet & Co.'

    1820 Total net capital liability of the Company in June was £40,427 (2009 value: £2,710,000).

    1826 2nd December: Death of H.O. Wills I. Buried at Penn Street Tabernacle, Bristol

    1830 Firm renamed 'W.D. & H.O. Wills' (Ditchett retired).

    1833 Firm renamed 'Ricketts, Wills & Co.' (Frederick Ricketts, W.D. Wills & H.O. Wills,

    partners) 33 Mary-le-Port Street.

    1842 Book value of the business was £90,000 (2009 value: £6,880,000).

    1847 Firm renamed 'W.D. & H.O. Wills' (Ricketts retired).

    1859 Firm renamed 'W.D. & H.O. Wills & Sons'.

    1865 13th May: death of W.D. Wills following and road accident in London. Buried at Arnos Vale cemetery, Bristol.

    1870 Extensions to Redcliff premises in Bristol and purchase of Cross Street premises in London.

    1871 Cigarette Brand, Bristol introduced

    1871 23rd November: death of H.O. Wills II. Buried at Arno's Vale cemetery, Bristol.

    1874 Cigarette Brand, Passing Clouds introduced

    1875 Move from Cross Street to new factory at 53 Holborn Viaduct, London.

    1876 W.D. & H.O. Wills. Total capital employed in the business £526,000 (2009 value:£36,700,000).

    1878 Cigarette brand, The Three Castles introduced.

    1880 A total of 600 workpeople were employed by the Company in Bristol & London.

    1883 Wills Virginia Cavendish Works opened in Baldwin Street, Bristol. First production using

    Bonsack cigarette making machine (initially produced 200, later up to 600 cigarettes per minute).

    1886 'No 1.' Factory, East Street, Bedminster opened 27th March.

    1888 Wild Woodbine and Cinderella cigarettes launched in the UK.

    1892 Total capital employed £756,000 (2009 value: £60,900,000).

    1893 Acquired Sales, Pollard & Co., London. W.D & H.O. Wills Ltd came into being on 20th May.

    1900 No. 4 Factory, Ashton Gate (transferred to the British-American

    Tobacco Company in 1902 and returned in 1919).

    1901 Formation of The Imperial Tobacco Company, issued capital £14,518,097 (2009 value: £1,170,000,000).

    Purchase price of the Wills business - £6,992,221 (2009 value: £563,000,000).

    1904 J & F Bell merged with Stephen Mitchell & Sons.

    1906 'No. 3' Factory, Raleigh Road, Bristol.

    1908 Glasgow Depot at Tobago Road.

    1911 4th September: death of H.O. Wills III. Buried at Arnos Vale cemetery, Bristol.

    1915 Swindon Factory (taken over for use as a munitions factory 1915-19).

    1923 Dublin Factory at marrowbone Lane, manufacture moved to South Circular Road in 1929.

    1928 First Molins Mark IV cigarette making machine introduced at Wills.

    1929 Belfast Depot at Berry Street, moved to Castlereagh and became a 'House' in 1954.

    1932 F & J Smith merged with Stephen Mitchell & Sons, Glasgow.

    1933 Molins making machines converted to Mark V's.

    1935 Molins Mark VI cigarette making machines introduced (produced 800 cigarettes per minute).

    1937 Castella Panatella cigars introduced

    1941 Molins rotary cutting machines introduced

    1946 Foundations of the Newcastle factory laid in June

    1949 Wills introduced tipped versions of Woodbine. Capstan Medium and Gold Flake.

    1950 Newcastle-upon-Tyne Factory opened.

    1952 Hauni cutting machines replaced Molins rotary cutters.

    1953 Glasgow Cigarette Factory opened at Alexandra Parade.

    1955 W.D. & H. O Wills and Wm. Clarke & Sons Dublin combined.

    1957 Stephen Mitchell & Sons, Glasgow, amalgamated with W.D. & H.O. Wills.

    1958 Molins Mark VIII cigarette making machines introduced (produced 2000 cigarettes per minute).

    1959 First LEO computer introduced

    1959 'Strand' cigarette brand introduced (TV ad. slogan "You're never alone with a Strand" caught on - but did not sell cigarettes, perhaps because the ad. associated the brand with loneliness).

    1962 Embassy cigarette Brand with coupons launched (project code name 'Ugly Duckling').

    1963 Glasgow Cigar 'No 14' Factory opened at Alexandra Parade.

    1964 Wills World, monthly company newspaper launched.

    1965 New KDF9 computer introduced.

    1969 Redcliff Street premises demolished.

    1974 First cigarettes produced at the new Hartcliffe Factory in Bristol. This was followed by transfer of cigarette production from 'No. 1' Factory in East Street, Bedminster and 'No. 4' Factory in Raleigh Road, Ashton, Bristol.

    1977 Holborn Viaduct offices, London, closed.

    1981 ITL unit boards of directors including W.D. & H.O. Wills board were disbanded and the 'ITL' board moved to the Wills Hartcliffe site.

    1982 Wills London distribution depot closed.

    1982 Cigarette production ceased at Wills 'No 12' factory, Glasgow.

    1986 Hanson Trust take over Imperial Tobacco Limited.

    1986 W.D. & H.O. Wills 200th anniversary.

    1986 Factory buildings at East Street, Bedminster, Bristol demolished (frontage retained).

    1987 Wills 'No. 5' factory at Swindon ceased production.

    1988 'Wills' and 'Players' sales forces merged.

    1989 Hartcliffe 'Head Office' building vacated.

    1990 Closure of Wills Cigar factory 'No. 14' in Glagow and Churchmans factory in Ipswich.

    1990 New ITL cigar factory set up in Winterstoke Road, Ashton Gate, Bristol.

    1990 Hartcliffe factory ceases production, all ITL cigarette production moved to Nottingham.

    1999 Hartcliffe factory demolished. (2009) The site is now a large retail park and the structure of the 'listed' office building has been converted into flats.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    For a thread about one of Wills most popular pipe tobaccos, Capstan,
    see here:
    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/willss-capstan-navy-cut-a-short-salty-survey-image-heavy

    Now we go into image overload,
    enjoy the show!
    :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ9a_bF-A1g
    :




























































































































































    :

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. pruss

    pruss

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    What a wonderful thread, Troy.

    Thank you!

    -- Pat

    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. papipeguy

    papipeguy

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    Another outstanding entry, Troy. I can't help but think about the blends we've missed. Thanks again.

    Blowin' smoke since 1970.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. ejames

    ejames

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    WOW !

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. lochinvar

    lochinvar

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    Troy, you are a jewel. I love every thread you start, it's like a pipe tobacco history course.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. captpat

    captpat

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    WOW + 1

    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    I started doing these kinds of posts because I could find no comprehensive archive of such online, and this is the sort of thing I was looking for but never found.

    The pipesmagazine.com formatting is the perfect vehicle for such a thing because it allows for a huge stream of continuous images.

    I began collecting images whenever I came across them and then tried to collate them into some sort of cohesive digital curation.

    I usually fall short on providing concrete textual background information of any real depth, but I do hope the presentation of the visual record can be enjoyed on its own merits.

    I love finding this stuff!

    A few more:




    A few small additional images from Worthpoint, starting with a scarce LATAKIA tin:


    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. kcvet67

    kcvet67

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    Another great job!

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    -- Thomas Jefferson
    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. brian64

    brian64

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    Great stuff MLC...once again you've earned your Minister of Tobacciana title.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. weezell

    weezell

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    Troy...YOU DA BOMB BRO! ...

    "The weez..."
    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. andy

    andy

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    Wow!!! That was fantastic - I really appreciate the effort.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Well done again, MLC. This is some really cool shite. Love it.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Troy,

    Once more you amaze me in the best possible way!

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. klause

    klause

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    Absolutely cracking post, Troy - I could spend hours looking at this stuff and pondering !!! Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Quite some time ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a cutter-top of the Bulwark Cut Plug - this post has just reminded me that I still have a few flakes kicking around in a jar somewhere - think I'll have to dig it out and retire to the greenhouse............

    Keep 'em coming, Troy - your posts brighten the day.

    Ars longa, vita brevis.
    _____________________________________
    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. mso489

    mso489

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    What an incredible visual history of tobacco merchandising, marketing, advertising, brand development, etc.
    Some of the art work is amazing. I always wondered where the fish avatar came from, but now I know. Those
    old factory buildings are amazing for both size and style. I'm from a tobacco state, but all of the monumental
    factories made cigarettes. I guess pipe tobacco was a sideline around here. I like the painting of the pub where
    all the customers are birds.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I have to concur with MSO....when you look at the size of the facilities, you get a hint of the importance of the commodity back in the day. I wish I could take a time machine back to when it wasn't socially abnormal to smoke a pipe, and it was looked upon differently by men and women alike. I toured Mt. Vernon where George Washington's tobacco barn was reconstructed, and revel in the fact that he was such a giant among men, and appreciated the leaf for what it is...from all that I have read, he was a man above reproach.

    Conversely, you look at the people that choose to demonize an agricultural product, they are empty soul-less individuals by comparison.

    Sorry for the thread drift....great post (as the case always is) Misterlowercase.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. misterlowercase

    misterlowercase

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    Quite some time ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a cutter-top of the Bulwark Cut Plug - this post has just reminded me that I still have a few flakes kicking around in a jar somewhere...

    Sounds good Jason!

    Over the last couple of years that I've been gathering these images, it would seem as if Bulwark may have been equal, or even more popular, than Capstan - according to the number of surviving tins. It does beg the question as to what the survivor rate may have been? Maybe 1 out of 25 tins got saved, all others in the dustbin? An empty tobacco tin had an infinite number of handy uses around the house, as well as out in the field...

    ...in this case,
    to keep penguin eggs!


    Eggs (4), penguin, stored in cigarette and tobacco tins, shell / metal / paper, collected during the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE), Antarctica, 1929-1930

    And it reminds me that I forgot to mention just how important a role the cutter-top tin played in Wills development - they had exclusive use of it and it was the perfect vehicle to carry Wills tobacco, freshly kept, all across the farflung British Empire, in all climes and conditions.

    In 1887 Wills took an important technical lead through an improvement on a patent in which they already enjoyed exclusive rights. For many years, Wills had purchased tobacco tins - which were essential in the export trade - from W.B. Williamson & Sons, metal box makers of Providence Works, Worcester. In 1885, however, Williamson patented a new airtight tin and he granted Wills a monopoly of its use in an official stamped letter.

    Specification No. 11,378 is the original patent, from 1885.

    The improvement of a cutter lid was added in 1886:

    Founded in 1858 by William Blizzard Williamson, the firm made a range of everyday household wares in sheet steel and tin plate. W.B. Williamson died in 1878, leaving the works to his sons William and George.

    The latter invented the 'cutter tin' lid for cigarettes and tobacco, which kept tobacco fresh for longer.

    The invention brought increased business to the firm, as well as to the tobacco importers W.D. and H.O. Wills, to whom Williamson was sole supplier.

    In 1890 William left the business and George formed G.H. Williamson & Sons Ltd. George died in 1918 and was succeeded by his son, G.E. Williamson. By this time the patent for the 'cutter lid tin' had expired.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. klause

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    Troy, you've staggered me!!!!

    I've always loved a cutter tops, and lamented their passing. They just seem so right. Civilised, even.

    Now, I have a new understanding and deeper appreciation. That's my new knowledge for the day - cheers, Mate.

    Now - where's my old cutter tops, there's eggs in the chicken house to collect.....

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. misterlowercase

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    No doubt.

    Cutter tops hold a special place in my heart too!

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo mlc - I always look forward to your posts, always brim full of erudition and knowledge. Your images are special treats for the eye. But this one is just astounding, and astonishing too! Kevin owes you at least a case of cutter top Wills tins for your choosing PM as your avenue of passing on your information. PM has become the richest pipe forum in the world, and your posts are a significant part of that.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. docwatson

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    OMG this is amazing stuff. Thanks for being the computer magician and putting all this historical information together for us to share. Just incredible.

    It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling---Mark Twain
    Posted 3 years ago #

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