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Industrialists, Commerce & Business Entrepreneurs Manchester


James Allcock

James Allcock & Sons Limited - Chemical Manufacturers

James Allcock, Chemical Manufacturers

James Allcock began his business in Audenshaw in 1924 and moved to a new premises in an old converted chapel in West Gorton in 1928. His company was to provide most of the chemicals used in the rubber industry in the Manchester area, most notably for the production of synthetic rubber tyres for bicycles wheels. His business also saw a great boom during the Second World War when the demand for "rubberised" fabrics to make waterproofs for soldiers was in great demand.
Eventually, Allcock took over the Anchor Chemical Company in Clayton, where he had worked as a young man. Allcock's son James (known as Mr Allcock Junior) also worked with his father in the company, and was to go on and extend the company considerably as well as with R S Rushton to oversee expansion and subsequent company take-overs.
The Rushton family eventually bought the company and ran it as a family concern. Allcocks acquired the adjacent Truscott Transport Company in the 1930s, as well as the surrounding land formerly housing a starch works, Openshaw Brewery and a corrugated paper factory. Here they extended the company premises and added new offices, as well as a fleet of lorries. In 19884 a further premises in Ambrose Street was added, though this was destroyed by fire in 1992. The arsonist responsible for the fire was never found, and after nearly 4 years of wrangling over insurance claims, the works was finally rebuilt on the Ambrose Street site.
The company is still involved in the rubber industry, as well as plastics and surface coatings, exporting all over Europe, India and the Far East. Recently it has made strenuous efforts to establish a "green" works policy and has a capacity for recycling rubber products. The company is still owned and run by the Rushton family.

John Holden & Josiah Hardman

Hardman & Holden Limited - Tar Distillers

John Holden, Tar Distillers
John Holden
Josiah Hardman, Tar Distillers
Josiah Hardman

In 1897, Josiah Hardman from Milton in Staffordshire, and John James Holden of Higher Broughton, Manchester formed Hardman & Company to acquire the bankrupt company Bouck & Co. These two partners had quite different skills - Hardman was a tar distiller, and Holden had been involved in spinning textiles in Rossendale and Macclesfield.
They set up business in Clayton with a third partner, George Henry Holden. H&H, as the firm became known were under constant threat of closure during their early years, because of the noxious smelly odours that emerged from their factory, but, as coal gas became increasingly more important, (particularly with the introduction of gas street lighting in Manchester in the late 19th century), their products were, ultimately, too valuable to lose. They moved to more strategically placed premises at Valley Road, midway between the 2 gasworks, both of which were connected directly to H&H by pipelines. When Holden retired, his son William took over his interests in the company.
In 1926 the tar distillery side of the business was sold off to Lancashire Tar Distillers as H&H concentrated more on the other coal tar by-products, notably cyanides and the production of blue dye pigments from ferrocyanides.
In 1956 the company acquired C J Schofields, who had hitherto been their main suppliers of sulphuric acid. By this time H&H was a major local employer with some 900 people working at their factories.
The implementation of North Sea Gas in the 1960s effectively brought an end to all coal tar distillation in the UK and H&H formed a new association with Borax, a new company which mined borax. From this time on the company diversified into more general chemical manufacturing.
Various merging of companies took place until in 1973 Hardman & Holden Limited were effectively dissolved and Manox Limited came into being, trading from 1988 as the Northern Division of RTZ Chemicals. In 1990 the company was absorbed into Degussa AG, which manufactured within the precious metals and pharmaceutical sectors.
The Clayton site is still in operation today producing iron blue pigments, still within sight of the three surviving Eastlands gas holders. Since 1998 it has been owned by the Rhodia Limited, part of the Rhone-Poulenc Speciality Chemicals Group.

Sir Charles Tennant

Tennants (Lancashire) Limited - ICI Chemicals

Charles Tennant, ICI Chemical Industries

Charles Tennant of St Rollox in Scotland founded the Tennant Group in 1797 to develop the the process of using chlorine gas to produce bleaching powder. Hitherto, bleaching had been done, fairly inefficiently, by exposure to sun and wind, a long drawn out and fairly ineffective procedure. In 1830 Tennants (Lancashire) Limited was established in Liverpool and Manchester, where raw materials were brought into Liverpool docks by Tennant's own shipping fleet and thence by rail to Manchester. The factories and processes were successful throughout the nineteenth century, and in the 1920s Tennants manufacturing equipment and process were sold to form the new Imperial Chemical Industries Limited - ICI. The new company set out to produce formaldehyde, oxides, pigments, resins and dyestuffs. Subsequently, paint manufacturing, textiles, food ingredients and plastics divisions were added to its range. Today the company is the largest independent distributor of these products in the UK and supplies to many international companies. The Tennant Group still distributes solvents, dyestuffs and chemicals from its Lancashire site, worldwide and throughout the European Union.

Henry Duffy

H Duffy & Company - Printers

Henry Duffy, Printers

A small shop was set up in 1929 by a former pattern card maker named Henry Duffy, who, with his son Louis established a printing company at 31 Sackville Street in Manchester city centre. With only a small platen treadle printing machine they did small jobbing work printing stationery, tickets, labels and luggage tags. Soon their inexpensive work was much in demand by local shops and traders. During the Second World War the firm was moved to Mosley Street where Henry Duffy continued to print until his death in 1947. Under Louis, mechanisation was introduced, and Louis' son was sent to study printing at UMIST. After 1958 the business was moved out of the city to Lower Harriet Street in Walkden. In 1962 the company also acquired Bank Press in Patricroft. A works fire in 1976 and a compulsory purchase order from Worsley Council forced another move, this time into a disused allotment site near Walkden Cricket Club. In the 1980s, Duffy's moved into technology and introduced computer typesetting and later went into Desk Top Publishing, children of the family training at Blackburn College and Liverpool University to keep the company at the cutting edge of print technology. In 1996 the company celebrated 70 years trading in Manchester. The company is still run by the Duffy family and is a well established leading print company for the city of Manchester.

John Staniar

John Staniar & Company - Wire Weavers

John Stanier, Wire Weavers

John Staniar established his first wire weaving company in Strangeways, Manchester in 1790. By 1800 Staniars had set up the Manchester Wire Works in Sherborne Street to produce soft annealed mesh and wire of various gauges. Here also was produced light plated steel wire cloth for local flour mills - these were still produced on hand looms until the late 1950s. Their products were, and still are, supplied to the likes of Spillers and Rank, Hovis, McDougal mills.
In 1908 the company was awarded medals at the Franco-British Exhibition, and again in 1910 at the Japan-British Exhibition. Their wire mesh, wire brushes, roller brushes, and machinery guards are still world beating products, and much in demand. The factory was badly damaged by incendiary bombs during the Second World War.
The company moved to new premises in Whitefield (Bury) in 1989 and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1990. They trade today in perforated metal sheet and produce a variety of wire, nylon and metal mesh sheet for sieving and use in flour mills.

Shami Ahmed

Joe Bloggs Company - Clothing Retailers

Shami Ahmed, Joe Bloggs Clothing Company

Shami Ahmed is the Manchester millionaire owner and originator of the Joe Bloggs clothing label, and latterly owner of the Emanuel label. Born in Pakistan, Ahmed was brought to Britain as a young child, brought up and raised in England, and started working part-time in his father's clothing business as a teenager on a market stall in Burnley. He left school at the age of 16 and went full time into the business. By his early 20s the business had blossomed into a major high street concern, and is now valued to be worth at least �50 million. Ahmed had the knack of bridging the gap between his family's eastern culture and of the indigenous street culture - a product of Lancashire and Pakistan, with a clear understanding of both and the business acumen to place his garments where they have attracted undeniable street credibility. His brand label now sells worldwide with showrooms in London and Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Malta and South Africa. Currently in the midst of a legal battle with Elizabeth Emanuel (made famous as the designer of Princess Diana's wedding dress in 1981), with whom he formed a partnership in the 1990s - the partnership broke up with Ahmed taking the Emanuel label with him - Elizabeth is now set on regaining ownership and use of her own name again - very controversial.

 

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This page last updated 24 Jan 12.