Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John James Group

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Post-WWII Mr John James established a chain of radio and TV shops in Bristol

1963 Mr John James bid for the Broadmead radio retail chain owned by Firth Cleveland[1]

1964 James established an investment trust, a public company, to hold his family's interests in the new Williams Supermarkets, furniture dealers, as well as James' radio and TV shops, and his family's investments; shares would also be available to employees and Bristol residents to invest in the company[2]

1965 Announced intention to buy companies for the trust's new industrial division[3]. The second acquisition by the industrial division was of H. J. Godwin, maker of pumps based in Gloucestershire and Savage Transformers of Devizes[4]

1967 Disposed of its interests in TV sets and rentals in order to invest in industrial interests[5]. Acquired majority interest in Abbot Brown and Sons of Beaminster, and its associate Smiths (Calculators) of Wareham, makers of dials, calculators and name plates, and engravers and printers[6]

Acquired shares in T. W. W., outgoing Independent Televsion contractor for the West of England and Wales; also had interests in the new Harlech Consortium which would replace it[7]

1968 Had interests in Harlech Television and radio and TV retail[8]. Williams Supermarkets name changed to Williams Furniture[9]

1970 Acquired a minority stake in Lifetime Coatings of Torquay, maker of Supaseal polyurethane coating in return for help in marketing direct to customers[10]

1971 Sold its 77 percent holding in Sexton, Son and Everard for a nominal consideration[11]

1973 Sold its 2/3 stake in Williams Furniture to Allied Carpet Stores, becoming an investment trust[12]

1974, of Bristol. The Alfred Herbert company would buy John James' holding of 27.5 percent of its preference shares in return for support on a proposal to increase borrowing[13]

1975 The company was largely controlled by the James family; it had a broad range of investments[14]

1976 The company maintained its status as an investment trust. Subsidiaries included toy making business Tebbutt and Hall Brothers, and H. J. Godwin[15]

1977 A mixture of industrial interests and investment portfolio, growth was slowing as it got larger[16]

1978 Acquired W. H. Boddington, a private company making plastic products[17]

1979 Acquired by Wolseley Hughes

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Nov. 22, 1963
  2. The Times Apr. 7, 1964
  3. The Times Nov. 17, 1965
  4. The Times Dec. 29, 1965
  5. The Times Jan. 6, 1967
  6. The Times Sept. 9, 1967
  7. The Times Sept. 13, 1967
  8. The Times Sept. 11, 1968
  9. The Times Nov. 19, 1968
  10. The Times Feb. 4, 1970
  11. The Times Feb. 6, 1971
  12. The Times Feb. 12, 1974
  13. The Times May 16, 1974
  14. The Times Aug. 9, 1975
  15. The Times Feb. 13, 1976
  16. The Times Feb. 17, 1977
  17. The Times Sept. 7, 1978