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British Industrial History

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W. J. Bush and Co

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Ceramic pot detail "W. J. Bush and Co Ltd., Manufacturing Chemists, Artillery Lane, Bishopsgate, London, E.".
October 1962.

of 28 Ash Grove, Hackney, London, E8. Also: Mitcham, Widnes, Messina, Grasse, New York. (1922)

Ditto Address. Telephone Clissold 0461 (6 lines). Cables: "Tangerine, London". (1929 and 1947)

1850/51 The business was founded by William John Bush. Bush acquired a small factory in London and undertook the steam distillation of herbs, spices, and woods and the preparation of tinctures and essences. W. J. Bush and Co is credited with being England's first maker of flavourings and essences.

By 1880 the business had moved to Ash Grove (having moved from Artillery Lane, Bishopsgate), where W. J. Bush's Grove chemical works were located.

1882 Mentioned in court case brought by the Inland Revenue. 'William John Bush, wholesale chemist Artillery lane, City, and Ash Grove, Hackney,'[1]

1886 Bush acquired Potter and Moore, distillers of essential oils.

1889 William John Bush died; his son William Ernest, Baron de Bush, became head of the firm.

1890 The first overseas factory was established in Sicily.

1897 The company was registered on 17 March, to take over the business of manufacturing chemists of the firm of the same name. [2] 'The Company has been formed to acquire the old-established business of Messrs. W. J. BUSH and CO. The business is that of Manufacturing Chemists, and as Distillers of Essential Oils, Manufacturers and Distillers Fruit and Soluble Essences, Perfumers, Harmless Vegetable Colour Manufacturers, Brewers Chemists, Distillers' Chemists, Analytical and Consulting Chemists, Drug Merchants, &c., &c.. and carried on at the following Freehold Premises, viz.:— The Freehold Warehouses and Offices situate in Artillery-lane, in the City of London ; the Freehold Works at Ash-grove, Hackney; the Freehold Distillery at Mitcham, Surrey; and the Freehold Works at Messina, in Sicily. Since its foundation in 1851, by the late William John Bush, the business grew continuously under his direction, and since the death of its founder in 1889 has been further largely developed and increased under the active management his sons, the present vendors.' Directors: Baron de Bush, Sir George Hayter Chubb, Robert Wigram, James Mortimer Bush and Alfred Walter Bush.[3]

Over the years, W. J. Bush produced flavourings for foods, essential oils and perfume. Thanks to their worldwide presence, largely in countries that were once part of the British Empire, W. J. Bush and Co also acted as distributor or agent for other manufacturers in various countries.

1903 William Ernest's brother, James Mortimer Bush, succeeded him as chairman.

WWI A factory making organic chemicals was erected at Widnes.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Synthetic Fine Chemicals, including Perfumes, Drugs and Intermediates; Essential Oils, Flavouring Essences, Food Colours. (Stand No. A.7) [4]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Distillers of Essential and Terpeneless Oils; and Manufacturers of Fine Chemicals and Perfumery Materials, Solvents and Plasticisers for the Cellulose Industry, Dye Intermediates, Flavouring Essences, Food Colours and Cream of Tartar. (Stand No. K.106) [5]

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for: Chemicals; Essential Oils; Essences; Colours. Manufacturers of Synthetic, fine and Pharmaceutical chemicals. "Fre-Flo" Aspirin, Perfumery Raw Materials and Compounds, Bush "Ottos", "Floreina" Flower Oils, Vanillin, "Vanbeenol", Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Benzoate, Terpineol. (Chemicals Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1086)

and Distillers of Soluble and Fruit Essences, Essential Oils. Manufacturers of Concentrated and Natural Fruit Juices, Harmless Food Colours, Cream of Tartar. "Buttabelle". Manufacturers of Packers and Culinary Essences and Colours. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 735) [6]

1966 Stafford Allen and Sons amalgamated with W. J. Bush and Co. Ltd and A. Boake, Roberts and Co. Ltd to form Bush Boake Allen.

1978 The combined businesses were taken over by Albright and Wilson Ltd

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. South London Press - Saturday 19 August 1882
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. St James's Gazette - Saturday 20 March 1897
  4. 1922 British Industries Fair p14
  5. 1929 British Industries Fair p33
  6. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 194; and p51
  • [1] Perfume Projects
  • Archives of the British chemical industry, 1750-1914: a handlist. By Peter J. T. Morris and Colin A. Russell. Edited by John Graham Smith. 1988.