Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,459 pages of information and 233,880 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Joseph Watson and Sons

From Graces Guide

Revision as of 11:43, 18 September 2020 by PaulF (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
1906.Letter to Mather and Crowther.
1908.Letter to Mather and Crowther.
Advertising sign.
Advertising sign.
Watson's Matchless Cleanser Soap.
Watson's Compressed Laundry Soap.

of Whitehall Soap Works, Leeds

Joseph Watson and Sons had been founded by Joseph Watson, Senior his grandfather and had grown out of a hide tanning business established in about 1820 at Woodside, Horsforth, 5 miles NW of central Leeds. The business was an adjacent diversification from the small family farm, which covered the area between today's Outwood Lane and Broadway, with further rented ground to the SE

c1848 The company established - see Joseph Watson and Co

1865 Job advertisement for a Saleswoman for Joseph Watson and Sons, Hide and Skin Merchants of Woodhouse Lane, Leeds. [1]

1881 Employing 50 men and 25 boys [2]

In 1885 production had been 100 tons per week, which rose fivefold by 1906. One of the by-products was glycerine, sold for the manufacture of explosives.

Joseph Watson the grandson turned the company from the medium sized concern built up by his father George Watson and his uncle Charles Watson into one which ruled the soap market of North-East England, with national and international markets, becoming Lever Brothers biggest rival

1895 Charles, George and Joseph Watson, trading as Joseph Watson and Sons, patented improvements in machinery for pressing tablets of soap and other plastic substances [3]

1897 The company was registered on 30 April, to take over the business of hide and skin dealers, soap and glycerine manufacturers, and soap dealers, of the firm of the same name. [4]

1897 Joseph Watson, soap manufacturer of Whitehall works, patented "Improvements in or connected with Machinery or Apparatus for Wrapping Soap or other Material in Paper Covers" [5].

1904 Expansion of the Whitehall Soap Works and creation of affiliated concerns at Selby — The Olympia Oil and Cake Co. and Ardol, Ltd.

1906 Formation of the "soap combine" involving more than 20 firms including Lever Brothers took place at a meeting held at the offices of Joseph Watson and Sons, Leeds [6]. Watson had already disposed of much of his shareholding, previously all held by himself and his uncle Charles, to William Lever, in exchange for Lever Brothers shares in order to set up the trust

1912/13 Watson sold much of his remaining shareholding to Lever Brothers, selling him the remainder in July 1917, but remaining as Chairman

1922 Listed Exhibitor. Household, Toilet, "Sparkla" Polishing Soap; Glycerine; Watson's Matchless Cleanser, Nubolic Disinfectant Soap, " Venus" Toilet and Shaving Soaps, "Bumpo" Soap Powder. (Stand Nos. A.73 and A.74) [7]

1933 Harold H. Bagnall appointed Chairman. [8]

1935 Lever Brothers' AGM told that Joseph Watson and Sons, the associated company, had introduced Eve Shampoo[9].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, April 1, 1865
  2. 1881 Census
  3. Patent database [1]
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. Patent database [2]
  6. The Times, Oct 13, 1906
  7. 1922 British Industries Fair Page 83
  8. The Times, Friday, May 23, 1958
  9. The Times, Apr 12, 1935