London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:


Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of Whiffen and Sons Ltd, manufacturing chemists, 1752-1972, including history of the company; articles of partnership and other contracts and agreements; legal documents relating to property; correspondence; circulars; financial accounts; papers relating to shares and shareholders; stock records; newspaper cuttings; photographs; staff wages books and pensions papers; records relating to staff associations and sports clubs including minute books; reports on chemical manufacture, laboratory notebooks and chemical analyses; papers relating to sales; papers relating to imports and foreign suppliers; advertisements; registers of product labels; samples of packaging; rules, regulations and legislation regarding factories and safety measures; papers regarding the Second World War including war damage to factories and papers relating to staff on active duty.

    Also records of Saint Amand Manufacturing Company Limited including ledgers, letter books and journals.
Extent: 8.46 linear metres
Classification: BUSINESSES
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • In 1854 a London pharmacist, Thomas Whiffen (1819-1904), joined a small firm manufacturing chemicals run by Edward Herring and Jacob Hulle at Trinity Square in the Borough. After the withdrawal of Herring in 1858 and the retirement of Hulle in 1868 the business was continued by Whiffen at his house in Lombard Road, Battersea. Chief products were of medical application, including poisons and alkaloido, mostly prepared from raw material that the firm imported. Whiffen claimed his trade in strychnine to have been the first of its kind in Britain. Overseas trading, including much re-exporting, became an important part of the firm's activity. A short-lived laboratory was set up in 1858 and was re-established by Frank Moul in 1884.

    In 1887 Whiffen formed a partnership with two of his sons, Thomas Joseph (1850-1931) and William George (1852-1934). In the same year the firm moved to Southall, where it acquired the Aldersgate Chemical Works, and it also took over the business of George Atkinson (est. 1654). Another concern with which Whiffen was associated was the St Amand Manufacturing Company Limited which had been set up jointly with T and H Smith and J F Macfarlan and Company for the preliminary processing in Belgium of an extract used as a source of salicin.

    By the 1890s Whiffen and Sons had become one of Britain's leading fire chemical businesses. It became a limited company in 1912 with a nominal capital of £200,000. The Aldersgate Chemical Works were based at Carnwath Road, Fulham. In 1947 it was acquired by Fisons Limited.
Creator: Whiffen and Son Ltd | manufacturing chemists
St Amand Manufacturing Co Ltd
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Deposited in several accessions in 1958 and 1979.
  • AC/58/080
  • AC/79/020
  • AC/79/001
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: In 3 sections: Corporate, financial and production records; Supply records; Printed material
Related Material: Additional records of Whiffen and Sons Ltd are deposited in the library of the Wellcome Institute.
Publication Notes:

Rupert S. Law, the end of the chapter : the story of Whiffen & Sons Limited, fire chemical manufacturers (Fisons : 1922)

John Graham Smith (ed.) Archives of the British Chemical Industry, 1750-1914 : a handlist (British soc. For the History of Science : 1988) {library 60.43 MOR}