London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1855 - 1878 and 1892 - 1944

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • The records of Peek Brothers and Winch Limited, tea merchants, comprise general meetings minutes 1895-1919; correspondence presented at board meetings 1895-1912; minutes 1903-26, and deeds and papers 1892-1937 of the Trustees of Debenture Stock, with trust deed for securing debenture stock 1897; trade mark book 1896-1944 and newspaper cuttings book 1896-1918. Also records of Francis Peek, Winch and Company comprising a private ledger 1855-78.
Extent: 8 production units.
Classification: BUSINESSES
Former Reference: MS 31626- 33
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The founders of the firm were the brothers Richard and William Peek of Loddiswell, in Devon. Having come to London and gained experience of the tea trade, William launched W Peek and Company, tea merchants, circa 1810. By the 1820s, Richard had joined the concern and it was renamed Peek Brothers. Peek Brothers were principally engaged in the tea trade, although they handled coffee and spices as well, and manufactured cocoa and chocolate.

    In 1834, William moved to Liverpool and launched a new enterprise with a new partner named Winch. Eventually, control of the firm was assumed by William's son Francis and by Winch's nephew, under the name Messrs Peek Brothers and Winch (later Francis Peek, Winch and Company). In the 1860s, they opened a branch in London in direct competition with the original Peek Brothers. Between 1863 and 1867, the "Grocer" published league tables of the leading firms of tea dealers based on the amount of duty each paid; Peek Brothers was the premier company, handling around 5% of the total trade, and Messrs Peek Brothers and Winch were also listed in the top four. The two Peek firms were reunited in 1895 and became a limited company, under the name Peek Brothers and Winch Limited.

    The headquarters of Peek Brothers, and later Peek Brothers and Winch Limited, was Peek House, 20 Eastcheap, which still stands today, complete with a frieze on its facade depicting the camel train used as a trademark for the company's "Camel" brand of tea. The company continued trading until circa 1970, under the name Peek, Winch and Tod Limited, although no longer involved in the tea trade, and described in trade directories as general provision merchants.

    Peek Brothers and later Peek Brothers and Winch Limited traded at the following principal addresses in London: 3 Tokenhouse Yard, 1818; 27 Coleman Street, 1819-22; 74 Coleman Street, 1823-34; Eastcheap, 1835-40; 27 Eastcheap, 1841-4; 20-1 Eastcheap, 1845-88; 20 Eastcheap (Peek House), 1889-1963.

    Francis Peek, Winch and Company traded at the following London premises: 134 Fenchurch Street, 1863-5; 23 Rood Lane, 1865-80; and 3-4 Fenchurch Street, 1880-95. Throughout this period they also retained an office in Liverpool at 7 North John Street.
Creator: Peek Brothers and Winch Ltd | tea merchants
Francis Peek, Winch and Co | tea merchants
Copyright: City of London
Source of Acquisition:
  • The surviving records of Peek Bros. and Winch Ltd, including those of Francis Peek, Winch and Co, were given to the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by a family descendant, in 1998. They were catalogued in 1999 by a member of Guildhall Library staff. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.
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
Arrangement: Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.