London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1830 - 2003

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Business agreements; correspondence; published histories; financial records; papers relating to shareholders; papers relating to production including agreements, ledgers, notebooks, reports, and labels; price lists; papers relating to staff organisations and staff photographs; property records including inventories, leases and photographs; papers relating to advertising including newscuttings, publications, adverts, correspondence and photographs.

    Also records of subsidiary companies including British Vinegars Limited, E Lazenby and Son Limited, James KeiIler and Son Limited, and Allards Wharf Limited.
Extent: 4 linear metres
Classification: BUSINESSES
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • Manufacturers of chutneys, pickles, marmalades, jams, vinegars, piccalillis, canned goods and related products.

    Previously known as West and Wyatt and founded in 1706, the company originally traded as oilmen at 11 King Street, Soho, Westminster. In 1829 Wyatt retired and the firm was purchased for £600 in 1830 by Edmund Crosse (1804-1862) and Thomas Blackwell (1804-1879) (who had entered the firm as apprentices in 1819) despite objections from the Blackwell family using funds from the sale of farms at Bushey.

    The firm's name changed to Crosse and Blackwell in 1838 and was later incorporated in 1892. In 1837 the firm received royal appointment. Capital increased to £25,000 in 1844 and to seven and a quarter million pounds in 1928 where the decision was taken to decrease the amount by half. Medals were awarded at Vienna Universal Exhibition in 1873. The firm also exhibited at the Empire Exhibition, Wembley in 1924.

    The firm acquired several companies including: Gamble and Son (1864), E Lazenby and Son Limited (1919), James Keiller and Son Limited (1919), Alexander Cairns and Sons of Paisley, Scotland (1920); British Vinegars Limited (1982) and was associated with Allards Wharf Limited.


    Crosse and Blackwell acquired 21 Soho Square, Soho, Westminster in 1838 (and moved there in 1839 where they remained until 1925). The original factory remained at the King Street premises after 1839. In 1844 'a great fire' took place at the rear of the Soho Square premises.

    Further premises acquired included Dean Street (1840), Denmark Street (1851), George Yard (1859), Falconberg factory (1860), with extension to 21 Soho Square developed at 20 Soho Square (Falconberg House), Victoria Wharf, Thames Street, City of London (1862); a Vinegar Brewery at Caledonian Road (1876); Stacey Street acquired in 1876 for factory for Export Pickles (1878) which was later converted for manufacture of Candied Peel (1884); Soho Wharf, Belvedere Road at the south end of Westminster Bridge was established for Export Pickles (1884) and later sold to London County Council for £100,00 for County Hall in 1906; Charing Cross Road premises built (1887); Victoria Wharf, Millwall for Imports (1888); Imperial Wharf, Nine Elms Lane, Battersea built (1907); Collingwood Street, Bethnal Green (1916); Branston factory acquired with cottages (1920).

    By 1920 premises included: Soho Square, Charing Cross Road, Brewery Road, Islington; Imperial Wharf, Battersea; Victoria Wharf, Millwall; Tay Wharf, Silvertown; Broad Street, Ratcliff; Albert Square, Dundee; East Dock Street, Maryfield, Dundee; Wisbech; Blairgowie; Sittingbourne; Faversham, Surrey; Paisley; Farleigh; Peterhead; Cork.

    During the 1920s the following changes occurred: Rock House, Burton acquired (1921); 112 Charing Cross Road (1921); move to Branston in circa 1921 and move back in 1924; demolition of 20 Soho Square (1924); new factory erected at Crimscott Street (1924); showroom at Eastcheap, City of London (1924); offices were all housed at 21 Soho Square (1924)


    A Provision Factory was established at Morrison's Quay, Cork, Ireland in 1864 initially specialised in the canning of salmon from the Shannon. A new warehouse was built at Morrison's Quay in 1902. In 1927 sales in United States of America were supported by the foundation of Crosse and Blackwell Company, Baltimore where factories were built. Allied companies were established in Cape Town, South Africa, as Crosse and Blackwell (South Africa) Limited (1930), and Australia (1958) with factories in Pakenham, Melbourne and Sydney.


    In 1832 the chef Qualliotti was working for the company. E & T Pink at Staple Street, Borough (1904); Works Manager at Soho Square: H W Bell (1920) Works Manager at Branston: T H Mattinson (1920); Company Secretary: J Ashton Burton (1920); Chief Engineer: Rollo Appleyard (1920); Frank Blackwell retired from active management (1921); Bernard Lazenby in charge of all manufacturing (1924); Crimscott Street manager: Mr Gray (1924); Silvertown manager: Mr Denholm (1924); Sunrise Preserving formed (1928).

    A Sports Club was established and had a site at The Square Sports Field, Pinner (1920)


    The company and all the shares of Crosse and Blackwell (Holdings) Limited were purchased by Nestlé in 1960. This brought to Nestlé Group 11 factories (6 in United Kingdom). In 1960 Crosse and Blackwell Group's head office was Soho Square, Westminster; with factories at Crimscott Street, Bermondsey and Silvertown, London; Peterhead, Scotland; Albert Square and Maryfield, Dundee, Scotland (two factories of subsidiary James Keiller and Son Limited) and Stenhousemuir, Edinburgh, Scotland (factory of A McCowan and Sons Limited, a subsidiary of James Keiller and Son Limited).

    Crosse and Blackwell was divested in 2002 by Nestlé and the brand divided between Premier International Foods, in Europe and The J.M. Smucker Company, in North America.

Creator: Crosse and Blackwell Ltd | food manufacturers
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Deposited in multiple accessions between 2003 and 2016. With a further gift of two items from a third party in 2014.
  • B09/074
  • B09/143
  • B03/065
  • B07/099
  • B07/109
  • B07/124
  • B14/071
  • B16/086
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions
Physical Condition:
Arrangement: These records have been catalogued according to the functions and subsidiary companies of Crosse and Blackwell Limited.
LMA/4467/D - SALES
LMA/4467/E - STAFF
Related Material: Accounts including predecessor Gamble and Son (circa 1824-1924) are held at National Library of Ireland
Nestlé UK archive, York (opened July 2011)