Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Fownes Gloves

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of 71 Gresham Street, London, EC2. Telephone: Central 1192. Cables: "Fownes, London". Factory: Fownes Gloves Ltd, Talbot Street, Worcester

  • [1] John Fownes, a barrister, who was born in 1682, had a son also called John. He had three sons, the youngest being George Fownes and he lived his life in Hanbury, Staffordshire. John Fownes, the founder of the glove business, was the second son of George Fownes.
  • 1782 John Fownes was married to Lucy Jane Dymock at the church of St. Lawrence in the City of London. He had a large family of eight sons and three daughters. Henry, Thomas and Edward joined the business and the children of Mary, one of his daughters also joined later.
  • In 1808, the factory was moved to Battersea and Thomas and Edward became partners in the business which changed its name to John Fownes and Sons.
  • 1827 John Fownes died on the 20th September, and was buried in the church of St. Lawrence Jewry in London. After his death, the firm became Fownes Brothers.
  • 1848 The firm opened in Cheapside, under the name Fownes Brothers.
  • Thomas and Henry Fownes died shortly afterwards and as the only survivor was Edward, he formed a partnership with Mr. S. J. Urwick, the son of Mary Fownes, and Mr. J. W. Spall, an associate in the fabric trade. They carried on the business as Fownes Brothers and Co.
  • 1877 The Worcester Factory opened and offices were also set up in Ryders Court, Leicester Square, London.
  • In 1884, building work started on the Worcester site and it took three years to complete. Shortly after the establishment of the new factory, the sons of Mr. S. J. Urwick and A.J. Spall joined the firm. The family connection has been maintained right up to the present day where the great grandson’s of Edward Fownes, Mr. A. J. Spall and William Gardener Ridgden are partners.
  • 1887 Fownes Gloves moved to Worcester. At that time the company employed more that 1,000 people and was one of the world’s leading glove makers with offices and factories in many parts of the world.
  • The factory moved a number of times in the late 19th Century but most of these were to different locations in the City of London, all close to the church of St. Lawrence Jewry.
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Gloves. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 446b) [2]
  • 1974 Following the decline of the glove industry due to fashion, the business and manufacture of gloves was transferred to Warminster in Wiltshire, and the Worcester building became derelict.
  • In 1985 the site was acquired and plans developed to convert the building into a city centre hotel catering for the needs of the local business community.


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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Fownes Group
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair p106