Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Archibald Kenrick and Sons

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Im201403Bow-AKenrick.jpg
Pulley from window shutter.
Dec 1921.
1945
1951
1954
July 1959.
May 1960.
Im201403A-ArchKenrick.jpg
Bronze statue on a cast iron base.

'Bettatools' of West Bromwich.

1827 The name of Archibald Kenrick and Co was changed to Archibald Kenrick and Sons when Archibald Kenrick, Junior became a partner with his father Archibald Kenrick

1832 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, Archibald Kenrick, the elder, Samuel Kenrick, and Archibald Kenrick the younger, as Ironfounders, carrying on business at West Bromwich, in the County of Stafford, was dissolved on the 29th day of September 1827...'[1]

1835 On the death of Archibald, two of his sons, Archibald and Timothy had equal shares in the partnership.

1847 Due to the illness of Archibald, his son John Arthur Kenrick left university to assist his uncle Timothy in the family firm. John Arthur took responsibility for production.

1850 John Arthur's brother, William Kenrick (1831–1919), joined the company and became responsible for the commercial management.

The commercial success of Timothy's 1846 patent for glazing and enamelling the metal surfaces of cast iron led to investment and the growth of home and overseas sales.

1852 New foundry erected

1857 William became a full partner.

1868 Production management was delegated to Frederick Ryland, a professional engineer who was also the first non-family manager employed in the family firm.

1873 George Hamilton Kenrick (1850–1939), cousin to the two senior partners, John Arthur Kenrick and William Kenrick, entered the firm; he became responsible for the day-to-day commercial management.

1878 Employing 700 persons and erect new offices and warehouses

1883 Became private company with John Arthur Kenrick as head. Employed roughly 700 workers and was capitalized at £201,700.

1886 Acquire Hollow-ware Co

1886 Amalgamate with A. and E. Baldwins

1889 Acquire the bedstead castor business of Parry and Wythes

1898 John Arthur stepped down as chairman of the company

1898 Acquire brassfounders Thomas Pemberton, and employ a further 400 people

1899 Capital was increased to £301,700, by which time employment had almost doubled since 1883. As one of the two largest British hardware manufacturers, the company had reached its peak.

1910 Formed United Hinges

By 1911 John Archibald Kenrick was managing director[2]

1914 Ironfounders, enamellers and lock manufacturers. Specialities: cast iron hollow ware, household and builders' ironwork, malleable ironwork and castings. Employees 1,200. [3]

By 1930 George Hamilton Kenrick (1850–1939) was chairman of the company

1930s the cast-iron hollow-ware and hardware trade had been in permanent decline for a decade, and the senior Kenricks were much involved in public affairs. New cast-iron products which had been added to the company's range in an attempt to enter a growing market, such as electric and gas irons, had made no headway, failing to achieve profitability to offset losses in the traditional trade. The exception was the cast-iron bath, which was the largest selling item

Wilfrid Byng Kenrick (1872–1962) became chairman

1937 Following the board of directors' rejection of a management consultant's recommendation that professional management should be introduced from outside the Kenrick family, Wilfrid Byng Kenrick appointed his son William as head of the sales department.

1939 The demand for munitions rescued the company. Hollow-ware was then discontinued.

WWII Government contracts during the war helped the firm avoid bankruptcy

1945 Wilfrid Byng Kenrick withdrew from day-to-day involvement in management; his son, William, was promoted to managing director.

1953 On his Wilfrid's retirement, Arthur Wynn Kenrick, a distant relative, formerly joint managing director of Kenrick and Jefferson, was appointed chairman.

1953 John Donkin, an engineer formerly with GEC, was appointed as joint general manager at West Bromwich to work with William.

At the same time, by chance, an Australian inventor offered William Edmund the option on a patent (Shepherd's) furniture castor produced by die-casting, which on William's recommendation the board took up. These developments, combined with William's insistence that henceforward sales and the consumer, rather than the plant's capacity to produce, should determine product policy and investment, enabled the firm to survive, though still on the narrow basis of a single product.

1961 Ironfounders, diecasters and hardware manufacturers. 420 employees. [4]

1963 William became chairman as well as MD

1964 William's son Martin joined the company.

1965 Foundry closed

1978 William retired as managing director and chairman; Martin Kenrick became chairman.

1986 The workforce had reduced substantially and was now only 120 but the company was trading profitably[5]

1992 The company was taken over by a West Midlands consortium.

2014 Company continues trading.[6]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:18 December 1832 Issue:19005Page:2772
  2. 1911 census
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  5. The Times July 17, 1986
  6. Kenrick Web Site
  • Biography of the William Edmund Kenrick, ODNB