Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Brookes and Adams

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Dec 1921.
January 1939. Banda Games.
1951. Bandalasta.
1969. Melmex.

of Barr Street, Hockley, Birmingham. Telephone: Northern 1213. Cables: "Teleba"

Brookes and Adams moulded phenolic tableware called Banda Ware and started producing an extremely attractive mottled range from Beetle powder manufactured by Beetle Products Co.

1853 Thomas Brookes went into partnership with Thomas Adams. Ladies' brooches and pierced metal work for dress ornamentation formed a great part of the trade in those early days, and buckles, medals and badges were also produced.

1881 The census described Thomas Brookes as 'a maker of fancy and useful metal articles (white metal), employing 15 men, 7 lads and 13 girls'.

1890 Thomas Adams had no sons and retired from the firm, which continued under the direction of Thomas and two of his sons Frederick Thomas and Herbert. Trade was poor at this time and although the firm had expanded to larger premises in Barr Street, Hockley, Birmingham, difficulties ensued due to a lack of power.

1902 The firm's fortunes were revived due to the Coronation of King Edward VII, creating a demand for souvenirs, medals and similar items.

1909 Stamping and lathe work had up to this time been done by hand or foot, and the move to larger premises enabled the first electric motor to be installed. The firm was able to take advantage of entering the new and growing motor trade, by producing hot brass stampings following a trial order for some carburettor parts.

WWI. During the First World War a good deal of work was done on shell parts and a number of Admiralty contracts were undertaken.

1920 The business was turned into a limited liability company and another venture which was to have an even greater importance in the Company's affairs was the formation of a plastics division.

1923 The plastics division turned out the first plastic table-ware ever to be marketed in Great Britain. This was produced from raw product supplied by Beetle Products Co. From this pioneering work the famous Banda and Bandalasta trademarks were developed, (from a shortening of Brookes and Adams) Bandalasta' ware is now considered a collectors item.

1924 The business of Smith and Stokes of 94 1/2 Great Hampton Row, makers of Bakelite Moulded Insulations was acquired.

1929 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of Bandalasta Ware, Synthetic Moulded Table Ware, Durable, Tasteless, Odourless. Useful an Ornamental Articles in delightful Shades of Marble, Alabaster, and Self Colours. Cups, Saucers, Plates, Teapots, Fruit Bowls, Trays, etc. (Stand No. J.122) [1]

1937 The last and final expansion of the company in Barr Street took place when a new three storey block was added housing offices, and production facilities which included a new venture for the company the manufacture of pressure die-castings in zinc alloy. The Company also expanded its range of products to cover billiard balls, and other games and sports goods to add to the popular indoor game of Carpet bowls which the company had been making from the early 1930's and continues to produce up to this day.

The Company grew steadily and trade expanded up to the outbreak of the Second World War when the company was called upon to play its part in the national effort. Modern plant enabled precision machined parts to be produced for aircraft, radar and similar purposes, combined with the traditional skills of the die and toolmaker on which the foundations of the company were built.

Post-WWII. After the second world war an additional product area that developed from the senior management's interest in boating led to the design and manufacture of a range of yacht and small boat fittings.

Expansion of the company again necessitated a move to a new purpose built factory at Shady Lane, Kingstanding, Birmingham. There were various phases of development at this site starting from 1956 through to 1977.

1958 A shop was established in Edmund Street, Birmingham, for the sale of plastic products.

1960 Design Award for Melamine plates.

Today the Company is still managed by descendants of Thomas Brookes. (03/08)

Now at Shady Lane, Kingstanding, Birmingham, Brookes and Adams Limited specialise in the manufacture of hot stampings in brass, naval brass, manganese bronze, aluminium bronze and copper materials as well as zinc diecastings and plastic mouldings.

See Also


Sources of information

  1. 1929 British Industries Fair p30