Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Cowan de Groot

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of 110 Leonard Street, London, EC2. Telephone: Bishopsgate 1813-4. Cables: "Toicodeg"

Cowan de Groot was founded by S. D. Cowan and A. de Groot in 1919. They were importers of early tin-plate toys from Germany and Japan and went on to become one of Britain's biggest wholesalers of toys.

1926 Partnership change. '...the partnership heretofore subsisting between us, the undersigned, Samuel Cohen, Albert de Groot and Sarah Ross (a Limited Partner), carrying on business as Merchants in toys, fancy goods, &c., at 14, Bunhill-row, in the city of London, under the style or firm of COWAN DE GROOT & ROSS, has been dissolved by mutual consent as and from the first dav of November, 1925, so far as concerns the said Sarah Ross who retires from the said firm. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received or paid by the said Samuel Cohen and Albert de Groot who will continue to carry on the said business in partnership at 14, Bunhill-row, London aforesaid, under the style or firm of Cowan de Groot & Co...'[1]

1938 Mention. 'Cowan de Groot Limited of 14 Bunhill Row, London, E.C.1, Toy Importers'[2]

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Producers of "Codeg" Metal Plastic and Wooden Toys, Dolls, Soft Toys, Dolls Houses, Dolls Furniture, Tea-sets, Educational Toys. (Olympia, 2nd Floor Stand No. J.2215) [3]

1949 Patent - Improvements in musical toy. [4]

1962 Acquired John Pull printing outfits.[5]

1964 Article. 'ONE first-class little company whose name few people know is Cowan de Groot, among the fastest growing firms in the toy trade. They import toys from Hong Kong and all over the world and sell through Woolworths, other chain stores, and mail order firms. Mr. Sam Cowan, who started with his partner, Mr. Albert de Groot in one room in London's City-road just after World War I, told me: "We specialise in low and medium-priced toys." That means they capture the all-the-year round trade from mothers and fathers who spend a few shillings every Saturday to keep the children quiet. Their profits have doubled since 1960.[6]

1962 Acquire Carson Baker.[7]

1974 Acquire Richard Kelly of Lye, hardware and electrical wholesalers.[8]

1977 Chairman is Derrick Cowan. Address is Wakefield House, Chart Street, London.[9]

1978 Acquire Ronald Kaufmann.[10]

1980 'Cowan de Groot, who own the Russian shop in London and import Soviet goods that sell in 1,800 shops in Britain'[11]

1991 Acquired by the Wilton Group.[12]

1993 Part of Dekker Toys.[13]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:1 January 1926 Issue:33120 Page:82
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:18 February 1938 Issue:34485 Page:1107
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair p71
  4. Wikipatents
  5. Liverpool Echo - Friday 27 February 1981
  6. Daily Mirror - Tuesday 22 September 1964
  7. Birmingham Daily Post - Thursday 01 February 1962
  8. Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 08 March 1974
  9. Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 23 September 1977
  10. Birmingham Daily Post - Thursday 09 November 1978
  11. Daily Mirror - Wednesday 06 August 1980
  12. Reading Evening Post - Wednesday 19 June 1991
  13. Liverpool Echo - Monday 06 December 1993