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British Industrial History

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Lionel Brook Holliday

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1880 Born in Huddersfield, son of Thomas Holliday[1]

1890 Thomas Holliday became Chairman and Managing Director of Read Holliday and Sons

1897 His father died; uncle Robert took over the chairmanship of the firm

By 1899 the firm was near to bankruptcy because of competition from lower priced German dye manufacturers. Profits in the New York branch were also falling. However in the same year the Boer War started and the War Office granted a large contract to the firm in order to make picric acid for explosives.

1901 On reaching his majority, Lionel Brook Holliday joined the Board of Directors of Read Holliday and Sons

1908 Married Alice Woolger (b New York c.1884) in Huddersfield[2]

1911 Aniline manufacturer, living in Kirkburton with his wife Alice, 27, and son, Thomas, 7 mo[3]

World War I forced Read Holliday and Sons to concentrate on explosives manufacture.

By 1915 the shortage of explosives in Britain was a matter of grave concern. Lionel B. Holliday was recalled from France, where he was a Major in the Army. He was one of the few British technical men with knowledge of picric acid manufacture. On his return, he became responsible for a Government plant producing picric acid at Bradley. By the end of 1915 the plant was producing 100 tons of picric acid a week.

1915 Meanwhile British Dyes was formed by the takeover by the Government of Read Holliday and Sons.

1915 Alice died in Huddersfield[4]

1916 Major Lionel B. Holliday was not asked to join British Dyes but received £10,000 as his share of the money from the takeover. With this he bought land in Deighton, next door to the picric acid works he was running at Bradley. On this 30-acre site, which was the former Huddersfield racecourse, he set up the manufacture of dyes under the name of L. B. Holliday and Co Ltd.

1917 Major Holliday acquired a large number of German-owned British dye patents which were under Government control.

1918 L. B. Holliday and Co had 20 dyes in the line and was producing 50 tons of dye a month with a workforce of 20 men. Major Holliday recruited many of the workers, customers and processes who had previously been at Read Holliday and Sons, and this caused lasting friction between his company and British Dyes. British Dyes acquired a site at Dalton and so became neighbours of Major Holliday's Deighton works.

1918 Holliday remarried, to Marguerite Woodhead Taylor (b 1892 Huddersfield)[5]

1920 L. B. Holliday and Co prospered under the leadership of Major Holliday.

1928 Birth of son, Lionel B Holliday, in Huddersfield[6]

Following World War II, the Major took advantage of import barriers to expand the business. In the late 1950s there were between 800-900 employees on the Leeds Road site.

Major Holliday was well known as an owner and breeder of racehorses. He was not a betting man and never put any money on his horses.

1965 Died at age of 85.[7]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. BMD
  3. 1911census
  4. BMD
  5. BMD
  6. BMD
  7. BMD
  • [1] Colorants History