Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,100 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Milners Safe Co

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Milner's Patent Fire Resisting Strong Hold Fast Safe, found in Rio Grande, Brazil.
Remaining in use in 2020.
Milner's Patent Safe. Exhibit at the National Brewery Centre.
Milner's Patent Fire Resistant Safe.
Milners safe.
Company internal mail box.

Thomas Milner and Son, of Phoenix Safe Works, Liverpool, and at Carpenter's Road, Stratford, London, E.

of 28 Finsbury Pavement, London, EC (1914)

of 12-13 Newgate Street, London, EC1. Telephone: City 1195-96. Cables: "Holdfast, London". (1929)

of 58 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1. Telephone: Central 0041-5. Cables: "Holdfast, Central, London". Factories at Speke, Liverpool. (1947)

1791 Thomas Milner was bound as an apprentice to his father in the trade of tinsmith and brazier for eleven years. In those eleven years he was not allowed to marry, take a drink or take a day off without permission. He was provided with meat, drink, washing, lodgings and wearing apparel. His wage was sixteen pence a year. He learned well and began to manufacture iron coffers and strong boxes.

c1814 Company established.

1824 He secured orders for coffers and strong boxes from the Duke of Wellington, as well as an official contract to supply the War Office.

1830 Thomas moved from Sheffield to Liverpool and set up the firm of Thomas Milner and Son, where he was a pioneer in the development of fire resistant safes and much involved in taking out patents and demonstrating the excellence of his safes by placing them in the centre of huge bonfires.

1853 Thomas Milner acquired a 2.5-acre site in Smithdown Lane, where he erected new works

1874 Incorporated as a public Company on 31 July Milners Safe Co

1898 Milners Safety Cycle Co was absorbed. [1]

1914 Manufacturers of fire and thief resisting safes. Specialities: Milners' fire and thief resisting safes, steel office furniture and fittings, light pressed steel cabinet work of all kinds. Employees 1,000. [2]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Steel Office Furniture, shelving, Vertical Filing and Card Index Cabinets, Japanned and Steel Boxes. One of the largest Makers of Fire and Thief Resisting Safes in the World. Also Rolling Shutters. (Stand No. R.152) [3]

1945 Acquired Whitfields Safe and Door Co of Birmingham[4]

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Safes and Fire-resisting Equipment, Steel Office Furniture, including Filing and Card Index Cabinets; Stationery Cupboards, Lockers, Desks, Tables, Office Accessories. Agencies throughout the world. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. B.1419) [5]

William Milner, the son of Thomas Milner, moved from Liverpool to the Isle of Man where he became known as "the godfather of Port Erin". He set up charities to help the poverty stricken fishermen and in 1871 a tower was built out of local slate as a memorial "to his many charities".

Milner's Tower is a local landmark and stands high on Bradda Head, impersonating a lighthouse. In fact it is built in the shape of a key, with a spiral staircase inside. St. Catherine's church in Port Erin was erected around 1879 with money from Milner's will.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  3. 1929 British Industries Fair p117
  4. The Times Jun 18, 1945
  5. 1947 British Industries Fair p187
  • [1] Milners Safe