Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 132,938 pages of information and 210,195 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
On March 19,1894, building began of a factory for a Birmingham printing company, White and Pike Ltd, at Longbridge. The factory was for a new venture - making and printing tin boxes. By around 1901, however, the business was abandoned. This site was purchased for the Austin factory in 1906.
Frederic Impey was a partner and managing director of White and Pike, a Birmingham printing firm which had a works in Moor Street. Born at Feering, Essex in 1847, Frederic had attended Sidcot School and then completed a five year printing apprenticeship with White and Pike, which was followed by a career in the printing business.
William White (1820-1900) was a Quaker businessman, political activist (Liberal Mayor of Birmingham, 1882) and philanthropist e.g. founder of the local Adult School Movement. Frederic worked for the firm for 40 years and became a partner in 1871 following the death of Cornelius Pike two years earlier, and later Managing Partner.
The 1881 census described Frederic as a ‘Printing Master and Farmer employing two men’. Longbridge House was the centre of a small estate of 40 acres, including four acres of garden with a further 60 acres rented from the Coombes estate.
In 1894 the firm built a new ‘out of town’ factory where Longbridge Lane joined the Bristol Road in order to capitalize on a new process for colour printing onto tin plate boxes. Within a year, however, it had burned down in a devastating fire. The consequences were serious and in 1903 the Longbridge branch was forced to close although the Bootham School Register entry for Francis Levitt Impey suggests the tin-box making had been wound up by 1899. As Ethel Impey later pointed out the tin-printing side was insufficiently insured and the management was over-optimistic.