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British Industrial History

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William Goodacre and Sons

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July 1910.

of Ceylon Mills, Russell Road, London, E16. Telephone: Albert Dock, 3371 (4 lines). Cables: "Goodacre, London"

1863 William Goodacre and Sons, manufacturer of coconut matting, opened a factory in Abbey Lane.[1]

By 1890 it had moved to Ceylon Mills, Russell Road (later in Butchers Road), Canning Town.

1901 Listed as 'Goodacre, Wm. and Sons Ltd. matting manufacturers (Ceylon Mills).'[2]

Early in the twentieth century, Goodacre also built up an engineering business, specializing in making and repairing mechanical grabs.

1914 Listed as 'Goodacre, William and Sons, Ltd. Manufacturers of cocoa mats, mattings, motor car mats, sheep skin and cloth rugs; coir yarn importers, engineers etc; importers of japanese and oriental rugs, carpets etc. Ceylon mills, Russell road, Victoria docks, E. (near Custom House station).'[3]

1930 C. W. Laban is mentioned in connection with the company.[4]

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Coco Mats and Mattings, Hearth Rugs and Runners, Carpet Squares and Rugs. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 668) [5]

Soon after the Second World War, matting manufacture ceased at Ceylon Mills but the grab department continued

In 1964 William Goodacre and Sons was taken over by Beautility

Further information[6]

William Goodacre chr 19 Aug 1826 Syston next to Loughborough

Married 1855 Woodgate Baptist Church Loughborough to Elizabeth Cross they had six children that I am aware of:- William 1857 Loughborough, Walter 1857 Loughborough, Harry Toon Goodacre 1859 Wakefield, Frederick 1860 Wakefield, Arthur Dixon Goodacre 1862 Wakefield Yorkshire, Frederick Goodacre 1860 Wakefield.

William Goodacre in 1863 had Abbey Mills at Stratford East End of London mat carpet and The Times Coal Company Amelia Terrace where he lived adjoining Finsbury Park Station providing coal for the trains.

In 1881 Census William had a coir matting at Abbey Mills Abbey Lane Stratford, London. He was assisted by his sons Walter, Henry who is possibly Harry form above, and Arthur in the factory, while Fred was a Colonial Salesman and Frank who is not listed above a commercial Clerk.

John Goodacre, the father of William born 1800 Wynesvold, Leicestershire an accountant living with his son William.

In Kelly’s directory in 1888 they had a branch factory at Glemsford in Suffolk which I know nothing about.

In 1893 the business was now names Ceylon Mills with had moved to Queen’s Road Victoria Dock and had extended its manufacture to sheepskin rugs. Some of his workers hired prison labour to work on their premises.

In 1917 hired Warehouses in Cochin in India the company employed 700 Indians.

In 1895 the company over here became William Goodacre and sons Ltd. They were involved in lots of other things - Engineers, Bankers, Builders, Metal Founders, Shippers, Omnibus and the maintenance of Railways, Water Works, Gas Work, Coal Merchants, Tile and Terracotta makers etc.

William the founder died 4 Nov 1906 at East Finchley Middlesex.

During the Great War they carried out engineering work for the Government and the company invented the Barnard Grab a crane used for loading and unloading coal from ships. During the war they supplied Coco matting used in camouflage netting and for the wet and slippery decks on war ships and for beach landings to ensure silence as they went up the beaches 8,000,000 Square yards of Coco Matting for the use of war operations and on the basis of 1 yard wide more then 4,000 miles of matting was produced.

The Company in the early 1960s their London office closed and Castle Mills became their head office for the whole company in 1964 a hundred years after its foundation it was bought out by Beautility a subsidiary of Great Universal Stores - the name Goodacres was retained.

In xxxx Highgate Mills burned down but they still had Holme Mills, Castle Mills and the Alleppey site in India.

In 1996 the company was owned by Melton Medes and by then the Alleppey company was independent but they still provided coir to Melton Medes Ltd.

Any information on any of these activities will be of great interest to me thank you.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] British History Online
  2. 1901 Kelly's London Suburban Directory
  3. 1914 Kelly's Directory of Essex
  4. Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 07 March 1930
  5. 1947 British Industries Fair p119
  6. Email TET 25/05/2014