Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,152 pages of information and 245,599 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Imperial Tobacco Co

From Graces Guide
Revision as of 15:24, 17 January 2024 by PaulF (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
November 1933.
January 1934.
December 1934.
September 1936.
1939. From The Aeroplane magazine of 15th December.
June 1939.
July 1940.
October 5 1946..
January 1947.


December 1953.


August 1954.
1956. Lord Dulverton the President.

of East Street, Bedminster, Bristol.

1901 The Imperial Tobacco Company was created through the amalgamation of thirteen British tobacco and cigarette companies compromising W. D. and H. O. Wills of Bristol (the leading manufacturer of the time), John Player and Sons (Player's) of Nottingham and 11 other independent family businesses, which were being threatened by competition from the United States in the form of James Buchanan Duke and his American Tobacco Company. The company was registered on 10 December to amalgamate various businesses of tobacco manufacturers. [1]

The other parties to the amalgamation were:

Subsequently acquired:

The company's first Chairman was William Henry Wills of the Wills Company. Subsequently the smaller companies in the group including Lambert and Butler, William Clarke and Son, Franklyn, Davey and Co, Edwards Ringer, J. and F. Bell and F. and J. Smith were absorbed by the larger, with Wills and Players eventually emerging as the UK market leaders.

1902 The Imperial Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company agreed to form a joint venture, the British-American Tobacco Company Ltd. The parent companies agreed not to trade in each other's domestic territory and to assign trademarks, export businesses and overseas subsidiaries to the joint venture.

1902 Mardon, Son and Hall, maker of cigarette papers, was invited to join the Imperial Tobacco Co

1911 American Tobacco sold its share but Imperial maintained an interest in British American Tobacco until 1980.

1932 Acquired a controlling interest in Gallaher

1939 'Imperial Tobacco Co. branches are W. D. and H. O. Wills: John Player and Sons; Adkin and Sons; W. A. and A. C. Churchman; William Clarke and Son; W. T. Davies and Son; Edwards, Ringer and Bigg; W. and F. Faulkner; Franklyn, Davey and Co.; Hignett Brother and Co.; Lambert and Butler; D. and J. MacDonald: Stephen Mitchell and Son; Ogden; F. and J. Smith; and W. Williams and Co.'[2]

1946 Reduced its interest in Gallaher

1960 Invested in the Golden Wonder Crisp Co of Edinburgh making the company a subsidiary of Imperial.

1964 As a prelude to further diversification, the company was split into 4 divisions:

  • Tobacco
  • Paper and board interests
  • Distributive trades
  • General trade interests, including Golden Wonder.

1964 Acquired a 75 percent interest in Anselm Holdings, a group of companies making plastic products[3]

1967 Acquired H. P. Sauce, maker of sauces and pickles, as well as canned beans and other foods.

1968 Acquired National Canning Co, maker of Smedley's canned and frozen foods[4]

By 1969 had formed Imperial Foods as a subsidiary to manage the food businesses

1969 Acquired Ross Group, maker of frozen food, poultry, shellfish and processed vegetable products.

1969 Acquired Young's Seafoods[5]

1969 Formed Motoross, operators of motorway service stations

1969 Formation of new subsidiary, Smedley Ross Foods, to handle the frozen foods business of its newly acquired Smedley and Ross businesses[6]

1970 Another major acquisition in the food sector, Allied Farm Foods, as well as Walshs, Alfred E. Jones, Hollingsworth (Meat Products) and Warners of Melton Mowbray from Associated British Foods [7]

1972 Acquired Courage, Saccone and Speed, Imperial Hotels

1972 Brought together 2 of its foods businesses, H. P. Sauce and Smedley's as Smedley-HP Foods[8]

1973 Having become increasingly diversified (restaurant chains, food services and brands, distribution etc), Imperial Tobacco Company became the Imperial Group Limited, later Imperial Group PLC.

1978 Acquired Eastwood Thompson

1980 Acquired Howard Johnson

1981 Acquired Happy Eater

1982 Imperial Group sold its UK chicken and egg, animal feed and meat trading operations to Hillsdown Holdings, including Allied Farm Foods, Buxted Poultry, Eastwood Thompson and J. B. Eastwood[9]

1986 The company was acquired by the conglomerate Hanson Trust, at a price of £2.5 billion. Hanson undertook a major reorganisation of the company; divestments netted £2.3 billion, leaving Hanson with the hugely profitable tobacco business for "next to nothing."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. Western Morning News - Friday 28 April 1939
  3. The Times Nov 03, 1964
  4. The Times Mar 19, 1968
  5. The Times, Apr 03, 1982
  6. The Times, Dec 02, 1969
  7. The Times, Jan 24, 1970
  8. The Times Sept. 25, 1972
  9. The Times, Jul 09, 1982