Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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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.

Rank Organisation

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March 1947.
March 1960. Odeon and Gaumont Theatres.
Sept 1963.

1937 Formation of Odeon Theatres Limited as a public company

Late 1940s: Prospect of receivership; rescue organised by the company's accountant John Davis[1].

1947 the new name J. Arthur Rank Organisation was used to describe the organisation which included Odeon Theatres Ltd, Gaumont British Picture Corporation and many subsidiary and associated companies[2]

1947 Several companies within the Organisation were involved in scientific research[3]:

1955 Company name changed from Odeon Theatre Limited to Rank Organisation Ltd; AGM reminded that there was no financial connection with Ranks Ltd although J. Arthur Rank was chairman of both companies[4]. The main elements of the group were:

1956 Joint venture with Haloid Corporation in a new company Rank-Xerox to manufacture and market a new "electro-photographic" process[5]. Investment in Haloid Corporation at the suggestion of John Davies[6]. Large amount invested in the new venture Rank-Xerox which after 4-5 years paid off handsomely.

1956 Formation of Rank Precision Industries

1958 Acquired Thompson, Diamond and Butcher, distributor of gramophone records and manufacturer of associated equipment. Rank would not proceed with its plans to establish a record club. Set up Rank Records Ltd to manifacture and sell gramphone records under the brand Top Rank.[7]

1959 Acquired Wharfedale Wireless Works, makers of loudspeakers[8]. Having acquired Regency Holdings, providing a "piped" radio and television service in certain South Coast towns, Rank set up Rank Relay Service to offer radio and television relay[9]

1960 Set up Top Rank Bowling as a subsidiary; over the next few years most of the leisure activities were rebranded as Top Rank.

1962 Rank Organisation acquired Murphy Radio[10] which was merged with Bush Radio as Rank-Bush Murphy.

1962 Completed a merger with Gaumont British Ltd which allowed considerable simplification of administration through a unified divisional structure:[11]

1963 Rank sold its holding in British Relay Wireless and Television, which it had acquired with Murphy, to International Publishing Corporation[12].

1964 Rank Organisation bid for R. B. Pullin and Co[13]

1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement [14]

1968 Acquired Hilger and Watts and Strand Electric Holdings[15]

1968 Top Rank Rentals sold c.100 TV rental shops to Granada TV Rental[16]

1969 Acquired H. J. Leak and Co[17].

1969 The Rank Organisation had several parts[18]:

1969 A number of subsidiaries were put into liquidation including Rank Relay Services.[19]

1972 Rank ceded control of Rank-Xerox to the American partners[20]. Ill-fated bid for Watney Mann which upset the American shareholders. Acquired Oddenino's property company.

1975 Disquiet amongst investors about the poor results from the diversification policy, about the composition of the board and about the dominance of the Rank Foundation in the share register[21].

By 1995 Top Rank operated 140 bingo clubs across the country under the Top Rank and Mecca names[22]

1995 Rank Group was formed to acquire the business interests of the Rank Organisation.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 17 September 1975
  2. The Times 25 March, 1947
  3. The Times 1 October 1947
  4. The Times, 10 October 1955
  5. The Times 10 September 1956
  6. The Times, 17 September 1975
  7. The Times 16 October 1958
  8. The Times 22 May 1959
  9. The Times Sept. 1, 1959
  10. The Times 12 April 1962
  11. The Times Oct. 12, 1962
  12. The Times 18 September 1963
  13. The Times 9 June 1964
  14. The Engineer 1968/04/26 p650
  15. The Times 10 April 1969
  16. The Times Apr. 20, 1968
  17. The Times 10 April 1969
  18. The Times Oct. 17, 1969
  19. London Gazette 17 June 1969
  20. The Times, 17 September 1975
  21. The Times, 17 September 1975
  22. The Times June 8, 1995