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British Industrial History

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Walkers, Parker and Co

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of 63 Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London

1778 Samuel Walker (1715-1782), in partnership with Richard Fishwick and Archer Ward of Hull, began a white lead manufacturing business at Elswick, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Samuel Walker provided most of the capital, while his partners contributed business and practical expertise. This enterprise was extended, producing not only white and red lead but also lead shot and pipes. Rising prices for lead encouraged many others to enter this trade about this time.

Initially traded as Walkers, Fishwick and Co

1799 Formed a partnership with Thomas Maltby and began to build a lead works in Chester. From 1799 to 1814, the Chester business traded as Thomas Walker, Maltby & Co. Then, from 1814 to 1825 as Joshua Walker, Maltby and Co. 1825-1860 Joshua Walker, Parker and Co. 1860-1889 Joseph Walker, Parker and Co. From 1889 the business generally used the name Walkers, Parker and Co.[1]

1802 Samuel Walker Parker joined the lead partnership, which then became known as Walker, Parker and Co.

1827 An extensive concern at Low Elswick belonged to Messrs. Ward, Walker, Parker, and Co. for rolling sheet-lead, and converting piglead into ceruse and minimum for pigments; also for casting shot[2]

1830 Built the famous shot tower on the south bank of the Thames in London

1832 Samuel Taylor and William Parker withdrew from the various partnerships as lead merchants: Walkers, Parker and Co in London; Joshua Walker and Co in Derby; Walkers, Parker, Walker and Co in Elswick; Joshua Walker, Parker and Co in Newcastle under Lyne, Chester and Liverpool[3]

1833 after a period of uncertain trade and a quarrel among the partners, the Walkers' iron and steel partnership was dissolved. The lead trade continued. All the male descendants of Samuel Walker (1715–1782) owned shares in the lead business and some were actively involved in it.

1850s Members of the family were trained in metallurgy in Saxony

1870s Family members investigated new lead manufacturing processes in the USA. The managing partners at the firm's various works were still in the 1870s being drawn exclusively from the Walker family.

1889 The company was registered on 21 January, to acquire the business of the firm of the same name, lead and shot manufacturers carried on at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Dee Bank, Liverpool, Chester and London.[4]

1893 The Walker family finally withdrew from the lead trade after a lengthy dispute between the partners.

1921 Rumours of an initiative of the Burma Corporation to bring together 6 leading British companies with interests in lead, to link the manufacturing side of the lead business with the producing side and to free the British industry from German dominance. This would be achieved by amalgamation under the Associated Lead Manufacturers Ltd., which would involve 5 private companies and one public company Walkers, Parker and Co[5].

1929 Acquired by Associated Lead Manufacturers

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Samuel Walker MP (1779-1851) [3]
  • Walker Family, ODNB [4]
  1. 'An Illustrated History of CHESTER LEADWORKS' by Geoff Pickard, Lightmoor Press
  2. From: 'Trade and manufactures', Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead (1827), pp. 715-730. URL: [1]
  3. London Gazette [2]
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. The Times, 29 January 1921