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Birmingham Chemical Company/ Willtel company?

L

LinziC

Guest
Hi All,

Has anyone ever heard of the Birmingham Chemical Company, or the Willtell Company?

My grandfather apparently worked for this company, but he died when my mother was only 18 months old, so we have very little information about him or the company. We believe that he worked for the company in Birmingham, and then when it moved to Lichfield in the 1920s-30s, moved with it to live there. The only reference I've found for it so far is in British History online. My mother always believed that the company was called the Wiltell Company, but the online source suggest the company motto was 'Quality Will Tell', which might account for any confusion.

The firm produced essences and fruit juice compounds for the food trade - my mother believes my grandfather was a confectioner there. Any clues would be very welcome - I'm researching family history, and we think my grandfather may have changed his name, so tracing the company may be the closest we can get to him!

Thanks.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The following are the mentions I found in directories. The company was not listed in the 1913 directory and the first premises in 1913 had been shared by a tailors and a manufacturing agent. By 1921 the company had replaced the tailor but still shared with the agent. This makes me think it was still quite small and had probably just started up.
1921 Birmingham Chemical Co., 26 Grant st,
1932 &1933. Birmingham Chemical Co. 12-14 Bath Row ,manufacturing chemists Telegraph address “Wiltell”
In 1937 and after, the company was not mentioned in the directories.
The telegraph address confirms the Wiltell reference.
If you are interested in where the two factories were , I can provide the position on a map. There may be reference to the company in the local studies library and it would be worth enquiring. It’s slightly possible that there may be some reference to the company in the food science library at reading university (near me) though I’m not that optimistic . I will have a look sometime in the next week or so though and let you know
mike
 
L

LinziC

Guest
Thanks for the information! I'll check out the info as you suggest.
Much appreciated!
 

babalu

New Member
Re. Birmingham Chemical Company, Willtell Works. St John,s Street Lichfield.
Hi, My Father was chief Chemist at this company until 1950. The factory was demolished and is now the Willtell Industrial Estate in Lichfield.

babalu
 

Mike Howlett

New Member
Hi All,

Has anyone ever heard of the Birmingham Chemical Company, or the Willtell Company?

My grandfather apparently worked for this company, but he died when my mother was only 18 months old, so we have very little information about him or the company. We believe that he worked for the company in Birmingham, and then when it moved to Lichfield in the 1920s-30s, moved with it to live there. The only reference I've found for it so far is in British History online. My mother always believed that the company was called the Wiltell Company, but the online source suggest the company motto was 'Quality Will Tell', which might account for any confusion.

The firm produced essences and fruit juice compounds for the food trade - my mother believes my grandfather was a confectioner there. Any clues would be very welcome - I'm researching family history, and we think my grandfather may have changed his name, so tracing the company may be the closest we can get to him!

Thanks.
Birmingham Chemical Co., based in Litchfield was acquired by Unilever in about 1963. Unilever were wishing to extend their flavour production facilities in UK and had acquired several other small UK flavour companies (in Speke, Liverpool and Hull). The Managing Director of BCC before take over was Arthur Caroll.
Re. Birmingham Chemical Company, Willtell Works. St John,s Street Lichfield.
Hi, My Father was chief Chemist at this company until 1950. The factory was demolished and is now the Willtell Industrial Estate in Lichfield.

babalu
I was a research scientist with Unilever and developed a close connection with BCC, visiting the Wiltell Works frequently. BCC manufactured a range of flavourings sold to UK food & drink manufacturers, as well as several speciality flavour chemicals (including 'Rastone', a nature-identical chemical found in raspberries), which were sold to other flavour houses.
I recollect the works were 1850's age, with an old arched entrance off the main road. I believe the works had originally been a brewery (I may be wrong).
By mid 1960's, the Wiltell Works were closed and all activities were assimilated into Food Industries Ltd, a newly formed Unilever flavour, emulsifier and food ingredient company in Bromborough, Wirral.
.
 
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