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Rope Brush Manufacturing

daid rathgen

master brummie
Not sure if this is right place to look for any sign or advertisement or notice of "Withers Rope and Brush Manufacturing".
Edwin Withers started this business c1840s, his son William Edward Withers, took over from 1889 - 1912. William died 1912.
William lived in Wheeler street which I see runs between Nursery and Farm streets; streets where Edin had lived and especially Farm street where he operated his factory.
I have a photo of Withers Tobacco, which was also Edwin,s business; but would love to find an image of the bigger business, Rope or Brushes or both.
With grateful thanks
 

daid rathgen

master brummie
Not sure if this is right place to look for any sign or advertisement or notice of "Withers Rope and Brush Manufacturing".
Edwin Withers started this business c1840s, his son William Edward Withers, took over from 1889 - 1912. William died 1912.
William lived in Wheeler street which I see runs between Nursery and Farm streets; streets where Edin had lived and especially Farm street where he operated his factory.
I have a photo of Withers Tobacco, which was also Edwin,s business; but would love to find an image of the bigger business, Rope or Brushes or both.
With grateful thanks
In his 1888 Will, Edwin Withers referred to his property in 393 Farm Street as currently occupied by the "Phoenix Drug and Spice Mills".
Anybody ever heard of that business, and are there any images of Drug and Spice Mills?
Thanking you
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
You say that William Edward Withers took over the business from 1889 to 1912. But William filed, in 1882, for liquidation of Withers Brothers Rope and Brush Manufacturers along with his brother Henry Augustus Withers. This may account for the Phoenix.
 

daid rathgen

master brummie
Very grateful Astoness.
When looking through Trade Directories I couldn't find any reference to the business, so this is most helpful.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Not sure that Edwin Withers was a landowner. On his death in 1888 his main property was Granville House, Park Avenue, Soho Park. Whether he actually owned it is not clear, as it is advertised for sale as Leasehold with 63 years left.

2CFA984C-2980-4213-A52B-854E172828D9.jpeg
The map published 1890 shows Park Avenue and Granville House would be on the right side and somewhere in the middle. In the 1883 Kelly's Directory appears Withers Brothers, Rope and Twine Manufacturers, Manufacturers of pitch, papers and all kinds of house brushes, Birmingham ropery mills, 372 Park Road, Hockley.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Edwin Wither’s father, according to his marriage certificate in 1837, was Edward Weston Withers and described as an artist. There is a mention in 1829 of a chap of that name and described as a Gentleman from Edgbaston. This may suggest that he was not short of a bob or two.

Also on the 1837 marriage certificate Edwin is shown at Albion Street, but in the 1841 Census he is at Ravenhurst Street with his wife and 2 children. (The beginning of his property accumulation?). At that time he is described as a Tobacconist. In 1843 there is a Messrs Withers and Co. Tobacconists at 7 Worcester St and 93 Smallbrook St. (Who were the other Withers involved?)

By 1845 there is an Edwin Withers, Rope and Twine Manufacturers at 93 Smallbrook St, suggesting he may of branched out. In 1852 he moved to Farm Street, and advertised for 30 to 40 sacking makers. (Later Phoenix?)

In 1877 Edwin disposed of the business to Messrs Withers Brothers of 50 Great Hampton Street, and probably retired to Granville House. (Shown above). The brothers went into liquidation in 1882.

Edwin Withers progressed from Albion Street to Granville House, so he must have made a few shrewd investments. If he worked hard all his life then his employees must have worked even harder. The typical Rope Works is described in the link, note the women and boys.

 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The 1841 Pigot's directory lists an Edwin Withers, tobaconist at 17 Worcester St . Possibly the 17 is a misprint. In the 1845 directory , in addition to the Rope business at 93 Smallbrook St, at the same address he is listed as a snuff and cigar manufacturer. In the 1849 PO directory he is again listed as both at 93 Smallbrook St., but by the 1855 edition he is at Farm St, but only with the rope and twine business. I think it is probable that he moved from the Worcester St address in 1843, as in January 1843 he advertised a shop window and door for sale from his Worcester st address
Aris Birm Gazette. 16.1.1843.jpg
 

daid rathgen

master brummie
Am most grateful to you both Mikejee and Pedrocut, for your extensive and detailed researches.

Re Edwin's father: "Edward Weston Withers, artist and gentleman" Would you mind supplying the reference for your 1829 snippet, please? He died in 1819 intestate but his wife, Elizabeth Dean, claimed and was granted Administration of his estate valued at 800 pounds. So yes, he was not short of a bob or two.

Edwin's Will begins "Edwin Withers, late of Granville House Soho Park Handsworth in the County of Stafford, Gentleman deceased who died on 12th December 1888 at Granville House.
“[Probate] was proved and granted to Charles Ernest Withers, son and Fanny Louisa Withers, daughter… sworn 16 April 1889 Gross value £5257.4.0; Net value £5095.7.1; Resworn January 1890 £5294.16.4"

So yes, he died a well off gent. He inherited the estate of his Uncle who died with no surviving children, and whose brother Edward Weston had just the one son, Edwin. Edwin thus began in the tobacco shop very well of for a young man. Apart from the property sales you have picked up he looks to have invested in each property, kept the same, rented or leased out, and accumulated at his death a total of 13 properties. Thus by hard work and shrewd investments he became a 'gentleman' and in his death (1889 Advert for auction of his goods and chattels) was described as 'Esq'.

His property portfolio at death reads very well, and your researches amplify his position:

"Tenements in Snow Hill numbers 14 & 15
“Egyptian Hall” Snow Hill
Soho “Manufactory” Slaney Street Numbers 81-83
Dale End 83
Granville House Park Avenue Handsworth
Icneild Street shops Nrs 156, 157 -158; occupied by Mousley Bolton Clewley Hyde
Summer Lane Nr 196-197 occupied by Crisp Woodward
Windsor St Nr 171-181 (plus :)
Windsor Courts 5, 6, 9
Lower Dartmouth Street, occupied by Alfred Neal
Farm Street 393, the Phoenix Drug and Spice Mills
Cheapside Nr 122 , By Thomas William Howe
Ravenhurst St Nr 25-29

Ravenhurst had been occupied by his mother Elizabeth and his aunt for a time after his father's death; he also lived in Ravenhurst for a while before moving over to Park Ave, Soho.

Many thanks
 

daid rathgen

master brummie
Not sure that Edwin Withers was a landowner. On his death in 1888 his main property was Granville House, Park Avenue, Soho Park. Whether he actually owned it is not clear, as it is advertised for sale as Leasehold with 63 years left.

View attachment 143756
The map published 1890 shows Park Avenue and Granville House would be on the right side and somewhere in the middle. In the 1883 Kelly's Directory appears Withers Brothers, Rope and Twine Manufacturers, Manufacturers of pitch, papers and all kinds of house brushes, Birmingham ropery mills, 372 Park Road, Hockley.
Thanks for this map Pedrocut.
I have a photo of Granville House taken by the Handsworth Historical Society, in Park Ave. Now a mental health clinic, I believe.
With grateful thanks
 

Attachments

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
So Edwin Withers had a good start in life. His late father is referred to in the list of marriages in Aris's Gazette of March 1829, showing the marriage of S Vallant to his only daughter Elizabeth.

The first reference to tenements at 14 and 15 is interesting as J Watts had established a company in 1839 and traded from 14 Snow Hill in 1874. The Tobacco, Snuff and Cigar Manufactury Steam mills and termed Great Western Cigar Stores, James Watts. He acquired number 15 in 1875, but seems to disappear after 1879. (In 1843 No.14 is down as T Watts, Publication and Printing Office.)

In 1880 No.14 is advertised to Let as Egyptian Hall and could be used for lectures and services, capable of seating between 600 and 700 people. By 1882 it was the Egyptian Hall Billiards.

1883 Kelly, No.14 Egyptian Hall and John Clarkson, tobacconist. No.15 Birmingham Coffee House Ltd.

So did Edwin Withers obtain these properties some time around 1879? The term tenements suggests that there were apartments, but I can’t find reference as yet.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
81-83 Slaney Street would probably be part of the Snow Hill deal as they back on to the Snow Hill premises.

In 1874 when James Watts acquired 15 Snow Hill, he also possessed 81 and 82 Slaney Street.
 

daid rathgen

master brummie
So Edwin Withers had a good start in life. His late father is referred to in the list of marriages in Aris's Gazette of March 1829, showing the marriage of S Vallant to his only daughter Elizabeth.

The first reference to tenements at 14 and 15 is interesting as J Watts had established a company in 1839 and traded from 14 Snow Hill in 1874. The Tobacco, Snuff and Cigar Manufactury Steam mills and termed Great Western Cigar Stores, James Watts. He acquired number 15 in 1875, but seems to disappear after 1879. (In 1843 No.14 is down as T Watts, Publication and Printing Office.)

In 1880 No.14 is advertised to Let as Egyptian Hall and could be used for lectures and services, capable of seating between 600 and 700 people. By 1882 it was the Egyptian Hall Billiards.

1883 Kelly, No.14 Egyptian Hall and John Clarkson, tobacconist. No.15 Birmingham Coffee House Ltd.

So did Edwin Withers obtain these properties some time around 1879? The term tenements suggests that there were apartments, but I can’t find reference as yet.
Brilliant work, greatly appreciated. Will go over it tomorrow.
I did see one reference that he sold tea as well as tobacco from Cheapside. Will check in morning.
 

Edifi

master brummie
My father worked for a Co called I Think Lengs in Balsall Heath
They were BRUSH makers The building backed on to the River Rea
Just after the war Mr Leng made me a Crystal Set.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Lengs in 1921 are listed as in Sherbourne Road in Balsall Heath, and , though close to the Rea, is the other side of longmore St. Later, in the 1930s, the factory is in Fordhouse Lane in Stirchley, where it does seem to be next to the Rea
 

Edifi

master brummie
Mike,in about 1947-48 when I visited my father at Lengs the shop where he worked looked out over the River Rea
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Could it possibly have been in Stirchley? Or, although the firm is listed only there in later years, they also maintained another place in Balsall Heath which was not listed in Kellys as it was no the main address. I have seen that on occasion
 

Edifi

master brummie
Mike,as a6-7 year old living in Vauxhall I remember catching the CITY Circle bus and going towards Balsall Heath .Dont think I would have Ventured to Stirchley .Dont think I knew were it was.
 
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