Catalogue description John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd.
This record is held by Museum of English Rural Life
|Title:||John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd.|
The records which are preserved at the Institute are a highly interesting, if in many ways a far from representative, accumulation. This is due to the inroads of large scale destruction, offset by relatively complete survivals of certain bodies of material and abetted by chance preservation of other items. The following bodies of records survived in, and possibly because of, these locations in the Works:
i. Company safe - financial statements and company records. These include much early material which may have been withdrawn from bank deposit by Theo Davis, a former company secretary and director, for use in the compilation of his Private publication, John Fowler and the business he founded, in the late 1940's and subsequently retained there.
ii. Old drawing office strongroom - c.10,000 engineering drawings and inter-war foreign language publicity, printing block artworks and miscellaneous photographic prints.
iii. Photograph department - various series of photograph albums and glass negatives.
iv. Publicity department - albums of home publications.
The manufacturing registers and books now extant, excluding those for locomotives, are chance survivals as they concern steam engineering, production of which had been transferred to the adjacent firm of J. & H. McLaren Ltd., by the early 1940's, together with the relevant technical records, including a large quantity of engineering drawings. McLarens apparently destroyed this material together with their own records on the closure of the Midland Works in the 1950's. However some records were said to have been rescued by Fowlers' Veterans' Association, so it must be presumed that this is what the present holding represents. The locomotive registers and books were found in the old locomotive department office early in 1974 during clearance of the Works, the early drawing registers and the post 1948 servicing publications being found in the drawing office at the same time. The enormous bulk of administrative material is known to have been cleared out of the loft above the Works offices and destroyed, as were the large runs of commercial account books and the cost accounts, also reputedly of some quantity due to the firm's preference for piece-work labour. Nevertheless what does survive, represents a remarkable collection of archive material.
Before providing a class description of the records it should be mentioned that the firm was prolific in its accumulation of branches and subsidiaries, particularly in the 1920's. Several items such as accounts and company records relate directly to these concerns and for ease of reference, detailed mention of branch records is omitted from the following description. Instead they will be found more conveniently summarized in the synopsis which forms part 3 of the introduction.
The commercial accounts although not preserved in detail are well represented in summary by annual financial statements [commencing with the start of the limited company] and working papers. The actual audited statements run 1887-1937, minus 1930, 1931 and 1932-1934 [TR FOW/AC7/2-48], comprising balance sheets, combined trading and profit and loss accounts and auditors' reports, whereas the far more illuminating files of working papers survive for 1915-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/49-69], including for example analyses of accounts in the final statements, branch balance sheets and summaries of ledger balances. There is also the analysis book of Alfred Fowler, a financial director of the firm, for 1887-1923, concerned with various statistics in the statements, both for the English head office and the Bombay and Calcutta, Magdeburg, Melun and Johannesburg branches [TR FOW/AC7/1]. Branch accounts, apart from figuring in the statement working papers, are also preserved in the form of individual branch statements, as submitted to and retained by head office in England, forming a comprehensive accumulation, though mainly for the 1920's and 1930's. [TR FOW/AC8]. Other financial items include an account between the Steam Plough Works and Kitson & Hewitson, 1860-1862, while the Works were being built [TR FOW/AC6/1], an account of patent royalties, 1867-1874 [TR FOW/AC6/3] and some useful particulars of the methods of individual branch and agency accounting and banking, 1912-1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1].
Records of administration and commerce are very much a miscellany. The minute books of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., including directors' and general minutes, are extant from the commencement of the limited company in 1886, but these are retained in the firm's custody. A good idea of the complexity of internal administration can be gained from an explanatory volume of 1914, detailing the course of engineering work orders from initial receipt to final execution and delivery and including numerous exemplars [TR FOW/AD2/1]. Other general items are 1930's correspondence on the firm's administration and economic difficulties [TR FOW/AD2/3-4] and an analysis of the rises in costs and prices of materials and labour during the Great War [TR FOW/AD2/2]. The labour records [TR FOW/AD3] comprise some quite informative personal correspondence, concerned mainly with the firm's directors. Equally important are a very detailed inventory of the Steam Plough Works in 1895 [TR FOW/AD4/1] and a graph of the annual output of ploughing tackles, 1868-1917 [TR FOW/AD5/1]. The branch records [TR FOW/AD6], apart from two branch minute books, comprise illuminating personal correspondence again, much of it reflecting management problems. Detailed catalogue entries are provided for this material. Much the same applies to the commercial records [TR FOW/AD7] where the detailed correspondence concerns such diverse areas as the lengthy complaints of a Chesterfield customer in 1885 [TR FOW/AD7/1], 1930's trading problems involving the British Government [TR FOW/AD7/6-8], the manufacture and supply of Eyth's cable navigation equipment to Belgium in 1868 [TR FOW/AD7/9-10], the firm's business situation in Germany at the time of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 [TR FOW/AD7/11], the Egyptian and Abyssinian trade, 1904-1906 [TR FOW/AD7/12-16], the establishment of a South African agency during 1887-1889 [TR FOW/AD7/19] and an order for sugar cane transportation machinery from Cuba in 1874 [TR FOW/AD7/22-27].
Turning to the company records proper [TR FOW/CO], concerned with the firm's legal title, property and patents, we find a most detailed accumulation. The partnership of John Fowler & Co., Leeds and London, is very fully revealed in the articles of partnership with Robert Fowler 1864(2 Aug), the agreements with Robert Eddison of 1863 and David Greig of 1864, John Fowler's involved and meticulous will of 1864 and the subsequent admissions to the partnership [TR FOW/CO1/1-8]. The same applies to the three central and eastern European branch partnerships at Magdeburg, Prague and Budapest [TR FOW/CO1/9-62]. The limited company records [TR FOW/CO2] apart from surviving for a dozen branches and subsidiaries, include the memorandum and articles of association of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., together with material concerning the issue of its shares and debentures and certain capital investments. The firm's limited company records are also usefully summarized in a bound compilation [TR FOW/CO2/1], containing copies of the various companies acts, 1862-1907, for additional reference. The external agreements [TR FOW/CO3], comprising such items as business contracts, powers of attorney, and banking arrangements, are again geographically far ranging. Of particular note are the detailed agreement establishing The Leeds & London Electrical Engineering Co., Ltd.'s methods of management and working in 1891 [TR FOW/CO3/1] and papers concerning the formation of Agricultural & General Engineers Ltd., 1919 [TR FOW/CO3/3-5] and The Baku-Batoum Pipe Line Syndicate Ltd., 1888-1889 [TR FOW/CO3/39-47]. Records of real estate [TR FOW/CO4] have survived much more spasmodically, referring to the Steam Plough Works and adjacent property, 1868-1913 [TR FOW/CO4/1-9], the Atlas Works at Pershore, 1908 [TR FOW/CO4/10-11] and foreign land in Melun, Magdeburg, Prague, Budapest and Bombay.
The patenting items [TR FOW/CO5] constitute probably the most noteworthy company records. The foundation of the firm, apart from the necessary financial support and business acumen, lay in its steam cultivation patents, many of them in the names of John Fowler and his associates David Greig and Robert Burton. Some thirty United Kingdom grants of letters patent, not all for steam cultivation inventions, are preserved for 1852-1877 [TR FOW/CO5/1-30], together with 82 published United Kingdom specifications, 1858-1877, bound up into three volumes [TR FOW/CO5/31-33], the earliest volume for 1850-1857 now being lost. There are also various foreign letters patent and specifications for the late nineteenth century [TR FOW/CO5/38-47]. It is the patent licences and assignments however which provide the greatest wealth of information. Over half of them relate to Fowler's system of steam cultivation [TR FOW/CO5/48-81], referring to the acquisition of inventions from patentees like the Fisken brothers, Collinson Hall and John Williams, the appointment of patent trustees and the licencing of the system in England to the firms of Clayton, Shuttleworth & Co., Ransomes & Sims and Charles Burrell, together with the projected U.S.A. licencing. The other patent agreements refer to plough and implement patentees such as Benjamin Mitchell, Thomas Pirie and John McLennan in the 1860's and 1870's [TR FOW/CO5/82-87] and to a miscellany of steam engine, railway, electrical and road machinery patents, 1872-1924 [TR FOW/CO5/90-100], as well as some standard 1920's patent agreements with employees [TR FOW/CO5/101-113]. There are also two other steam cultivation patent agreements, both made by other firms with patentees, namely that of Brown & May with Robert Romaine in 1861 [TR FOW/CO5/114] and that of Amies, Barford & Co., with Samuel Campain in 1868 [TR FOW/CO5/115]. Patent litigation [TR FOW/CO5/116-137] is mainly concerned with a Chancery case of 1863 between John Fowler and his patent assignees in trust against James and Frederick Howard of Bedford for alleged infringement of his patents by the manufacture of balance ploughs. The case was brought as a result of two previous legal actions and was apparently settled out of court. Nevertheless the lengthy draft of the plaintiffs' bill of complaint survives [TR FOW/CO5/116] as does summonses to the parties [TR FOW/CO5/117], some exhibits, including correspondence between James Howard and William Fisken, 1861-1862 [TR FOW/CO5/119] and finally various correspondence with the plaintiffs' solicitors [TR FOW/CO5/123-125].
The manufacturing records are notable for the collection of over 10,000 engineering drawings [TR FOW/DO1]. Registers of all drawings held at Reading have now been compiled as an adjunct to this catalogue and individual index cards made out for sorting this information into classified form. The drawings include originals, tracings and prints on a variety of grounds, most of which belong to the main series, dating mainly to 1890-1935. The first three original registers for the series are also preserved, ending in 1912, at no. 57889 [TR FOW/DO2/1-3]. 'S' series drawings, comprising 1920's and 1930's arrangements and diesel engine drawings are represented, as well as some Second World War tank blueprints from Vulcan Foundry Ltd., of Newton-le-Willows. Conversely the technical records [TR FOW/ET], both experimental and reference, are very fragmentary. Of particular interest are 1880's and 1890's dimensions books of Fowlers' engineering products [TR FOW/ET2/1-3], a register of plough designs, 1883-1914 [TR FOW/ET2/6] and some important particulars books of 1908 for traction engines, road locomotives and steam tractors relating to thirteen different English manufacturers [TR FOW/ET3/1-2].
The official records of production and manufacture [TR FOW/MP] are far from complete but do survive in enough quantity to constitute a reasonable body of information. General manufacturing registers, nos. 3 and 4, [TR FOW/MP1/1-2] cover total production for 1909-1936, and are complemented by a numerical register of engineering department products, nos. 7670-15202, 1896-1920's [TR FOW/MP1/3], a traction engine register, 1895-1938 [TR FOW/MP1/4] and two diesel locomotive registers, 1923-1968 [TR FOW/MP1/5-6]. Manufacturing working papers [TR FOW/MP2] relate to engineering department products only. A series of engine details books was compiled, including general descriptions, drawing references, painting details and outfit information. The following are preserved [TR FOW/MP2/1-15]; nos. 9 and 10, general, 1893-1896; nos. 11, 14, 17, 20, 49, 86-91, traction engines, 1895-1900, 1907-1922; no. 15, ploughing engines, 1898-1901; no. 23, locomotives, 1896-1912. There are also three locomotive building books, 1928-1943, recording the individual stages in the erection of particular locomotives [TR FOW/MP2/16-18].
Publications and advertising records [TR FOW/P] are again an informative if not an unduly extensive accumulation. Actual advertising and servicing publications fall into three categories. Firstly there is a series of reference albums of pre-First World War English language advertising publications, for 1874-1906 and 1907-1912 [TR FOW/P1/A 1-9]. These are volumes 2-8, 10 and 11 of the series, the two lost volumes being volume 1 for pre 1874 and volume 9 for 1906-1907. They are divided into four principal subject sections, namely steam cultivation machinery, steam traction machinery, steam engines for general and mining purposes and steam railway machinery and materials. A few volumes also include electrical machinery publications. Secondly there is a quantity of mainly inter-war foreign language publications, either issued by head office [TR FOW/P2/A 1-120] or by branches and agents [TR FOW/P2/A 178-205]. Finally there is a selection of post 1947 servicing publications for Marshall-Fowler Ltd. products [TR FOW/P2/121-177]. Three runs of house journals [TR FOW/P4], all for Marshall-Fowler Ltd., are also held by the Institute; 'Group' 1948-1950, 'Mettle' 1951-1961 and 'Marshall-Fowler News' 1971-1973, Two special publicity photograph albums [TR FOW/P7] are worthy of note, one is a show and exhibition display album, 1881, of John Fowler & Co., products with accompanying texts, the other is an album of the products and works of Marshall-Fowler Ltd., in 1948, just after the merger. As to the printing records [TR FOW/PS], these comprise an uncaptioned album of 1860's and 1870's woodcuts [TR FOW/P8/1] and a reference series of numbered printing block proof albums, volumes 2-5 and 7 [TR FOW/P8/2-6], again uncaptioned and dating to 1901-1930's, block nos. 874-2275, 2870-3620. These are partly supplemented by the first block register, nos. 1-2049, 1886-1924 [TR FOW/P9/1]. There is also a miscellany of individual block proofs [TR FOW/P8/7] and a run of 1930's and 1940's block artworks, nos. 2641-4190 [TR FOW/P8/8].
The Fowler Collection is particularly rich in photographic records [TR FOW/PH]. The firm compiled various series of photographs, each identified by a letter prefix. There are explained in the accompanying chart, which also indicates the photograph reference albums now extant. As can be seen the albums form a very comprehensive survival, nearly all, apart from the W series, being captioned and dated. A register of all the numbered photographs held at Reading has been compiled as an adjunct to this catalogue and individual index cards made out for sorting this information into classified form. As well as the main series of reference albums [TR FOW/PH2/1-56], there are also subsidiary compilations from the numbered series, being particularly valuable when they fill some gaps in the main series, such as a CN series compilation [TR FOW/PH2/71] and an E series compilation [TR FOW/PH2/72]. It must be added that there were at least two other series about which very little is known and of which no prints survive. These are revealed by the printing block register [TR FOW/P9/1] where it refers to block sources. They were an E series, mainly 1890's, for electrical machinery and an M series for pre-First World War products concerned with John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg. Apart from the albums of numbered prints there are five compilations of un-numbered prints [TR FOW/PH2/75-79], the two most notable referring to Fowlers' farming operations in South Africa, 1904-1913 [TR FOW/PH2/75] and railway machinery and equipment, supplied by Fowlers, at work for the Powyan Steam Tramway Co., India in 1891 [TR FOW/PH2/77]. A collection of inter-war photographic prints [TR FOW/PH3], all un-numbered, also survives, half of the items relating to cultivating machinery and much of the remainder to railway locomotives and rolling stock.
The social and personal records are few in number [TR FOW/SP]. Probably the most interesting is the material amassed by Theo Davis for his history of the firm, [TR FOW/SP1/1-10], including employees' and associates' personal contributions, abstracts from early patent specifications and potential illustrative matter.
Summary of Records - Branches and Subsidiaries
England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, India, East Indies, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
i. The Mechanical Tar Spraying & Grouting Co., Ltd., London. Annual financial statements, 1922-1928, 1930, 1931, 1934-1938. [TR FOW/AC8/1-15]
ii. Cable Cultivating Contractors Ltd., Leeds.
Annual financial statements, 1931 and 1934 [TR FOW/AC8/16-17]; minute book - general and directors', 1929-1940 [TR FOW/AD6/1]; company register of members, directors and shares, 1929-1935 [TR FOW/CO2/34]; share transfers, 1932-1935 [TR FOW/CO2/35]; company correspondence, including letter of resignation, 1929 [TR FOW/CO2/36] and notification to bank, 1935 [TR FOW/CO3/13].
iii. East & West Riding Steam Ploughing Co., Leeds.
Annual financial statements, 1931 and 1932 [TR FOW/AC8/18-19].
iv. The Mechanical Cleansing Service Ltd., London.
Annual financial statement, 1936 [TR FOW/AC8/22]; share transfer, 1932 [TR FOW/CO2/37].
v. Gyrotiller Sales & Service, Cambridge.
Annual financial statements, 1934 - calculations and 1935 - balance sheet only [TR FOW/AC8/20-21].
vi. Essex Tillage Contractors Ltd.
Memorandum and articles of association, 1933 [TR FOW/CO2/38].
i. Société Anonyme John Fowler, Melun.
Analysis of annual financial statement statistics, 1910-1917 [TR FOW/AC7/1]; annual balance sheets, 1915-1926 [TR FOW/AC7/49-60]; notes on method of accounting and banking, 1912-1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1]; copy business correspondence, 1909-1912 [TR FOW/AD6/2]; deed of purchase of house in Melun [TR FOW/CO4/16]; catalogue, 1921 [TR FOW/P2/A 178].
ii. Société des Etablissements John Fowler, Melun and Paris.
Annual balance sheets, 1927-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/61-69]; details of partholdings, 1930-1935 [TR FOW/CO2/41-43]; nomination of gerant, 1934 [TR FOW/CO2/43]; correspondence over real estate, 1930 [TR FOW/CO4/17]; fifteen publications, 1927-1936 [TR FOW/P2/A 179-193].
i. Estudios y Construcciones Locher S.A., Barcelona.
Annual financial statement, 1931 [TR FOW/AC8/46]; financial statement for seven months, 1932 [TR FOW/AC8/47]; reports on business and financial situation, 1931 [TR FOW/AD6/7].
i. Societa Anonima 'La Penetrazione', Rome
Annual financial statements, 1929-1931 [TR FOW/AC8/48-50]; detailed correspondence on state of the firm, 1932 [TR FOW/AD6/8]; memorandum and articles of association, 1928 [TR FOW/CO2/44]; shareholding records, including correspondence, 1929-1932 [TR FOW/CO2/45-52]; four publications, 1920's [TR FOW/P1/A 197-8].
i. John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg.
This branch partnership began in 1871-1872. Similar branch partnerships were subsequently formed, styled John Fowler & Co., Prague in 1881 and John Fowler & Co., Budapest in 1887, but both were administered by Magdeburg until it was compulsorily wound up in 1917. The two branches however were not administered separately until 1920.
a. John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg, 1871-1881.
Partnership agreements, 1871-1874 [TR FOW/CO1/9-14].
b. John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg, including John Fowler & Co., Prague and John Fowler & Co., Budapest, 1881-1920.
Analysis of annual financial statements' statistics, 1899-1913 [TR FOW/AC7/1]; annual balance sheets, 1915-1919 [TR FOW/AC7/49-53]; acceptances account, 1915-1919 [TR FOW/AC7/49-53]; annual financial statement, 1913 [TR FOW/AC8/23]; annual agency account, 1913 [TR FOW/AC8/24]; war time financial statements, 1915-1919 [TR FOW/AC8/25-26]; notes on method of accounting and banking, 1912-1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1]; business correspondence, 1887-1913 [TR FOW/AD6/3-5]; partnership agreements, 1886-1920 [TR FOW/CO1/17-28]; real estate records, Prague and Budapest, 1913-1914 [TR FOW/CO4/19-24]; three publications, 1900-1911 [TR FOW/P1/A 199-201].
c. John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg, post 1920.
Annual statements of liquidation account and acceptances account, 1920 onwards [TR FOW/AC7/53-69]; litigation concerning liquidation, 1921-24 [TR FOW/CO1/15-16]; settlement with former partners - George Turner, 1927 and Richard Toepffer, 1931 [TR FOW/CO1/29-30].
ii. John Fowler & Co., G.m.b.H., Magdeburg.
Annual balance sheets, 1930-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/64-69]; annual financial statements, 1930 [TR FOW/AC8/27]; shareholdings correspondence, 1930-1935 [TR FOW/CO2/39-40].
i. John Fowler & Co., Prague.
This branch partnership was formed in 1881, but was administered by John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg until the latter was wound up in 1917 and only administered separately from 1920 onwards. Financial statements - 1919 for three years, 1920 half yearly, 1921-1923, 1929 and 1930 yearly [TR FOW/AC8/28-36]; annual balance sheets, 1926-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/60-69]; partnership agreement and registrations of changes in partnership, 1920-1934 [TR FOW/CO1/31-48]; registration of Bratislava office, 1922-1923 [TR FOW/CO1/49-50]; banking arrangements, 1928-1931 [TR FOW/CO3/23-27]; business agreement, 1921 [TR FOW/CO3/28]; valuation of real properties, 1924 [TR FOW/CO4/26]; projected lease of property, 1932 [TR FOW/CO4/27].
i. John Fowler & Co., Budapest.
This branch partnership was formed in 1887 but was administered by John Fowler & Co., Magdeburg until the latter was wound up in 1917, and only administered separately from 1920 onwards. Annual balance sheets, 1926-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/60-69]; financial statements - 1919 for three years, 1920 half yearly, 1921-1923, 1929 and 1934 yearly [TR FOW/AC8/37-44]; registrations of changes in partnership, 1920-1940 [TR FOW/CO1/51-62]; banking arrangements, 1928-1931 [TR FOW/CO3/29-33]; litigation before The Anglo-Hungarian Mixed Arbitral Tribunal, 1924 [TR FOW/CO3/34]; registration of land holdings, 1926 [TR FOW/CO4/28]; sales and transfers of land, 1932-1938 [TR FOW/CO4/29-37].
ii. Fowler-Petz Machine Factory & Iron Foundry Co., Ltd., Budapest.
Financial statements, 1931 [TR FOW/AC8/45] and 1932 [TR FOW/AC7/66].
ii. John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., Bombay and Calcutta.
Analysis of annual financial statement statistics, 1910-1913 [TR FOW/AC7/1]; annual balance sheets, 1915-1921 [TR FOW/AC7/49-55]; notes on method of accounting and banking, 1912-1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1]; business correspondence, 1910 [TR FOW/AD6/9].
ii. John Fowler & Co., (India) Ltd., Bombay.
Annual balance sheets, 1922-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/56-69]; memorandum and articles of association, 1922 [TR FOW/CO2/52]; shareholdings, 1922-1933 [TR FOW/CO2/53].
i. John Fowler & Co., (Manila) Ltd., Manila, Philippines.
Annual balance sheets, 1915-1926 [TR FOW/AC7/49-60]; memorandum and articles of association, 1913 [TR FOW/CO2/54]; company registration and initial allotment of shares, including correspondence, 1913 [TR FOW/CO2/55-61]; power of attorney to branch manager, 1913 [TR FOW/CO3/48]; notes on method of accounting and banking, 1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1].
ii. N.V. Maatschappy voor Machinale Asphaltatie en Wegenbouw, Soerabaya, Java. Financial statements, at various and overlapping intervals, 1930-1935 [TR FOW/AC8/61-74]; business correspondence concerning management, 1930 [TR FOW/AD6/10]; power of attorney as 'commissaris', 1930 [TR FOW/CO3/50].
i. John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., Johannesburg.
The branch comprised a trading agency in Johannesburg and also a farm at Vereeniging.
Analysis of annual financial statement statistics, farm and agency separately, 1910-1913 [TR FOW/AC7/1]; annual balance sheets, 1915-1923 [TR FOW/AC7/49-57]; notes on method of accounting and banking, 1912-1914 [TR FOW/AC9/1]; business correspondence, 1904-1916 [TR FOW/AD6/11-15]; farming agreement, 1904 [TR FOW/CO3/52]; appointment of farm manager, 1911 [TR FOW/CO3/53].
ii. Fowler Tar Spraying Co., Ltd., Johannesburg.
Annual financial statements, 1925-1933 [TR FOW/AC8/51-60]; shareholdings, 1924-1933 [TR FOW/CO2/62].
i. John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., Sydney.
Business correspondence, 1889-1901 [TR FOW/AD6/16-18].
ii. John Fowler & Co., (Australia) Ltd., Sydney.
The company was originally registered as John Fowler & Co., (Sydney) Ltd., in error and this was rectified immediately.
Annual balance sheets, 1915-1935 [TR FOW/AC7/49-69]; annual financial statements, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 [A TR FOW/C8/75-80]; notes on method of accounting and banking [TR FOW/AC9/1]; minute book - directors' and general, 1913-1938 [TR FOW/AD6/19]; business correspondence, 1922 and 1930-1932 [TR FOW/AD6/20-22]; memorandum and articles of association, 1913 [TR FOW/CO2/63]; company registration and initial allotment of shares, 1913 [TR FOW/CO2/64-72]; shareholdings, 1913-1938 [TR FOW/CO2/73]; liquidation papers, 1939-1940 [TR FOW/CO2/74]; power of attorney to branch manager, 1913 [TR FOW/CO3/64].
i. John Fowler & Co., (New Zealand) Ltd., Wellington.
Annual financial statements, 1929-1931, 1933 and 1934 [TR FOW/AC8/81-85]; memorandum and articles of association, 1926 [TR FOW/CO2/75]; shareholdings, 1927-1932 [TR FOW/CO2/76-78]; liquidation papers, 1936-1940 [TR FOW/CO2/79].
|Date:||1850 - 1971|
TR FOW/AC ACCOUNTS
TR FOW/AC6 Other Accounts
TR FOW/AC7 Financial Statements
TR FOW/AC8 Branch Accounts
TR FOW/AC9 Accounting Papers
TR FOW/AD ADMINISTRATIVE AND COMMERCIAL RECORDS
TR FOW/AD2 General Administrative and Commercial Records
TR FOW/AD3 Labour Records
TR FOW/AD4 Premises Records
TR FOW/AD5 Materials Records
TR FOW/AD6 Records of Branches and Subsidiaries
TR FOW/AD7 Commercial Records
TR FOW/CO LEGAL RECORDS OF COMPANIES AND BUSINESSES
TR FOW/CO1 Partnership Records
TR FOW/CO2 Limited Company Records, including Capital
TR FOW/CO3 External Agreements
TR FOW/CO4 Real Estate Records
TR FOW/CO5 Patenting Records
TR FOW/DO DRAWING RECORDS
TR FOW/DO1 Drawings
TR FOW/DO2 Drawing Registers and Indexes
TR FOW/ET TECHNICAL RECORDS - Experimental and Reference
TR FOW/ET1 Records of Experiments and Trials
TR FOW/ET2 Technical Reference Records to Fowlers' Products
TR FOW/ET3 General Technical Reference Records
TR FOW/MP MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION RECORDS
TR FOW/MP1 Registers and List of Production
TR FOW/MP2 Manufacturing Working Papers and Details
TR FOW/P PUBLICATIONS, PROMOTIONS AND ADVERTISING RECORDS
TR FOW/P1 General Compilations
TR FOW/P2 Individual Advertising and Servicing Publications
TR FOW/P4 House Journals
TR FOW/P7 Records of Special Advertising and Promoting
TR FOW/P8 Printing Proofs and Artworks
TR FOW/P9 Registers and Indexes
TR FOW/PH INTERNAL PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORDS
TR FOW/PH1 Negatives
TR FOW/PH2 Albums
TR FOW/PH3 Individual Prints
TR FOW/SP SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RECORDS
TR FOW/SP1 General Records, including Firm Histories
TR FOW/SP2. Records of Works Events
TR FOW/SP3. Records of Products
TR FOW/SP4. Personal Records
|Held by:||Museum of English Rural Life, not available at The National Archives|
|Physical description:||33 series|
|Immediate source of acquisition:||
Material deposited on permanent loan, January 1972 T72/14
July, 1972 T72/23
October, 1972 T72/33
November, 1972 T72/36
October, 1973 T73/26
March, 1974 T74/11
|Administrative / biographical background:||
The early business history of John Fowler is somewhat confused, especially as the later publications of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., claim that the firm's origins date to 1850. Indeed John Fowler did begin in business in 1850, but in Bristol not in Leeds, by forming a partnership with a fellow Quaker, Albert Fry, as agricultural implement manufacturers and traders. On the dissolution of the partnership in 1856, Fowler moved to 28 Cornhill, London to concentrate on his consuming interest in steam cultivation machinery. Here he was a sole trader with no manufacturing works of his own, using variously the firms of Kitson; Thompson & Hewitson (of Leeds), Robert Stephenson & Co., (of Newcastle), Ransomes & Sims (of Ipswich) and Clayton, Shuttleworth & Co., (of Lincoln) to supply him with goods. In 1860 Kitsons, now restyled as Kitson & Hewitson, became sole suppliers and Fowler simultaneously began construction of his own works, the Steam Plough Works alongside Leathley Road, Leeds on land adjacent to and purchased from Kitsons. The link between the two firms grew when William Watson Hewitson joined Fowler in partnership, as Fowler & Hewitson in 1861. Next year with the Steam Plough Works completed all production was moved there from Kitsons. Hewitson, however, died in May 1863 leaving Fowler to continue alone, now trading as John Fowler & Co., though assisted by his brother, Robert Fowler, who ran the London office in Cornhill. John Fowler suffered a nervous breakdown in mid 1864 and to help ease his load entered into a partnership with Robert Fowler on August 2nd of that year. Unfortunately while still recuperating he sustained a fall on a fox hunt from which he died on December 4th, 1864. John Fowler & Co., was then continued by Robert Fowler and Robert Eddison, under the careful terms of Fowler's will, being subsequently joined by David Greig, Reginald Wigram and Barnard Fowler as fellow partners. In 1886 the limited company of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., was formed, merging with Marshall, Sons & Co., Ltd., of Gainsborough in 1947 to form Marshall-Fowler Ltd. Production finally ceased at the John Fowler Works, as the Steam Plough Works had been re-christened, in early 1974 but John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., still remains a registered company, although now very much in abeyance.
|Link to NRA Record:|
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