Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4306

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1930?-1939?

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.08 linear metres

Name of creator(s): J Lyons and Company Limited | food manufacturers and caterers


Administrative/Biographical history:

Lyons was founded in 1886 as a catering business, earning a reputation as caterers for exhibitions at Newcastle, Glasgow, Paris and London's Olympia. In 1894 it was incorporated as a public company and established its head office and food factories at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith. The company rapidly established a chain of Teashops, Cornerhouses and Restaurants with the opening of the first Lyons Teashop in 1894 in Piccadilly, the Trocadero Restaurant in 1896 and the First Lyons Corner House in 1909 in Coventry Street. To keep pace with this expansion, the factories were moved to Greenford in Middlesex in 1920 and the largest tea packing plant in the world opened. Further progress was made during the Second World War with the development of the FROOD a revolutionary frozen cooked food process. The company is also famous for its work in less obvious fields - from 1941 to 1945 it operated a munitions factory at Elstow near Bedford on the reputed site of the slough of despond. In 1954 it developed LEO (Lyons Electronic Office), the first computer in the world capable of use for commercial work.

Further growth came in the 1970s with the acquisition of a number of businesses both in the UK and overseas. In 1978, Lyons became the food division of Allied Breweries which was renamed Allied-Lyons in 1981. In 1990 the head office was moved from Cadby Hall to Greenford. In 1994 Allied-Lyons decided to dispose of its food manufacturing operations and to change its name to Allied Domecq. The individual companies were sold off and Lyons head office closed in 1995.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of J Lyons and Company Limited, food manufacturers and caterers comprising a 'Nippy' notebook belonging to Ethel Fage, dated to the 1930s. 'Nippy' was the nickname given to waitresses at Lyon's Corner Houses, who wore distinctive uniforms.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

One item

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the depositor.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in 2001.


Related material:

Further records of Lyons can be found at: ACC/3527, ACC/3811, LMA/4004, LMA/4018, LMA/4183, LMA/4253, LMA/4271.

DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: July to October 2009

Caterers | Service industries
Catering | Occupations
Catering personnel | Food industry personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Tea rooms | Commercial premises

Personal names

Corporate names
J Lyons and Company Limited | food manufacturers and caterers