Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB0074 LMA/4758

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1900s -1976

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.25 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Cave Austin and Company Limited


Administrative/Biographical history:

The firm was established in 1896 as an amalgamation of several companies - Wholesale and Retail Grocers, Tea Dealers and Blenders, Provision Dealers, Wine and Spirit and Beer Merchants and General Purveyors previously run by A. J Cave, A.J. and C.H. Cave, J and Alfred Austin and James McCabe. The original board of directors consisted of A.J. Cave, C.H. Cave, Alfred Austin, Charles Stamp, E Underwood, James McCabe and E.J. Mansfield. The stores (including the Eastbourne store pictured in LMA/4758/C/02/002) held a range of goods including fish, meat, green groceries, spirits and hardware. A range of Cafés on the Kent and Sussex Coast lines opened from 1896 onwards. The idea originated from C.H. Cave who opened the first tea and coffee shop in Brighton. By 1931, however, the decision was made to focus on becoming a 'High-class Grocers'; instead of acquiring more stores, the company would expand and modernise the existing stores and cafes (see LMA/4758/B/01/002). The company’s registered offices were at Idol Lane, Eastcheap, City of London (until 1931); then at Seeay House, 34/40 Eastdown Park, Lewisham (1931 until after 1957).

At its height, Austin Cave Grocers had over fifty branches all over South-East London, North-East London, Kent and Surrey as well as cafés in many major South Coast resorts such Deal in Kent and, St Leonards-on-Sea and Hastings in Sussex. In 1956 the company could boast that ‘2600 tons of food are delivered from warehouses to branches per year’ (see LMA/4758/B/02/001) while ‘Town and Country Life’ suggested in the 1920s that ‘all motorists and other travellers should make note of the Cave’s Cafés’ (see LMA/4758/B/01/001).

From the beginning to his death in 1935, Charles Stamp was a leading figure: as director, secretary and chairman. He was succeeded by his son, Charles Alfred Stamp who was subsequently also succeeded as chairman by his elder son Barry Hartnell Stamp. Barry Hartnell Stamp was the last managing director as the company was taken over by Burton, Son and Sanders in 1963. The company was sold again in 1966 to Moores Stores and the name Cave Austin disappeared soon after. For more information see the company history ‘Sixty Years of Trading’ (LMA/4758/B/02/001).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Cave Austin and Company Limited kept by the Stamp Family, comprising director’s report and printed material including Christmas brochures issued to staff, articles and event material. The survival of other records is unknown.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Arranged in three sections as follows:
LMA/4758/A: Corporate
LMA/4758/B: Printed material
LMA/4758/C: Staff

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the EU General Data Protection Regulations, 2018.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated in 2017.


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: Added July 2018.

Alcoholic beverages | Beverages | Food | Agricultural products
Coffee shops | Cafes | Commercial premises
Coffee trade | Food trade | Trade (practice)
Grocery trade | Trade (practice)
Retail trade | Trade (practice)
Shops | Commercial premises
Tea trade | Food trade | Trade (practice)

Personal names

Corporate names
Cave Austin and Company Limited