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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4516
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1830-1921
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.09 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Merryweather and Co Ltd | fire engine and fire fighting equipment manufacturers


Administrative/Biographical history:

The company was originally established in circa 1690 by Nathaniel Hadley, manufacturing pumps and fire-fighting apparatus. The first fire engine factory was built in 1738. In 1791 Henry Lott joined the firm and later took over full control of the company and when he retired handed it over to his nephew by marriage, Moses Merryweather (1791-1872). He and his sons, including Richard Moses Merryweather (1839-1877) managed the business and it was known as Merryweather and Sons.

In the 1830s customers included parishes and vestries in London and beyond including Ireland, fire insurance companies including Sun Fire Office and the Hand in Hand, for other businesses and for individuals mainly the aristocracy. In 1840s the company was based in Long Acre. In 1862 a new factory was built in York Street, Lambeth, for the manufacture of steam engines. In 1876 another factory was built in Greenwich Road, Greenwich and three years later the Lambeth factory was closed. The company took Limited Liability status in 1892 and became registered as Merryweather and Company Limited.

By the later 19th century Merryweather had become Fire Engine Makers by Appointment to the Royal Family and sold fire-fighting apparatus across the world. In the 1910s products were distributed to as widely as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Egypt, India and Singapore and China.

In the 1980s Calamite absorbed Merryweather and operations were moved from London to South Wales. April 1984 saw a 'moonlight flit' of the company. Siebe Gorman Limited (later Siebe plc) which had moved to Wales from Surrey in 1975, took over Calamite and produced firefighter's breathing equipment.

In 2008 Merryweather and Sons Limited was based at 3 Church Road, Croydon. It was supplying a range of fire extinguishers and fire fighting equipment and providing regular service inspection of fire extinguishers at customer premises to meet fire safety standards.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Merryweather and Company Limited, fire engine and fire fighting equipment manufacturers, comprising a day book providing details on supplies to customers (1830-1835) with draft letters (1842-1844) and a photograph album of fire equipment annotated with the name of the customer they were supplied to (1920-1921).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows: LMA/4516/01 DAY BOOK; LMA/4516/02 PHOTOGRAPHS.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were donated to the London Metropolitan Archives in 2006 by a former engineer of C D Gormans of Gwent, Wales. He had saved them from a skip at Unit 21, Rassau Industrial Estate, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, South Wales, owned by Siebe Gorman.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated to the Archive in 2006.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Merryweather and Sons' light portable steam pumping engine "Valiant" :brochure April 1889 no.4 K Publisher London:Merryweather and Sons ,1889 Reference: Large Pam 707; held in the Printed Books Section, Guildhall Library.

Penton, Howard Title "Merryweathers", Long Acre, 8 Bow St. / Howard Penton del. Publisher [c1900] art reproduction; process from a pencil drawing, vignetted ;210x292mm. Notes: Depicts the showroom, near the corner of Long Acre and Bow Street, of Merryweather and Sons Limited, fire engine makers Reference: Pr. W2:BOW. Prints and Maps Section, Guildhall Library (London Metropolitan Archives from March 2009).

In 1989 the Mansfield Fire Museum, Rosemary Street, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire NG19 6AB was appointed custodians of 'The Merryweather Collection', a collection of Fire Service Memorabilia owned by Merryweather which included archive material.

In 2008/9 the archives were transferred to Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 0RH.

The records comprise of: minutes (1895-1966); ledgers; cash books (1879-1964); journals (1926-60); share ledgers and transfers (1892-1946); debentures (1892-1957); register of members (1892-1946); pattern books, stock and trial books, loose documents, photographs and cuttings.

Please contact the Honorary Historian and Archivist at the College for further information on access.

Publication note:

For further information please see: 'A record of two centuries :being a short history of the house of Merryweather & Sons, of Longacre & Greenwich, 1690-1901' London :Merritt ,1901 Reference: SL 46:6 held in the Printed Books Section, Guildhall Library.

Further general information on the history of fire fighting can be found in LMA Library's Classification codes 23.3-23.35.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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

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