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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4418
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1885-1998
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Garnier and Company Limited | manufacturers of signs


Administrative/Biographical history:

Garnier and Company Limited, manufacturers of Vitreous enamelled steel signs, was founded by Charles Garnier (b. 1841, Paris), who came to London with his family in 1870s and worked as an engraver and manufacturer of enamelled copper medallions, jewellery and advertising letters.

On 1st February 1887 Charles Garnier formed a partnership with Mr. Andrew Agnes Maitland Herriott, who was appointed Director. The registered office of the first company was 10 Ash Grove, Hackney. This business stopped c. 1889, for unknown reasons.

On 22nd July 1890 Charles Garnier set up another business arrangement, forming a Company called 'Garnier Enamelled Letter and Advertising Sign Co.' and acting as agent for two French companies (G. Soyers and C. Merleu). The main shareholders were Mr. Charles Garnier and Mr. Henry Sells. Garnier concentrated on the manufacture of copper letters, which were used extensively for window advertising.

In 1908 the company changed ownership again, the new owners being Mr. C. Amey and Mr. F. Battams. After Henry Sells's death by February 1912, his son Alfred and his family become the main shareholders, together with Sells Publishing Agency. The Company seems to have survived the First World War, with the offices and trade counter in Farringdon Street and the new factory in Willesden.

On 6th February 1923 Mr. Amey (owner) and Mr. W. C. Sydenham (employee since 1921) formed Garnier & Co. Ltd. The business was to manufacture and deal in enamelled plates and signs, copper letters and other articles. Mr. Amey retired from the Company in April 1926. After the death of Mr. Sydenham in July 1930 the Company was left to his wife Elizabeth, and after her death in May 1934, to their daughter Miss Barbara Sydenham, who kept in touch with the Company's affairs through her advisors, solicitors Bevan Hancock and accountants Payne Stone & Fraser, based in Bristol, where she lived. Miss Sydenham eventually agreed to sell the Company to John Lovelock (Company's Works Manager) and Vera Thompson (Company Secretary) in January 1972. The Company continued to manufacture Vitreous enamelled steel signs, but copper letters had been discontinued in 1950s.

The business was sold again in October 1991. In 1998 the Company was still trading at 233a High Road and 37 Strode Road, Willesden, specialising in the Vitreous enamelled steel trade.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Garnier and Company Limited, manufacturers of Vitreous enamelled steel signs, 1885-1998. A majority of the business and administration records of Garnier & Co. Ltd. which are included in this collection date from 1991 and refer to the sale of company shares by Vera Thompson in that year. The collection also includes order forms, price lists and sales brochures and proof copy of the booklet 'Garnier & Co Ltd: Manufacturers of Vitreous enamelled steel signs in Willesden since 1898' by Vera Thompson.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

This collection has been arranged in one series called 'Business and Administration Records', LMA/4418/01.

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 City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

This collection was deposited at LMA in 2002 by the daughter of Mrs. Vera Thompson after her death.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For more detailed business history see LMA/4418/01: 'Garnier & Co. Ltd.: manufacturers of Vitreous enamelled steel signs in Willesden since 1898' by Vera Thompson, ed. by Cliff Wadsworth (1998).

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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