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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4453/K
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1854-1976
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 3.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): F S Stowells Ltd, Ealing | wine and spirits merchants
Stowell and Sons | wine and spirits merchants
Stowells of Chelsea | wine and spirits merchants
Stowells Taste of the World | wine and spirits merchants


Administrative/Biographical history:

Stowell and Sons was a wines and spirits merchant bought by Whitbread and Company in 1920 for 20,000. The Company had been selling wine since 1878 when the first Stowells wine shop was opened in Ealing by Frederick Stanley Stowell. Moved to Britten Street, Chelsea (previously the Red Anchor Brewery) in 1927.

Although Whitbread's tied houses were not obliged to buy from Stowells the Company prospered selling in 1934 9,000 barrels of beer, 52,000 gallons of wine and 38,000 gallons of spirits.

Acquired or associated with: Findlater, Mackie and Company Limited; Spain and Albury Limited; E Robins and Sons Limited; The West End Wine Company Limited and Ellis, Wilson and Bacon Limited.

In 1965 the retail branches of both Stowells and Thresher's came under the management of Thresher, the Head Office being established at Britten Street, Chelsea. In 1968 the firm was renamed Stowells of Chelsea Limited and began concentrating solely on wholesale supplies to the free trade and to all Whitbread outlets. In 1978 the company was re-organised and given a national identity in response to the growing demand and the increasingly important role of wines and spirits in Whitbread's turnover.

In 1977 the Head Office moved with Thresher's to Great North Road, Hatfield, Hertfordshire and in 1982 to Sefton House, Church Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

The formalisation of the Whitbread organisation into six divisions saw Stowells of Chelsea incorporated into the Wines and Spirits division. They were later merged in 1989, along with the other Whitbread investments of Langenbach and Calvert, with Allied-Lyon's wine subsidiary Grants of James to form a joint venture known as European Cellars.

In 2003 the company changed their name from Stowells of Chelsea to Stowells Taste of the World.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Stowells and Sons, wine and spirits merchants, comprising a range of company records from 1845 to 1976 including records covering corporate and financial business, sales and production, staff, property and advertising, as well as records from companies acquired by Stowells from the 1930s onwards including Ellis, Wilson and Bacon Limited, Findlater, Mackie and Company Limited, E. Robins and Sons Limited and Apain and Albury Limited.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4453/K/01: Signed minutes and agendas;
LMA/4453/K/02: Books;
LMA/4453/K/03: Accounts;
LMA/4453/K/04: Cash books and ledgers;
LMA/4453/K/05: Private ledgers;
LMA/4453/K/06: Stock and debt books;
LMA/4453/K/07: Sales books;
LMA/4453/K/08: Tasting book;
LMA/4453/K/09: Staff books;
LMA/4453/K/10: Estate ledgers;
LMA/4453/K/11: Beer labels;
LMA/4453/K/12: Predecessor companies.

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 to these records rests with the Corporation of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 2001 as a gift.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

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:
November 2009 to February 2010

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