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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/112-006
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1894-1996
Level of description: Collection
View parent record
Extent: 208 production units.
Name of creator(s): Harrisons and Crosfield Ltd | traders in tea, coffee, rubber, timber, chemicals, and other agricultural products


Administrative/Biographical history:

Daniel and Smith Harrison and Joseph Crosfield entered into partnership in January 1844 to trade as tea and coffee merchants at 6 Temple Street, Liverpool, under the style Harrisons and Crosfield. The partnership moved in July 1854 to 3 Great Tower Street, London, becoming from the 1860s one of the largest tea traders in Britain. In the 1890s the company admitted a number of new partners (Charles Heath Clark, George Croll, Arthur Lampard and Eric Miller) and changed the direction of its business. The company took on the blending and packing of teas, and imports from Ceylon were stored in a warehouse on Ceylon Wharf, Bankside in Southwark. The company was also increasingly involved in rubber and plantation estates in the mid-20th century, and acquired shareholdings, often acting as agents and secretaries, in a number of plantation companies. By the late 20th century, Harrisons and Crosfield managed nearly half a million acres of tropical crops in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Southern India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The firm became a limited company under the style Harrisons and Crosfield Limited in May 1908.

Much of the company's interest in tea was disposed of in 1916 on the formation of Twining, Crosfield and Company Limited. As well as diversifying into rubber plantation Harrisons and Crosfield Limited had interests in timber (through its stake in British Borneo Timber Limited, later called Sabah Timber Company), and especially from the 1950s, palm oil, speciality chemicals and other estates agency work, including the related business from insurance and shipping. From the late 1960s the company again changed direction moving to consolidate its interests in a number of divisions, including the "Harcros" group of timber merchants and building suppliers, chemicals, animal feeds and other agricultural products. Most of the interests Harrisons and Crosfield had in individual plantation companies were merged into larger companies (e.g. London Sumatra Plantations) in the 1960s and afterwards, and those companies have subsequently been sold. The firm became a public limited company in 1982. In late 1997 the firm started the disposal of all its timber and building supplies and food and agriculture divisions, to concentrate on speciality chemicals. From January 1998 the firm has been known as Elementis Plc.

Harrisons and Crosfield were appointed as secretaries and/or agents to almost all of the plantation companies in which it had a shareholding. The secretarial function was performed in London and included the provision of full management support to the boards of individual plantation companies and the administration of share registers. The overseas branches of Harrisons and Crosfield (e.g. Harrisons and Crosfield (Malaya) Limited) acted as agents.


Scope and content/abstract:

Administrative records of Harrisons and Crosfield Limited, including organisational charts; papers relating to the directors of the company; reports on the organisation of the company; book 'sphere of operations', produced by the company to outline its departments, branches and subsidiaries; circulars; correspondence and lists of records.

Access to records less than 30 years old (or records less than 70 years old which relate to staff) should be sought from Elementis plc (contact details may be obtained from a member of staff).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.

Conditions governing access:

Restricted access: please see staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records of Harrisons and Crosfield and its subsidiary and secretarial companies were transferred to Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section between 1990 and 1998. The records were presented as a gift to the Library, except the minute books of some subsidiary companies which are held as a deposit. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Harrisons and Crosfield Ltd collection has been divided into 167 sub-fonds; CLC/B/112-001 to CLC/B/112-167. 001 to 016 are records relating to Harrisons and Crosfield (such as operational records, staff records, property records and so on), and 017 to 167 are the records of subsidiaries, plantations and associated organisations.

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 2010 to January 2011.

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