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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/173
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: P.W. FLOWER AND SONS
Date(s): 1826-1980
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 520 production units.
Name of creator(s): P W Flower and Sons | merchants


Administrative/Biographical history:

Philip William Flower (1809-72) and his brother Horace (1818-99), sons of John Flower, a City of London merchant, established themselves as merchants in Sydney, Australia, in 1838, trading in connection with their father's City business. In 1842 they formed a Sydney partnership with Severin Kanute Salting (1805-65), a Dane who had invested the profits from his marine equipment business, established in Sydney in 1834, in sheep stations and sugar plantations. A further partnership was formed later with a related company in Melbourne. Philip William returned permanently to the City in about 1843 to run the London side of the business (called P . Flower and Company, 1845-72), which had a succession of offices moving from John Flower's premises at 62 Bread St to 29 Bucklersbury in 1845 and then to 4 Princes St in 1852, 6 Moorgate in 1863, and Swan House, Swan Alley in 1914.

The business was eventually run, from about 1934, from the Park Town estate office at 18 Queen's Square, Battersea. The company was involved in the shipping of wool and a wide variety of other merchandize to and from Australia and of coffee from Mysore, India; and in various other ventures including trade with South Africa. Investments were made in London property including wharfs; 2 office blocks built in the 1850s (Weavers' Hall, Basinghall Street and Danes Inn Chambers, off the Strand); Albert Mansions, Victoria Street, Westminster; and Park Town estate, Battersea (for which James Knowles the younger was the supervising architect). The property investments, particularly in the Park Town estate, are described in The Park Town Estate and the Battersea Tangle by Priscilla Metcalfe (London Topographical Society, no 121, 1978).

The Moorgate office was run by a series of confidential clerks who acted as managers, including James Gould, who died in June 1893, and his successor, Charles Potter. The Park Town estate managers were J. Melville Curtis 1878-1901, Charles Ernest Mayo Smith 1901-27, H. W. Eason, formerly office clerk at Moorgate, 1927-51, and C F Hatto, 1951-79. The estate was sold in 1979. In 1877 James Cooper was appointed agent and surveyor to the Flower estates and worked from an office in Albert Mansions. The company's solictors were Flower and Nussey of Great Winchester Street, whose Flower partners were descended from John Wickham Flower, one of Philip William's brothers.


Scope and content/abstract:

The records of PW Flower and Sons, merchants, concern the company's trading interests and property investments, and the affairs and investments of the Flower family (see CLC/B/173/MS19469 for a Flower family tree) and of other families with shared or related interests; they include the papers of various trustees by whom some family and business activities were administered.

The records include:
- Mss 19338-55: business records: general, or relating to more than one country;
- Mss 19356-78: business records: Australia, including some Salting family papers (see also Mss 19470-89);
- Mss 19379-93: business records: India, including some Pearse family papers;
- Mss 19394-99: estate records: general or relating to more than one estate;
- Mss 19400-9: estate records: individual estates or properties (except Park Town);
- Mss 19410-38: estate records: Park Town, except maps and plans which are catalogued in the Print and Maps Section;
- Mss 19439-46: family records: executors of P.W. Flower, including references to business and estate matters;
- Mss 19447-69: family records: general, including references to business and estate matters;
- Mss 19470-89: Papers relating to the Salting family of Australia (with which the Flower family had business connections; see also Mss 19356-78) and in particular to George Salting (d 1909) art collector and benefactor to public art galleries.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The number and variety of record-creating agencies and of their areas of activity and the degree to which they overlap have made the compilation of a catalogue based solely on provenance impracticable. It has instead been arranged chronologically under broad subject headings: business records, estate records and family records.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact 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 were presented to Guildhall Library in 1979 by the company and catalogued by a member of Guildhall Library staff in 1980. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

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:
January to May 2011.

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