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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/002
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1819-2010
Level of description: Collection
Extent: Over 100 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Chubb and Son Ltd | locksmiths and safe manufacturers


Administrative/Biographical history:

This company was established by Charles Chubb (1772-1846) of Portsea, Hampshire following the grant of a patent to his brother Jeremiah Chubb for a detector lock. In 1827 Charles Chubb moved and opened a shop at 57 St Paul's Churchyard, City of London.

In 1830 manufacturing of locks began in Wolverhampton, first in Temple Street, then St James's Square in 1835 and then Old Mill Lane, Horsely Fields in 1841. The production of safes followed an award of a patent to Charles Chubb in 1835. The firm's safe manufactory was established at 27 Cow Cross Street, London by 1846. This later moved to Glengall Road, Old Kent Road in 1867. Glengall Road also saw the production of locks with the return of works from Wolverhampton to London in 1882.

The Wolverhampton lock works were re-established and returned to Horsely Fields in 1889. New lock works were opened in Railway Street and Chubb Street in 1899 with auxiliary safe works built in Railway Street in 1900. Wolverhampton became the manufacturing hub of the company when the London safe works were transferred to a new safe works on Wednesfield Road in 1909, which also absorbed the Railway Street works. Lock works were also moved to new factory in Wednesfield Road in 1938.

Branches opened in Manchester in 1838 and Liverpool in 1839. Showrooms opened at 68 St James's Street in 1874.

John Chubb (1815-1872) joined his father in partnership in 1841 and continued the business following his father's death in 1846. Following John Chubb's death, the firm continued under the direction of his executors and sons John Charles Chubb (1846-1899) and George Hayter Chubb, later Lord Hayter (1848-1946). G H Chubb became chairman in 1882 with the incorporation of the company as Chubb and Son's Lock and Safe Company Limited. Lord Hayter retired in 1940 and was succeeded by his nephew Harry Emory Chubb (1880-1960).

Major overseas trading began in the late 19th century, with South Africa in 1890. Chubb and Maxwell Limited was incorporated in 1895 to manage South African work. Business in Australia was managed by Chubb's Australian Company Limited which was established in 1897 in Sydney. This company managed a safe, strong room and bronze work factory which was built in 1921. Chubb-France SA was formed in 1922 and Chubb India Limited in 1926. Abroad manufacturing of security equipment began in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1950 and Toronto, Canada in 1954. The 20th century saw acquisition of key firms including Josiah Parkes (manufacturers of 'Union' locks), Hobbs Hart of London and other companies.

Company name changes 1818-2000:

Charles Chubb, Jeremiah Chubb, patent detector lock, 1818-1846;
Chubb and Son, 1846-1882 (Charles Chubb and his son John Chubb);
Chubb and Son's Lock and Safe Company Limited, 1882-1958;
Chubb and Son Limited, 1958-1982;
Chubb and Son plc, 1982-1984;
Racal-Chubb Limited (with constituent companies Chubb Safe Equipment Company Limited and Chubb Locks Limited), 1984-1986. Chubb taken over by Racal Electronics and came under Racal Group;
Racal-Chubb Products Limited 1986-1992;
Chubb Security plc, 1992 separating from Racal;
Acquired by Williams Holdings, 1997;
Demerged as Chubb plc, 2000.

London Head offices: 57 St Paul's Churchyard (1827-1877); 128 Queen Victoria Street (1877-1941); St James's Street (1941-1946); 40-42 Oxford Street (1946-1955); 175-176 Tottenham Court Road (1955-1960); 14-22 Tottenham Court Road (from 1960); Manor House, Feltham, Middlesex; moved to Wednesfield Road, Wolverhampton in 1985.


Scope and content/abstract:

Currently (as of April 2014) only the following records are available for consultation with 48 hours notice:

Chubb and Son Limited (CLC/B/002/01-11):
Memoranda and articles of association, minutes and agendas, annual reports and accounts, registers of directors and secretaries, seal registers, prospectuses, share transfer registers, annual returns, balance sheets and accounts, ledgers and day books, lock and safe order books and lock and safe number registers (from 1819), manufacturing minutes and papers, patents including specifications, staff salaries (1877-1940), films and videos, and 'Chubb Collectanea' scrapbooks;

Records of subsidiaries and associated organisations:
British Security Industry Association Limited: memorandum and articles of association, minutes and reports (1966-1974) (CLC/B/002/BS);
Chubb and Son's Lock and Safe Company Limited: memorandum and articles of association, share register, correspondence, donated employee records (1951-1982) (CLC/B/002/CLS);
Chubb Fire Security Limited: films and videos (CLC/B/002/CFS);
Chubb Security Services Limited: films and videos (CLC/B/CSS);
Hobbs Hart and Company Limited (fully catalogued): partnerships, minutes and other corporate records, share records, administrative records, financial records, production records including lock and safe order books, patents, marketing and advertising printed material and photographs, staff records, premises and histories (1887-1985) (CLC/B/002/HH);
Chatwood Safe Company Limited: lock and safe registers and progress books (1864-1956) (CLC/B/002/CH);
Chatwood-Milner Limited: order books and safe progress book (1955 - 1971) (CLC/B/002/CHM);
Milner's Safe Company Limited: day book, depot and sale ledgers, lock and key registers (1857-1954) (CLC/B/002/ML).

The lock and safe number and order books are of particular value for dating locks and safes and related products fitted into antique furniture from the late Georgian to mid 20th century.

Further records including those of other subsidiary companies remain uncatalogued and are part of a long-term cataloguing project. Please contact staff for further information on access to uncatalogued records.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

CLC/B/002/01 Corporate;
CLC/B/002/02 Shares;
CLC/B/002/03 Administration;
CLC/B/002/04 Finance;
CLC/B/002/05 Production;
CLC/B/002/06 Legal;
CLC/B/002/07 Sales, Marketing and Advertising;
CLC/B/002/08 Staff and Employment;
CLC/B/002/09 Premises and Property;
CLC/B/002/10 Collectanea and Histories;
CLC/B/002/11 Chubb Family.

This arrangement is followed by sections for each subsidiary or associated company.

Conditions governing access:

48 hours notice required for access.

Chubb films are available by prior appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London. No photography without permission.

Note: no large-scale copying of items in this collection is permitted without prior permission from LMA. Small-scale copying of selected pages for private research does not require permission.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

In 1916 a memo was sent from Head Office regarding the retention of 'old books, letters...'. It instructed for the disposal of letter books, cash books, purchase ledgers, wage books and other records no longer required for current use, as waste paper. However sale ledgers, day books, safe and lock number books, workmen orders for specials, cost price books and drawings of work done were to be retained. It also allowed for certain items to be retained for the centenary year (see CLC/B/002/05/01/06/001). In 1941 the head office in Queen Victoria Street was destroyed with the inevitable loss of records.

Later a formal 'Chubb archive' was established. This collection was managed until 1990s when the Business Archives Council acquired the collection from Williams Holdings as a gift.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in 1999, 2010 and 2012.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Chubb Sports and Social Club minutes 1943-1951 (reference: DX-987) are held at Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies.

Black Country Living Museum holds the following: Chubb and Son's Lock and Safe Company Limited: General Register (Factory and Workshop Acts), Wednesfield Road factory, Wolverhampton (relating to young persons, boiler inspections, accidents, lime washing) 1918-1922 (reference: [WHLLM-Willenhall Lock Museum (now the Locksmith's House)] 2008.011 001), and duplicates from Chubb Archive, and a small collection of sales catalogues. Contact Locksmith's House, Willenhall managed by Black Country Living Museum Trust Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4SQ. Collections of locks and lock making tools are cared for at the Black Country Living Museum site, along with archives relating to R Hodson and Son and other local West Midlands lock manufacturers (details correct as of March 2011).

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. Updated May 2013.

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