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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/221
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1841-1966
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 29 production units.
Name of creator(s): W. H. Tindall and Co | tea and coffee company
Cotesworth and Powell Ltd | import, export, and general merchants


Administrative/Biographical history:

Under its original style of W J and R Tindall, shipbuilders, shipowners and merchants of Scarborough and London, the company, later (1875) to become W.H. Tindall and Company, acquired its main block of coffee and tea estates at Imboolpittia and Bowagamme, Ceylon, through its London representative William Tindall, of 34 Cornhill and Millwall Wharf, Poplar, in 1843. Tindall purchased a half-share in the property in trust for his son, W.H. Tindall, from George Bird who had obtained a crown grant of the land in 1841 and was to become its first manager under the Tindalls.

Neighbouring estates at Holnicot, Hunasgeria, Bramley, Bathford and Denmark Hill were acquired at a later date. Other crops cultivated in addition to tea and coffee were chinchona, cinnamon, aloes, cocoa and cardamons, while india rubber, timber and tree mallow were also produced. From an early date doubts were expressed as to Bird's integrity (see correspondence and queried accounts), and on the death of William Tindall, 1853, he was sued for moneys owing on the balance of the account.

In 1846-7 the company moved to 4 Clement's Lane from 34 Cornhill and Millwall Wharf, Poplar. Re-constituted as Robt., WH and RH Tindall in 1858, and again as WH Tindall in 1861, it had moved yet again by 1865 to 5 Tokenhouse Yard. As WH Tindall and Company (1875) the company's office was transferred in 1876-1877 to 77 Gracechurch Street, where it remained until 1898, in that year changing to 20 Eastcheap.

In 1933 the company was once again re-constituted as Pryor and Tindall Limited "colonial merchants", at the same time absorbing the business of Cotesworth and Powell Limited "import export and general merchants", a firm which had been closely associated with the Tindalls for some time with, among other interests, extensive sugar plantations in Natal. First appearing at St. Helen's Place in 1831 and moving to 148 Leadenhall Street by 1867, from c. 1866 Cotesworth and Powell Limited acted as managing directors of the Umhlanga Valley (Natal) Sugar and Coffee Company Limited (see London Directories), to which the single surviving account book seems to relate, as well as being agents for inter alia the Salvador Coffee Estates Company Limited, the Nicaragua Company Limited, the Central Provinces Ceylon Tea Company Limited and the Hewagam Rubber Company Limited.

Pryor and Tindall relinquished control of the Ceylon estates on their sale to the Central Provinces Ceylon Tea Company Limited in 1938. For further details on the early history of the firm see typescript historical notes catalogued as Ms 15654.


Scope and content/abstract:

The records of WH Tindall and Company, tea and coffee growers and exporters, comprise records relating to the Imboolpittia and other estates including managers' and crop accounts, statements of expenditure and receipts, notes of coffee shipments and yields of tea and rubber, and papers relating to the administration of and materials for the estate 1841-1933; report and prospectus regarding land development 1917 and 1920; papers relating to the activities of various company managers and superintendents 1841-56; letters and papers regarding general trading, acquisition of estates and their cultivation 1842-88; papers regarding the Tindall family investments and trusts c 1872-1929; papers regarding the sale of land to W.H. Tindall 1843-55; papers regarding administration of W.H. Tindall's estate 1900-2; map showing coffee estates ca.1860 and notes on the history of the firm 1932-1966.

The records of Cotesworth and Powell Limited, import, export, and general merchants, comprise accounts relating to sugar plantations of Umhlanga Valley (Natal) Sugar and Coffee Company Limited 1866-87; notes in relation to credit arrangements, with other papers c 1870-90.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

CLC/B/221-01: WH Tindall and Co; CLC/B/221-02: Cotesworth and Powell Ltd.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were presented to the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library as a gift in 1975 and catalogued in 1976 by a member of Guildhall Library staff. 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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