A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright © Jim Evans, 2002 
and other contributors 2002 and 2003, and The Lock Collectors Association 2007


It is important for historians of the future that information on the lock making industry is collected while people who worked in the trade are still alive.  This gazetteer is my start to that collection.

This gazetteer is based on the lock and key makers listed in the 1953 edition of Kelly’s Directory, which is about the time of my first connection with the trade.  I can remember going round the Willenhall area with my father, Horace Evans, as he delivered keys from Arthur Hough and Sons to many lock makers and having to carry heavy boxes and sacks of keys up long entries and up flights of stairs to workshops in houses.  I later joined Arthur Hough and Sons in 1960 and from then on had first hand contact with many lock makers both large and small.

While compiling this gazetteer I have drawn on my own time in the trade and on the reminiscences of many people who have been prepared to answer my questions, together with articles from many sources.

Although the gazetteer started life as a list of Willenhall and Wolverhampton firms still in existence in 1953, it has grown to include firms who had closed before 1953 and companies outside the area, including some European firms, who have local connection.  Also included are a number of ancillary trades, without which lock making could not have survived:  malleable iron casting companies, factors who distributed the products and even a file maker, without whom the lock maker would have been unable to work.

Jim Evans

It is with the greatest regret that the webmasters record that Jim Evans passed away in February 2003.  His knowledge of the lock and key trade was incomparable and he was always happy to share it.  He was not only an historian of this trade but also contributed greatly to this site with his histories of locally made racing cars, a subject in which he had a great interest.  His enthusiasm and his friendly character is greatly missed.

The Introduction above is the original written by Jim.  Below it we have added a note on how we are continuing the Gazetteer.  

The list of makers is at the foot of this page, where you will also find some useful links.

Wolverhampton & Willenhall lockmakers (including other Black Country firms) -
Webmaster's Notes:

The Gazetteer, as it was first put on this site, was compiled by Jim Evans.  He got his information from many sources, especially the records of his own company, Arthur Hough.  But he also relied on many interviews and had received a lot of material from many other people.  Much information and many illustrations came from Trevor Dowson.  After the Gazetteer was first put on to this site it was added to by Jim Evans himself and also by further contributions from others.  

The webmasters of this site are continuing to add to the Gazetteer.  We would be grateful for any further contributions, additions or corrections, however small or large. Please send any further information to the webmasters at:  frank.sharman@blueyonder.co.uk  

We propose to continue Jim Evans' approach and to deal mainly with Wolverhampton and Willenhall firms and other Black Country makers and firms which are outside that area but which had some local connections.

Lock Collectors Association Webmaster's comments:

The above Webmasters have kindly agreed that the Association may copy the Gazetteer onto this site and extend it by incorporating information about other Lockmakers beyond the Wolverhampton, Willenhall, and Black Country areas. It is hoped that this extended scope, aided by the expertise and knowledge of our members, will greatly add to the existing high quality of the Gazetteer and its usefulness to all those turning to it for information. Should anyone have any inquiries or questions to raise concerning any matters arising in the Gazetteer please feel free to contact enquiries@lockcollectors.eu and we will try our best to help.

List of Makers

The makers are listed alphabetically.  Click on the appropriate set of letters to get to the relevant pages.  Note that where the firm's name consists of a first name and surname it is listed under the surname.  Many firms amalgamated, were taken over or simply changed their names.  Where possible cross references have been inserted (but not cross links). Such firms are usually listed under the latest name available.


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