A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002



Jim Evans originally wrote:  Founded by George (b1893, d c1980), Frank and Tom Gibbons, in 1921 to manufacture rim and mortice locks, in a workshop at 54 Union Street Willenhall. 

But Trevor Dowson has found this notice in a trade mark listing of 1912.  

In April 1934 they took out patent no. 11356 for a latch bolt.  At that time they had moved to new works at 10 John Street, Willenhall.  In the 1960s they moved to new premises in Ashmore Lake, where Frank's son, Brian Gibbons, ran the company.  They added the manufacture of cylinder locks to their range.

In 1975/7 George Gibbons was Chairman, Brian Gibbons (son of Frank) MD, and Robert Milne (husband of George’s daughter) Deputy MD and Company Secretary.

In about 1977 they changed their name to Gibbons of (Willenhall) Ltd to avoid confusion with James Gibbons of Wolverhampton.

In May 1988 they sold out to the Frederick Cooper Group.

ABT Hardware Ltd (Ash, Bates, Turner) was formed in 1980, as a distributor of branded products to the door and window industry, and Gibbons became one of their major suppliers.

In 1986 ABT sold their interest in the company to Frederick Cooper plc, and by May 1991 the trade between Gibbons and ABT was so extensive and integral to the business of both companies that they were integrated together at one location at Ashmore Lake and ABT-Gibbons was born.  This company was purchased G. Anslow Ltd in August 1991, who moved production to Ashmore Lake. They eventually stopped making any of the Anslow range. (See book on Lane Head by Mr Gibbon' s daughter.)

In 1996 they employed approx. 100 (AH Quality Questionnaire) with a turnover between 5-10 million.  In 1996 the group was put up for sale by Cooper Industries but was not sold.  In August 1998, as part of a re-organisation within the Fredrick Cooper Group, ABT-Gibbons was merged with its sister company, Latham Manufacturing Co. Ltd. at their site at Alma Street, Wolverhampton.  So Latham Manufacturing now became the manufacturers of Gibbons locks at the Alma Street Works.

The Birmingham Post of the 16th November 2000 reported that Fredrick Cooper had sold its Wolverhampton based hinge and lock business, Latham’s, to the Irish company Basta (qv) for 1.55 million.  Coopers had been looking to sell Latham’s, which included the Gibbons brand, since 1997.  Latham’s, which employs 134 people, made a profit of 135,000 in the year to July 2000 on declining sales of 5 million.  Chairman Geoff Gahan said: " I feel we can do better with the money. It is a mature business and in common with the rest of the lock industry it has had a very difficult time."

Basta will look to integrate the factory with its own Birmingham based hardware makers, Basta Parson, which employs 70 people, after it takes control of Latham’s in January 2001.  By mid 2001 the Basta Parsons production was being transferred into the Alma Street ,Wolverhampton, works.

In April 2002 the old premises of Gibbons and Co at Ashmore Lake, which had been taken over by pine furniture manufacturers "Copperfield" were destroyed by fire.


Read the history of James Gibbons Ltd.



Key maker.  In Kelly’s Directory of 1914 at 72 Wood Street.  In 1936 at Birmingham street. Existing in 1953.  Not in existence in 1970.  Nothing else known.



Manufacturers of locks and window fittings.  In 1921 and 1945 were at 37 Harrison Street Bloxwich (AH records) and about 1946 moved to Willenhall Lane. 

In 1953 listed as automobile and railway clockmakers at Willenhall Lane.  In 1972 the directors were E Goodman, J R Goodman, V M Goodman.

On 11 November 1974 Speedcraft Ltd. took over all the lock production of J.H.Goodman (Bloxwich) manufactured from their Bloxwich Factory only in Willenhall Lane.  The Directors were W.F.C.Bryant, J.E.Jones and J.R.Goodman.  This was to add to the tool making already carried out.

By April 1976 J.R.Goodman had ceased to be a director.  They were making rim and mortice locks with tools that had been purchased from J T and W Booth (q.v.).

In January 1983 Raftveda Ltd acquired them, while continuing to trade as Speedcraft (Raftveda) Ltd.

Ceased lock making in the 1980s.



In existence in 1953.  Manufacturers of propelling pencils, pens, lighters, door and tubular furniture (Kelly’s directory).  Most of these products were made in aluminium and in about 1955 they started to make an aluminium locks to suit the aluminium roll shutter door that they also made. Originally the key was made of aluminium but by 1963 they transferred the tooling to Walsall Lock and Cartgear who made certain improvements, which included changing to a fabricated steel key. Production only continued for a short time.

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