HEENAN BEDDOWS AND STURMEY LTD, CROWN WORKS, CLEMSON
See Beddows and Sturmey Ltd
THOMAS HERBERT AND CO (WILLENHALL) LTD, EXCEL WORKS,
CEMETERY ROAD, NORTH WILLENHALL
||Makers of attache case and suit case locks.
Not existing in
1900 (Kellys). In Kellys directory of 1914 /21 listed at Newhall
Street. Advert (left) from 1920. Later moved to Cemetery Road.
In the 14 November 1969 were acquired by Samuel Wilkes and Sons Ltd
(q.v.). Trading was transferred to the parent company on the 1 January 1973.
The information above was in Jim Evan's original version of this
Gazetteer. We have now heard from George Cooper, in New Zealand,
who has been researching his family history. His findings so far
are of interest in themselves but also as an indication of the
complexity of relationships which can be found in small family
firms. George writes:
John Bucknall was born in Newcastle under
Lyme in 1785. The Bucknall
family moved from Newcastle under Lyme.
John Bucknall, described as a locksmith, married Hannah
Mothershaw at St Peter’s Wolverhampton in 1806.
In a Willenhall Directory of 1818 he is listed as a pad lock maker in
Botany Bay. By 1835 he was in Pigot's directory as a pad and
closet lock maker in Birmingham Street. He was still alive at the time of the 1851 Census in which he is
listed as a locksmith in King Street.
He died in 1865.
John and Hannah had three sons. The eldest,
William, was born in 1808 and is in Jones' Iron District Registry, 1864,
as a keymaker in Russell Street.
Another son, Thomas Bucknall, was aged
39 in the 1851 Census and is listed as a rim lock maker. He is listed in
Jones’ directory as a lock manufacturer in Russell Street.
His brother, Samuel, is also listed as a park gate lock
Thomas’s son, Edward Bucknall, was a Willenhall
Florence Bucknall married Leigh Richmond Clinton in 1890.
The Clintons were hairdressers in Market Street, Willenghall, the
business having been established by
Leigh’s father, James Clinton, in the 1860s.
Florence and Leigh Clinton’s daughter, Florence
Daisy Clinton, was born in Willenhall in 1895.
She remembered that her grandfather, Edward Bucknall, had a small
business as a lockmaker.
Edward Bucknall died in 1926, aged 82.
In his will, made in 1913, he appointed his sons, George Herbert
Bucknall and Thomas Bucknall, as his executors.
He left everything to his unmarried daughter Lydia and his
youngest son Bertie Lee Bucknall; but if either of them predeceased him,
then their shares to go to George and Thomas.
Florence spoke of her uncle’s business as
“Thomas Herbert’s”. The
Willenhall Red Book mentions Thomas Herbert as lock manufacturers in
Cemetry Road, in their 1929, 1933 and 1934 editions.
Although this gives a clear connection between the
Bucknalls, the Clintons and Thomas Herbert's, the exact nature of that
relationship is not absolutely clear. There may also be a
connection with the firm Bucknall and Nevill Ltd. (qv).
In addition to George and Thomas, Edward Bucknall
had another son, Edward. Both Thomas and Edward were listed in the
1901 census as carpet bag lock makers, working on their own account and
both living in Walsall Road, Willenhall.
Edward is shown in the Ellis Island records as
entering the USA in August 1912. He gave his next of kin as Mrs.
Bucknall of Highfield House, Gypsy Lane, Willenhall and his occupation
as lockmaker. He said that he was going to a friend in Pittsburgh.
No further references to him in the USA have been found and he
resurfaces in Ventnor, Isle of Wight. His former wife, Harriet,
died in 1928 and he immediately married Nellie Dilke in London.
Nellie was 18 years younger than him. They had a substantial house
in Ventnor, Warborough Mount, which is still standing; and they owned
the local Bijou cinema, a thatched cottage in the High Street and other
Edward died, aged 57, in 1930. His obituary
in the Isle of Wight Mercury says: "Resident since the war, a
native of Wolverhampton, he was the chief partner in a firm of
lockmakers in Wolverhampton, came here for health reasons after marrying
a local lady". Nellie lived until 1967. Her obituary
includes the following: " Widow of Edward Bucknall, at one time
they owned considerable property in Ventnor". Edward's will
shows that he left over £10,000, a lot of money in 1930.
HOBBS HART AND CO LTD, STAFFA ROAD, LEYTON.
Makers of "Lever" and "Patent Protector" locks for all
Alfred C. Hobbs was an American who came to England in 1851 as a salesman
with Day and Newell when they came to exhibit at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. He
had also become an acknowledged master at picking locks and took on the challenge of
picking a Bramah padlock. It took him 51 hours in 16 working days, after which he
could open the lock in an hour. The Arbitrators awarded him the prize of 200
With this money, and the invaluable publicity he had received, he went
into business as a lockmaker in Cheapside, London. The company started in 1851 and
was formally registered as Hobbs and Co. in 1852. But by 1855 it had become Hobbs,
Ashley and Co. Soon the name changed to Hobbs, Ashley and Fortescue, with an address
at 97 Cheapside. It is not clear whether they moved or Cheapside altered, but the
address for ninety years was 76 Cheapside. They used advanced machine methods and
were highly successful.
In 1860 Hobbs returned to America and went on to patent many
machines. Before he left, British pride was somewhat restored when one of the Chubb
workmen picked a Hobbs Lock. Hobbs had never intended to stay in England and, when
Ashley died in1860, he had no difficulty in disposing of a thriving business to John
Mathias Hart. It is not known if Hobbs was any relation to Thomas Hart or if
either were related to William Albert Hart, who was a director from 1908 to 1910.
Hobbs had stipulated that his name should always head the Company so it
became Hobbs, Hart and Co. in 1860. Hart died in 1887 and the firm became a limited
company. Hobbs retained an interest in the company: he returned in 1872 to celebrate
the 21st anniversary, held at the Crystal Palace which had, by then, been moved
Alfred Hobbs died in 1891.
According to Peter Cowie (Locks and Keys,
July 1995) the company became a member of the Chubb group in 1954.
But Peter Gunn writes to us that "according to my information Chubb
took over in 1956. When I transferred to Chubb's Lock Sales
Department in 1968, there were still 2 or 3 ex-Hobbs employees working
at Chubb Head Office, handling enquiries for Hobbs locks. Chubb
kept the Leyton factory going until about 1961, after which manufacture
of Hobbs products was transferred to the Chubb Lock Works in
J. HOBLEY & CO, 16 RILEY STREET, WILLENHALL.
Established in 1912 as lock and latch manufacturers. In 1933 Randle
Hobley had a lock making business in Church Street Willenhall. Closed down c1970
when the last Mr Hobley died.
HODGES LOCK AND PRESSINGS LTD, FREDERICK STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON
Established in 1860 as cabinet lock makers. Later progressed into
combination and brief case locks. In 1921 and 1936 James Hodges and Sons were
cabinet lock makers at 27 Pool Street Wolverhampton. In 1953 and 1972 they were at
Frederick Street, Wolverhampton, and were run by Mr Lisle, a grandson of Edward Lisle, who
built Star motorcycles and cars in Wolverhampton. On 15 November 1971 they were acquired
by Samuel Wilkes and Sons Ltd (q.v.).
||In October 1974, as a result of continued expansion, Hodges moved their
factory to larger premises occupying 24000 sq. ft. at the rear of the parent company,
S.Wilkes and Sons Ltd., at Park Road Bloxwich.
Trading was transferred to the parent company on 1 January 1978.
They went into liquidation in 1979 and the manufacturing rights were acquired by Liston
Locks Ltd (qv).
R. HODSON AND SONS, 54 NEW ROAD, WILLENHALL
Manufacturers of padlocks, park gate and lighter locks; and double
bolted and bar locks.
The business was established by Richard Hodson (1780-1829) in 1792, in
Clarks Lane, Willenhall. It was then taken over by his son Richard (1811-1866) who, in the
1841 census, is listed as a lockmaker at John Street. There were 4 apprentices
living with the family. By 1851 they were at Hall Street. Richard and his wife
Ann (1807-1865) had 7 children, including Edgar (1830-1891) who is listed as a locksmith,
and they had 4 apprentices living with them. But by 1861 they only had 2
apprentices. On the death of his father, Edgar inherited the business, which he ran
until he died in 1891.
Edgars son John (born 1861) became the owner in 1893, paying
£47.1s.6d. for "the shop tools, effects and the business" from his late
mothers estate. The business at this time was run from 79 Lower Lichfield
Street. John continued to trade under the name Richard Hodson and Sons, and ran the
business from several addresses around Willenhall, finally, in 1903, moving into workshops
at the rear of 54 New Road. Here he employed up to a dozen men and women. He
rented the workshop from Mr Job Phillips, who at that time lived in the house. When
Job Phillips decided to sell the house and workshop in 1905, John, and wife Sarah, seeing
the chance to have home and business on the same premises, decided to buy the
property. They had six children in all.
||John died in 1911 and his son Edgar, aged only 19, took over the running
of the business, helped by his mother Sarah and his sisters Edith (born 1891) and Flora
(born 1899). The sisters later set up in the front room of the house, running a
small drapers and general stores as E. A. & F. S. Hodson.
Sarah died in 1951 age 91, leaving the house to Edgar,
Edith and Flora, none of whom ever married. The two sisters devoted themselves to
looking after their brother, the shop and the house. In 1966 Edith died aged 75.
Edgar continued his lock making business into the sixties, until his death in 1970 aged
78. Flora, the last member of the family, lived there alone until she died in 1983
It was in 1983 that 54 New Road was purchased by the Lock Museum Trust to
be turned into a lock museum. The Lock Museum, Willenhall was officially opened to
the public in April 1987.
(Details taken from "The Hodson Family, A History of one
Willenhall Lock Manufacturer from 1972-1970" Compiled by Brenda Jepcott. Published by
The Lock Museum, Willenhall 1999)
S. HOGGINS AND SONS, 57 NEW HALL STREET,
Manufacturer of all types of locks. Not existing in 1921 or
1970. Nothing else known.