A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers
this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002
H & T VAUGHAN, STANDARD WORKS, WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL
Henry and younger brother Thomas (born 1842) joined together to form H & T Vaughan in, their literature says,1856, to manufacture all types of locks. They eventually became one of the largest lock makers in the Willenhall.
Willenhall Local Board approved plans for a works in Wood Street for Henry on the 6th December 1869 and in 1872 they approved plans for works in Union Street in Thomasís name.
WILLIAM VAUGHAN, WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL
VULCAN MANUFACTURING (WOLVERHAMPTON) LTD, NEW GRIFFIN WORKS, COLLIERY ROAD, WOLVERHAMPTON [DREADNOUGHT]
Joseph Waine & Co. Ltd, were general lock, latch & bolt makers, brass & iron founders at Imperial Works, Wood Street, Willenhall. It seems that the company would have been founded about 1850. (Note: this company is not to be confused with John Waine and Sons (Willenhall) Ltd of Brittannia Works, Lower Lichfield street, Willenhall. There is no connection known between the companies).
Note: all the images for this entry were provided by Trevor Dowson, to whom we extend our thanks
JOHN WAINE AND SONS (WILLENHALL) LTD, BRITTANNIA WORKS, LOWER LICHFIELD STREET, WILLENHALL
They were also manufacturers of screw connecting shackles and split connecting links, swivel links etc for shipping purposes; and they were also general galvanizers.
JOSEPH WAINE & CO LTD, IMPERIAL WORKS, WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL
SAMUEL WAKELAM AND CO, WATERLOO PLACE, STRINGERS LANE, WILLENHALL
Trunk, cash box and cabinet lock makers. Existing in 1914 and 1953 but not 1970. Nothing else known.
WALSALL LOCK AND CARTGEAR LTD, NEALE STREET, WALSALL
The company was set up in 1873 as a result of an industrial dispute between the workers and their employers. A demand for higher wages resulted in a lock-out with no wages earned at all. A benefit fund was collected from donations so that the out of work people might get some assistance while the dispute continued. £150 was raised and distributed. Mr G. Harrison reported to the Walsall Trades council that the £150 paid out seemed futile, for the men were still out of work and still not earning. Why was not the money raised used to set the workers up in their own workshops and become self employed? And so Walsall Lock and Cart Gear was formed. Known as the Walsall Padlock Society in 1879, it adopted many titles over the years: "The Walsall Lock and Keysmiths Society Ltd"; later "The Co-operative Walsall padlock Co."; in 1887 the company was trading in the name of Walsall Industrial Co-operative Lock and Hardware Manufacturing Society Ltd". In 1888 the members faced the responsibility of using so much co-operative and trade language in their business and, in the interest of economy of speech and writing and ink, adopted the name of "Co-operative Padlock Society Ltd." They later became Walsall Lock and Cart Gear as their range of products widened. (Further information "The History of Walsall Locks and Cartgear Ltd 1873-1923" by R Halstead )
They built premises in Neale Street, Walsall and later expanded to having branches at Walsall Road, Willenhall (used until the 1960s) and Newhall Street, Willenhall. (In 1936 they were at Newhall Street, only closed earlier).
BENJAMIN WALTERS AND CO LTD, 24 NORTH STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON.
Listed as general lock makers, of all kinds of rim and mortice locks and latches, combination and night latches, and every description of brass and iron cabinet locks. Also Bales & Walters improved patent locks and latches. They made their own cabinet locks and Bales latches but acted as wholesale factors for many other types.
They were situated upstairs at 24 North Street, opposite the Molineux Hotel. Closed when the premises were required for the building of the Wolverhampton ring road.
Existing in 1914 (catalogue) 1974. Nothing else known.
B & P WALTERS
Tony Beck has kindly provided the following photos of a lock marked "B & P Walters". It is not known whether or not this is the same firm as Benjamin Walters (above). And nothing else is known about them - except that they seem to have made fine locks.
W.B.S. SAFE LOCKS LTD, HART ROAD, WEDNESFIELD
His first order was for a trial for a
small quantity of locks from the safe makers, Samuel Withers & Co.
Ltd. (q.v.) for whom he became the main supplier of locks for
During the early 1950s he bought
premises at 38 Hart Road, Wednesfield, nr. Wolverhampton where he formed
a limited company and became W.B.S. Safe Locks Ltd.
After being demobbed from the army in
January 1948 his son, K.W. Sidbotham, went to learn the art of making
locks, the old way by hand, under his fatherís teaching. They
specialised in the making of locks for safes and many other types of
securities, of which bank work was their speciality.
K.W. Sidbotham ran the firm when his
father left and under him the firm expanded considerably. In
particular they went on to repair and
install safes and strong room doors, working for banks, police forces,
prisons and other places using safes and high security doors. During
1960 the firm became involved
in the making of rackbolt locks, which turned out to be a vital string
to his bow when Bob Sidbotham moved to the Guild
Cottage, Radmore Lane, Newport Salop, from where he ran his business and
worked his trade for twenty five years. The rackbolt lock was made for a
London company of locksmiths for a refurbishment programme, service work
included, for one of the leading High Street banks.
This order lasted about thirty years
after which Mr. K.W. Sidbotham retired from lock making, due to poor
health. His cousin, Mr. K. Rooker, of Regent Safe & Cabinet Locks,
Willenhall, (q.v.) helped out and they worked together very well.
We are obliged to Mr. K. W. Sidbotham for help with the above entry. A book by him gives further details of the company as well as a picture of the working conditions and practices of a locksmith in the second half of the twentieth century: K. W. "Bob" Sidbotham, Life and Tales of a Locksmith, History into Print, 2005, £9.95.