A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002


B AND G LOCK AND TOOL CO. LTD.  CHAPEL GREEN, WILLENHALL.

Started after WW2 at 14 Lichfield Road, New Invention, by Stan Bickley and Tom Goodall, making padlocks, in premises that had been a blacksmith's shop near Tarbuck’s fish shop, opposite the Gate Inn, New Invention.

They were supplied with keys by A Hough in 1945 and were still at Lichfield Road in 1953.

In the late 1950s moved to new premises in Chapel Green, Willenhall.  Developed to make a range of extruded brass, warded and cylinder padlocks. Trade Mark STA-LOCK.

The company remained in the hands of the families until September 2002, when it was taken over by the Guardian Lock and Engineering Ltd. (qv).  At that time Ivor Bickley retired from the business.  He was presumably, the son of Stan Bickley.

(Information from H Fletcher & A Hough records; and from Martin McCaffrey of Keyosk Products Ltd; 1960 Benn's advert from Trevor Dowson).


An advert from 1958.
 

JOHN BADGER, COOKSON & CO.  GUARDIAN WORKS, GREAT HAMPTON STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON


An advert from 1920.

The company was founded in 1872 as John Badger and Company. It later amalgamated with F. N. Cookson Limited (1834) and Aubin and Company.

It is listed in Whitaker's 1914 Red Book of Commerce as specialising in brassfoundry, repetition work, locks, railway and ships' metallic furniture and electrical fittings, brass, tin and copper goods for ships' use, hardware and press work.

JAMES BAILEY AND CO. LTD.  CROWN MILLS, WOLVERHAMPTON STREET, WALSALL

Manufacturers of locks for travel goods. Existing in 1953 but not in 1970.

 

BAKER & CROCKETT LTD.  1 DUDLEY ROAD, WOLVERHAMPTON

An advert from 1920.  They make locks and keys but this seems to be a small part of their general business.

Both adverts, from 1902, supplied by Trevor Dowson.    

 

H. G. BAKER,  173 WALSALL ROAD,   WILLENHALL

Founded by Henry George Baker who was a diesinker by trade.

It is said that he would deliver tools to Birmingham, on the bus, with them attached to a piece of string which he would put around his neck for ease of carriage. When he married, his parents in law would not allow him to expand the business that was being run from their premises, because of the noise of the drop stamps. At this point he decided to go into the manufacture of locks and possibly made padlocks and mortice locks.

When Herbert Baker died he passed the business to his daughter who ran it with her husband, Aubrey Smith. They specialised in the manufacture of locks for metal cabinets and pit head bath lockers.

Aubrey Smith died sometime after 1976 and his sons Colin and Howard ran the business, although the mother,
Mrs M. P. Smith, was still listed as the proprietor. Closed in 1995 due to lack of business.

 

SAMUEL BAKER, MOAT FIELD WORKS,  WILLENHALL  (c1850-1950)

Manufactures of japanned, galvanised and brass pad locks.

Samuel Baker started in a brewhouse in Back Lane, Willenhall.  (Back Lane is now Cemetery Road.)  The earliest record of them is in Kelly’s Directory of 1850.  In the PO Directory of 1876 they are listed as Iron Padlock makers at 13 Union Street. They moved to Moat Field Works, Moat Street in 1880.

In the 1881 census Samuel Baker, age 29, was running the business. This would probably be the son of the founder.  He was unmarried and lived at 6 Stafford Street, Willenhall.  He employed 12 men and 6 boys. Samuel died in 1930

After his death Mrs Baker, his widow, Mr Prothero, and the two sons, Harold and Roland, ran the works. The business was sold to Century Locks (q.v.) in 1950 and the name ceased to exist. (Ref. LMNL 26)

This billhead (left) (kindly supplied by Trevor Dowson) is apparently from 1890 (but the telephone number is 22503, which seems a bit long for that date). 

The telegraphic address is "Scarboro" and the telegraphic address is "Protheroe".  Are these names significant?


A sad looking Moat Field Works, as seen in March 2015.


The panel carrying the works' name and building year, 1884.


The other part of Moat Works, as seen in March 2015.

 

B.H.B.M. LOCK CO. LTD.   84 ST ANN’S ROAD,  WILLENHALL

Mortice lock rim locks makers. No reference in 1914 or 1970. Existing in 1953.  Nothing else known.

 

BANHAM PATENT LOCKS LTD.  233 KENSINGTON HIGH STREET, LONDON

 

BANKS AND RUSHTON LTD.  WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL

In existence in 1921 at Cemetery Road. Makers of brass cabinet locks.

In the 1950s were taken over by W. M. Pinson (qv). Still in business in 1970. Nothing else known.

The advert on the left is from 1954.

 

BANKS BROTHERS, ROOKERY STREET, WEDNESFIELD.

Cabinet lock makers.

Kelly’s 1900:

Thomas Banks, Rookery Street ,Wednesfield, Lockmaker.
Mrs Isaac Banks, Hickman Street, Wednesfield, Cabinet Lockmakers.
J Banks, Hickman Street, Wednesfield, Key maker

In 1936 Samuel Banks was at Rookery Street, Wednesfield. No reference in 1921 or 1970. Nothing else known.

 

J. BANKS AND CO. LTD.  EXCELSIOR WORKS, 71 WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL

This company was founded in 1846 (Information from Horace Banks said company founded in 1867; but the current company brochure says established in 1846) by Jacob Horace Banks on the site of the present works in Wood Street, making padlocks. Kelly’s Directory of 1900 lists Jacob Banks, 34 Union Street, as Padlock makers. (There is a sketch in the Willenhall Lock Museum showing his original sketch for some padlocks in 1906).

Jacob had two sons John and Horace (1).  John set up on his own, making night latches, in premises in Wood Street next to Josiah Parkes' main offices; while Horace (1) joined his father making padlocks.  At a later date John joined Horace (1) in the original Wood Street premises and set up J. Banks and Co. Ltd.  In 1912, during the 1914-18 war the company manufactured a metal mesh bulletproof vest that was offered for sale to soldiers.  John’s son Horace (2) could remember as an 8 year old lad standing outside the Molineux football ground at Wolverhampton distributing leaflets about the vests. (The Willenhall Historical Society have a sample of the vest and some advertising literature that was presented to the by Horace (2)).

John lived in a house on the site of the works.  In 1920 a fire burned down the works, and John’s son Horace (2) could remember being carried down stairs and away from the fire by his father.  He then had to call the fire brigade, who had to go and catch the horse in a local field to pull the fire appliance before they could deal with the fire. The works were extensively damaged and were rebuilt as they stand today.

During the 1939-45 war the company started to manufacture two types of kit bag handles for the Army and Navy. They still produce them in 2001 as well as button sticks and equipment cleaners.

At the end of the war they returned to manufacturing an extensive range of padlocks (Trade names included CAMEO, CONSUL, MAJESTIC) and night latches (pin key type not pin tumbler). In 1946 John Banks added a new padlock to the range known as a ROLLS (i.e. the Rolls Royce of padlocks).  It was manufactured to a very high standard.  The lock had very close gating on the levers that made it difficult to make, so production only continued until the early 1950s.

On the death of John and Horace (1), Horace’s (1) son, Tony, ran the business from the late 1950s. (Tony was a Bevan Boy at Hilton Main Colliery from 1945 to 1948). By this time they were manufacturing locks that were fitted to leather cases used in the coal mining industry for carrying detonators and explosives. This business declined with the demise of the British coal industry in 1991.

John’s son Horace (2) became a toolmaker, eventually becoming a partner in Orwill Engineering. (Horace died 26 March 1996)

Tony retired and sold the business, on the 7 December 1991, to David Wellman and his partners, Mr and Mrs Hipkin, under whose guidance they have diversified into cast ware products, door and window fittings to bespoke and "in house" designs, while still continuing to supply padlocks, budget locks and various locking devices.

Note-this section of the Banks family was not related to any other lock making Banks of Willenhall.

(Information supplied by Horace Banks, Tony Banks and David Wellman)

 

JAMES BANKS,  ROTUNDA WORKS,  WOOD STREET,  WILLENHALL (1864-1971)

Founded in 1864 to manufacturer locks and latches.  In premises in Cemetery Road, next to the railway line. They later moved to Rotunda Works.

In 1934 Fred Birch worked there for two years running errands. They made rim, gate and galley locks.  Abraham Banks, who was on old man at that time, ran it; his three sons, Abraham, George and Enoch, followed him.

Pre WW2 they employed 18 people - this was about the maximum.

In 1971 Enoch, then age 75, the last Mr Banks, retired and sold the business. It was incorporated into the Quality Lock Company (q.v.) in the same premises.

 

JONAH BANKS AND SONS,  LONDON WORKS,  CLOTHIER STREET, WILLENHALL (c1790-1993)

An advert from 1954.

Manufacturers of door bolts, door handles, gate catches etc., but not known to have made keyed locks. Founded about 1790 by the Banks family, who had come to Willenhall from Great Wyrley.  In the late 18th century had begun making door bolts in premises in Clothier Street. Jonah Banks was the grandson of the founder and it was from him that the company got its name.

They continued to make door bolts and added many items of builder hardware to their range. The firm merged with Abraham Thompson (qv) in 1912. The receivers were called in on the 5 January 1993; the factory closed down and was demolished shortly afterwards.


An advert from 1953.


A Jonah Banks button polisher.

 

T. BANKS,  WARD STREET,  WILLENHALL.

A father and son business that specialised in key cutting for master and differ work for lock makers.

In 1936 there was a T Banks at 82 Bloxwich Road.  Started ??? closed c1980s.

Tom Junior went into making turned parts for the oil industry. Employed up to 15 people and had 3 reps on the road. He sold the Ward Street premises in 1995 to Keith Carrier who worked as a locksmith, repairing and fitting locks?  Tom Jnr then moved into premises in Croft Yard. He got into financial difficulties and went back to cutting keys as an addition to the business.  Moved from Croft Yard to Stringers Lane in 2000.

 

THOMAS BANKS,  BLOXWICH ROAD,  NORTH WILLENHALL

Tommy Banks ran a one-man key cutting business from the outhouse behind his home in Bloxwich Road North.  He would buy blanks or have them supplied by lockmakers to cut for master and differ work.  He would also deal in anything that would earn him a few pounds.  He gave Horace Evans a brass paper knife that he was trying to sell that he had obtained from a brass foundry.  The knife, engraved "Cockington", is still used by Jim Evans in 2001.

FREDERICK BARKER (WOLVERHAMPTON) LTD.   LEVER STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON

Lock maker. Started between 1914 and 1921. In 1970 at Frederick Street, Wolverhampton. Nothing else known.

The words above are Jim Evans' original entry in this Gazetteer.  But Trevor Dowson has now found these two images in a 1928 catalogue.  This image sows that the firm was using the British Bulldog trade mark.
This padlock has the British Bulldog trade mark on the slide drop.  The padlock is described as having a "string malleable case, side cut shackle, brass bush and slide drop".  There were two lever and four lever models, with slide drop or swing drop.


WILLIAM BARNES,  52 NORTH STREET,  WEDNESFIELD

Key maker. In Kelly’s 1900 there was E J Barnes, North Street ,Wednesfield, key maker.  In 1921 there was a James Barnes, key maker at 36 North Street; and in 1936 at 52 North Street.  It is not known if this was the same family. Not in existence in 1970. Nothing else known.

 

BASTA LTD.  TUBBERCURRY, CO. SLIGO, IRELAND

A company originally set up by the Gallagher family with support from the Irish Government about 1955 to provide work on the West coast of Ireland, manufacturing mortice, rim and cylinder locks.

The original engineer, John Stenson, was bought in from Scandinavia. They also developed a die casting division that made door furniture and window fittings.

They were still making cylinder locks in 1976 but by the 1980s lock manufacture had virtually ceased, except for a range of 2-lever mortice lock that used mainly die cast parts. They concentrated on die cast door furniture and window fittings. Any other locks they did sell were purchased from other lock makers (e.g. G. ANSLOW (q.v.)).

In 1990 were taken over by a group led by Kevin Norton. At the time they only had a small range of products. A lot of hard work saw the range increase.

In 1998 they acquired "Worcester Parsons" who were the leading British manufacturer and supplier of "upmarket" brass, aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel extruded hinges, and Basta Parsons was formed.

In 2001 they took over the Wolverhampton Lock making works of Latham Manufacturing. (See under Gibbons and Co (Willenhall) Ltd)) who manufacture ‘Conquest’ friction hinges and the Gibbons range of locks.

 

DAVID BATE, CORN HILL, WOLVERHAMPTON.


An advert from 1861.

 

JOSEPH BATES, J & E BATES, 101 LORD STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON. 

Read the history
of Bates


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