A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002


LA TROBE HANDCUFFS LTD.   OAKWOOD PARK,  CONWY,  GWYNEDD,  WALES

A company set up by Peter La Trobe, a descendant of the La Trobe family who ran Hiatt, (q.v.) to manufacture handcuffs in the mid 1980s.

They only ran for a short time and ceased production in 1990.
 

JOHN LAVENDER, WOLVERHAMPTON

This is a miniature safe (note the Coke can for an indication of its size).  The brass plate reads "John Lavender Wolverhampton". 

This name has not (yet) been found in the category "Safe Makers" in the Wolverhampton Red Books during the 20th century, so the firm may be older.  Nothing else is known of the company at present.

Thanks to Steve Cannon for the photo.


J. LEGGE & CO. LTD.   MOAT STREET,  WILLENHALL

Read the history of Legge & Co.

   

W. & R. LEGGOTT, SILENS WORKS, EAST PARADE, BRADFORD

The company was established in 1881. The firm was awarded a silver medal at the Antwerp Exhibition in 1894 for machinery and machine tools, and had an Honorable Mention for small machinery.

The company is listed in Whitaker's 1914 Red Book of Commerce as brass and bronze founders, lock and window gearing manufacturers, specialising in opening gearing for lantern lights and ranges of skylights, locks, door furniture, door springs, espagnolette bolts, wrought iron casements and stays etc., fanlight and skylight openers, single and continuous. There were 130 employees.
 

A. LEWIS AND SONS (WILLENHALL) LTD.   47 CHURCH STREET,  WILLENHALL
 

Manufacturers of lever, brass box, till cupboard hook bolt and wardrobe locks. 

Founded in 1920 and still in existence today. Run by Terry Lewis, employing 2 people.

 
 
 

RICHARD M. LORD LTD.   ALBERT WORKS,  GOLDTHORN HILL, WOLVERHAMPTON.

Established in 1868 to make safe locks, flat key locks and brass safe fittings, sold under the "Scorpion" trade mark. 

Existing in 1953.  Not existing in 1970.  

This safe, in the Black Country Living Museum, has "Richard M. Lord Wolverhampton" on the upper plate and "fire resisting safe" on the lower plate.

Nothing further known about this maker.

A Richard Lord safe installed in a wall in a shop (now an antiques shop) in Much Wenlock.

 

LIPS SLOTEN,  MERWEDESTRAAT 48,  3313 CS,  DORDRECHT,  THE NETHERLANDS


Courtesy of  Trevor Dowson.

Lips was founded in 1870 and remained a family business until 1973 when they were taken over by Chubb and became Chubb Lips Nederland BV. 

Along with the rest of the Chubb Group they were bought by Racal in 1989 and became part of their security division. 

In 1997 Williams Holdings bought the Security Division from Racal.

Chubb Lips Nederland BV is split into three divisions.

Lock Division. T.O. Df 46 million p.a. with 235 employees. They make mortice locks; Cylinder Locks and safe deposit Box Locks.

Safe division. T.O. Df 60 million p.a. with 200 employees

Electronics Division. T.O. Df 65 Million p.a. with 300 employees

(MHE report 17/5/99) (See "Lock and Keys through the Ages" by Vincent Eras)

 

LISTON PRODUCTS (BRIDGTOWN) LTD.   UNIT 4,  UNION STREET,  CANNOCK

Manufacturers of the "HODGES" Range of locks, bag frames and brief case fittings.  Set up by Mr Lisle and partner (Mr Hinton?) to manufacture the locks etc. that had been made by Hodges Locks (q.v.) / Samuel Wilkes (q.v.) after they went into liquidation in 1979.

Mr Lisle was the grandson of the Mr Edward Lisle who made Star motorcycles and cars in Wolverhampton.

On the 27th May 1998 they moved to 17 Conduit Road, Norton Canes, Cannock, to give themselves larger premises.  On the 1st June 2000 the company was acquired by C.W.Cheney & Sons Ltd of Birmingham.

 

FRANK LOWBRIDGE,  103 BLOXWICH ROAD NORTH,  SHORT HEATH

Key maker who used to cut cabinet keys in a small factory opposite the school gate.  Probably finished in 1950s.  Not existing in 1921 or 1970.  Nothing else known.

 

LOWE AND FLETCHER,  CHURCH STREET,  WILLENHALL

Founded in 1889. Originally manufactured all types of locks.  By the 1960s there was still a family interest, the company being run by Phillip Trevor-Jones. 

The company had become one of the major suppliers of locks to the motor industry, with factories in Europe to serve the European car industry.  

They were the first people to manufacture a steering column lock as original equipment for the Hillman Avenger.

In the 1960s they suffered a major fire at their Church Street premises.  As a temporary measure they moved into a factory at Hatton Street, Bilson, while they re-built the Church Street premises and they also built a new factory at Aldine, Halesfield, Telford for the manufacture of cam locks and locking devices for filing cabinets etc.

They also had a division Fortress Interlocks Ltd, at Birmingham New Road, Wolverhampton which manufactured key operated interlocking systems for machinery.  This was sold on in the 1980s.


Ironmonger Guide, 1950


A Lowe & Fletcher padlock.

In 1976 they sold the car lock division to Chubb (qv), who formed L & F Willenhall Ltd, who remained in the original Church Street premises.  Lowe and Fletcher Ltd moved into the premises they had retained at Hatton Street, Bilston, where they made radial pin tumbler, padlocks, safe and a range of furniture locks. They also retained the Telford factory. As demand increased, another factory was opened at Clothier Road, Brislington, Bristol where they set up a new company Southern L&F Ltd.

By 1996 the Lowe and Fletcher group of companies consisted of Lowe and Fletcher Ltd., Telford and Bilston; Lowe and Fletcher Metal Finishing Ltd., Bloxwich; Southern L & F, Bristol; Euro-locks sa nv, Bastogne, Belgium; Euro-locks sa, Folschviller, France; Euro-locks gmbh, Sulzbach, Germany. They had a turnover of £29,769,000 and employed 618 people. (Business West Midlands magazine August 1998)

On the 10th August 1998 moved their Bilston works to larger premises at Moorecroft Drive, Wednesbury.  This incorporated all the products that had previously been made at Lowe and Fletcher, Bilston, plus some of the locking devices that had been made at Telford.  This allowed the Telford site to be developed for the manufacture of window handles and locks.

 

L & F WILLENHALL LTD.

Formed when Lowe and Fletcher (q.v.) sold its car lock division to Chubb Group in 1976, they remained in the original Lowe and Fletcher works in Church Street Willenhall.

They were later amalgamated with C E Marshall (qv) and eventually the Willenhall works became known by that name.

 

G. LUCAS & CO.  BILSTON

Originally the only record we had of this company was this name plate, provided by courtesy of Tony Beck.

Photo courtesy of Tony Beck.

Then Trevor Dowson provided the second name plate (below) and the advert (right) which comes from Kelly's Stafford Directory for 1884. 

The advert gives their foundation date as 1862 and says that they make safes, chests and bullion boxes and that they will gives estimates for large safes, iron doors and strong rooms.

Trevor also notes the firm's appearance in the directory for 1872, where their address is given as Staffordshire Safe Works, Hall Fields, Bradley, Bilston.  In the 1874 directory their address is given as Hall Fields, Daisy Bank, near Bilston.  In the 1884 advert shown above their address is given as Daisy Bank, Bilston. As Daisy Bank can be seen as part of Bradley, which itself is part of Bilston, it is safe to assume that the site of the works was in fact the same all the way through. 

Trevor finds the firm listed in the 1924 directory but not thereafter.  It is therefore likely that they closed at about this time.

Matt Page has now kindly sent us photos of his complete Lucas safe, which is shown below.

 

D. LYCETT AND SONS,  LONG STREET,  WALSALL

Run by the Lycett family, makers of locks and also suppliers and fitters of security equipment. 

In the 1960s were at Pleck Road, Walsall.  They moved into new premises in the 1970/80s in Long Street. 

In existence in a trade directory of 1987.  Put up for sale in January 2000 for £175,000.


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