Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

H W Chapman Ltd

H W Chapman's cart
The man holding the horse is Harry Weedon - Chapman's horse keeper
Delivery wagon 1908
The delivery wagon of 1908
Harry Wells Chapman opened a small business in Mill Road, Wellingborough, in 1888 and began manufacturing rigid shoe boxes for the footwear industry. Ten years later, the firm had new premises in Stanley Road, Wellingborough and H W Chapman was sole proprietor of the business. The firm became a Limited Liability company in 1908 and Mr Chapman was its Chairman and Managing Director and subsequently opened branch factories at Rushden, Wellingborough, Kettering, Earls Barton and at Old Street, London, due to the extension of the range of products when they began the manufacture of folding cartons. An organisation was also set up for the supply of all types of packing materials.

The first board consisted of five people, Messrs. H.W. Chapman, F.J. Burford; H. Simmonds; J.T. Lewis and F.J. White. The company secretary was Mr. E.M. Dexter and the firm's bankers were The London City and Midland Bank Ltd., Wellingborough and the accounts were audited by F. Roberts, F.S.A.A.; of Northampton.

One of Mr Chapman's three daughters, Miss E.A. Millicent Chapman became a director in 1913, and the following year Mr. Chapman retired to emigrate to South Africa. Miss Constance E. Chapman also joined the board, in 1953, and they both resigned in 1959 (to alleviate the effect of estate duty - the sisters were majority shareholders - to ensure a secure future for the company). Miss Helen Chapman, also a shareholder, was never a director.

indenture 1929
1929 certificate to start learning the box making trade

advert 1953
Advert for workers in 1953
During World War I, the factories were taken over for Government Contracts, and were used for packing cartridges. After the war, the company management was rearranged, a new branch started in Raunds and the premises in Stanley Road became their Head Office. The box folding and printing department, also at Stanley Road, grew rapidly and new machinery was installed, and then out­grew the premises.  The main factory, for carton production was moved to new modern premises in 1934, at The Embankment, Wellingborough, and incorporated the company's offices.

In 1939, the factory did some secret aircraft work, and the packaging machinery was moved out to the store in Stanley Road. The factory in Oak Street, Rushden was also taken over for Government work, as was Stanley Road, and a house, in Finedon Road, Wellingborough, was used as offices. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the factory in 1943.

a 1958 van
One of Chapman's delivery vans 1958
The company was taken over by Bryant and May Ltd. (a subsidiary of the British Match Corporation) in 1959 and the chairman, Mr. H. Battson, then retired. The British Match Corporation merged with Wilkinson Sword to become Wilkinson Match, who then controlled Chapman's, although the firm still basically operated as a separate unit.

By 1967, it became necessary, for various financial reasons, to start a new company and H.W. Chapman (Holdings) Ltd. was formed. They took over H.W. Chapman Ltd. (the original company formed in 1888). H.W. Chapman (Holdings) Ltd. later changed its name to H.W. Chapman Ltd. (as a new company) and the original, dormant firm of H.W. Chapman Ltd. altered its name to H.W. Chapman (Holdings) Ltd.

The 57th Annual Ordinary General Meeting notice and Balance Sheet, was held 31st March 1965 as H.W. Chapman Ltd., the 58th on 31st March 1966 as  H.W. Chapman (Holdings) Ltd. and the 1st Annual Meeting on 31st March 1967 once again as H.W. Chapman Ltd.

In 1977 H.W. Chapman Ltd. were manufacturers of a variety of cartons for a wide range of industries in Britain, using the Offset Litho­graphic Letterpress and Photogravure printing processes. The company was still manufacturing of shoe boxes and also did some embossing of the linings and socks of boots and shoes. The packing material department specialised in all forms of paper, printed and plain wrappings and all types of packaging materials.

Photo of vans in the late 1920s
Photo of a pair of Chapman's vans, probably at one of the Wellingborough locations, in the late 1920s

An Inventory on 30th November 1907 by Walter Phelps & Son of Birmingham. (NRO Ref: H W Chapman/11)

The Freehold Factory with Yard, Stables and Appurtenances thereto belonging, situate in Cromwell Road, Rushden at the corner of Allen Road - Valued at £1,125.0.0 Machinery
784.5.0
Driving Power
105.2.6
Plant
40.3.0
Fittings &c
140.0.6
Stock in Trade
613.3.5
Total
1682.4.5

List of directors of H.W. Chapman Ltd. since 1888:
Mr. H.W. Chapman Founder of business 1888
Proprietor of business 1888-1908
Chairman & Managing Director of H.W. Chapman Ltd. 1908-1914
Mr. J.T. Lewis Director 1908-1914
Chairman 1914-1933 (died)
Mr. H. Simmonds Director 1908-1950 (retired)
Mr. F.J. Burford Joined Company Director 1908-1911
Mr. F.T. White Joined Company
Director 1908-1914
Managing Director 1914-1933
Chairman & Managing Director 1933-1934
Chairman & Joint Managing Director 1934-1937
Chairman 1937-1948 (died)
Mr. L. Jessop Director 1913-195O (retired)
Mr. A.P. Evans Joined Company 1913 Secretary 1929-1946 Director 1933
Joint Managing Director 1934-1937
Managing Director 1937-1946
Joint Managing Director 1946-1948
Chairman & Joint Managing Director 1948-1956(died)
Mr. C.F. Alsop Director 1933-1953 (died)
Mr. W.H. Fox Director 1950-1959 (resigned)
Mr. H. Battson Joined Company 1913
Director 1933-1946
Joint Managing Director 1946-1956
Chairman & Managing Director 1956-1958
Chairman & Joint Managing Director 1958-1959 (retired)
Miss E.A.M. Chapman Director 1913-1959 (resigned) died 22.1.1972
Miss C.E. Chapman

Director 1953-1959 (resigned) died 1.10.1966

Mr. H.F. Gummer Joined Company 1934
Director 1949
Joint Managing Director 1958
Managing Director 1960
Chairman & Managing Director Feb.1973
Retired 27.6.1973
Mr. G.D. Battson Joined Company 1946
Director 1953
Mr. F.M. Philp

Joined Company 1946
Director 1953 Retired 25.10.1972

Mr. P.F.S. Warren

Director 1959
Chairman 1960
Retired March 1967 - Died 16.10.1975

Mr. E.L.C. Gwilt Director 1959
Retired March 1966 - Died 24.11.1976
Mr. D.H. Hale Joined Company 1946 (May)
Secretary 1946 (December)
Director 1963
Mr. G.J.T. Parr Director 1965 (July)
Chairman 1967 (April) Resigned 23.2.1973
Mr. D.P. Evans Joined Company 1.9.1955 (left 30.9-1961)
Wolverhampton Box Co. Ltd. (1.10.1961 to 31.7.1972)
Director 1.8.1972
Mr. J.D.M. Vita Joined Company 11.9.1972 Director 11.9.1972
Mr. C.D.H. Rhind Joined Company 5.4.1961 Director 1.4.1973
Mr. Jon Slaven Director 1.12.1973
Mr. R.D. Barnes Alternate Director to Mr. J. Slaven 26.11.1974 Resigned 28.11.1975
Mr. D. Hemming Alternate Director to Mr. J. Slaven 27.5.1976
Mr. J.J. McNally Alternate Director to Mr. J. Slaven 25.5-1977


Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Shoe Trade index
Click here to e-mail us