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From: E. S. P. Miller, 20-04-2007.

The Miller Stain & Polish Co. Ltd.

Post World War Two Photograph of Millers Company Van
Millers (Rushden) Ltd. Company Van - post WWII

Photograph showing the top of a Millers polish tin lid.
Top of a Miller's Polish tin lid
Miller's Boot Polish tin lid
On 16th March 1918, Jeffrey Miller, polish manufacturer, bought land between Victoria Road and Albert Road from the heirs of T. Lilley. On 9th May 1919 The Miller Stain and Polish Co. Ltd. was formed. The share holders were Jeffrey Miller, Henry Whitney, Joseph H. Whitney, Tom Morton and Oliver Tailby. On 17th December 1921 Jeffrey’s son Eddie entered the business with one share. He was a shoe manufacturer in Burton Latimer. On 22nd July 1930, Herbert, son of Eddie, entered the business. By then the other share holders were Alec Swindall, Thomas J. Swindall and Harry Hodge. These men were bought out one by one until all the share holders were Millers, including Jack and Keith. After the War the name was changed to Millers (Rushden) Ltd as finishing products were needed less with the new ways of manufacturing footwear. Wholesale grocery took over and continued until the demise of the corner shops lead to closure in 1985.

Finishing materials and polishes were supplied to over 150 outlets. Edge stain, bottom stain, quick black, stick wax, heel ball and the famous Millers Lavender Polish were just a few being made in a WWI army hut that had been bought in 1919. Later this was surrounded by brick as manufacturing continued. A second warehouse was built on the old orchard. They also made Washo washing powder, with women filling the packets as the powder was fed down from large hoppers. It came in small bags about 10cm by 15cm and the cost was two old pennies a bag with two ounces of the powder. This however was a short lived enterprise as another company was already using the name and they offered to sell the name or the company was to stop using it, and they decided to cease manufacture.

This packet of Washo sopa was recently given to Rushden Museum
Washo soap packet recently given to Rushden Museum
Jeffrey Miller had six siblings. Emily married Andrew Austin, a polish manufacturer and later a soap maker. Elijah, born 27th January 1867, was a preacher at Park Road Wesleyan church and Souldrop. His daughter Grace Allen died 11th November 2000.    

Eddie Miller and Florence Trusler were friends of John White and Nancy (Annie) Darnell and they all went courting together. Eddie and Florence were married on 27th December 1909 and John and Nancy married on 5th August 1911. While working for Buckby Bros. as a pattern cutter in WWI Eddie was presented with a gold 'medal' inscribed “Awarded to E. C. Miller, Burton Latimer, for Boot Design”.

Rushden Echo, 10th December 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Gold medal—It is with gratification that we record the fact that the gold medal, offered by the "€œBoot and Shoe Trades Journal" for the best model of a trench boot, has been won by a Rushden man—Mr. E. J. Miller, son of Mr. Jeffrey Miller, of 53 Queen-street, Rushden. Mr. E. J. Miller is now residing at Burton Latimer.


Rushden Argus, 11th April 1919

New Company
Miller Stain and Polish Co. Ltd. (154078)
Private Company, Registered April 3rd. Capital £3,000 in £10 shares. To take over the business of a stain and polish manufacturer, carried on by J. Miller at Rushden. First directors, H. Whitney, Burton Latimer, boot manufacturer and T. Norton, Burton Latimer, polish manufacturer. Solicitors, Lamb and Stringer, Kettering.

1929 statement
1927 Statement
By 1919 he was a principal shareholder in Gilbert & Grohman. On 21st June 1919 he was also a shareholder in the Unity Boot Co Ltd, registered number 156322, together with W. Campion and R. S. Gilbert. The registered office was in Moor Road.

There was a time when all the Millers in Northamptonshire, except one, were related, as they all came from one family living in Finedon. The earliest record I have is of William Miller who married Sarah Wysdish on 15th February 1705 at Great Addington. They were both from Finedon and he was a woollen weaver.

In 1949 I worked at John White's offices in Higham Ferrers. One of my duties was to carry Mr White’s tea down the stairs and along the corridor to his private office. The milk must not be spilt or the bone china rattled – difficult while holding the tray in one hand and knocking on the office door with the other! 

Editor's note: to see examples of Millers advertising, please click here.

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