Some Local Shops
Simkins & Sons
Joseph Thorley, Animal Food Manufacturer
Life is full of ephemera - everyday things we take for granted and throw away when we have finished with them. As such they rarely survive but if they do they can fill in details of your ancestors everyday life.
This advert comes from a pre-printed envelope, which S. D. Simkins would have used to mail customers.
This item probably dates from about 1910
1886 S D Simkins, corn & coal merchant, Great Northern Yard
1895 S D Simkins, corn & coal merchant, Great Northern Yard
1899 Samuel David Simkins, Bancroft
1899 Samuel David Simkins, corn, cake, seed & manure merchant & agent for Thorley's Food &c, Bancroft House; warehouses, Great Northern Station,
1902 Samuel David Simkins, Bancroft
1902 Samuel David Simkins, corn & manure merchant, 24 Bancroft House; Great Northern Station; Shillington & Shefford
1908 Mrs Simkins, Bancroft House, Bancroft
1908 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn & coal merchants, 26 Bancroft & Great Northern Station
1912 Frederick Marsh Simkins, Bancroft House, Bancroft
1912 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn, seed, cake & coal merchants, 26 Bancroft (T.N. 27) & Great Northern Station
1922 Frederick Marsh Simkins, Bancroft House, 24 Bancroft
1922 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, 26 Bancroft
1926 Frederick Marsh Simkins, Bancroft House, 24 Bancroft
1926 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, 26 Bancroft (T.N. 27) & L&NE Station Yard
1929 Harry David Simkins, 24 Bancroft
1929 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, 26 Bancroft (T.N. 27) & L&NE Station Yard
1933 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, 35 Bancroft (T.N. 27) & L&NE Station Yard
1937 Samuel David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, 35 Bancroft (T.N. 27) & L&NE Station Yard
Extracts from Trade Directories
[only limited dates available for Beds]
1862 S D Simkins, grocer, Church Street
1876 Samuel D Simkins, postmaster
1876 William Simkins, coal merchant
1890 S D Simkins. miller (water) & corn merchant
1890 William Simkins, farmer & coal merchant, Bury Farm
1903 Samuel D Simkins & Sons, miller (water) & coal, corn & seed merchants
1914 Samuel D Simkins & Sons, corn merchants
1903 Samual David Simkins & Sons, coal, cake & corn merchants, Henlow Station
1910 Samual David Simkins & Sons, corn merchants, Henlow Station
Samuel David Simkins (1842-1905) was born in Shillington, Beds, the son of David (1815-1869) & Wilhelmna (1811-1859) Simkins, of Church Street, Shillington.
In 1851 his father was described as a grocer, and in 1861 as a grocer & farmer employing 5 men and 1 boy, with Samuel being described as a farmer's son. It would seem that Samuel took on the grocer's side of the business by 1862 and was described as a master grocer in the 1871 census, and village postmaster in 1876. Meanwhile his younger brother William succeeded his father as a farmer at Shillington.
In 1872 Samuel married Mary Ann Sharman and they had Frederick March Simkins (1875-1929), Harry David Simkins (1876-1939) and Beatrice Emma Simkins (1881) at Church Street, Shillington, where the family continued to live until at least 1891.
At the time of the 1881 census Samuel had built up a significant business as a corn merchant and (water) miller employing 6 men and 3 boys, and by 1886 was also trading as a corn and coal merchant at the Great Northern Railway Yard at Hitchin. Between 1895 an 1899 the family moved to a house in Bancroft, Hitchin where Samuel was described as "cake, seed & manure merchant & agent for Thorley's Food &c" with warehouses at the Great Northern Station. Samuel continued trading at Shillington, and started trading at Henlow, Beds.
In 1901 Frederick (grain merchant) and Harry (coal merchant) were living with their parents at Bancroft House. Following their father's death in 1905 the firm started trading as S D Simkins & Sons and continued trading from Bancroft and Hitchin station yard until at least 1937.
In 1911 Frederick was described as a corn merchant at 3 Bancroft Lodge, Hitchin, while his brother Harry was described as a corn merchant living at Shillington.
Frederick (Fred) died in 1929 and Harry in 1939. It is not known if the firm continued to trade after the death of the brothers.
In 1850 Joseph Thorley (born Hull in 1827) married Hannah Penrose Read (born Epworth, Lincolnshire in 1830) in the Thorne registration district. The following year Joseph (a corn & seed broker) and Hannah were living with Hannah's sister, Mary Read, at 7 Colonial Street, Holy Trinity, Kingston upon Hull. It is reported [The Agrarian history of England and Wales, by H.P.R. Finberg] that Joseph Thorley was one of the most successful manufacturers of compound foodstuffs, beginning with "Thorley's Food for Cattle" in Hull before moving to London in 1857.
The business was clearly successful as in 1861 Joseph was a manufacturer of food for cattle employing 22men, 2 boys and 15 women at Martins Villas, 17 Lower Hill, Islington. With him were his wife, two daughters (Ann born 1858 at Hull & Flora M born 1859 at Dulwich, Surrey), and his sister Theodosia (born 1836 at Hull). Living nearby was his brother Josiah Watson Thorley, a traveller in food for cattle (born 1835 at Hull) and his wife (Sarah born 1836 at Lynn, Norfolk)
In the 1860's Victoria Wharf, Kings Cross was constructed with Thorley's Cattle Food Mill on the st
In 1871 Joseph is recorded as a manufacturer of food for cattle employing 17 men, 10 boys, 6 women and 70 girls, living in Selina Villa, Ballard's Lane, Finchley, with his sister Clara Clark, a commercial traveller's wife (born 1842 at Hull). There was no sign of his wife (although he is described as married) and his two daughters (Ann & Flora) were at boarding school at Church End, Finchley. His brother J W Thorley was still in London working as foreman of the Archil Works and living with his family at Corbet's Court, Christ Church, Spitalfields. The works would appear to be those of Archil & Cudbear, Manufacturers & Manufacturing Chemists at No 13 Corbet's Court and No 32 Chicksand Street, Spitalfields. London Gazette January 7, 1862. This suggests that Josiah was no longer working with the family firm.
Between July and September 1872 the birth was registered at St George, Hanover Square, of Joseph Thorley (who turns up in Watford in 1911).
In 1881 J(osiah) W(atson) Thorley is a reed crusher (at Mill?) at 30 Poole Road, Hackney, with a large family, and his death is recorded at Hackney in 1889. Searches in the 1881 census for Joseph Thorley (senior or Junior), Hannah, Ann and Flora drew a blank but backing tracking showed that:
Interestingly a newspaper search showed there was a dispute in 1877 involving the executors of Joseph's estate and Josiah. I have not looked at the full texts, but it seems Josiah may have tried to set up a rival firm using the family name claiming he knew the "secret formula" for the feed.
This cutting came from the Ann Arbor Argus (Michigan, USA) on 16th January 1894 but similar news items appeared worldwide, with many in Australia.
Joseph junior has proved hard to track down but in the 1911 census he turns up at Wood Hall Radlet:
From 1926 Joseph Thorley appears at Doraventi, Battlefield Road, St Albans. He died in late 1938 leaving a substantial estate, and his will was proved in 1939. It would seem his wife was Lillian Marian Tipper, who he married at St George, Hanover Square in 1905. She was the daughter of George and Marian Tipper and baptized on 2 July 1876. Mrs Thorley was living at 10 Battlefield Road, St Albans in 1947 and she died at St Albans aged 78 in 1955. The company Joseph Thorley Limited was dissolved in 1957