firm of George Pettit was founded in Lutterworth in 1861 and built
substantial premises on New Street, a representation of which appears
in the centre of their letterheading in the style of the day.
Apart from a small amount of personal memories this information is based on records in Leicestershire County Archives
firm remained in the family and in 1946 the shareholders were George
R Pettit and John Hallam Pettit who each held 2231 Ordinary Shares
and 2000 Preference Shares and Kathleen Muriel Pettit and Norman
Frederick Pettit who each held 100 shares. The telephone number was
letterheading describes them as makers of narrow fabrics in the
fields of haberdashery, underwear, outerwear, and boot and corsetry.
This put them in direct competition with Tubbs, Lewis.
1946 George Pettit was ill and Norman Frederick, of the next
generation, was still serving in the forces in the Far East. The
family had applied for his early release, without success. During the
war Pettits had failed to gain nucleus status, which would have
allowed them to deal directly with the Narrow Fabrics Directorate of
the Ministry of Supply based at 28 Quay Street, Manchester. Instead
they had to sub-contract quota from Ripley Lace as did Hills of
Lutterworth and Lye and Sons Ltd.
family had interests in property including land at Primethorpe and
Peatling Parva. The archive at Leicester Records office (DE3799)
which is the source of all of this information has a section on
property at Broughton Astley, which I have not investigated. There
was also a cinema, The Roxy Cinema Ltd (Nottingham), which by 1946
was losing money, as much as £40 in a week. The family speculated
that the reason for this is that their manager was not picking the
best films, with the unspoken assumption that they had not picked the
best manager, despite having to pay him £2 per week, which by then
was not a large wage. Unfortunately I did not identify the location
of the Roxy but I presume it was in Nottingham. There was a Roxy in
Nottingham on Ribblesdale Road, which is at the junction of
Thackeray’s Lane and Mansfield Road in Sherwood. Somebody must have
researched the decline in cinema going. Television would not have
been a factor as early as 1946, but I recall reading that there were
over 70 cinemas in Nottingham, yet by the mid 1960s it must have been
down to about fifteen. The Savoy on Derby Road must be the only one
left working as a cinema. I worked briefly in one of them, the
Wilton, which by late 1960s was a storehouse for John Player
including gifts to be acquired in exchange for tokens. Another
indicator of problems is that John Davies acquired the Rank
Organisation cheaply and that included the cinemas.
firm in which they were involved was Carrington Pictures Ltd.
business must have been offered for sale informally and they received
an approach from Tubbs Lewis. The offer is in an undated copy of a
personal letter to Jack (John H) Pettit from Leonard Tubbs of Leonard
Tubbs & Co who by the merest coincidence was also chairman of
Tubbs Lewis. The offer consisted of £10,000 for the premises,
£22,000 for the plant, machinery and vehicles (excluding Jack’s
car), £5,000 for goodwill and trade marks plus stock at valuation.
The deal was conditional on TL taking over all existing contracts and
subject to obtaining the necessary licences from the Ministry. Jack
was to be retained as a consultant on £500 p.a.
is evidence of one trademark “CLIVE – knicker elastic, washing
and boiling, always reliable, finest art silk and rubber “. It
makes IKEA look uninventive!
is a schedule of a stock take on 23 November 1946 where the total
value was £2831.9.6.
process was carefully orchestrated. The existing firm was to go into
voluntary liquidation. This appears to have been necessary to avoid
transferring tax liabilities to TL. There were formal meetings held
October 1946. The firm agreed to sell its assets to TL and then voted
to go into voluntary liquidation. One Francis William Doleman of
Leicester was appointed liquidator. A new company with the same name
was formed and which was wholly owned by TL. The directors of the new
company were unsurprisingly Leonard Tubbs, and ACC Willway plus RE
Yeabsley CBE about whom I know nothing, CB Tubbs MC and TB (Tom)
Wallace MBE. The new letterheading was exactly the same as the old
except for the change of Directors’ names and a mention of Jack as
the official grounds for the need to sell the business were the
illness of George and the unavailability of Norman there is one
rather alarming letter of 8
February 1946 in the archive from Ripley Lace to Pettit’s asking
for settlement of an “enormous” overdue account of £1957.19.3,
so perhaps post war trading conditions were not helping. There are
ledgers in the archive and detailed research could be done. There is
a P&L account for 18 weeks to July 20
1946 which may be for the whole of Pettit’s. It shows a Gross
Profit of £157 on sales of £1471 of which £340 was consumed by
Purchase Tax and a mere £90 by wages, and then there was discount
and expenses to be dedcucted from the GP. Not much left.
are copies of pro forma documents signed by Tom Wallace which would
have been sent out to customers, assuring them that JH Pettit would
continue to be associated with the company; there is some more
interesting personal correspondence resulting from Jack’s personal
contact with them.
firm of Lion and Mosely were customers in Sydney, Australia but had a
London office run by Charles Cahan. He wrote to Jack on 4
December 1946 saying that Tubbs, Lewis appear to us to be nice folk,
which I take to mean that Cahan had been talking to CBT. In an
earlier letter (11 November) Cahan reminisces that by coincidence RS
Moseley had taken a lease from Tubbs & Lewis on 22 March 1890 (by
which date Lewis was dead) – I speculate that could be on premises
at Charterhouse Buildings which was intended to be small warehouses.
well-wisher was J Whiteside of George Wigley, Warser Gate, Nottingham
who were also suppliers of cotton to Nottingham Braid, though by my
time there the face was of Mr (Bill?) Howard.
this archive is Pettits rather than TL it is not really clear who was
running Pettits after the takeover. There is correspondence signed by
E Stevenson who appears to have an administrative role. Obviously Tom
Wallace was master-minding everything and did the stock-take but he
had overall responsibility for the whole of TL as its works manager.
There is a sarcastic comment from Jack that Tom Wallace was off to
Coventry to see a braiding machine that was 5 times as quick as
theirs. I would speculate that this would be the Wardwellian type of
braider where the packages run on the outside of the track and the
cam mechanism is much shorter than on a maypole type braider. This
has the potential to run very quickly but MCT never had any success
with the second-hand one bought from Great Grimsby Coal Salt and
Tanning Co (Cosalt) in 1965. The Wardwell company of Rhode Island
still exists and makes braiders both of the rapid and maypole type.
Unfortunately in their illustration the rapid mechanism is entirely
hidden behind the guards. H&S to the rescue!.
is evidence that the firm was trying to keep up with technology and
certainly bought some new equipment. There is an invoice from
Crowthers in 1930 for five 24B (Saurer?) elastic looms with fittings
and there are documents which I have not examined yet with
information about Holborn (?) braiders
went to Pettits from Wotton in 1954 and was there until resigning in
1956, so this little bit of history impacts directly on the family
which moved to Ullesthorpe in 1954 and Swinford in (I think) 1955.
CBT also retired in 1956, around the time of his 60
birthday. I understand that they rowed about this and other matters,
particularly the City Sites Devlopment Company, but know nothing of
the details. I was taken into Pettits a couple of times by my father,
but only on Saturday mornings as I recall, so I do not remember any
activity but lots of samples and pins. MCT always carried pins in the
seam of his jacket lapel ready to whisk out to pin a sample to a
piece of card. It must have been very trying for his tailor, but
would not have given Sherlock Holmes much to think about. I guess he
also carried scissors, but I doubt if he carried cards in his