GIBBS & CANNING
Gibbs and Canning
By kind courtesy of Angella Rogers.
At Glascote Heath there used to be a very large factory. It was on the Glascote Road , which was then situated where Beyer Close now is. The factory was made up of Glascote Colliery and the clay works. Both coal and clay were mined. For over 100 years Gibbs and Canning provided employment for people in Glascote, Amington, Polesworth and the general district. Hundreds of people worked there, and the noises and smells of industry filled the local area. They even had their own railway lines with connections to the main lines, and links to the canal.
The products from the clay works went all over the country and all round the world. It made parts for some very famous buildings, and some beautiful buildings. Itsbuilding products can also be seen in the local area, especially on houses in the Glascote and Amington area. They also produced many other things made from clay including sinks, bottles, bricks, tiles, chimney pots, garden urns and fountains. They even produced some pieces of colourful majolica.
Charles Canning, the first member of the partnership, was a miner in 1851. By the 1861 census he was a manufacturer of sewage pipes. In 1852 the company of Gibbs and Canning supplied stoneware pipes to Coventry Corporation.
One of the earliest surviving documents is a bank book of Messrs John Gibbs and Charles Canning. The first entry is dated 13th February 1846. In that month the balance in the account was £470. In 1853 they accepted work to produce pipes worth £4134 for Woolwich.
In 1850 the firm was called Messrs. Gibbs, Canning and Co. although it was also referred to as Gibbs and Canning. By the 1860s the term Messrs. Gibbs and Canning was in common use. In the 1890s they were referred to in their own adverts as Gibbs and Canning Limited.
In 1866 the partnership of John Gibbs and Charles Canning was dissolved. (The name lived on though, and was still used regardless of who was the owner.)
The firm of Gibbs and Canning was incorporated on 30th October 1878. There were nine subscribers with the largest number of shares being held by Charles Canning. He lived locally. The shareholders included about half and half of local men and men from Evesham. The latter included Mr. John Gibbs.
In 1880 there was an order to continue the voluntary winding up of the company. Somehow it survived and continued work after the sale of the company took place in 1881. In the details the land of both the mines and the works came to about 181 acres.
After the sale the company continued to produce similar sorts of products. Although the prestige side of the business was architectural terracotta, the bulk of the work was pipe making and the production of bricks. Before WWII the production of terracotta for buildings seemed to cease as it was not profitable enough. The buildings were finally demolished in the 1970s and replaced with a housing estate.
Some of the most interesting or famous buildings with Gibbs and Canning terracotta or faience were –
1882, Eastbourne, All Saints Church
1887, Birmingham, Victoria Law Courts (interior)
1896, Preston, Victoria Jubilee Technical School
1901Wilnecote, Methodist Church
1907, Cheltenham, Naunton Park School
1914, Bradford, Alhambra Theatre
1915, Tamworth, The Grand Theatre
1925, Hong Kong, Exchange Buildings
1927, Doncaster, Wheatley Hotel
1930, Seaham, Reuben’s Premises
1934, Birmingham, Aston Corporation Fire Station
More unusual products made by their workers were gravestones. Some touching memorials made by them can be seen in Glascote cemetery.
Anybody with information to contribute or photographs that they could have scanned may contact Angella Rodgers via this website. All contributions will be gratefully received. Photographs and biographies of the workers would also be of interest.
Annual General Meeting
On Tuesday September 11th Tamworth Heritage Trust is holding its Annual General Meeting at The Globe Lower Gungate Tamworth. The meeting will commence at 2.00 pm. and will be followed by a speaker tba. Everyone is welcome.