Tuesday, 17 September 2013

J C & J Field Ltd. Candle and Soap Manufacturers – 15 Upper Marsh, Lambeth.

The company was one of the oldest in the area, it started business around 1642 and continued on the same site – no. 15 Upper Marsh – for nearly 300 years.

Founded by Thomas Field, it continued through a descendant, also named Thomas, who was listed in 1768 as a wax-chandler of Lambeth and by 1800 the business was known as John & Charles Field, Candle makers from Lambeth marshes.
During the 19th Century candles made of Spermaceti – the oil from the head cavity of the Sperm Whale, were produced; these were more expensive than the ordinary – and cheaper - tallow candles which were noxious and were well known sputter when burnt.

By 1820, the firm was listed as 'wax-chandlers to the Prince Regent' and had a shop in Wigmore Street, and also by this time, with the addition of another John Field, the company became known as J.C. & J Field. 

In the mid 1840's, and with the rise in interest of public health and personal cleanliness; the company began soap manufacturing, for both both household and laundry, in lower fore street in Lambeth. In time, this became their main production as the demand for candles declined from the 19th Century onwards due to the popularity of oil and gas lighting.

By 1873, the company was listing Ozkerit Candles for sale; these candles, made with Ozkerite, a naturally occouring mineral wax, had a higher melting point than regular types and, as such, were favoured in hotter climates. Ozkerit Candles became extremely popular in tropical climes, which was, at that time, most countries of the then British Empire.

During the early 20th century, the firm accquired premises in Rainham Essex, this period also saw a diversification more into soap manufacture and in particular, household soaps and luxury products; by this time the firm had ceased using the term 'wax-chandlers'.

By the early 1940's the firm had moved premises to Wimbledon in South London and then onto Amersham in Buckinghamshire, in 1954. An acuisition by E.Griffiths Hughes in the late fifties and a final amalgamation into Aspro-Nicholas in 1960 snuffed out Fields long and illustrious history.

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