Simpson Brushes History

Once again I’m referring to a thread from a shaving forum started by Gary Young, a member of the family that owned Simpson Brushes. It captures a great deal of the history of their iconic brush company – and the thread itself is a wealth of further information!

Thought this a good first historical thread for Simpson Brushes…

I get asked quite a lot about ‘our old factory’ in Southampton – we never were based in Southampton! I guess this was a ‘cyber rumour’ started a while ago which is still doing the rounds. So I hope you guys will read this timeline and now take this as ‘Gospel’ and the only true record regarding our ownership up until 1990 when David Carter acquired the business.

1919-
1st Factory opened at Macaulay Road, London E6, just off the Barking Road (not far from the home of West Ham United Football Club). Simpson branded brushes made and sold for the first time and our old family brand name ‘Bajer’ still being made and sold. Brushes made from ivory, bone, horn and vulcanite.

1929-
The business grew out of its original location and moved to new premises at 53 High Street, Clapham, London SW4. ‘Bajer’ branded brushes still being made alongside ‘Simpson’ branded brushes with newer brands ‘Simie’, ‘Alexsim’, ‘Simbal’ and the stand alone ‘Wee Scot’ being added, although Wee Scot brushes had been made since 1919.

1938-
‘Bajer’, ‘Simie’, ‘Alexsim’, ‘Simbal’ and ‘Wee Scot’ brand names dropped with ‘Simpson’ being the sole brand name used by the family from now on.

1940-
Due to World War II, Great Uncle Alex moved large quantities of stock (ivory, horn, hair, silver and gold) out of London to one of my grandfather’s houses in Warfield, Nr Ascot, Berkshire (UK).

1941-
Clapham Factory hit by German bombs which wrecked the whole building.

1941-
Agreement made between Coates Brushes Ltd and Great Uncle Alex for Simpson to move lock, stock and barrel to Nimmer Mill to share the factory. Simpson had been the sole maker of Coates branded brushes since they first appeared on the market so it was an easy arrangement. Also Coates were struggling and part of the agreement was for Simpson to buy out Coates within 1 year of moving to Nimmer, Somerset.

1942-
Simpson take over complete ownership of Coates Brushes Ltd.

1957-
My Great Uncle Alex passed away on 4th November. Sole ownership passed over to my Grandfather, Tom.

1961-
My father, Jim, took on the role of General Manager of both Simpson and Coates Brushes. My mum, Cherry, took on the role of Office Manager for both companies.

1979-
First full brush made by me under the supervision of both my Grandfather and Dad.

1989-
My grandfather, Tom passed away suddenly, 23rd December. Ownership passed to my parents.

1990-
Family ownership ceased – both companies acquired by David Carter.

Well that is the basic timeline for the business during the family’s ownership. I am sure there is plenty there that you have not known about previously – especially the other brands that were ours!

Gary