Lotus Shoes

Thomas Bostock was born in 1777 in Heage, Derbyshire. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to his father, William Bostock as a cordwainer and then he moved to Manchester, and on to Nottingham, where he worked as a foreman for Mr Sanders, who was a boot manufacturer. He married Sarah Dudley in 1805 and had four sons and in 1814, he arrived in Stafford where he set up his own business in Broad Eye.

In 1818 the economic situation had began to improve, and by then there were twenty footwear manufacturing companies in the area, as well as other companies engaged in the trades of tanning and the supply of ancillaries to the boot and shoe industry.

The leather tax was eventually repealed in 1822 and as overseas markets began to open with the ending of the war the shoe industry began to regain its importance, and Thomas had founded a manufacturing firm in Foregate Street. The village out-workers were gathered into workshops as the industry developed, but the work was still done by hand.

In 1824, after the birth of his seventh son, (one of whom had died), Sarah, his wife died and Thomas married Sarah Hill. She gave birth to a daughter, Sarah Ann in 1831.

William suffered the loss of his third son, Alfred in 1829 and his youngest son, Benjamin, died as a result of a fire in 1832. Another son, James died in 1837 as a result of an accident with a nail.

In 1834, there were 53 footwear manufacturers in Stafford with just under 10% of the local population being employed making shoes.

By the time, Thomas retired in 1840; he and his sons had businesses in Stone, Stafford and Northampton.

Maintaining some capital in the business, Thomas moved to Rickerscote, where he became interested in farming.

In 1847, shoemaking progressed with the invention of the closing machine, which enabled toecaps and vamps to be stitched together. The start of mechanisation encouraged engineering firms, such as Dormans to be formed to supply the factories and workshops with knives and tools.

The expanding shoemaking business in Stafford exported its products to Australia, which was becoming heavily populated due to the discovery of gold, and local businessmen, such as Henry Venables, took this opportunity to develop and expand their products.

Henry constructed wooden packing cases, lined with paper and having domed lids and handles. Packed with shoes these cases were sent out to Australia and when emptied, they were sold to settlers to store clothes and linen. As well as these cases, Henry also supplied wood from his carpentry business to be used for wooden heels and cutting boards.

To keep up with demand, Edwin Bostock began to investigate new methods of manufacture. The American sewing machines, designed by Elias Howe in 1846 were trialled in October 1855. But Stafford was slow to react to such progress, thinking that a loss of out-working and an increase in production would lead to a decrease in pay.

The use of the sewing machines in other towns resulted in Stafford losing market share and this was only increased when a strike was called in 1859 against the manufacture of "Pegged Boots" by Edwin Bostock. The strike was ended when the workers agreed to work on sewn tops for an increase in wages of one penny per pair of boots.

A number of friendly societies and a Manufactures Association formed an alliance as a result of the strike and the manufacture of boots and shoes was now pushed towards factory production with female labour, while the finishing off was done by home-based men, known as "Stickboys" or "Stabbers"

In 1862 Edwin Bostock employed around 200 females in his Foregate Street factory.

The hours were from 8 in the morning to 7 in the evening, with an hour for dinner and half an hour for tea. The working times were frequently changed and on occasions employment was carried on in one room between 8 a.m and 8.45 pm for five days in the week, while in another room, employment was maintained from 7 a.m until 8 p.m. In the factory there were about 9 children of around 12 years of age, who worked as many hours as the adults.

The factory was closed for just three days a year, Christmas Day, Good Friday and Whit Monday, and the wages were controlled by piece work rates, with deductions made for the amount of silk used in sewing.

Examples taken from the wage book show:-

For one week

Amount earned 24s 2d---- deductions 5s

Amount earned 21s 9d---- deductions 5s 6d

Amount earned 22s 6 and half d-----deductions 4s 4d.

These wages were for five days work plus 7 and a half hours overtime and compare to the wages of the fitters who earned between 8s and 11s and the women who sewed the linings who earned between 7s and 9s.

The factory system was seen as a major step forward in the development of the footwear industry and Edwin Bostock speaking to the Children's Employment Commision in 1862, estimated that in Stafford about 1,000 women and children were employed in factory environments like his.

In 1863, a dispute in Kendal involving riveters and finishers committed the Amalgalmated Cordwainers Association to considerable costs and the hostile situation resulted in the Amalagamated Cordwainers Association Council expelling the riveters and finishers, who then were forced to carry on in local societies which were, for the most part separate from one another.

The boom in exports to Australia, was followed by a decline as Australia began manufacturing their own products. In 1867 short time working led to the mayor setting up a distress fund which provided aid to about 800 people. Three shoe manufacturers went bankrupt in 1869, but the Bostock factories were able to continue with an increased trade in women's shoes from France and exports to South America. The trade to Australia and the Far East also improved with the opening of the Suez canal. The value of exports in 1875 was £1,350,233, but this did not translate into stability for the local workers. An example was a man who worked for Podmores. Turning up at the hatch in the warehouse, he would collect leather to make ladies boots and the next week, having made and burnished the shoes in his back room, he would return to drop them off and collect his wage of seven shillings and sixpence as well as possibly more leather, but he never knew what his employment would be from one week to the next.

The fluctuations in conditions caused great hardship and unease in the whole country and in December 1873, 25 workers from the boot and shoe industry met in Stafford. They were all riveters and finishers and their aim was to form a break-away union from the Amalgamated Cordwainers Association which was a craft union concerned with the production of hand-sewn footwear. The formation of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Rivetters and Finishers in Stafford, gave some stability and unity to the workforce and the employers. In 1893, there were 36 boot and shoe manufacturers in Stafford and 9 in Stone, which gave rise to the claim that Stafford had the biggest trade in England for women's footwear.

In 1901, the market town of Stafford was a thriving community, with a salt works and cattle and produce markets. The population of 21,000 lived in between the shops and small factories. When Edwin Bostock's factory in Glover Street burned down, he built a new one in Sandon Road and the future of the shoemaking business seemed safe and secure.

In 1912 The Patent Non-Splitting Wood Heel Company was registered after a payment of £1,626 10s 11d to Henry Bostock for his dealings with Vik Heels Ltd.

Henry Bostock was the son of Edwin, he took over the shoe shop in Chester in 1862 and in 1912, became the Chairman of The Patent Non-Splitting Wood Heel Company. The certificate of incorporation was promised for the 11th November 1912 and the board consisted of

Mr Henry Bostock (Chairman)..........9 shares

Mr Edwin Bostock (Edwin Bostock & Co Ltd )..............10 shares

Mr Edwin Dillon Bostock (son of Edwin Bostock).........10 shares

Mr Henry John Bostock (son of Henry Bostock).............9 shares

Mr Frederick Marson Bostock (son of Henry Bostock).....10 shares

Mr Dudley Herbert Bostock (son of Henry Bostock)........9 shares

Mr Geoffrey Bostock...Secretary (son of Henry Bostock).....in attendance.

The first annual general meeting was held at Oaklands (the home of Edwin Bostock) on Friday 31st 1913.

In 1916 it was decided not to divide any profits for the year with a balance of £1,845 17s 10d in the profit and loss account. £100 was transferred to Reserve for Rent and £120 was transferred to the Mangers Bonus Fund.

In 1918, it was agreed to pay Edwin Bostock & Co Ltd an increased rent for the factory premises. This increase of £20 5s was the amount which the machinery manufacturers, Messers Keats & Bexon had paid in rent.

In 1919 arrangements were made for the interchange of shares and Directors between Lotus Ltd and the Highfield Tanning Company. Lotus was a brand name for shoes which were made and sold via retailers. The system of selling was such that retailers ordered stock in only when they received a customer enquiry. This was unsatisfactory to both retailers and customers who were faced with delays. The manufacturers as well as the work force also found this practice difficult to cope with. Therefore Henry John Bostock, who had started out in the company by selling, decided that the production of footwear should be more flexible and he initiated a system whereby shoes were produced and stored in a warehouse. This gave rise to more predictable and regular employment and a sense of stability. Another advantage was that the Lotus shops, owned and run by the company often had extra stock in store and were therefore able to supply customers quickly.

The change in working practices bought about a change of direction in the business structure of the Bostock business and in October 1919, shares in Edwin Bostock and Co Ltd were transferred to Lotus Ltd which became a public company in 1920, also in that year it was proposed that The Patent Non-Splitting Wood Heel Co. Ltd change it's name to Vik Heels Ltd.

Progress continued in 1922 with the contract to supply electrical power to the factories in Sandon Road, George Street and Glover Street given to the Stafford Corporation. This extra expense was accounted for in 1923 by deciding to cut extra leather pieces to be sold to the trade. These pieces could not be sold under the Lotus name and so they were sold by Vik Heels, which changed its name to Vik Supplies in 1930.

In 1923, Mr A Clarke, who worked for a firm in Norwich was contracted to instruct Vik Heels how to cover wood heels with celluloid to give them the appearance of patent leather. After a period of time he was asked to stay and supervise between 50 and 60 girls. These girls worked a standard 48 hour week. Young girls from school earned 8 shillings a week while girls aged 19 and over could earn 28 shillings. Work ceased when a girl married.

After the war there was an acute shortage of materials, and so embossed celluloid heels were produced to match all leathers as well as crocodile and lizard skins. The production of evening shoe dyes meant that manufacturers could make shoes in a variety of materials, but in a standard white colour which were dyed in the factory to order or dyed "in shop" to meet the demands of the fashion conscious customer.

The production process of a shoe in the 1920s was as follows:-

Once a design was approved, patterns were cut and a master shoemaker made up standard sized samples which were tried out by staff members. Once the samples were approved, a wooden model, which was known as a last, was made

Clickers laid out patterns for the upper parts of the shoes onto leather, taking care to cut out the pieces accurately and economically.

Components for twelve pairs of shoes were placed on a trolley, which was pushed around the factory from one machine to another until the shoes were completed.

After each stage, the worker tore off the specification sheet marker, which was then used to calculate the wages earned. A typical wage for the attachment of twelve pairs of heel was 3 and a half pence.

The insole was knocked onto a wooden last with 3 tacks and then the upper was tacked onto the insole and the stiffeners were put in. A toepuff or lining was then put into the toe. Then quarters, quarter liners and stiffeners were tacked on and the shoe was "lasted" on a machine which applied tacks as far round as the heel. The rough surface was then removed from the underneath layers which were later attached to the sole.

A 'tack-knife' with special slots in it was used to remove the original 3 tacks which had held the insole onto the last. A shank, made of compressed cardboard, leather or metal was fitted, and the bottom filled with 'Vesto' (a mixture of cork and tar which was supplied in blocks 12"x8" and in order to be spread the blocks had to be kept warm). In the Sole Press Shop the sole of the shoe had been pressed from bottom leather and rounded to exact sizes. This sole was then attached to the upper with staples, and when a channel had been opened ready for stitching, the shoe was removed from the last.

A machine was used for sewing in the channel from seat to seat, then a solution was put into the channel to cover the stitching and on another the channel was closed.

An iron foot was placed into the shoe and a mould brought down over the mould and the shoe to force the shoe into the correct shape.

Heels were usually made of leather, sometimes wood and were nailed all round on one machine before another machine put 6 heel pins in to hold secure the shoe onto the heel. The shoe were then put on a heel paring machine were the leather heels were roughly cut into shape. The heels were then scoured by machine with a rough emery wheel, and finally smoothed with a fine emery wheel.

Again the shoes were put on a last to be put into a drying machine for about 15 minutes before being sent to the finishing room where the heels and edges were inked. The shoes were buffed and the graining fetched-up. The bottoms were stained and inked. the shoes was placed on a heel setting machine where the edges of the heel were ironed out and the heel ball applied. They were again polished by a machine, which applied 'freak' and then buffed the shoes up.

The shoes were then inspected and touched up where necessary, removed from the lasts and had the inside socks pasted in, Shoes were then flamed in the Treeing room by gas jets so the heat would remove any wrinkles in the leather upper.

Finally the shoes were given a last inspection and boxed before being sent to the stockroom.

New and different methods of producing footwear were always being tried and tested. Latex adhesives were used to bond soles, replaced with nitrocellulose and then vulcaprene products. Scrim toepuffs, cemented together with a heavy nitrocellulose were replaced with lighter felt materials as the demand for softer toed shoes increased.

Lotus had developed into the retail trade and looked to expand with the addition of products such as polishes. The Bostocks had purchased stock from Mr Adolph Axelrath, who owned The Yankee Polish Company in Hamburg and when they visited Germany in the early 1930s, Mr Axelrath was keen to encourage the Lotus directors to invest in the manufacture of polish which could affordably be used for household use as well as for footwear.

On the 3rd June 1932 Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Ltd was Incorporated under The Companies Act 1929.

The first company meeting was held in London on the 24th June

Mr Axelrath, transferred equipment from Germany to Stafford.

Application of Shares for £1,000 fully paid shares

Lotus Ltd . 245 shares..........Shoe manufacturing company

Geoffery Bostock 1 share...............Chartered accountant

Benjamin Ransome 1 share ..............Clerk working for G Bostock

Frederick M Bostock 1 share.......... ..Shoe manufacturer

James F Bostock 1 share.......... ..Shoe manufacturer

Neville F Bostock 1 share ............Shoe manufacturer

Heinrich Jolles 250 shares .......Shoe dealer

G G Niclas 250 shares .......Merchant

A Axelrath 250 shares Owner and Director of Yankee Shoe Polish Co

On 21st July 1932 the trade mark agents, Hazeltine, Lake & Company Ltd, filed an application for the registration of the word 'Dove' in Class 50 in respect of boot and shoe polishes.

The specimen unit for the display of 'Lotus Polish' was submitted in July and the general scheme for its distribution among Lotus agents considered. It was resolved that the unit be approved and the cost of any subsequent units ordered be divided equally between the Company and Lotus Ltd.. for countries other than the British Dominions and the United States of America where individual permission would be necessary Permission had been granted to the Company by Messrs. Lotus Ltd. to market polish directly overseas under the brand 'Lotus'. Special export boxes were being manufactured, bearing instead of the words 'LOTUS & DELTA SHOES' the Companies full title (Spic & Span) and 'MADE IN ENGLAND'.

Arrangements had been to supply Messrs. Lotus Ltd.. with polish put up in special Christmas tins and that Golf, Patent Leather, and Reptile polishes were available.

Lotus Limited advertised -

"GOOD SHOES NEED GOOD POLISH - USE LOTUS POLISH"

On the 7th September 1932, after a delay caused by objections to the registration of the trade mark, Hazeltine, Lake & Company advised Spic & Span Shoe Polishes Ltd. that the Trade Mark 'Dove' had now been included in the Trade Marks Journal.

The company accounts for year ended 30 September 1933 detailed the product range and sales as:-

Sales £

Lotus Polish 2,293

Lotus Golf Polish 244

Lotus Export Polish 163

Lennards Polish 88

Dove Lever Polish 206

Dove Screw Polish 25

Dove Floor Polish 7

Dove Shoe White

At a meeting held on 20th March 1933 in the presence of Mr H J and Mr J F Bostock, Mr Jolles and Mr Axelrath the accounts were presented by Mr. P Lingwood and showed a loss of £83 15s 7d.

These figures had been considered by Mr. J Bostock and Mr. H Jolles. They had concluded that the business could not stand the expense connected with the development of Dove Polish, and, at their request, Mr. Lingwood had drawn up an alternative account, which showed that, by dispensing with the services of Mr. G Niclas, and confining the operations of the Company to the development of Lotus Polish, a monthly trading profit of £2 12s 5d might be expected.

It was agreed that Mr Niclas' appointment should be terminated as soon as possible, and that his investment in the company, (shares to the value of £250 and a loan of £150), should be taken over by Lotus Ltd., Mr Jolles and Mr Axelrath.

In June 1933, Mr Charles Axelrad, the nephew of Mr Axelrath, joined the company as a manager. In November he was elected as a director of the company for a period of one year, but on the 9th December he died on consumption, and was buried (at the expense of the company at Newcastle-u-Lyme)

The Net Trading Loss for the period to 30th September 1933 £1,135 to which is added Preliminary Expenses £150 resulting in a Debit balance carried forward £1,285.

Mr Kurt Oberlander was transferred from Yankee Polish in Hamburg as a temporary manager and was also appointed a director to fill the vacancy on the Board. As Mr Oberlander was a German national, he received a work permit to reside in the country only until August 1934. This was of some concern to Mr Axelrath and the company was very aware of the need to plan for Mr Oberlander's replacement.

In 1933 Mr Axelrath had been contacted by John Forman (who was an Englishman, living in Germany), with regards to possible employment for his son, John, who was working in London. A meeting with Mr Niclas, resulted in an offer of a position as a salesman, but he had declined this, as it offered no advancement.

With the changes in circumstances, John James Ernest Forman was offered the job of factory manager,( becoming a director in 1937).

The company accounts for year ended 30 September 1934 detailed the product range and sales as:-

Sales £

Lotus Polish 1,276

Lotus Cream 103

Lotus Shoe White 132

Lotus Golf Polish 115

Lotus Export Polish -

Dewrance Polish 141

Lennards Polish 56

Dove Lever Polish 516

Dove Screw Polish 76

Dove Floor Polish 71

Dove Shoe White 2

1935

The company accounts for year ended 30 September 1935 detailed the product range and sales as:-

Sales £

Lotus Polish 346

Lotus Cream 52

Lotus Shoe White 158

Lotus Golf Polish 126

Lotus Export Polish 51

Durance Polish ---

Lennards Polish 9

Dove Lever Polish 319

Dove Screw Polish 27

Dove Floor Polish 125

Dove Shoe White 91

Dove 1 1/2d size 138

Luisandi Polish 5

In 1935 the turnover was often less than £50 per week and the Bostock family were getting very concerned about the increasing trading losses. As one of the principle shareholders, resided in Germany, due to currency restrictions he was only able to transfer small sums of money to help with the running of the company.

The situation did not change significantly in 1936 and it was frustrating for the manager - John Forman to have little support from the people who controlled the company in Stafford.

The Bostock family found the manufacture, selling and marketing of the polishes not really relevant to the shoemaking business and were unable to commit any long-term enthusiasm for a speculative venture.

On the 16th March 1936 Adolph Axelrath wrote to John Forman, he enclosed the formulation for 'Shoe-White' based on the German Tylose which he suggested that Mr. Forman try sometime. He also outlined how the product could also be used for whitening of tennis and golf balls, and also for tropical helmets. He also made the point that the product does not separate.

The company accounts for year ended 30 September 1936 detailed the product range and sales as:-

Sales £

Lotus Polish 732

Lotus Cream 71

Lotus Shoe White 121

Lotus Golf Polish 103

Lotus Export Polish 6

Rex Polish 2

Lennards Polish --

Dove Lever Polish 311

Dove Screw Polish 2

Dove Floor Polish 348

Dovr Car Polish 1

Dove Shoe White 64

Dove 1 1/2d size 162

Dove 1-lb Tins 4

Luisandi Polish 44

Despite promotional campaigns, further trading losses were still occurring in 1937 and it was with considerable relief that John Forman learned from Mr Axelrath that he had found someone who would invest money in the company and become a partner. This was Dr Hermann Simon who was to arrive in England from Germany with his wife and two children in January 1938.

The arrival of Dr Simon and his family marked a turning point in the company. Like John Forman, Dr Simon had found the factory and the company circumstances different to what he had expected. Although the polish manufacture continued, Dr Simon decided that the best way to make progress was to diversify production and concentrate on the products which were of most use in a time of potential conflict and shortages.

At an extraordinary General Meeting held on the 23rd March 1938, Dr. Simon proposed that the name of the company be changed to 'Spic and Span Chemical Products Ltd' and this was approved. At this meeting Dr. Simon was allocated 1800 shares and arranged to make his first purchase of factory equipment ~ a second hand powder mixer costing £18.

The registration on the new Company name was approved on the 19th May 1938, and on the 25th May 1938 at a Directors meeting held at No.1 Glover Street Stafford, the Secretary reported that the certificate of change of name to 'Spic & Span Chemical Products Ltd.' had been received from the Registrar of Companies.

With the increased reliance on the Dove brand, the company moved to change its name to Dove Chemical Products Ltd, but this was met with resistance from a rival company and therefore in 1940, Dove Chemical Products Ltd., agreed to change its name to Evode Chemical Works Ltd., and to refrain from using the word Dove other than for polishes, shoe whitener and cleaners. Wailes Dove Bitumastic paid the company £100 to assist with the expense that the change would incur.

The situation in and after the Second World War was the same as the shoe industry faced after the First World War. Recovery was difficult to predict and manage.

Messrs. English Waxes Limited incorporated on 19th February 1948 commenced trading on January 1st 1949 by selling the Company's Boot Shoe and Furniture Polish and Cream products to the retail trade. In order to avoid misunderstandings in the Company's Agreements with the travellers and agents it was agreed by the Boars of both Companies that as from the 1st March 1949 English Waxes Ltd. would handle the sales of Boot and Shoe Polishes, Creams and Adhesives and Cements sold to Messrs. Lotus Limited and it's subsidiary Companies.

Vik Supplies Ltd was still very much in the shoe business and worked to provide equipment and accessories to the main manufacturers. In the early days Vik Supplies was part of Lotus Chemicals Division and a wide range of rubber adhesives, solvent mixes, cleaners and activating solutions were now being introduced into the selling range. The manufacture of toe-puffs and the introduction of a range of engineering products in 1946 expanded the services to the footwear industry. Between 1946 and 1956 Vik Supplies Ltd. were to use the expertise of Evode Ltd. to provide shoe adhesives capable of bonding the many new resin/rubber soling products now becoming available to the footwear industry. In December 1954 a meeting was held at Vik Supplies to discuss a selling agreement which would be mutually beneficial to both, Evode Ltd. and Vik Supplies Ltd.

In 1956, Lotus Engineering became Stafford Tool and Die Co., and moved to St. Patrick's Street. As Vik Sales really needed more space than was available at Common Road, it was decided to move Vik back to the Sandon Road premises

vacated by Lotus Engineering. The Sales Office and Warehouse operated from Sandon Road (until 1962 when a fire destroyed the building). Vik then moved back to Common Road.

In December 1956, Lotus Ltd.. announced that in order to increase the potential of its subsidiary, Vik Supplies Ltd.., Stafford, it had been decided to bring it into closer association with Evode Ltd... Towards this end:- Vik Supplies Ltd.. had acquired the Lotus Chemical Division. Mr... Godfrey Bostock continued as Chairman of the Board, and Dr.. Simon Chairman and Managing Director, Evode Ltd.., was appointed Managing Director. Mr. James Bostock was been appointed Vice-Chairman of Vik Supplies Ltd.

The offices of Vik Supplies Ltd. were moved to the new administration office building of Evode Ltd. Common Road Stafford, from where the business was conducted.

In 1957 Lotus Limited and Evode Limited came to some further arrangements whereby the later would manage and operate Vik Supplies Limited in consideration of a management fee and also certain rights and obligations reagrding purchase of shares in Vik Supplies Limited. This arrangement continued until early 1959, when Evode Limited purchased the balance of the share capital of Vik Supplies Limited from Lotus Limited and the Company was then a wholly owned subsidiary of Evode Limited.)

Vik Supplies Limited operated as suppliers of soling materials, adhesives, components, machinery, knives and dies and as general factors to the Shoe Trade. In particular the products include Evo-Stik Adhesives for sole bonding, activating solutions, cleaners, bottom thinners, thinners, etc. The Company manufactured and sold a complete range of toe-puffs to suit all types of shoes. It sold or rented through Simvic Limited a range of machinery including clicking presses, cut-out machines, rotary French cord turning machines (these latter being manufactured under licence from the Rotary Machine Company and Western Supplies Company, both of America); it also had a range of stitch marking machines and the Vik Nutrim High Frequency Welding and Cut-off Machine, and it supplied press knives, dies and high frequency welding and cut-out electros. The machinery and knives and dies mentioned were manufactured for the Company by Stafford Tool & Die Co., Ltd.

The services provided by the Company included adhesive coating of ribbons, binding, P.V.C. etc., (pressure sensitive or thermoplastic pressure), laminating and combining and also a high frequency welded trim machine.

At a meeting of the directors held on the 17th December 1958 it was recorded that an offer be made to Lotus Ltd. to purchase the balance of shares of Vik Supplies Ltd.

The Vik development chemists were always on the lookout for a good adhesive coating for toepuffs, and Geoff Green had developed a material that appeared suitable. It seemed a simple idea to attach a bathroom heater to the spreader bar on the production machine. Bernard Preece was a little reluctant in case his very expensive rubber spreading blanket got burnt! Several gallons of hot melt were made and most of the ovens in the lab were commandeered for a night. Next day Mr.. Preece kindly rendered the services of his car to rush the hot melt one mile away before it solidified, to use on his coating machine at the Vik site opposite the Lotus factory on the Sandon Road. A 100 gallon steam heated pot was suspended from the side of the Vik factory overshadowing the gardens of the adjacent terraced houses, Mr.. Denson cannot recall any serious complaints but the fumes dropping off the pot did wilt the flowers and bushes below.. Bernard Preece was justified in his initial reservations because some months later someone left the bathroom heater on all night and scorched his belt, fortunately only cosmetically!!

It was recorded in the 1962 Annual Report of the directors that the lease hold premises of Vik Supplies, Sandon Road were partially destroyed by fire in June. Vik Supplies operations were transferred to a new factory extension to be erected on some of the surplus land owned by Evode Ltd., and adjacent to the present factory. The new factory (Buildings and Paint) was expected to cost £150,000 and should be in use by the end of 1963.

The fire, the flames of which could be seen 11 miles away, destroyed the sales office and much of the warehouse accommodation of Vik Supplies Ltd.., Sandon Road Stafford, a subsidiary company of Evode Ltd. recently.

There was damage to the machinery in the tape coating section which delayed processing binding but, by buying secondhand machinery from all over the

country and having this transported to Stafford by lorry, the company was able to resume service with 48 hours of the fire.

As a result of the relocation of the Vik factory it was decided to build a link extension building at Common Road from the adhesives factory to the Vik factory. This enabled the company to dispense with the sites at Sandon Road and Marsh Street

In the same year it was also announced that the Evode group of companies, including Vik Supplies, Evomastics Limited, English Waxes Limited, and Simvic Limited. would apply for a Stock Exchange quotation

Production of Toe puffs reached a new high in 1964. Figures show an increase of 35% over the previous years record.

A major competitor, Louis Holt brought out a product that was 90% the same as an Evode product, but was used in a completely different way. Mike Denson was involved in making the product identical in the laboratory, as, prior to joining Vik he had done an evening course for 2 years at Wolverhampton Tech on practical spectroscopy and chromatography using their (very expensive) equipment. This was used to define each polymer, plasticiser etc. in the product and meant it could be matched in the lab, but there was no plant to produce it for at least 2 years.

Fortunately there was a good rubbish tip on site, and an inspirational stroll around there by Mike Denson elicited a suitable rusty tank to make 300mm wide material (pilot plant No 2). He persuaded the carpenters to knock up something by the next day, and the engineers stores let him have a rummage round to find some suitable metal bits. A wooden frame with some metal rollers was made and put into the tank, filled with water, heated by a loose steam hose (with the noise of a machine gun) and within a week or so samples were made and shoe manufacturers were keen to take the product. All that remained was to make the product 1.5m wide

The production manager of Vik, Bernard Preece was always cooperative, and he had a very enthusiastic plant manager, Geoff Matthews who also had a few local engineering contacts. There was a suitable 900mmx2m gap on his coating machine, and within 6 weeks they were producing 1.5m wide product. Mike Denson produced this product under better Quality Control than Louis Holt and therefore Vik took a substantial part of their business. This success was also very dependent on the buyer, Laurie Powell who located a stable long standing supply of high quality polystyrene scrap at the right price.

1966

Extract from The Evodian Volume 3 1966

TWO NEW PROCESSES ~ Give commanding lead to Vik Supplies

Throughout its history, which goes back over half a century, Vik Supplies have always been noted as innovators of new methods and systems for the Shoe Industry. In December two more revolutionary new Vik systems were introduced to the Shoe Industry. Preceded by an intriguing advertising campaign in the Trade Press, members of the Footwear Industries 'top brass' were invited to Stafford for a demonstration of both processes, which was followed by a Reception and Cocktail Party in the conference Rooms.

Tremendous interest was shown by all those who attended including the Trade Press and the resulting publicity has brought in many enquiries.

THE THERMAFLO PROCESS

The first process, called Vik 'Thermaflo' involves a method of transferring adhesive in cast film form direct onto shoe soles preheated by infrared lamps. As soon as the heated soles come into contact with the film, the adhesive is transferred onto them to give an overall clean coating. Coated soles then pass through a cooling chamber and emerge the other end and can be handled immediately. From this point, the soles can either be put into stock against future demand or straight into the production line where the coated soles are heat reactivated, spotted and bonded in a conventional sole press. 'Thermaflo' is a one-way process - no adhesive need be put on to the shoe bottom.

THE PRINTAPUFF PROCESS

The second system 'Printapuff' has a common factor with the system just described in that it uses a precast plastic material on a paper roll. A heated die is brought into contact with the release paper and the plastic material is transferred to the flesh side of the upper in the shape of a toe puff which hardens to give the required support provided by a conventional toe puff. The beauty of this new method is that 'Printapuff' process can be used on many of The lightweight leathers and other materials in fashion shoes without disturbing the line of the toe.

GOOD YEAR AHEAD

There can be no doubt that 1966 will be a very good year for Vik Supplies and thanks are due to the chemists and technicians who worked on the process, even more so when it is realised that developments of this type usually take about five years to bring to fruition. In this case it was less than 12 months from the first concept to realisation.

1967 saw new products being introduced

Vik Supplies introduced a new non-leather shoe upper material called Hi-Telac, suitable for men's and women's fashion shoes. This material had been tested in bulk in factory trials by a number of the countries leading shoe manufacturers, and it was claimed to have remarkable hard-wearing properties, be completely waterproof and easily cleaned.

Mr. V Vohralik was appointed as Managing Director of Vik Supplies Ltd.

1967

Cox & Wright was acquired as a subsidiary of Evode. This company was founded in Rushden Northamptonshire in 1947 where it manufactured machinery for the shoe industry.

For some time, the Product Development Department had been interested in high frequency welding and embossing techniques, and in 1968 the decision was taken to concentrate on this field of activity. For some years the shoe industry had been interested in the development of P.V.C. materials for use in the construction of shoes. Cox & Wright were quick to recognise the potential in this area and to develop H.F. techniques accordingly. The shoe industry needed specialists to solve production problems attendant to these new materials, and turned to Cox & Wright for their expertise in H.F. welding, cutting and embossing techniques.

In 1969 Cox and Wright made around £100,000 pre-tax profit, which was a disappointing drop of 25% compared with previous results

In 1969, Cox and Wright acquired a 20% holding in Colin D Bailey of South Africa. This company had acted as selling and servicing agents.

It was also in 1969 that the important decision was taken to expand into other industries, building upon their success in the shoe industry, e.g. the automotive industries, garment industry, electrical component industry, etc.., In order to allow Cox & Wright to concentrate on this expansion policy, the subsidiary of Fred Hawkes (Refrigeration) Ltd., sold to Electrolux Commercial Equipment Ltd., and in 1972 the growth in sales of pneumatics equipment brought about the formation of the subsidiary company Cox & Wright (Pneumatics) Ltd.

In 1970 Vik Supplies Limited received their biggest single contract from the British Shoe Corporation for 300 tons of P.V.C compound and this resulted in Vik Plastics Limited being formed as a partly owned company.

Vik Supplies was also developing the first single part system for bonding p.v.c and resin rubber soling materials by means of the polyurethane based adhesive "Multibond" 8454 and Cox and Wright were developing the Transversing Head Press linked to a radio frequency generator.

1971

Direct exports were reduced from £585,627 to £486,713 - a decrease of £98,914. This overall decrease is explained through a shortfall of £125,006 by Cox & Wright Limited, not so much through shortage of orders, but through delay in delivery of essential components.

1972

Cox & Wright (Pneumatics) Ltd formed

1972

Louis Holt (Chemicals ) Ltd acquired. This company was founded in 1929 at Enderby in Leicestershire. It was acquired by Evode to increase its market share of footwear components As it also complemented the interests of Vik Supplies Ltd the companies were merged in 1974, and some Vik Supplies activities were transferred to Enderby (On the day that Evode acquired Louis Holt (Chemicals) Ltd, a fire destroyed the Enderby factory, and a new factory had to be built)

ANNOUNCEMENT 2ND October 1972

EVODE HOLDINGS LIMITED announces that it has acquired all teh Issued Share Capital of LUOIS HOLT (CHEMICALS) LIMITED, maker sof components for teh footwear industry, in consideration of the issue of 98,646 Evode Ordinary Shares of 20p each and £51,954 cash. Net assets of Louis Holt (Chemicals) Limited toatlled £72,351 at 30th September 1971. The Group's market share in teh field of footwear components will be increased, and we shall be in an excellent position to fully exploit future export opportunities.

Newspaper article

ENDERBY WORKS BLAZE - FAMILIES EVACUATED

After an explosion in an Enderby chemicals works last night firemen battled with the flames knowing that beneath them, in underground tanke, were highly volatile chemicals which could cause an even greater blast.

One man was seriously injured in teh fire at the Brook Street plant of Luois Holt (Chemicals) Ltd., which makes the plastic shoe stiffening, and more than 20 families were evacuated from nearby houses.

Heads of teh emergency services agreed today that, had it not been for a comination of cicumstances, there might have been a much greater injury toll.

Chief saving factor was that only a handful of teh 50 employees were still in the plant at the time of the explosion: 5.34. Most of them, mainly women, had already gone home.

The injured man, Mr Alan Smith, 20 Federation Street, Enderby, is in a fairly satisfactroy condition in teh intensive care unit at Leicester Roayl Infirmary. He has worked at the factory for several years and he and his wife Joyce have three children aged seven, five and two

SIX FIRES

The explosion, which occurred two hours after the firm had concluded a merger with Vik Supplies, of Stafford, was heard mioles away. Anmong the first onthe scene were two dectives from Braunestone Police Station, DSs Chris Archer and Mike Higgs, and a motorway patrol crew car.

Together with Mr Jim Bartlett, 10 Chaucer Street, Narborough a fire officer ay Jones and Shipman and other passers-by, they helped families from houses in Brook Street, opposite the factory, that all had windows smashed by the blast and two of which were on fire.

Inside the factory about 11 men were working when the blast lifted teh roof off two of the shops, blew down thick walls, and started six seperate fires.

One of the men, Mr George Sketchley, of 32 Rawson Street said "I was just about to pull some cloth into a pulley when there was the most terrific bang. I was blown out of the room by the blast. The room seemed to be a heap of masonry with Alan Smith the other side of it. It was impossible to get through so I came out into the yard".

By then Mr Smith had staggered into the yard where he had collapsed and was carried to safety by two other workmates, Mr Jack Jones and Mr Wally Lemmon of 22 Clarence Road Narborough.

Mr Jones, of 34 King Street, Enderby, said: "I was working in the press room when there was the most tremenndous bang I've ever heard"

All families living in Brook Street were evacuated, but one man, Mr Arthur Charlesworth of 11 Brook Street, who was at home recovering from 'flu went into teh factory "I went to try to put the fire out I found an extinguisher but it soon ran out, then I heard someone shouting 'evacuate' so I went out again"

Mr Charlesworth was later treated for shock by county ambulancemen.

DENSE FUMES

Most ofthe evacuees spent the night with friends and relatives, but a handful stayed at Brockington High School where the headmaster, Mr Thomas King, laid on tea and biscuits and teh Women's Royal Voluntary Service and teh vicar of Enderby, teh Reverand H Gill organised emergency bedding.

Divisional Officer Basil John and Station Officer Bill Miller from Wigston, led teh firemen and called for three city appliances to help get six jets to work. They were handicapped by thge poor water pressure in teh area.

Crews from Wigston wore breathing apparatus to penetrate dense fumes to control the fire near the underground tanks and had to contend with minor explosions as they worked.

The County Chief Fire Officer Mr G K Lockyer eventually took command and it was an hour before danger of a further larger explosion was removed.

Police with Superintendant Tony Mullet in charge used special constables as well as regular officers to check that all employees were safe and to help householders who had to evacuate. Until after dark they maintained a wide cordon for fear of further blasts, and the Dog and Gun public house on the corner was closed for teh night.

AT HIS DESK

The help of the WRVS volunteers was also enlisted for the first time in Leicestershire for such an emergency to feed the emergency workers and care for the evacuees.

Holt Chemicals have been at Enderby for 43 years without previous mishap, partly in three-year old purpose built premises and partly in older surrounding buildings one of which is a cinema.

All buildings are fiited with sprinklers and in teh new section where the explosion occurred in a chemical reclaiming plant there are smoke and heat detectors

Managing Director until yesterdays merger, Mr Clifford Holt, said he was at his desk in the administrative building a few yards from teh factory when the explosion occurred. His windows were smashed and he looked out to see pieces of machinery flying through the air.

Officials of Evode Holdings, parent company of Vik Supplies who manufacture Evostick, were at Enderby today and when staff reported for work they were sent home to allow insurance assessment and fire investigators to get to work. It is hoped to get at least some of the staff back to work within a day or two.

1972

Notice from V Vohralik to Directors of Evode Holdings 2nd February 1972

Further to Mr. Linnell's document dated 31st January 1972 re L.H.(C) Ltd., I would like to make the following comments:-

1. It will be desirable to be in a position as regards toe-puff and stiffener sales where price stability would result from this acquisition, leaving the British United and Vik and the only major suppliers products.

2. The average price differential between L.H. toe puffs and those supplied by the British United and Vik is in excess of 10%, and, therefore, the figure which was agreed with Mr. Linnell is very conservative (5% price increase)

3. The same sales and production facilities would result in a unit carrying about £750,000 turnover and would also mean extra production space available which could absorb all impregnation and hot melt conversion processes within the organization (i.e. 'Twinstik' 'Printapuff' film 'Silvafilm' 'Thermaflo' stiffener(?) etc.).

4. The current situation in toe puff sales (excluding cut stiffeners) is that outside the L.H./Vik combined sales there is a market of more than £1,000,000 which is virtually all in the hands of the British United. With the strength of the new units - (strength of the Vik organization in the men's trade and the L.H. organization in the women's trade), we should be able to eat into the British United's turnover.

5. Any slight decline in the U.K. footwear production figures would be compensated by a possible increase in export to the Middle East countries, Africa, Far East, etc., and also by the growth in cut thermoplastic stiffeners.

6. The alternative processes for toe puss reinforcement are 'Tru-Line' and 'Printapuff'. Both these have levelled out some four years ago and there has been virtually no growth in the hot melt market for these two applications. On the continent e.g. in Germany, there has been a swing back from this type of process to conventional toe puff materials. Last year the Vik 'O' Rod turnover for the British United 'Tru-Line' process was roughly £41,000 and the 'Printapuff' sales £22,500. The British United sell roughly the same quantity of 'O' Rod in the U.K. as Vik Supplies i.e. the total thermoplastic 'toe-puff' field in the U.K. is roughly about £100,000

7. The 'Thermaflo' thermoplastic sheet stiffener which is being developed from the polyamide resins manufactured at Evacor will still require cutting facilities in order to be able to re-use the scrap which has a fairly high raw material costs. It will also limit the use of this material for insert stiffeners only and therefore, the growth in composite cut and skived thermoplastic stiffeners should be unaffected in the next few years. It is this area which will more than compensate for any reduction in toe puff pairage production in the U.K.

It is impossible to select any individual point and place undue emphasis on this point in the context of the present proposals. I do feel, however, that the benefit resulting from such an acquisition would be of immense importance in future Vik development. It is assumed, of course, that the organization would be part of Vik and would be integrated with Vik Supplies

Despite the strong co-operation between Vik Supplies and Cox and Wright in developing products and manufacturing systems for the footwear industry, the contraction in the market resulted in the sale of Cox and Wright in 1975. The company being sold to WGI for £410,000 with a deferment of £160,000.

In 1976,Vik Supplies received their largest ever export order from Europe for a quantity totalling 61,000 square metres of toe puff material and as a result of this Evode Coatings Ltd. formed

1978

Vik Supplies Limited

During the year, this Company, which is the oldest established in the Group, consolidated its operations on one site, introduced new products and services and, by reacting quickly to opportunities and changes in market demands, was able to report another successful year.

In 1979, the U.K shoe manufacturing sector was declining, although Vik Supplies was able to react quickly to changes in fashion and provide the market with injection moulding compounds. Charles A Quinn and Co Ltd was acquired in order to compliment the product range of Vik Supplies Ltd.

The products which the Northampton based company supplied included

Quinns Mulling Fluid ~ Making Department

Vestal Cream ~ Shoe Room

Sunsol Stitch-marking Ink ~ Closing Department

Speed Synsol Cold process bottom filler ~ Making Department

Brockton Ink No 171 ~ Finishing Department

Black Spirit Ink ~ Finishing Department

Synsol Heel and Edge Finishes ~ Finishing Department

Quinns Sole Bleach ~ Finishing Department

Synsol Bottom Finishes ~ Finishing Department

Synsol Waterproof Spray Dressing No 715 ~ Shoe Room

Cellofil Cold Process Bottom Filler ~ Making Department

Synsol Suede Protector ~ Making Department

Synsol Heel and Edge Finishes ~ Repairs

1980

The production of the new type of toe-puffs and stiffeners (using an extrusion process) was transferred from Enderby to Stafford.

1981

Evode Holdings exercised its option to acquire the trading interests and plant and machinery of the Vinablend Division of Chamberlain Phipps.

Vinablend manufactures P.V.C. and Thermoplastic Rubber Compound and a very modern plant outside Leicester, comprising 30,000 sq.ft. and employs a total of 19 people. It is the firm intention of the Evode Group to continue production in the existing factory. The manufacturing operation will continue to be managed by Mr. Bill Ridlington who will report to Mr. Ken Robinson Managing Director, Vik Supplies, who will be responsible for their development of this business, which will trade under the name of Evode Plastics Ltd.

Vik Supplies already sells significant quantities of P.V.C. and Thermoplastic Rubber Compound, the latter being currently manufactured by Vinablend. The current turnover of Vinablend is about £11/2m, which is similar to Vik Supplies turnover for these products.

The sale of Vinablend to Evode Holdings will enable Chamberlain Phipps to concentrate their resources on the manufacture of unit soles for which they will continue to buy Compound from Evode Plastics Ltd.

The Evode Group have, for a considerable time, wished to develop and expand their activities in this sector. In the immediate short term it will be our intention to retain our sales in the footwear trade and, in the medium term, we will be seeking to develop significant sales outside the footwear sector

A H Simon

1981

The decline in footwear manufacturing output in the U.K. significantly affected the results for Vik Supplies Limited and this situation was further exacerbated by the continued change of fashion to lighter weight footwear using lower priced shoe components than previous years

1982

Vik Supplies Ltd.. continued to be affected by the ongoing decline in the UK footwear trade and, whilst volume held up relatively well, there was pressure on margins, which adversely affected profitability

1983 Vik Plastics Ltd., Ireland acquired as a wholly owned subsidiary then sold

1983 Charles A Quinn Ltd. was forced to close its premises at Campbell Street Northampton due to a compulsory purchase order, and they then merged with Vik Supplies in Enderby Leicester

1983

Vik Supplies was integrated into the Industrial Division of Evode Limited at the beginning of the year. This proved beneficial when coupled with a significant improvement in demand from a buoyant footwear sector.

EXTRACT FROM STAFFORDSHIRE NEWSLETTER 6 JANUARY 1989

Evode buy shoe business

Evode the Stafford based adhesives manufacturer is buying the shoe components business of the Maidstone, Kent, Doeflex company for £763,000

Chairman Andrew Simon said yesterday "This confirms our commitment to the footwear sector and we hope to move the machinery to Stafford within three month.

A number of jobs will be created in Stafford once the equipment has been installed but at the moment Mr. Simon said he was unable to say how many.

EXTRACT FROM STAFFORDSHIRE NEWSLETTER 17 FEBRUARY 1989

Evode clinches £75m take over

Evode finally achieved its objective of buying one of its main competitors in the adhesives field when it was announced yesterday that the board of Chamberlain Phipps had recommended to its shareholders that they accept an offer made for the company last weekend.

This becomes the latest in a series of acquisitions by Evode since 1981 when it started to diversify from its original adhesives and sealants base.

Andrew Simon, chairman of Evode said "We are very pleased that our offer has been recommended to Chamberlain's shareholders for acceptance, and subject to their approval expect the deal to go through by Easter.

"We will turn the group into a £300 million sales company, and I see acquisition as particularly good news for the adhesives and solvents division in Stafford"

The Evode offer is for 96 per cent of Chamberlain Phipps shares valuing the Northampton based company at around £75 million. Evode already owns the remaining four per cent of the company.

Chamberlain had been viewed as a possible take-over target since it successfully fought off a hostile bid from Wardle Storeys in May 1987. Last week the company share price rose sharply, prompting an investigation by the Stock Exchange surveillance department, and Evode was forced to show its hand.

A city analyst this week described the match as 'looking like a good fit' and there are indeed notable similarities between the two companies.

Last year, Evode pre-tax profits were £9.04m on turnover of £122.4m, and Chamberlain made £7.57m on turnover of £120.6m

Both companies specialise in the manufacture and distribution of sealants, the manufacture of industrial and architectural coatings, and activities within the footwear industry.

Mr. Simon explained the difficulty that Evode had faced in its attempts to make appropriate acquisition in the adhesives sector of the market.

He said; "Many of the of the good adhesives companies are already part of multi-nationals which has made it difficult for us. However, the potential fir of Chamberlain Phipps is excellent, and the combined turnovers of our respective adhesives and sealants operations will potentially place us in the top echelon world adhesive companies.

1989

EXTRACT FORM THE STAFFORDSHIRE NEWSLETTER 5 MAY 1989

Waiting for the outcome

Evode, the Stafford based adhesives and chemicals group will know next Friday if it has been successful in its £88.5 million bid for the Chamberlain Phipps Group.

Both Evode and its rival bidder Bowater raised the stakes last week with Bowater offering 230p per share cash offer, valuing Chamberlain at £86.6 million and Evode increasing its paper bid to 235p per share

Evode now holds 14.9 per cent of Chamberlain compared with Bowater's 13.6 per cent. City experts are forecasting that Evode will win the bid battle when Chamberlain directors recommend the Stafford company's bid.

Evode chairman and chief executive Andrew Simon who has led the company through several acquisitions in the last few years during which time the group has grown through the take-overs and organic growth to world-wide sales of £122 million and profits last year in excess of £9 million must now wait until next Friday to see if his bid has been successful.

1989

EXTRACT FROM STAFFORDSHIRE NEWSLETTER 12 MAY 1989

Hoping to 'pull off bid against the odds'

Evode chairman and chief executive Andrew Simon is keeping his fingers crossed and hoping that his David and Goliath £88.5 million bid for chemical group Chamberlain Phipps will end in victory when an announcement is made after 1pm today when the bids close.

Last week the board of Chamberlain recommended the Stafford based Evode bid against a lower cash offer from rival Bowater which this week raised its stake in Chamberlain to 24.4 per cent. Evode, which has made a paper bid of 235p per share holds a 14.99 per cent stake in Chamberlain which it cannot increase because it is not a cash offer.

But yesterday it announced it had also received acceptances for 26.1 per cent which gives it 41.1 percent.

Mr. Simon, who successfully fought off a bid for Evode ten years ago, is optimistic that he will 'pull off the bid against the odds' and this afternoon start putting together his plans for an even bigger world-wide special chemical group combining the international strengths of Chamberlain Phipps and Evode

EXTRACT FROM STAFFORDSHIRE NEWSLETTER BUSINESS EXTRA

Masterminding the greatest take over battle of them all.

The Stafford based Evode Group has grown considerably over the last few years and last week, at the end of a three month battle, made its largest acquisition so far.

Newsletter editor-in-chief Peter Atkins talks to chairman and chief executive Andrew Simon about how Evode won the battle and its plans for the future.

Stafford company chairman and chief executive Andrew Simon has had a few sleepless nights during the last three months. But it has all ended well, despite some last minute nail biting when 'against the odds' he pulled off Evode's most successful acquisition yet and won the £87 million battle for rival adhesives and shoe components group Chamberlain Phipps.

Now, with his management team, he's got to deliver, to use his own word, and make sure that the much enlarged Evode group which he has headed for the last ten years performs to the satisfaction of the many institutions which backed the company against a counter bid from the much larger Bowater group.

Masterminding acquisitions is nothing new to Mr. Simon although acquiring a company as big as Chamberlain Phipps and of about the same size as Evode has not been without its moments of high drama and farce. Ten years ago Evode, then a three division group with a turnover of £24 million fought of an unwelcome bid itself so Mr. Simon knows what it is like to be on the receiving end.

And in the last ten years he has masterminded some of the 25 take-overs, 17 of them in the last two and a quarter years since, as he puts it, he got the top management team together to handle the phenomenal growth which has seen Evode grow, in turnover terms twelvefold.

He sees the acquisition of Chamberlain Phipps as a vote of confidence in Evode, its management and its products and is under no illusions about what will happen if he doesn't deliver.

Sitting in his office in Stafford, a long way from the floor of the Stock Exchange and the London Boardroom of merchant bankers Morgan Grenfell where so much of the action has taken place during the last hectic few weeks, Mr. Simon is now taking a relaxed view and planning with group managing director David Winterbottom and the rest of his team exactly how it will all fit together.

And that's not going to be easy either with some 45 different companies in the enlarged group spread all over the world.

Generating profits to repay the support and faith of the major institutions in Evode's bid is the major objective. 'If we don't they will just as quickly no longer support us' he said.

Everything should be topped and tailed in the next few days and the new Evode will then be a major player in the international chemical world although, modestly Mr. Simon describes the position as a strong player in the second division below the ICIs and other world leaders. It will also put Evode in a significant place in The Times Top 1,000 UK companies with its projected £300 million turnover on similar terms with household names like Sony with £314 million and Kellogg's with £250 million.

In general terms some 60 per cent of the new groups activities will be UK based. 17 per cent in the Unites States of America, 17 per cent in Europe and the rest in Australia, Africa and the Near and Far East. There will also be some 4,500 employees which Evode plans will play a significant role in the very substantial business development opportunities facing it.

These opportunities apart from the core adhesives and sealants business, include plastics. Chamberlain Phipps is the largest supplier of base material for vinyl wall coverings to customers like Colouroll, synthetic sports surfaces, and footwear components.

All this is good news for Stafford where the headquarters of the group will remain and which Mr. Simon, not a man for superlatives, described as being net beneficial to the site where a substantial overall addition to the adhesives and sealants division's turnover will put it in the top echelon worldwide.

The acquisition has been more like a marriage after a long friendship which developed into courtship and eventual consummation.

Mr. Simon said " We have been talking to Chamberlain Phipps for many years, inactively for the past three or four years and very actively for the last 12 months" It has also meant spending many hours of detailed strategic planning with presentations to major institutions like insurance companies and unit trusts, each one conducted meticulously and always with a 'minder' from Morgan Grenfall who every day had to report who had been seen and what had been said to the Takeover Panel.

The attention to detail and the presentation varied enormously too, from talking for an hour to a couple of people to an hour of intensive questioning from up to eight people from a major insurance company. It also involved teams of highly paid City experts and Evode directors discussing for an hour or an hour and a half one sentence of the offer document.

The last few hours of the bid battle were not without excitement either.

Timing and sheer coincidence also played their part.

On April 28 rivals Bowater increased its offer from 220p per Chamberlain Phipps share to 230p cash at 10 minutes past 11. By sheer coincidence Evode's bank were at the Stock Exchange at the time with complete details of Evode's revised offer on a computer disk. Within seven minutes it was on the Stock Exchange screens and 15 minutes later Evode had bought a further 11 per cent of Chamberlain Phipps for £11 million.

This caught Bowater on the wrong foot and it was unable to buy anymore stock at that time. This, says Mr. Simon marked the turning point in the battle.

By last Friday morning Evode had, with Chamberlain Phipps recommending them to shareholders, 42 per cent against Bowater's 30 percent. But it still needed 50 per cent and more than Bowater.

One major institution had posted its acceptance of a crucial four per cent but, the British postal system being what it is, the document had not arrived. The institution was unable to get a copy of the document to the bank within time but during the next nail biting 60 minutes another eight per cent came in and gave Evode the magical 50 per cent. Technically, without either side having the 50 per cent by 1pm the whole bid would have lapsed.

The victory was Evode's and after a morning of strong coffee and ginger ale the champagne corks popped and later a jubilant but 'shattered' Mr. Simon

came back to Stafford for more celebrations with the thought ringing in his head that against all the odds he had pulled off the biggest deal so far and that the institutions had gone for jam tomorrow rather than jam today

"We'll do it" said Mr. Simon "Otherwise never mind the jam today or tomorrow, there won't even be any bread or butter to put the jam on"

1989

Chamberlain Phipps plc was acquired consisting of 10 companies which were integrated into the shoe components of Evode, this included Vik Supplies which became a separate division.

Chamberlain Coatings Ltd acquired

Chamberlain Components acquired

Chamberlain Fibres Ltd acquired

Chamberlain Merchanting Ltd acquired

Chamberlain Phipps Canada Ltd acquired

Chamberlain Phipps (Hong Kong) Ltd acquired

Chamberlain Phipps International acquired

Chamberlain Phipps Italia Spa, Italy

Chamberlain Phipps (SA) Pty Ltd, South Africa acquired

Chamberlain Plastics Ltd acquired

1990

The Chamberlain Phipps division performed satisfactorily benefiting both from the cost reduction exercise and strong profit performances in some of our overseas companies. This division now generates nearly half of its sales overseas.

Our American and Canadian operations have benefited from a strong performance by Gary Corp. and a significant profits recovery at Chamberlain Phipps Canada following cost reduction and reorganisation.

1991

Chamberlain Phipps Italia SpA, Italy renamed Chamberlain Italia SpA

1992

Chamberlain Components sold

Chamberlain Fibres Ltd. sold

Chamberlain Merchanting Ltd. sold

Chamberlain Phipps Canada sold

Chamberlain Phipps (Hong Kong) Ltd. sold

Chamberlain Phipps International Ltd. sold

Vinaflex Ltd. sold

Vik Supplies sold to Mr. Dan Sullivan

W W Chamberlain sold

By 1951 Lotus had three factories Stafford, Bandridge in Northern Ireland and Northampton, which focused on men's shoes. Over the years Lotus was taken over by ARGO-CARRIBEAN CO. of NASSAU then in 1973 Lotus became a subsidiary of Debenhams plc. Then in 1985 the Burton Group plc. Around the same time the Queen Mother made a visit. The whole of Stafford turned out the see her.

In September 1986 Lotus was acquired by FII group plc, Lotus was the third largest shoe-manufacturing group in the UK. By 1996 most of the factory was closed.