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Lawsons Limited - Memories & Memorabilia


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The Memories

 James Betson Keillor Wilson
(of Dundee & East Ham, London)

All documentation and photographs are courtesy of James Wilson's daughter, Eileen Karlsson, and our grateful thanks are expressed for so kindly providing the information detailed below.


 The 1956 edition of The Good Account, gives the following description of the service given to the company by James Wilson.



"EAST HAM:- ...... LONG SERVICE ROLL OF HONOUR - Mr James Wilson has 32 years' service. He joined Dundee Sales Staff in 1924 and was transferred to London in 1928. Like many another Lawsonian, he found his partner in marriage with the Lawsonian staff. During the War he served as a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. When East Ham was opened Mr Wilson was sent there to take charge of the Departmental side of the business."

This photo was taken in 1973 when James went to Australia. 


The following Lawsons work record document may now be quite a rare survivor of its kind. When this particular type of employment document was instituted by Lawsons is not known, nor when it was superseded by more modern technology. 







This small piece of paper is very useful from a historical point of view. It let's us know that James was employed as a salesman. It gives his address as 32 Seagate Street, not far from Lawsons branch shop. We learn that he joined Lawsons on the 15th February 1924 in 1908 at the age of 16. Some confusion here as it was initially put down as 1907. Family historians beware!

His salary at Lawsons was 30/- per week and increased to 40/- (or 2.00) the day after Christmas day 1927. At that time 2.00 a week was quite a reasonable wage for the average working man.

Unfortunately his further record of service at Dundee is not recorded, but we find that he is transferred south to the big city, where he commences work at Hammersmith, apparently for a salary 60/- (3) a week.











Marriage of James Wilson & Dora Elizabeth Jeffreys - 15th April 1933 with friends & family
"The bride & groom are in middle of the third row"
(Any other Lawsonians among the happy throng)?


The photographs and employment record of James Wilson are all courtesy of Eileen Karlsson who now lives in Australia. She passes on the following information and comments.

"Thank you for adding my father's name to the Lawson's list.* I wish he were here to see it and appreciate the work you are doing with the history. I vaguely remember The Good Account, but probably took little interest in it as we were young and his workplace was so far away. I do remember quite a few names on the list, but especially Philip Robertson and Peter Cromar who were friends of his. Peter Cromar and his wife (Dolly, I think we called her) were good friends of my father. They came to our house in Bounds Green a few times, and I remember that they came with my father and I to the annual Scottish concert at the Festival Hall each year. The rest of our family wasn't particularly interested in going with us. I think it was a Burns concert held in February each year. I think that Philip Robertson came to our house only a couple of times." .......

At the time my sister and I were evacuated to Wales early in 1941. We lived over a large shop at 10 White Lion Street, Islington. .... It had a large dome on top where an incendiary bomb dropped and my father had to put it out. I have been wondering what work my father was doing and why we were there. My mother organised the afternoon teas in the upstairs room. My father was called up in wartime, but I don't know what date that was. I do remember being in the basement when the warnings came, in fact I fell off my bunk, breaking my collar bone. Mrs Cromar brought me a hand-made woollen doll to play with which I think she had made. I was three years old. (Our evacuation is another story). 



Here we see Eileen dancing with her father at one of the Lawsons dances in the 1950's.

Possibly held in London. Can anyone suggest where it might have been, or anything else about the kind of event in the history of Lawsons?







Here we see Eileen the right with her sister Anne on the left at the same dance as described above.







James Wilson & Grace at Shepherd's Bush Branch, London, circa 1970, standing behind the counter of the Household Linens department.

Since 1964, Lawsons Ltd had been ceased to be a family firm when it was taken over by United Drapery Stores Limited. However, the name Lawsons was still retained for many years thereafter.



James Wilson retired from Lawsons in 1973, and to mark this event of long service to the company, he received a cheque for 250 (a not insignificant sum in those days) to mark the occasion. Along with this gift her also received two letters remarking on his loyal service. The following are direct quotes from these letters.

From Mr De Keyser : John Blundell Ltd:

It is with much pleasure that I forward to you the enclosed cheque in the sum of 250 in recognition by the Board of Directors of your retirement earlier this year from the employment of Lawsons Limited, and the fact that you had given so many years of loyal service to Lawsons prior to its acquisition by John Blundell Limited. I must personally apologise to you that nearly half a century of service to the Company had not been recognised previously in a more tangible manner, and it is the sincere hope of the Board that this cheque will be accepted by you as a parting gift, and will perhaps assist in some way towards the implementation of your future plans. ......

From J A Sampson : United Drapery Stores Ltd:

It was not until I spoke with you at Shepherds Bush on Friday that I was aware of your retirement and whilst you have actually been with the U D S Group since the acquisition of Lawsons Limited in 1964, it will mean that you have nine years service with the Company. However, I was interested to know that you have served almost 50 years with Lawsons, which is a remarkable achievement and the Directors join me in offering you congratulations. .....





The Memorabilia



The small plaque above was attached to an unknown item (possibly a clock) which was gifted to Miss Elizabeth Lawson when she married William Manners in 1896. The gift by the employees of Robert Lawson & Co. Ltd as it was know then, lived in the family home of Annfield, Stirling, along with her father, Robert Lawson, senior, the founder of Lawsons.

Any information about this presentation, or indeed the whereabouts, or history, of the object this plaque was attached to will be most welcome.   


Date last modified: Sat 01 Jun 13