Reference NumberB/BRM
TitleRecords of Bryant and May Limited, match manufacturers of Bow
DescriptionPhotographs of the Bryant family and staff outing to Blackpool, Lancashire and a typescript history for the firm's centenary.

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Extent4 photographs, 1 volume
AdminHistoryBryant and May was formed in 1843 as a partnership between William Bryant and Francis May, quakers as wholesale provision merchants. They later became the largest match manufacturers in the United Kingdom. The company traded throughout the world.

By the 1880s the company employed over a thousand local girls and young women known as 'matchgirls'. In 1888 female employees striked in the face of low pay, fines, long hours and poor working conditions with severe health issues caused by repeated contact with white phosphorus. Annie Beasant, social activist promoted their campaign. Eventually improvements to working conditions were made by the firm.

The firm was based at Fairfield Works, Bow. The site was occupied by the company between 1861-1979. The Bow factory site buildings were later converted into the Bow Quarter flats complex.

For further details see 'The Match Makers' company history, 1985 by Patrick Beaver, Local History Library reference, LC8229.
RelatedMaterialIn the Reading Room: see the 'Matchstick Strike Register 1888': card index of names of the matchgirls who striked. See also LC7945

In the Local History Library see 'Brymay' company magazines (1921-1977, references LC1544 and LCF00538) and other employee and promotional printed material including histories on the company and the strike.

In the Image Collecton: see photographs of the site, employees and 130th anniversary of the strike walk, 2018.

The main company archive (1840-1978) is held at Hackney Archives, reference D/B/BRY (see online catalogue link, correct as of January 2021:

A copy of the company archive list, 1987, is held in the Local History Library, reference LCF00540.
SubjectPrivate enterprises
Manufacturing industry
Chemical industry
ArchNoteCatalogued by Richard Wiltshire, 2021
Access StatusOpen
RequestNO - This does not represent a physical document. Please click on the reference number and view list of records to find material available to order at file or item level.


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