Reference NumberB/HTL
TitleRecords of Hawkins and Tipson Limited, Ropemakers, of Globe Works, East Ferry Road, Isle of Dogs
DescriptionEvidences of Title of Hawkins and Tipson Ltd., ropemakers, to the Globe Works, East Ferry Road, Isle of Dogs, and in the Minories, 1882-1948.

Click the PDF icon to browse descriptions to this collection in PDF format.
Extent19 items
AdminHistoryThe partnership of George Hawkins and Alfred Tipson established the Globe Rope Works in Millwall in 1881. George Hawkins of Clapham Common, who advanced capital of £15,000, and his son, Alfred Tolhurst Hawkins, went into partnership with Charles H. Tipson, who was formerly with the ropemakers Frost Brothers of Cable Street. The company manufactured rope, using hard natural fibres such as manila and sisal, for use in the maritime industry. The Isle of Dogs accommodated several rope makers, at a time when a large sailing ship might require 3-4 miles of rope. Hawkins' and Tipson's first premises was built following the acquisition of an 80 year lease from the Charteris estate of a parcel of land immediately south of the Millwall Dock Company's Mudchute, with a frontage of 70.5 ft. on East Ferry Road and 79.5 ft. on the arches of the Millwall Extension Railway, and including a strip along the edge of the Mudchute 1,270 ft. long by 61 ft. wide. In the early 1880s various buildings were erected on the site including a two-storey warehouse and offices, an engine and boiler house, an engine and boiler house with a 41 ft.-high chimney and a 960 ft.-long ropewalk.

An early opportunity for expansion came via the shortage of manila fibre during the Spanish American war in 1898, a development successfully anticipated by the company. Hawkins and Tipson continued to evolve, including in 1900, the purchase of a section of land south of the Millwall Dock Company's Mudchute. The site included frontage along East Ferry Road; the arches of the Millwall Extension Railway and a strip of land along the edge of the Mudchute. The site was extended in 1901 via two adjoining pieces of land extending to the railway arches and the grounds of Millwall Football Club.
In 1910, the company co-leased the Excelsior Wharf on Bow Creek as storage space and to ease pressure on the crowded premises in East Ferry Road. In 1915, the existing site was enlarged. World War 1 saw an increase in the demand for rope, prompting development of the heavy duty 'Hercules' manila rope and production got under way in 1918. After the war, Hawkins and Tipson became a public company.

The company improved links between its main works and the new extension by purchasing a section of land along the Millwall Extension Railway, which closed in 1926. A new building in East Ferry Road was constructed in the late 1930s.
Company premises underwent considerable physical damage from incendiary bombs during the Blitz. Following rebuilding, by the 1950s, the company's logistics were more efficient, compared to the piecemeal expansion of its early years. Post World War 2, the integration of the rope making industry came about through various mergers and acquisitions. Thus, the Hawkins and Tipson group of companies was formed. Restructuring had begun to gather pace from 1941, when the company bought out Green Brothers in Hailsham, Sussex, and in 1953, its main local competitor Burfield and Sons. These acquisitions facilitated land and capacity for the expanding business. The company increasingly used synthetic fibres, as it designed and marketed technically innovative products. Its product range now extends beyond the marine industry into areas such as defence, technical rescue; high tech fibre applications and marine sport.

Hawkins and Tipson became H&T Marlow, and thence Marlow Ropes Ltd. The Hailsham site is its principal base. The Globe Rope Works closed in 1971. The buildings were demolished, and the site sold to the GLC.

Websites consulted include
Globe Rope Works:
Marlow Ropes Production - Behind The Scenes ( You Tube)*
Life of A Marlow Rope - The Making of The Clipper Race Ropes ( You Tube)*
Introducing The New Blue Ocean Dockline ( Facebook)*
CustodialHistoryThe records which consist of evidences of title to the Globe Rope Works and property in the Minories were donated by the Island History Trust in July 1999, and have been catalogued by Malcolm Barr-Hamilton. Some cuttings, etc. relating to Hawkins and Tipson are held in the Local History Library.
RelatedMaterialSome cuttings, etc. relating to Hawkins and Tipson are held in the Local History Library.
SubjectRope manufacturing
Private enterprises
Isle of Dogs
Poplar (parish of All Saints)
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.


Show related Persons records.

NA577East Ferry Road/Cubitt Town/All Saints, Poplar/Middlesex/England
NA576East Ferry Road/Cubitt Town/Poplar Borough/London (county)/England
NA575Globe Rope Works/Cubitt Town/Poplar Borough/London (county)/England
NA580Globe Rope Works/Cubitt Town/All Saints, Poplar/Middlesex/England
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Highlights from across our collections about London’s East End