Record

RepositoryArchives
Reference NumberP/ARB
LevelFonds
Creator_NameArber, Mr Gary
TitlePapers of Mr Gary Arber [W. F. Arber and Company Limited]
Date(s)1914-2012
DescriptionFamily history papers.

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Extent1 folder
AdminHistoryMr Gary Arber is the proprietor of W.F. Arber & Co. Ltd, a manufacturing and commercial stationers business based at 459 Roman Road, London E.3. To date he has run this business for 58 years.

The business W.F. Arber & Co. was founded in 1897 by Mr Arber's grandfather, Walter Francis Arber, in the newly built shop at (what was then) 159 Roman Road. Originally Mr W. F. Arber made and sold paper bags but due to demand the business diversified into printing bags and subsequently, general printing. The business later extended into book binding and manufacturing stationery. The shop, which was run by Emily Arber (Mr W.F. Arber's wife and Gary Arber's grandmother), sold stationery and toys. Emily, an active suffragette and friend of the Pankhursts, arranged for Arber & Co. to actively assist the movement by undertaking a lot of the suffrage printing.

It was a family business and the majority of W. F. Arber's children worked for the company, including Leonard Arber, Gary Arber's father. Gradually the family members who ran the business reduced in number and when, in 1954, Leonard Arber died, it was necessary for Gary Arber to buy himself out of his career in the R.A.F. and take over the running of the company. In the 1960s Gary's aunt Emily Ives ran the shop but it was necessary for her to leave the business for personal reasons and Gary's wife, Ruby Arber, was required to step in as her replacement at this point.

Mr Gary Arber charts the decline of the family business from this period and considers this to be a result of factors such as, the demolition of old houses and factories in the area in the 1960s, which in turn reduced the amount of trade for Arber & Co. Subsequently, in the 1970s, the British toy trade ran into decline and Arber & Co. closed its toy shop. At this point the staff reduced to a single person - Gary Arber. In 2012 the business is struggling to survive in the current economic environment with trade for such businesses as Arber & Co. in decline but business rates in the area rapidly increasing. Mr Arber no longer sees a future in the area for W.F. Arber & Co., and consequently in due course he is planning to sell the premises and close the family business.

This basic summary about W.F. Arber & Co. Ltd was informed by information supplied by Mr Gary Arber in his family history account, dated October 2012, which forms part of this collection (P/ARB/1/1). Please consult this document for a much fuller description of the key events in Mr Arber's family and business history and to read the fascinating anecdotes throughout.
RelatedMaterialMaterial within Tower Hamlets Local History Library collections under the subject areas of: Commerce (ref: 650); Printers (ref: 651.4) and in the London Trade Directories. Interview with Mr Arber by Helena Ben-Zenou (ref: LC585, subject: 651.4 BEN). Photographs of Mr Arber in his shop premises in 2012 (refs: P33768-P33771).
SubjectPrinting
Womens suffrage
ArchNoteCatalogued by Natasha O'Neill, October 2012.
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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