Records of W.J. Furse and Company Limited, electrical engineers and contractors ofNottingham, 1912-1987

Scope and Content

The collection consists of four books of share certificates for the company, recording quantitiesof share allocations, dates, and any cancellations. The majority of the shares have been cancelledand in many cases the certificates have been reunited with the stubs in the volumes. The shares wereallocated to a variety of family members and company employees but the largest transfers of sharestook place during the sale of the company to other firms such as those listed in the company historyin this description.

One of the volumes (BEF 1) contains details of preference shares and covers the period 1912 to1958. The other three volumes (BEF 2) are for ordinary shares and run consecutively from 1912 to1987. There are 82 shares or stubs in all.

There is also a signed transference of shares from five members of the Furse family to E.V.Industrials Ltd, dated 1958 (BEF 3).

Administrative / Biographical History

William Joseph Furse acquired a steeplejacking business in Nottingham on Burton Road, Nottinghamin 1893 from Joshua Till. Recognising the importance of electricity, he diversified into electricalinstallation and opened a workshop in Goldsmith Place for the manufacture of electrical switchgearand components. By 1900, Furse's company had moved to Traffic Street, Nottingham and added lift andtheatre equipment manufacture and installation to its activities. The company was incorporated in1912 as W.J. Furse & Co. Ltd and, soon after, electrical installation subsidiaries opened inManchester and London. A subsidiary, Furse Wholesale Limited, was set up in 1926 to handle tradesales of electrical equipment and a refrigeration division was added in 1927 to sell the'Frigidaire' range of products.

On the death of William Joseph Furse in 1937, his son, W.F. Furse became group chairman andmanaging director. New stores and offices were built at Wilford Road, Nottingham for the steeplejackdivision and the firm's foundry was moved to the site from Traffic Street in 1954. In 1958, thecompany was acquired by E.V. Industrials Limited who in turn sold their interests to Crown House in1967. In 1977, the year of the retirement of the last member of the Furse family to be connectedwith the firm, Furse Power Products Limited (formerly Furse Wholesale Limited) merged with otherinterests to form National Electrical Supplies Company Limited later becoming Best and May, and thenSenate. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Furse was controlled by Coloroll PLC and the ThomasRobinson Group.

In 1988, the Thomas Robinson Group divided the Furse organisation into three divisions. FurseLifts Limited (lifts division) was sold to Thyssen Lifts and Escalators, while Furse SpecialistContracting Limited (steeplejack division) and W.J. Furse and Company Limited (engineering division)were sold to East Midlands Electricity Board in June 1991. The USA based Thomas and BettsCorporation, an electrical components supplier, acquired Furse from the East Midlands ElectricityBoard in 1998. W.J. Furse and Company Limited was still based at Wilford Road, Nottingham in 2002specialising in electronic systems protection, earthing and lightning protection and weldingequipment.


The volumes have been arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Records containing personal information aresubject to restrictions.


Other Finding Aids

  • This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advancein writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The fate of the bulk of the company's archive is not known. The present collection comprisingonly share certificates, retained by the East Midlands Electricity Board, was given to TheUniversity of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in April 2000 byPowerGen.