Scope and Content

The Cooch records cover the considerable range of 1800-1971, of particular importance when very few English agricultural engineering firms appear to have kept pre 1850 material . Although the records bias towards accounting and publicity material they nevertheless provide a great deal of information about the firm's activites. Detailed work entries can be found in the second series of wagon day books [TR COO AC3/24-53] or the two early implement day books [TR COO AC3/1-2]. The accounts are divided into wagon and implement work accounts. The sales ledgers commence in 1874-1956 [TR COO AC1/1-13]. Bought ledgers survive for 1891-1912, 1937-1948 [TR COO AC1/14-18]. A farm cash account book survives for 1846 [TR COO AC2/1] and cash books survive for 1865-1892 [TR COO AC2/2-10] and 1915-1966 [TR COO AC2/11-22]. Detailed day books for implements survive 1890-1955 [TR COO AC3/1-11] and for wagons 1891-1947 [TR COO AC3/12-53]. Purchases day books 1891-1910, 1945-1947 [TR COO AC3/55-56], Sales credit journals 1945-1958 [TR COO AC4/1-2] Wages accounts 1942-1952 [TR COO AC5/1-3], analysis wage books 1871-1875, 1900-1926 [TR COO AC5/4-5] general account book 1847-1873 [TR COO AC6/1], financial statements 1917-1926 [TR COO AC7/1-9]; balance sheets 1882-1890 are to be found in the principal cash book [TR COO AC2/6] and 1882-1890 can be found in the general ledger [TR COO AC1/14-15]. Administrative records contain dressing machine ledgers 1800-1949 [TR COO AD7/1-8]sackholders registers 1848-1862 [TR COO AD7/9], implement agency book, 1940's [TR COO AD7/10], copy letter books 1902-1924 [TR COO AD8/1-4] notebooks of Henry Cooch 1875-1890 [TR COO AD9/1-7], materials book 20th century [TR COO AD5/1]. Legal records contain 1906 articles of partnership [TR COO CO1/1], papers concerning the purchase of James Mold's wagon business 1891 [TR COO CO4/1], a draft of the 1800 dressing machine patent specification [TR COO CO5/1] and letters patent for potato sorter improvements 1911-1914 [TR COO CO5/2-4]. A technical particulars book survives for 1891-1923[TR COO ET2/1]; the majority of the collection is printed advertising and servicing publications mid 1860's -1971 [TR COO P]. Other publicity material includes a poster concerning the success of Cooch dressing machines at the Royal Agricultural Society of England Show Cardiff 1872 [TR COO P3/1]; file of testimonials 1850-1929 [TR COO P7/1]; photographs c1900-1902 [TR COO PH3/1-3]; papers and certificates of shows and exhibitions 1841-1863 [TR COO SH1, SH3]

Administrative / Biographical History

The firm of Cooch was established in 1800, when Joshua Cooch invented and patented a corn and seed dressing machine, patent no 2416, 17 Jun 1800. Dressing machine manufacture, together with general implement and plough work was then based at Harlestone, about 5 miles north west of Northampton and was probably a useful adjunct to John Cooch's main business that of running a 500 acre farm at Harlestone. He was succeeded by his son Henry Cooch, who improved upon the original dressing machine design and in 10 Aug 1848 patented a sackholder which the firm then began to produce. Four first prizes at R.A.S.E. shows in 1841, 1847, 1863 and 1872, helped further establish the dressing machine's reputation and until the early 1870's a barley hummeller was also in production. Joshua Cooch died c. 1875 only to be succeded by his son Henry Cooch, who was instrumental in developing the emphasis on manufacturing. In 1880 the Harlestone farm was reduced to only 50 acres and 1885 saw the introduction of the first in a long line of Cooch potato sorters, one of the first known attempts to mechanise this process. Further expansion occurred in 1891 when Henry Cooch purchased James Mold's cart and wagon building business and premises in Commercial St, Northampton, though retaining the Harlestone premises for implement work. By 1900, the firm could also boast a steam saw mill in Weston St Northampton and in 1906 a partnership firm between Henry Cooch and John Frank Cooch was formed, styled Cooch and Son. Originally the wagon side of the business seems to have been of greater importance than implement work, but the latter gradually took prominence. Various technical improvements helped make potato sorter manufacture the backbone of the firm, especially with the decline of dressing machine sales, until a slight post World War Two recovery. From the 1920's onwards a variety of screening machines were produced and the post war years saw the introduction of vegetable washers, potato planters, onion toppers and crop dusters. The Commercial St Works were extended in 1940, helping run down operations at Harlestone and from 1940's onwards a gradual move occurred to a new site at Buttocks Booth on the Kettering Rd, to the north east of Northampton. The limited company Cooch and Sons Ltd with John Frank Cooch and his two sons John Henry Cooch and Donald Frank Cooch as direcotrs was formed in 1949, which lasted until 1974, when after some 174 years production finally ceased with the sale of rights of manufacture to William Cook (Engineers)Ltd Yaxley, Peterborough. The Cooch business interests however still continue, restyled Cooch Bros. (Northampton) Ltd under John Henry Cooch and Donald Frank Cooch.


AC Accounts

AC1 Ledgers

AC2 Cash books

AC3 Day books

AC4 Journals

AC5 Wages Accounts

AC6 Other Accounts

AC7 Financial Statements

AD Administrative and Commercial Records

AD2 General Administrative and Commercial Records

AD5 Materials Records

AD7 Commercial Records

AD8 General Correspondence

AD9 Minor Administrative Records

CO Legal Records of companies and businesses

CO1 Partnership records

CO4 Estate Records

CO5 Patenting

ET Technical Records Experimental and General Reference

ET2 Technical Reference to Firms Products (including General Technical Working Papers)

P Publications, Promotions and Advertising Records

P2 Individual Advertising and Servicing Publications

P3 Posters

P7 Testmimonials

PH Internal Photographic Records

PH3 Individual Prints

SH Records of Shows and Exhibitions

SH1 Certificates

SH3 General records of exhibitions, shows, meetings and matches

Access Information

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Material deposited in June 1969, August 1972, and February 1974 [T69/3, T72/20, T74/8]


Compiled by Caroline Gould, 20 November 2002

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist


A useful article on the firm's history covering 1800-1950 is contained in Farm Implement and Machinery Review, 1950 (Oct), Pp939-940

Geographical Names