Records of Lawes Chemical Company Ltd

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the records of Lawes Chemical Company Ltd, including minute books of the board of directors, the shareholders, and annual general meetings (1872-1959), together with legal papers, financial ledgers and plans (1872-1970).

Administrative / Biographical History

Lawes Chemical Company was founded by Sir John Bennet Lawes (knighted in 1882 for general services to agriculture). He set up a factory for manufacture of super-phosphates at Deptford Creek, London, in 1843, and bought in 1857 100 acres at Barking Creek, Essex, on which the main factory and workmen's cottages were built. The business was purchased from Lawes by a group of businessmen in 1872 and incorporated with limited liability as Lawes Chemical Manure Co. Ltd, to manufacture artificial fertilisers, sulphuric acid and other chemical fertilisers. Branches were established in Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, and the company traded overseas in North and South America, India, New Zealand, Australia South Africa and the Middle East. Lawes also established several subsidiary companies as artificial fertiliser merchants. The company became Lawes Chemical Co. Ltd. in 1935 and went into liquidation in 1969, the business continuing to trade under the name of Seabright Chemicals Ltd.


This collection has been arranged according to the activities of the company, as well as format of the material and chronology.

Access Information

This material is open to research and can be viewed at the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre. To make an appointment to visit the reading room, please telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at


Catalogued in accordance with ISAD(G).

Other Finding Aids

For further information about the contents of this collection, please contact the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at

Conditions Governing Use

For further information about our reprographics and publication charges, please visit our website

Custodial History

This collection was received on a permanent loan via Copper and Lybrand, liquidator of Lawes Chemical Company Limited in 1981. This was organised via the Business Archives Council, Survey Manager Lesley M. Millar to Valence House Museum. A 15 year closure period was agreed from 1981 (completed 1996).


The acquisition of addition of is not expected.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names