James Ince and Sons

Scope and Content

Records of James Ince and Sons, umbrella makers (1871-2005), including: accounts and account books, 1925-1998; miscellaneous account books, including wages books, stocktaking, petty cash, share certificate, insurance and sales/purchase books, 1931-1997; order books, 1972-1990; miscellaneous photographs of James Ince umbrellas, displays at trade fairs, properties and Geoffrey Ince and Wilfred Sears Ince at professional engagements, c1950-1995; promotional material, price lists, catalogues, brochures and umbrella material samples for James Ince and Sons products and other manufacturers, 1900-1995; scrapbooks compiled by Geoffrey Ince concerning his chairmanship of the Bishopsgate Ward Club, the Ward Club's centenary, business history and self employment/tax issues, 1984-1993; Geoffrey Ince's engagement diaries, 1987-1994; papers and correspondence regarding business properties at 298/300 Bishopsgate, 9/10 The Oval and 37 Spital Square, 1946-1986; business leases, wills and property deeds, 1871-1972; private account book of James Ince, Brighton, 1883-1900; copper printing blocks and copper logo plates, n.d.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Ince and Sons, umbrella manufacturers, were founded in 1805 and remains a family business; originally, in the 1820s, main products included parasols for ladies, very often exclusive 'one-offs'; in the 1860s the firm quickly expanded into wholesaling and exports and, by the early 1900s, the company had started producing garden furniture, although in a limited way. Trade now lies in producing promotional umbrellas, golfing umbrellas and garden sun shades and furnishings. James Ince and Sons also produces umbrellas, both historic and modern, for film, television and theatre productions. The company was situated at 298-300 Bishopsgate for a number of years and also used business properties in The Oval and Norton Folgate. James Ince and Sons now resides in Hackney.


The James Ince and Sons archive is divided into the following five sections:

  • INCE/1: Financial Records
  • INCE/2: Property Records
  • INCE/3: Marketing Records
  • INCE/4: Personal Records
  • INCE/5: Correspondence

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited with the Bishopsgate Institute by Richard Ince, 5 and 21 February 2007.

Other Finding Aids

Adlib catalogue and copy of handlist available in researcher's area.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Grace Biggins.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying and digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.