Papers of Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd and Predecessors

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minute books, 1919-1973; statutory records including memoranda and articles of association, 1900-1967, register of members, 1926-1955, register of directors' shares and debenture interests, 1967-1979; registers of seals, 1944-1960; financial records including annual accounts, 1900-1907, balance sheets, 1913-1966, bank pass books, 1924-1933, cash books, 1906-1984, cost books, 1901-1903, journals, 1913-1960, ledgers, 1899-1945.

Correspondence of Directors: Alfred Ernest Owen, 1918-1929; Chairman and Joint Managing Director, Sir Alfred Owen, 1949-1967; Ernest William Beech Owen, Joint Managing Director, 1949 - 1967; Charles Eustace Partridge, Financial Director, 1984-1957; Alfred David Owen, 1959-1969; John Ernest Owen: 1967 - 1968. Correspondence of Company Secretaries: James Albert Glover, 1944 - 1967; Raymond Edwardes: 1967- 1974; Assistant Company Secretary, J.H. Whitehouse, 1027-1975; Indexes.

miscellaneous papers, 1893-1909; letter books, 1897-1958; printed publications including Goodwill, 1946-1980, R.O. News, Owen News, RO News, 1952-1979; other publications, 1915-1975; diaries of A.E. Owen, 1892, J.T. Rubery, 1903; agreements, 1919-1952; press-cuttings, 1950-1972; reports, 1951-1965; notices, 1963-1974; functional records relating to preparation for retirement 1959 - 1962, industrial life and christian teamwork, group archives.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Tunner Rubery and his two brothers entered into partnership in 1884 to establish a business for the manufacture of light steel constructions in the Victoria Works at Darlaston, South Staffordshire, known as Rubery and Company. On the withdrawal of the brothers from the business in 1893, Alfred Ernest Owen joined the partnership. By 1903, A.E. Owen, who had been trained as an engineer, was very much more active than his senior partner and the change in the relative strengths of the partners was reflected in the change of name to Rubery, Owen & Company. Rubery withdrew from the partnership in 1910, and A.E. Owen became sole proprietor. At the suggestion of the Midland Bank and the urgent prompting of his accountant, Charles Eustace Partridge, a private limited company, Rubery, Owen & Co. Ltd., was registered on 14 April 1920 (No. 166447), but A.E. Owen was reluctant to set about transferring the assets of his business to the new company. Owen died on 29 December 1929, but it was not until 1934 that his executors were able to separate his different interests and transfer the assets of Rubery, Owen & Company to the limited company. In 1966 Rubery Owen & Co. Ltd was turned into a holding company which supervised the activities of the Group, Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd. The assets and trading activities of the Darlaston Works and its related factories were transferred to a new company, confusingly also called Rubery Owen & Co. Ltd. In 1975 the latter company changed its name to Rubery Owen (Darlaston) Ltd.

Reference: Leonard McDonald, Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd. Archive (University of Warwick, 1997).


The Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd Archive has been arranged using the following classification scheme: 1 Minute Books; 2 Statutory Records; 3 Financial Records; 4 Correspondence; 5 Letter Books; 6 Printed Publications; 7 Other Publications; 8 Diaries; 9 Agreements; 10 Press - Cuttings; 11 Reports; 12 Notices; 13 Functional Records; 13.1 Preparation for Retirement; 13.2 Industrial Life & Christian Teamwork; 13.3 Group Archives.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is generally open to all records more than thirty years of age unless they refer directly to individuals - members of the family and employees alike. Records less than 30 years of age are closed. Applications for access to closed records may be made to the Chairman of Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd and will only be considered from bona fide students if the company has a genuine interest in the results of the research which the applicant wishes to undertake. Copies of any material to be published must be submitted for approval by the Company before publication. The private papers of Sir Alfred Owen are closed.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd in 1994.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level description is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom. A catalogue to file level is also available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources.

A general collection level description exists for the Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd Archive as a whole (MSS.338). Collection level descriptions also exist for the papers of the subsidiary companies including: Darlaston Group (MSS.338/ROD); Conveyancer Group (MSS.338/ROC); Domestic Equipment Group (MSS.338/RODE); Fasteners Group (MSS.338/ROF); Distributors Group (MSS.338/ROJ); C. & L. Hill Group (MSS.338/ROL); Other Subsidiary Companies (MSS.338/ROS)

An authority record exists for Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd. (GB 152 AAR2219).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are expected.

Related Material

Files relating to Sir Alfred's activities as a member and chairman of the Staffordshire County Council were transferred to the Staffordshire County Record Office in 1974. The Rubery Owen Photographic and Film Collection is held by the Staffordshire Film Archive at Staffordshire University.


A source booklet to the Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd Archive is available from the Modern Records Centre:

Leonard McDonald, Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd. Archive (University of Warwick, 1997).  Please contact the Centre's staff for further details