Edwin Fletcher and Company Ltd

Scope and Content

Records of Edwin Fletcher and Company Limited. The collection is comprised primarily of minute and agenda books. There are also a number of individual volumes primarily concerned with the transfer of shares and debentures, attendance of the Directors at the Board meetings and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edwin Fletcher and Company Limited was formed in 1896 as a private drapery business. At the first meeting of the Directors, Mr H Outlaw was appointed Chair and Mr W G Lloyd became the Secretary. Councilor Edwin Fletcher was the majority share and debenture holder and was appointed to the position of Director, as were Mr G A Broderick and Mr J Doston. The first registered officers of the Company were 48 Cherry Street, Birmingham. By 1899 the Company was leasing properties on the High Street, and owned land on New Street and at the rear of the Grand Louvre, Birmingham.

After this early expansion, the Company appear to have experienced financial difficulties in the mid-1920s. In September 1926, four Board members resigned and one months notice was issued to all employees. At the end of the month the Board, chaired by the newly appointed Mr Joseph Millington, resolved to enter into an agreement with the Birmingham Co-operative Society Limited (the Society). In October, the Society’s members were invited to trade at the Company’s premises and could use Society club vouchers to pay for goods. Shortly afterwards, the purchase of 98% of the shares of the Company by the Society was approved. The purchase of the Company's trade fixtures and stock-in-trade by the Society was scheduled for the following year. The Society took over the lease of the Company’s properties and from December 1926, leased 79-82 High Street, Birmingham, to the Company.

On 9 April 1941 the Company’s premises on High Street were destroyed by enemy action. Repair work was delayed because of the practical constraints placed on building work during World War Two. Therefore, the Company was unable to continuing trading and, except for the interest paid on their investments, did not make any profit between 1942 and 1951. The minutes from the meeting of the directors suggest that the Company were trading again by 1955.

Source: Director's Minutes, MID/1/1/2/8/2