Scope and Content

Consists of legal records 1943-1965; statements of account 1949-1970; wages account book 1937-1963; invoice books 1938-1978; invoice files 1962-1963; banking records 1964; accounting papers 1961-1972; factory registers 1913-1970's; factory acts and notices 1925-1949; labour records 1942-1966; income tax and national insurance 1963-1971; wage rates and hours of work 1963-1969; production, stock and dispatch records 1951-1978; orders records 1949-1967; sales records 1948-1966; materials records 1943-1966; buildings and plants records 1951-1970; woods records 1936-1960; correspondence files relating to timber sales 1950-1966; letter books 1938-1970; publicity and advertising 1950-1971

Administrative / Biographical History

Located at Welnetham, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk

In 1911 the London firm of hardware factors, John George and Sons Ltd, decided to set up their own factory for the production of wooden hay rakes, scythe sneaths and other wooden items, in place of their previous practice of buying in such goods from a variety of local makers. In fact it was a local maker, A.G.Last, who persuaded Stanley George to take over his business and build such a factory at Welnetham, near Bury St. Edmunds. The Welnetham works of John George&Sons Ltd. were opened in 1912 and coppice woods about a mile away in Felsham Hall Woods were leased to provide a continuous supply of timber, mostly ash, birch, alder, hazel and willow. A variety of other wooden goods such as beetles, sheep hurdles, stable forks and all manner of handles and pegs, were produced in addition to rakes and scythe sneaths. Not all goods were factory made as certain simpler types of product were made in the open. The growth of the business led to the purchase of some 300 acres of coppice woods in Felsham Hall Woods in 1934.

A works fire in 1939, not only caused the rebuilding of the works, including the installation of a Blackstone diesel engine to drive the plant, but also unfortunately the destruction of many early records. By the 1960's a decline in trade had set in which caused John George and Sons Ltd. to place their Welnetham operations in liquidation in 1967 However in 1970 the Welnetham business was purchased by the Litchfield family, the firm now trading as Welnetham Woodwork Ltd. At the same time, the firm's woodland was purchase by the Society for the Preservation of Nature Reserves and became Bradfield Hall Nature Reserve. The concern again changed hands in 1974 when it became the property of Ron Hack, a freelance journalist. In 1984, the firm was bought by Neville Graydon, a furniture designer and maker.


  • TR JGS/1-3 Legal Records
  • TR JGS/4-77 Accounts
  • TR JGS/78-83 Official Factory Records
  • TR JGS/84-95 Labour Records
  • TR JGS/96-106 Production, Stock and Dispatch Records
  • TR JGS/107-112 Orders Records
  • TR JGS/113 114 Sales Records
  • TR JGS/115-119 Materials Records
  • TR JGS/120-130 Building and Plant Records
  • TR JGS/131-138 Woods Records
  • TR JGS/139-156 General Correspondence
  • TR JGS/157-163 Publicity and Advertising Records

Conditions Governing Access

Available for consultation

Acquisition Information

Deposited in 1984


Compiled by Zoe Watson, March 2004

Other Finding Aids

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

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist