Protractor – J. Halden & Co. Ltd. – Manchester

10 Oct

Protractor made by J. Halden & Co. Ltd. Image courtesy S. Mir.

This is a ivory protractor made by J. Halden & Co. Ltd. who were based at 8 Albert Square, Manchester.

J. Halden & Co. Ltd were producers of a range of drawing and surveying instruments and other office materials and had offices in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, with their manufacturing base at Rowsley Works in Reddish, Stockport.

J. Halden & Co’s Rowsley Works in Reddish.  Image courtesy P. Stanley.

The business was started by Joseph Halden in partnership with A.G. Thornton in 1878 as a wholesale drawing material importer and mounting paper manufacturer. However, by the 1880s, A.G. Thornton had left the business and moved to his own premises which were based on Deansgate.By 1889, the business was established and making sufficient profit for Joseph Halden to purchase manufacturing works on East Street, just off Lower Mosley Street. By 1892, it is possible that Joseph Haldens son had taken over the running of the business after his retirement to Southport.

By the beginning of the twentieth-century J. Halden & Co. Ltd had already established a reputation for providing drawing instruments and held several patented designs for drawing and surveying instruments and had expanded considerably, opening offices in London,

J. Halden & Co photocopying frame in 1902. Image courtesy P. Stanley.

Newcastle, and Birmingham, whilst acquiring additional works in Lund Street, Cornbrook in 1900 and warehousing on Altrincham Street, off London Road, in 1903. They also purchased additional premises at 37 Brazenose Street, next door to their Albert Square headquarters.

In 1907 they became a limited company and by 1908 they had built their new manufacturing base in Reddish following a fire which destroyed their Cornbrook works. The sheer scale of the new premises meant they could offload the warehousing on Altrincham Street.

By the start of the World War One in 1914 they had established themselves as specialist in providing drawing materials and instruments and photocopying machines and services for engineers and architects. By 1920 they had added offices in Glasgow and Leeds to their growing business.

In the 1930s, J. Halden & Co. Ltd purchased further premises at 25 Brazenose Street to house the expanding photocopying business and it was here that many new patents for photographic apparatus, photosensitive materials, blueprint processes and photocopying machines were born.

In the 1940s the business continued to expand and prosper under the guidance and leadership of Jospeh Halden’s grandson, John Lionel Halden, who became the technical director of the company. It was at this time that a further extension to the Reddish Works was completed to include an enlarged engineering department for the production of photocopying machines and added space for the storage of office supplies.

Following John Lionel Halden’s death in August 1965 at the age of 49, having only a year before becoming the chairman, the company was steered by managers until it was finally taken over in 1969 by the Ozalid Group, which was started as part of the German company Kalle in 1928. The subsequent take over resulted 13 days later of the closure of the Reddish works with the loss of 75 jobs with the engineering work being transferred to Block & Anderson‘s works at Aycliffe, Co. Durham. A small number of employees were kept on at the Manchester branch office, whilst others were offered jobs with other members of the Ozalid Group.

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2 Responses to “Protractor – J. Halden & Co. Ltd. – Manchester”

  1. Mike Burrows January 7, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

    I have found a number of items related to this article in a loft space I was wondering if they are of interest to anybody.



  1. J Halden & Co. Ltd Workers « historyme - October 12, 2012

    […] The picture and contribution was kindly donated by D.G. Holloway, whose grandfather, Henry Benjamin Holloway worked at J Halden & Co. Ltd. […]


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