Wainwright and Waring


The Wainwright and Waring site on the south side of the High Street, which ran from number 14 to 20 and backed on to Vineyard Path, had an intermittent history of industrial use over some 250 years.

John Archer ran a tallow chandlery on part of this site in 1721. Boiling the tallow with an alkali solution was the means of making soap, so it is not surprising that Archer combined the two industries. John Archer was by 1764 described as "a soap boiler and tallow chandler".

Occupying part of the site on the High Street by 1826 was James Phillips an ironmonger who was in partnership with William Holman. Phillips and Holman were then described as patent kiln-plate manufacturers, smiths and ironmongers. Kiln plates were used by malthouse owners of whom there were several in Mortlake. By 1832 Holman had taken over both the company and the whole site which included yards, workshops, tenements and stables. Six years later Holman was now described as an ironmonger, tin-plate manufacturer, blacksmith and bell-hanger. He died in 1854 and left the business to his son, William Laurence Holman. Ten years later his business was described as "Furnishing and General Ironmonger, Cutler, Edge Tool maker, Patentee and Manufacturer of Punched Plates and Patent furnaces for malt kilns". It remained a factory that dealt in metalworking but the emphasis had changed since the death of Holman Senior.


For the remainder of the 19th century the site continued to be used for ironmongery. However, from 1900 until 1920, the Sheen Invicta Sanatory Laundry occupied the site. This was a short interlude as Waring and Wainwright then put the premises to industrial use once more by developing the Albany Forge. The company manufactured architectural metalwork in aluminium, bronze and hand-forged wrought iron, and also produced stained and leaded glass. Their craftmanship was considered to be of excellent quality and they exported their goods widely. Among many commissions, the company produced the stairway at County Hall and the casement windows for the Liberty Department Store.

However, the expertise and craftsmanship of Wainwright and Waring were destroyed on a night in November 1965 when a fire engulfed the entire premises. The company then closed down - it had been in existence for 57 years. The building was demolished in July 1967 and the site now lies beneath the widened High Street.