A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers

Jim Evans

this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002


Established in 1890 as manufacturer of rim, dead, combination, gate locks and night latches. In the 1930s was run by Aaron Adey who was later joined by his sons Ron and Cyril. (Fred Birch 31/3/2000). Still in existence in 1953, but not in 1970. Nothing else known.



The firm was started by Charles Leonard Nott c1900.  He had previously worked for H. & T. Vaughan.  The company secretary was Elsa Norman, and her brother, Edgar Norman, was works manager. 

Mr. Nott lived with his wife at Handsworth, Birmingham. His wife's maiden name was Ferguson and they were Quakers.  They had a three story building in Cheapside, Willenhall.

They made the DREADNOUGHT padlock and numerous warded and other padlocks. Some of these were described as American Pattern, although British made.

Some were clearly copies of Yale designs and were marked "ANGLO AMERICAN LOCK COMPANY WILLENHALL".  They appear to be mostly from the bottom end of the Yale range. They also made rim night latches.

On this letterhead (left) of 1926 the proprietor is named as C. Leonard Nott; and the text refers only to key making.

Courtesy of Trevor Dowson.

A letterhead from 1928.

Charles Nott died in 1940 and the company was taken over by his sister, Miriam Nott.  She continued with the business until the mid 1950s when they ceased trading.

They were not listed in a trade directory for 1953. The goodwill of the company was passed to A & E Morgan (q.v.)

The three story building in Cheapside, Willenhall, was then used by various companies until it was converted into flats in the 1980s.

.(Ref. LMNL No 43 [Lock Museum News Letter]) (Locks and Keys No 9).




The firm was established in 1885 by George Anslow who lived at 130A  Newhall Street, Willenhall.  He built a factory next door and specialised in the manufacture of rim and dead locks.  He patented a mechanism for operating the latch bolt, 6 June 1888 No. 8245.

An advert from 1954.

They started to manufacture the "NEWHALL" cylinder night latch and became members of the Cylinder Lock Manufacturers Association (CLMA) in 1931.  Mr Anslow was still representing them at a meeting in April 1938. At this time they employed 40 people.  George's son, Roland, also worked for the company.

An advert from 1955.

Before the start of the Second World War in 1939 the business was taken over by the Pearson brothers, Sid and Bill, who added mortice locks to the range but ceased making the cylinder night latch. In 1965 they purchased the padlock makers H. W. CLARK (q.v.,) Wednesfield Road Willenhall. (Ref. LMNL 14 & 41.) This advert, provided by Trevor Dowson, is dated 1981.
The advert on the right says that the lock shown was made "some hundred years ago" and is signed "George Anslow". 

Trevor Dowson says that it was made by the brother of the original founder, as an exhibition item (and that it is now on permanent loan to the lock museum).

The business continued to be run throughout the 1970s and 80s by Bill's sons, Garth, who died in 1998, and Michael.

In August 1991 Michael sold out to ABT-Gibbons, who were by that time members of the Frederick Cooper Group.

Most of the Newhall range of locks was then discontinued. 

By 1996 all of the Newhall range had been discontinued.

An advert from 1958.

Courtesy of David Parsons.


An advert from 1861.


An advert from 1865.


A manufacturer of wardrobe and cupboard locks, under Asro and Ashtree trade names.  Set up by Mr Ash and Mr Rogers, one of whom was knocked over by a vehicle while on a business trip and died from his injuries.  First noted, by Jim Evans, as in existence in1921.

These two illustrations, supplied by Trevor Dowson, come from a catalogue of 1940.

Two of the keys show the word "ASRO"  with "regd in UK" beneath them; and three of the locks show the word "ASRO" contained within a triangle, also with the words "regd in uk", indicating that they claimed the word "Asro", in any form, as a trade mark.

In 1936 they were at Ashtree Works, Pargetter Street, Walsall.  They moved to new works in Bentley Lane and were eventually taken over by a furniture manufacturer who was their largest customer.

The name eventually disappeared, although some of the production could have been carried out by a new company Ashtree (Locks and Hardware) & Co., Birchills Trading Estate, Walsall who were owned by J R Goodman (Bloxwich) Ltd in 1973.



Manufacturers of the EXCEL cylinder lock.  In 1937 a report to the CLMA stated that Warshaw & Sons were understood to be interested in the company and that Belgian capital was involved. They placed an order for cases with W P Edmonds, while intending to make their own cylinders.

 They made the Excel lock in which the case, staple cylinder and other parts were all die-castings. In 1938 they applied to join the CLMA. 

By 1953 they had moved to new premises at Willesden Works, Old Oak, London when they were also making a brass cabinet lock. They were still in existence in 1959.



This advert, dated 1884, is from the Locksmith's House.  There is no record of which publication it came from.  It is the only known record of this firm.

The advert records an aspect of life at the time, when most poorer people would have dressed in second hand clothes.  It also tells us something of what St. John's Street was like at the time.  The Astons were just a couple of door along from Easthope's interior decor shop and bicycle works; and not far from Mander's varnish works.

Mrs. Aston may have greater prominence than Mr. Aston in this advert because of the publication's target audience.  But whatever the case, remarks about who wears the trousers in that house would not have been appreciated.



In 1953 listed as manufactures of rim, mortice and latches. At one time could have manufactured cylinder night latches under the brand name ALTUS and APEX? (Or was this G.Spencer?).  Later went into the manufacture of cabs for trucks etc.  Not in existence in 1914 but still going in 1936 and 1970.

This notice appeared in The Ironmonger Guide, 1950, trade marks section.  What the connection is, if any, between the company at Stamford Hill (otherwise unknown) and that at Willenhall, is not known.



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