A Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers
this gazetteer is copyright Jim Evans, 2002
JOHN WAINE AND SONS (WILLENHALL) LTD. BRITANNIA WORKS, LOWER LICHFIELD STREET, WILLENHALL
JOSEPH WAINE & CO. LTD. IMPERIAL WORKS, WOOD STREET, WILLENHALL
Joseph Waine & Co. Ltd, were general lock, latch & bolt
makers, and brass and iron founders at Imperial Works, Wood
Street, Willenhall. Joseph had three sons, John Vincent Waine,
G. A. Waine and Horace Theo Waine.
The factory covered over an acre. Extensive trade was done with
the War Office, the Army and in various parts of Europe. Horace
T. Waine was also involved in the business, and due to his
international travels the products were also sold in Japan,
Burma and Egypt. The company also had an establishment in the
SAMUEL WAKELAM AND CO, WATERLOO PLACE, STRINGERS LANE, WILLENHALL
Trunk, cash box and cabinet lock makers. Existing in 1914 and 1953 but not 1970. Nothing else known.
WALSALL LOCKS AND CARTGEAR LTD, NEALE STREET, WALSALL
They built premises in Neale Street, Walsall and later expanded to having branches at Walsall Road, Willenhall (used until the 1960s) and Newhall Street, Willenhall. (In 1936 they were at Newhall Street, only closed earlier).
BENJAMIN WALTERS AND CO. LTD. 24 NORTH STREET, WOLVERHAMPTON.
Listed as general lock makers, of all kinds of rim and mortice locks and latches, combination and night latches, and every description of brass and iron cabinet locks. Also Bales & Walters improved patent locks and latches. They made their own cabinet locks and Bales latches but acted as wholesale factors for many other types.
They were situated upstairs at 24 North Street, opposite the Molineux Hotel. Closed when the premises were required for the building of the Wolverhampton ring road.
Existing in 1914 (catalogue) 1974. Nothing else known.
B & P WALTERS
Tony Beck has kindly provided the following photos of a lock marked "B & P Walters". It is not known whether or not this is the same firm as Benjamin Walters (above). And nothing else is known about them - except that they seem to have made fine locks.
W.B.S. SAFE LOCKS LTD. HART ROAD, WEDNESFIELD
His first order was for a trial for a
small quantity of locks from the safe makers, Samuel Withers & Co. Ltd.
(q.v.) for whom he became the main supplier of locks for their
During the early 1950s he bought
premises at 38 Hart Road, Wednesfield, nr. Wolverhampton where he formed
a limited company and became W.B.S. Safe Locks Ltd.
After being demobbed from the army in
January 1948 his son, K.W. Sidbotham, went to learn the art of making
locks, the old way by hand, under his father’s teaching. They
specialised in the making of locks for safes and many other types of
securities, of which bank work was their speciality.
K.W. Sidbotham ran the firm when his
father left and under him the firm expanded considerably. In
particular they went on to repair and install safes and strong room
doors, working for banks, police forces, prisons and other places using
safes and high security doors. During 1960 the firm became involved in
the making of rackbolt locks, which turned out to be a vital string to
his bow when Bob Sidbotham moved to the Guild Cottage, Radmore Lane,
Newport Salop, from where he ran his business and worked his trade for
twenty five years. The rackbolt lock was made for a London company of
locksmiths for a refurbishment programme, service work included, for one
of the leading High Street banks.
This order lasted about thirty years
after which Mr. K.W. Sidbotham retired from lock making, due to poor
health. His cousin, Mr. K. Rooker, of Regent Safe & Cabinet Locks,
Willenhall, (q.v.) helped out and they worked together very well.
We are obliged to Mr. K. W. Sidbotham for help with the above entry. A book by him gives further details of the company as well as a picture of the working conditions and practices of a locksmith in the second half of the twentieth century: K. W. "Bob" Sidbotham, Life and Tales of a Locksmith, History into Print, 2005, £9.95.
WEISER (UK) LTD. NORTH WEST INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, PETERLEE, COUNTY DURHAM
The UK branch of a USA company who set up in Peterlee to manufacture their range of pin tumbler locks in the UK. They also had a branch in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. Closed in the early 1990s when demand decreased and production was transferred to Belgium.
WEST ALLOY DIECASTINGS LTD. GARTH ROAD, MORDEN, SURREY
West Alloy Diecastings is a privately owned company founded in 1952. The company began as a trade shop, producing zinc diecastings, and fairly quickly moved into the design and manufacture of locks, enjoying considerable success with a main lock for caravans. Further versions developed and the success of the design can be measured by the fact that three of these assemblies are still in current production. By the 1960s West Alloy was also manufacturing hinges, drawer pulls, catches and folding table legs. When fuel economy became a major issue in the seventies, West Alloy responded by introducing a design of lock predominately manufactured in plastic. Retaining one or two zinc castings, the change to plastic reduced the weight by 60 to 70%. It was this change that opened the door to other market opportunities.
In the early eighties West Alloy identified a market opportunity and set about designing a purpose built lock for tractor cabs, based on locking round a stud rather than on the traditional slam type lock used by the caravan industry, the major market for the company’s locks at that time. The resulting design was a much stronger interior lock, produced predominately from steel pressings - a considerable departure from the original core business of zinc diecasting. Introduced in 1984 the tractor cab lock was designed to operate with an existing diecast exterior and incorporated a diecast operating lever to enable the door to be opened from the inside. At the time it wasn’t fully appreciated how flexible and successful this design would become and that it would lead to several new generations of products.
West Alloy currently produce a wide range of parts for construction equipment and tractor cabs, caravans, garage doors and office furniture. The majority of products are West Alloy’s own design and are manufactured at the company’s two factories at Morden and Sutton, Surrey. The company employs a work force of ninety and is equipped with all the necessary equipment for producing diecastings and plastic mouldings. Approximately 65% of the company’s products are for the U.K. market, the balance being exported to Europe, Australia, South Africa, Japan and the U.S.A.
In 1998 Mr B Sugden was the Managing Director. The firm had 86 employees. Their turnover was £4 million.
WEST END LOCK CO. NEW ROAD, WILLENHALL
WESTON BODY HARDWARE LTD, 27 WALKER ROAD, REDDITCH
Manufacturers of die cast lock cylinder barrels, budget locks, compartment locks. Set up in the 1970s to manufacture the "Wilmot Breedon" range of locks and latches when Josiah Parkes decided they did not wish to continue to produce the range they had made for Wilmot Breeden for so many years.