General Metal and Holloware

Robert Stroud & Co

Niphon Works, Lower Villiers Street

Here is what the "Illustrated Towns of England Business Review: Wolverhampton" had to say about this firm in 1897:

"One of the largest and busiest industrial establishments in Wolverhampton is that known as the "Niphon Works," of Messrs. Robert Stroud and Co., the well-known manufacturers of tin plate and japanned wares, etc., whose business was established a quarter of a century ago, and has a record of exceptional progress. 

The works named are in Lower Villiers Street, to which they present a long four-storied frontage; there are three extensive ranges of building running from the front block, the accommodation for workshops, warehouses, offices, etc., being remarkably extensive. About six months ago the firm built a large block of building at the rear, three storeys in height, for the purposes of cabinet manufacturing and this is most admirably arranged and equipped for all purposes. 

Messrs. Stroud and Co.'s machinery, plant and appliances are excellent in every respect, and no doubt the all round superiority of the facilities that they possess accounts in no small degree for the eminence they have attained in their lines of trade. 

Tin-plate and japanned ware, japanned stationery goods, and all classes of stamped goods, trunks baths, deed and cash boxes, wash stands, toilet sets, coal vases, dish covers, trays and waiters, fire screens, and every description of wares for art decoration are produced in great quantities at these works, the demand for them being an extraordinary one. 

The sound workmanship and finish and general excellence of all the articles enumerated are admitted, and the goods of this firm are thus able to withstand any competition.

Patent improved railway milk cans are a speciality of Messrs. Stroud and Co.'s, and they were awarded a First Prize at the London Dairy Show, 1884, and a Silver Medal at the International Inventions Exhibition, 1885. 

From two to three hundred hands find employment at the "Niphon Works," from which fact alone the extent of the output may be gauged. 

As cabinet manufacturers, Messrs. Stroud and Co. turn out the highest class work only; beautiful bedroom suites being their chief speciality in this branch. The new workshops for this department are particularly light and lofty, and excellent provision has been made for drying and seasoning the timber before use. 

The trade done is both home and export, the quality of Messrs. Stroud and Co.'s productions being known and appreciated in all markets. 

Mr. Stroud, the owner of the business, is a well-known public man in Wolverhampton, where he is highly respected as a large employer of labour, and as one who has done much to further the interests of the town in many ways."

Butter churn by Stroud - the name, with the word "w-hampton" is on the cast iron plate in the centre.  The brass plate reads: "R. Stroud and Sons/Wolverhampton."

The main body of the churn is oak and the other parts are pine.  It seems Stroud's had some experience of production in wood before they set about cabinet making.


The Niphon works still present their impressive frontage to Villiers Street and extensive ranges of buildings still exist at the back - and there is still a wide range of activities inside.

The account seems to capture Strouds at a time when they were diversifying into furniture making, for which they became well known. Such was this sort of diversification that when Star needed bodies for their very first production cars they got Strouds to make them.

Stroud's wooden bodywork on an 1899 Star.

This drawing of the works come from the letterhead, dated 1926, shown below.
Stroud's invoice heading, dated April 1926. Note that the top line refers to "tin japan and cabinet works", giving some prominence to the furniture making side of the business.
The site of Stroud's Niphon Works on the 1901 OS Map, with the boundaries (unverified) shown in red.  The large, north to south road to the right of the map, is Dudley Road. Note the fields to the west and the built up area to the north and east.
Another invoice dated June 1926, refers only to wholesale cabinet manufacturers, of bedroom suites, wood bedsteads, sideboards, coal cabinets, vases, and wood trays etc. Also motor car bodies. It seems to be an indication that furniture making was, perhaps, becoming the company's leading, if not only, activity.
R. Stroud & Son Limited's trade mark - a griffon standing on a crest. Taken from the first letterhead above.  

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