William Kilbourne Kay founded the pioneering Kay & Co Ltd mail order catalogue company in Worcester in 1890. Kays was a major employer in Worcester until its closure in 2007.
The archive of Kay & Co Ltd, deposited by the Kays Heritage Group, is a valuable resource to researchers in cultural and social history, fashion and design, and business, economic and manufacturing history.
The collection provides insight into aspirational 20th century living, including representations of everyday people and goods and images of clothing, textiles, and household items with contemporary pricing. The archive also contains information about Kay’s manufacturing practices, Board minutes, company accounts and correspondence detailing Kays’ pioneering business model.
In 1965, Kays’ parent company, Great Universal Stores, acquired the Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company. The Kays Archive contains the minute books of the Scottish Textile & Manufacturing Company’s Board of Directors from the company’s registration in 1946 until its purchase.
This timeline was created as part of a work placement project by Niall Herbert, a history undergraduate, to highlight significant people and events in the company's history.
If you would like to learn more about the Scottish Textile and Manufacturing Company and its predecessor, the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd, you can find information from Glasgow City Libraries, The National Co-operative Archive and The National Library of Scotland. British Pathe videos provide some additional context for post-war Glasgow.
There are several correspondences with Meyer (Lucas supporting Meyer’s view) and the secretary Douglas. All starts with Meyer requesting a copy of the minutes from last meeting, which is rejected initially by Douglas. What ensues is a series of letters between the two in which high tensions arise in the following month.
For the year ending March 1954 the STMC make a loss and not a profit of £480.
19 November 1954
Patterson is still chairman of the STMC, Douglas is still secretary and Lucas and Meyer are still joint managing directors.
The company indicates to Rayon Weaving Association of its resignation as a member.
The Secretary is instructed to write to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce after Meyer did so unauthorised defending the interests of the company. Meyer writes about the testing of cloth which has been criticised and looks to defend the STMC as he sees it as a prerogative of a joint managing director.
Research Collections, University of Worcester
The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts
Worcester, WR1 3PD