Historical Manuscripts Commission

Summary report on the records of predecessor and subsidiary companies of 

Renold Chains Ltd, chain manufacturers, Manchester

deposited in

Manchester Archives and Local Studies

(reference: GB-0127-M501)

D Leitch, January 1993
Historical Manuscripts Commission

Table of Contents



Summary report

Predecessor Companies

Coventry Chain Co Ltd

Hans Renold Ltd

Subsidiary Companies

Bayliss, Wiley & Co Ltd

Billetop & Gilpin Ltd

Brampton Brothers Ltd

John Holroyd & Co Ltd

E Liebert & Co Ltd

Perry & Co Ltd

Petrie & Co Ltd

Renold Chains Ltd

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Prospective users are advised that they need to obtain permission to consult the Hans Renold archive from the Secretary, Renold plc, Renold House, Styal Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 5WL. They are also required to make an appointment with the Archivist in advance of any visit to Manchester Archives and Local Studies.


Hans Renold came to England from his native Switzerland in 1873 and bought for £300 a small textile chainmaking business in Salford in 1879. The firm expanded its operations in Manchester and was incorporated as a limited company in 1903. Three years later work began on a new factory at Burnage near Didsbury. During the First World War this factory was chiefly occupied with the production of munitions and the workforce grew to 2,380. In the difficult trading conditions of the immediate postwar years the company reverted to chain manufacture and in 1921 a subsidiary sales company, Renold Chains Ltd, was formed to increase exports worldwide except in the USA and Canada. In 1928 (Sir) Charles Garonne Renold (1883-1967), Hans’ eldest son and an early enthusiast for ’scientific management’, succeeded his father as chairman.

In 1932 Hans Renold Ltd merged with the rival Coventry Chain Co Ltd to form the Renold & Coventry Chain Co Ltd, which had a capital of £ 1.1 million. Charles Renold became managing director and deputy chairman under the chairmanship of Arthur Brampton. The thirteen subsidiary companies included Brampton Brothers Ltd. In 1937 an offer from a competitor to acquire the cycle fittings side of the business was accepted and the company concentrated solely on the production of precision chains and wheels.

During the Second World War the company continued to manufacture chains as well as munitions and this continuity was beneficial in the post-war years. Charles Renold had succeeeded Brampton as chairman in 1943 and the company was renamed Renold Chains Ltd in 1954. In the mid 1950s the firm employed 5,000 workers in the UK as well as over 900 in France and Australia.

In 1959 the important chain and cycle component manufacturer Perry & Co (Holdings) Ltd was taken over. Five years later the company merged with John Holroyd & Co Ltd, machine tool manufacturers, which had itself taken over the old-established firm of Petrie & Co Ltd in 1907. After a further merger with Crofts Engineers (Holdings) Ltd, the Renold Group, now called Renold Ltd, recorded sales of £37 million and employed nearly 12,000 in 1967-8.

This list has been compiled from the card catalogue relating to the Hans Renold archive now in the Local Studies Unit of Manchester Central Library. The catalogue is based on a Dewey decimal classification which was devised by the company’s librarian. Initials denoting the various companies have been added, together with a shorthand number for the year of accession (eg ’902’ for 1902). An attempt has been made to gather as many references as possible to records of earlier date than 1914. but the list is very far from being a complete summary of this important archive. In particular, the records of the Renold & Coventry Chain Co Ltd and its successors have been omitted altogether on the grounds that they were active in a later period than that covered by the Commission’s guide to Records of British Business and Industry 1760-1914: Engineering and Metal Processing.

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Summary report

Predecessor Companies

Coventry Chain Co Ltd (CC)

Memoranda and articles of association from 1907

Directors’ and shareholders’ minutes 1902-35

Private ledgers (4) 1910-31

Product engineer’s inventories c1907-34

Guard book 1931-5

Publications 1914-25

Miscellaneous papers partly relating to increases in capital and square footage 1907-29

Coventry Repetition Co Ltd: minutes 1909-25


Hans Renold Ltd, driving chain manufacturers, Manchester (HR)

Memoranda and articles of association 1903-22

Directors’ and shareholders’ minutes 1903-32

Head office meeting minutes (10 volumes) 1910-28

Managing director’s council minutes from 1928

Instructions department minutes 1914

Research minutes 1913-18

Office management committee minutes relating to sales 1917

Drawing office meeting minutes 1910-17

Minutes of Manchester works meetings 1912-14

Balance sheets and trading accounts 1903-22

Notes on the organisation of commercial and technical offices 1906

'J' books relating to organisation (cl0 volumes) 1911-22

Organisation and delegation of authority charts 1909-30

Administration and management constitution 1925-30

General instructions (10 volumes) from 1923

Schedule of combined assets with the Coventry Chain Co Ltd 1929-30

Papers relating to a special financial investigation of the merger with the Coventry Chain Co Ltd 1927-30

Papers relating to the liquidation of the company and the Coventry Chain Co Ltd 1932-5

Accounts (1 binder, etc) 1903-22, 1929

‘Carry forward’ statements 1903-22

Papers relating to accounting system 1913

Expense rates 1913-21

Draft private ledgers (2) 1913-14

Ledgers and journals relating to liquidation 1932-3

Chart of annual chain sales 1880-97

Daily record of orders and sales 1905-08

Sales bulletins 1911-24

Monthly sales statistics 1882-1910

Testimonial of the Triumph Cycle Co 1911

Diagram of cost system 1908

Paper by Hans Renold relating to engineering workshop organisation 1913

Instruction cards for the care and assembly of chains 1913-49

Applications books 1909-22

Drawings 1909-22

Drawing office standards c1900

Patents taken out 1865, 1885-1910

Technical papers 1912-40

Payroll c1906

Terms of employment 1896, 1914-22

Plans of factories 1913-14

Photographs of employees and premises (3 items) c1900-01

Photographs of the Renold works (1 album) 1914-51

Photographs compiled by publicity department from 1906

Scrapbook relating to chains 1896-1907

Notes relating to product catalogues c1885

Cycle and motor cycle catalogues 1885-1931

Industrial catalogues 1886-1933

Automobile catalogues 1905-37

Cycle and motorcycle leaflets 1905-37

Cutting gear publications 1906-37

Articles relating to A Hamilton Church and the introduction of his costing methods 1900-05

Personal papers of W Walker relating to financial aspects of the merger with the Coventry Chain Co Ltd 1932-5

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Subsidiary Companies

Bayliss, Wiley & Co Ltd, cycle fittings manufacturers, Birmingham (BW)

Minutes 1948-65

Balance sheets from 1926

Profit and loss accounts from 1924

Correspondence and papers including some relating to the merger with Perry & Co Ltd in 1926, 1923-41


Billetop & Gilpin Ltd, bearing bush manufacturers, Leicester (BG)

Memorandum and articles of association nd

Balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, etc 1936-62

Correspondence relating to acquisition by John Holroyd Ltd from 1946


Brampton Brothers Ltd, cycle chain manufacturers, Birmingham (BR)

Memorandum and articles of association 1897

Directors’ minutes 1897-1935

Shareholders’minutes (1 volume) 1897-1936

Miscellaneous financial papers 1922-31

Guard book 1931-6

Catalogues 1896-1922

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John HoIroyd & Co Ltd, engineers and tool manufacturers, Milnrow (HR)

Directors’ minutes (5 volumes, etc) 1899-1964

Trading figures 1909-19

Agreement relating to purchase of Billetop & Gilpin Ltd 1947

Letter from the Amalgamated Society of Engineers relating to overtime 1879

Works inventory and valuation 1907

Catalogues with prices in manuscript (3 items) 1888-1906

Photographs of exhibition stands 1906-58


E Liehert & Co Ltd (EL)

Directors’ minutes 1912-29

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Perry & Co Ltd, steel pen and cycle chain manufacturers, Birmingham and London (PE)

Prospectus 1876

Memorandum and articles of association 1876

Directors’ and shareholders’ minutes 1875-1961

Perry & Co (Holdings) Ltd: directors’ minutes 1945-65

Perry Chain Co Ltd: directors’ minutes 1945-65

Perry & Co (Pens) Ltd: directors’ minutes 1945-61

Committee relating to management of the company 1926

Board transfer books (5) 1876-1905

Board papers relating to private matters 1906-37

Reports of ordinary general meetings 1902-45

Record of special matters mentioned in reports to shareholders 1877-89

Agenda books 1926-58

Directors’ attendance books nd

Statement of profits prior to the formation of limited company 1859-75

Profits and home trading accounts 1906-27

Balance sheets and profit and loss accounts 1890-1945

Share transactions records 1901-40

Record of ordinary stock prices 1876-1958

Record of 'B' preference stock prices 1897-1958

Papers relating to directors’ and families’ stockholdings 1904-59

Papers relating to office procedures 1897-1903

Instructions from the correspondence department from 1891

Agreements between James Perry and Saglier Freres et Cie 183931843

Agreement relating to the sale of the Wiley family business 1875

Draft agreement relating to the sale of the Perry family business 1875

Agreements relating to the sale of businesses in Frankfurt, Brussels, New York and Amsterdam by H and LH Perry (4 items) 1876

Agreements relating to establishment of limited company 1876

Miscellaneous agreements 1866-78

Agency agreements from 1879

Agreement with Ernile Bruylant relating to purchase of pen business 1911

Agreements and other papers relating to the reorganisation of Perry & Co Ltd into three companies 1944-5

Agreement relating to acquisition of Birmingham assets by Renold Ltd 1964

Circular relating to amalgamation 1876

Papers relating to the purchase of Saglier Freres et Cie 1904

Papers relating to cycle trade amalgamation scheme 1928

Papers relating to the acquisition of the pen business and trade marks of Goode & Co (Metals) 1945

Offers to purchase pen businesses 1953-7

Papers relating to merger with Renold Chains Ltd 1958-61

Memorandum relating to merger of Perry companies in the UK 1964

Accounts of business in Frankfurt 1873

Payment guarantee by WA Perry 1929

Record of orders of specially named pens 1864-71

Specifications abridgements: writing instruments, etc (16 volumes) 1618-1936; chains and chain cables 1634-1866; velocipedes 1855-1935

Registered designs for pens, pencils, corn cutters, pencil cases,etc 1862-91

Papers relating to trade marks and patents for pens 1836

Correspondence between Messrs Riottat, Paris, with Stephen and Joseph J Perry relating to a pen patent 1865-68

Patents 1959-64

Appointment of SW Bayfiss as works manager 1901

Papers relating to premises at Drake Street, Red Lion Square, London 1866

Illustrated price list 1868

Press cuttings (2 volumes) 1890-1945

Photograph of Stockfield Road factory 1956

A Sommerville & Co trading figures 1888-1906; trade marks c1880; and price lists, including some of Josiah Mason c1862


Petrie & Co Ltd, engineers, Rochdale (PC)

Directors’ minutes (2 volumes) 1891-1941

Register of directors including certificate of incorporation and share transfers 1907-41

Photographs of staff nd


Renold Chains Ltd (RCL)

Management committee and meeting minutes 1922-8

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