Historical Manuscripts Commission

Summary report on business and family papers 19th-20th century

of the


in private possession

(reference: GB-800819-Mortimer)

I Mortimer, September 1997
Historical Manuscripts Commission

Table of Contents



Summary report

Business and family papers

Genealogical papers

Miscellaneous manuscripts

Photographs of the Mortimer family c1855-1940

Copper advertising prints of the family firm

Miscellaneous items

Unlisted papers

Appendix: transcripts of selected documents

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All enquiries about access to these papers should be addressed in the first place to the Historical Manuscripts Commission.


The documents in this collection are those of the family which owned and managed the firm of Mortimer’s (Plymouth) Ltd (previously known as Mortimer’s Cleaners & Dyers and Mortimer Brothers) from the late eighteenth century until its sale to the Millbay Laundry, Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd in 1932. The majority of the business records were burnt by John Stuart Mortimer upon the sale of the company in 1932. Most of the family papers were later dispersed by him in the sale of his possessions at Hoo Meavy Farm in 1990. The manuscripts in this collection were largely given to his son John Stephen Mortimer by Audrey Pleasance Louise Mortimer. She described them in a covering note as ‘old bills and letters removed from Coburg Street Works (circa 1817, 1825) etc etc mostly relating to Mrs Rachel Mortimer, Mr William Mortimer & John Forrester Mortimer my grandfather. Examined 1973 by Audrey P L Mortimer’. The copper advertising plates were given to John Stephen Mortimer by his father, John Stuart Mortimer. The photographs of the family came from a number of sources.

The Mortimer family descends from William Mortimore who married Grace Pool (1696-1773) of Combeinteignhead in 1728. Their eldest son, John Mortimore (1733-1796), married Rose Terry of Stokeinteignhead in 1764, he being at that time a sailor. Seven months after the death of his first wife in 1780, he remarried and sold the last of his remaining freehold property in Combeinteignhead. He was buried in Combeinteignhead churchyard sixteen years later. It is not clear whether this John Mortimore was a dyer and cleaner by trade who found himself inadvertantly employed at sea. Certainly it is possible, since both his sons were able to set themselves up in the business. Furthermore, the traditional date for the foundation of the family firm is 1773 - a date when his sons were too young to have begun to learn the craft. However, there is no evidence that John Mortimore practised as a dyer or fuller: no tradesman of that name is mentioned in early Plymouth directories and there are no records of his apprenticeship amongst the records of the Inland Revenue. What is probable is that John’s two sons, John (1768-1825) and William (1773-1823), were both apprenticed to a Plymouth fuller and dyer, from whom they learned their trade.

The businesses of the two brothers were similar. William Mortimer’s letterhead states that he, as a dyer and scourer, undertook to dye ‘silks, satins, woollens, bombazeens, tabinets, feathers, chip and straw hats, veils, lace, crapes &c... in all the various colours, on the most reasonable terms’ while John was described as a ‘fuller and dyer.’ Their respective fortunes also followed similar paths, each brother being able to open a shop to deal with Devonport customers as well as a Plymouth headquarters. In John’s case, his Devonport shop was situated at 109 Fore Street and his residence and works at Mill Street, Plymouth; William’s Devonport shop was at 36 Fore Street and his residence and works at 2 Drake Street. Given the similarity in their standing in the trade and in the community, one might have expected these two brothers to have made a partnership of their dyeing and scouring businesses. However, nowhere do their names appear printed or even written together. This is all the more surprising given their religious links. Both were members of the New Tabernacle and Princess Street independent chapels; indeed John was a Deacon of the New Tabernacle in 1817 and the books described in William’s inventory at his death in 1823 show him to have been of a similar evangelical disposition. One can only assume that their businesses were purely individual affairs and, given the lack of industrialization of the time, unlikely to benefit from any partnership. Indeed, some idea of the small scale of operations (and the brothers’ social standing) can be gleaned from the value of trade and personal effects in the inventory made after the death of William in 1823. His goods amounted in value to £244 18s 7d, of which £117 2s 9d was dyeing utensils and shop fittings.

John Mortimer junior (1797-1834), eldest son of John Mortimer and his wife Patience Hammick (1766-1813), inherited William’s business in 1823 and appears to have managed it from the Drake Street works until his father’s death in 1825, whereupon he managed both businesses as one. John had been apprenticed to his father in 1812 and seems to have taken on both his business and family duties with an admirable conscientiousness; he took care of his uncle’s children and rationalized his uncle’s and father’s businesses into one concern. However, whatever ambitions he may have had for the firm were thwarted by an outbreak of cholera in Plymouth in 1834. He left two children: Rose Bramble Mortimer (1825-1892) and John Forrester Mortimer (1827-1900). The business passed to his widow, Rachel (1795-1860), whom he had married in 1823.

Under the control of Rachel Mortimer the family firm experienced a period of consolidated growth and the family itself a period of greater prosperity. In 1841, the family were still resident in Mill Street. John Forrester and Rose were away at the time of the census (presumably at boarding school) and Rachel Mortimer was sharing her house with Elizabeth Hore (a dyeshop maid) and John Gillard and Mary Edwards (apprentice dyers). In the census of 1851, Rachel Mortimer, John Forrester and Rose were listed as being resident at Bedford Street, along with Elizabeth Hore and Mary Giles, dyeing assistants (aged fifty and 23 respectively), and a servant, Grace Blatchford, (aged thirty). The family finances were in good shape when Rachel handed the running of the firm over to her son John Forrester (in about 1853). Rachel died in 1860, leaving goods worth nearly £600 and being buried in a new family vault in Plymouth.

John Forrester Mortimer was, like his mother, more of a businessman than a dyer and cleaner. Under his authority the family business became mechanised and expanded in scope beyond Plymouth. In 1850, ‘Mortimers’ was doing business at just two addresses: 109 Fore Street, Devonport, and the Mill Street (later Cobourg Street) works. By 1883, he had opened further branches in Brighton, Bristol, London (three), Oxford and Salisbury. By 1897, there were four branches in Devon alone: Queen Street Exeter, Old Town Street and Cobourg Street, Plymouth, and Torwood Street, Torquay. Furthermore, the volume of the work undertaken rose proportionately; at the time of the article in The British Journal of Commerce (1888) the family had more than 150 employees and offices in many towns. John Forrester Mortimer married Louisa (1827-1905), daughter of John Burgoyne and his wife Elizabeth Trist, in Exeter in 1852. They had four surviving children - John Frank, Forrester, Kate (1859-1936) and Louisa (1856-1954). He died in 1900, having taken to collecting paintings, showing dogs, rare breed chickens, etc, and assuming various local responsibilities such as a special constable and councillor of Plymouth. He left an estate worth £23,000.

John Frank Mortimer (1857-1929) and his brother Forrester (1863-1927) were both educated at Totnes School. Between them, they continued the family business, Forrester acting for a while as manager of the three London offices while John Frank became a partner in his father’s firm. The two brothers were close and pursued their interests (the business, collecting paintings and betting on horse races) together. John Frank especially furthered the firm’s interests by taking trips abroad (to Germany in particular) to investigate new methods of (and substances for) dyeing. However, competition for the trade was increasing. In 1913 the Co-operative Society opened a laundry in Plymouth. Moreover, the business of the Millbay Laundry Co Ltd was winning trade from Mortimers. Therefore, John Frank and his brother sought new markets and opened more branches; in 1916 they had sixteen branches in the south west (Bristol, Exeter, Torquay, Penzance, Bournemouth, Barnstaple, Yeovil, Taunton, Redruth, Falmouth, Exmouth, Newquay, Truro and three in Plymouth) in addition to the main works at Cobourg Street. Perhaps because of the increased financial risk involved in this expansion, they incorporated the business as Mortimers (Plymouth) Ltd in December 1914.

John Frank married Catherine Ellen Terry (1863-1946), daughter of Albert Terry of Lydd, in 1883 and had three children: John Stuart, Frank Terence (1905-1986) and Audrey Pleasance Louise (1908-1975). Forrester married Maud Mapson in 1896 but she died tragically in childbirth the following year. He never re-married. John Stuart Mortimer (1904-1990) was educated at Kelly College, Tavistock. He was the last member of the family to be connected with the firm. Neither he nor his brother Terence were interested in investing in the company and it soon weakened in the face of competition from the Millbay Laundry Company Ltd. In 1932 the ailing business was sold; Millbay Laundry Co Ltd then absorbed the branches of Mortimers, closed the Cobourg Street works and kept only the Cobourg Street shop open. In 1941, the Cobourg Street site was levelled. The Millbay-owned company still carried the name Mortimers (Plymouth) Ltd until 1958 when it became the Millbay and Newquay Laundry Co Ltd. This latter company was dissolved in 1987.

John Stuart Mortimer had already begun to invest in property before the sale of the company in 1932. While his father was still alive he had bought two run-down buildings in Cobourg Lane (behind Cobourg Street) for £50. Despite losing heavily in the war, he continued to invest in property for the rest of his life, borrowing money in order to buy cheap property which he renovated for sale or to let. He died, leaving an estate worth £962,000, in 1990. John Stuart Mortimer married Florence Mabel Beard (1902-1987) in 1929.They separated in 1945 and divorced in 1970. He remarried in 1988. His papers and most of the family possessions were dispersed in a clearance of his house, Hoo Meavy Farm, near Yelverton, just before his death in 1990.

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Summary report

Business and family papers

N.B. Items marked with an asterisk* are transcribed in the appendix

A/1* Baptismal certificate of John Mortimer (1768-1825) 1806 (This is a handwritten note from the parish clerk of Coombeinteignhead attesting to John Mortimer’s entry in the parish register)

A/2 Indenture of apprenticeship binding John Mortimer (1797-1834) apprentice to his father John Mortimer (1768-1825) for seven years 1812

A/3 Bill for the burial of Patience Mortimer 1813

A/4 Letter from Richard Perry to John Mortimer, one of the deacons of the New Tabernacle church, urging him to reconsider the removal of the organ from the church 1817

A/5 Letter-head of William Mortimer, Dyer & Scourer (pre 1823)

A/6* `Inventory and Valuation of the household furniture, dyeing utensils and other effects of the late Mr William Mortimore...’ 8pp 1823

A/7 Account book of payments made by John Mortimer (1797-1834) to J Rowe, chemist & druggist, Plymouth 1823-1825

A/8 Bill for dyestuffs from James, Wood & James of Great Trinity Street,London, to John Mortimer 1825

A/9* Letter from Mary Mortimer to Mrs John Mortimer, Mill Street, Plymouth (c1830)

A/10 Receipt for £20 made out by A White to Mrs Mortimer for a deposit on a house 1838

A/11 List (printed) of shareholders of Plymouth, Devonport & Exeter Railway (Mrs Mortimer held £200) 1843

A/12/1-2 Two bills for dyestuffs from John Giles Pilcher & Jeremiah Pilcher & Sons, London, importers of oils, to Mrs Rachel Mortimer 1846

A/13/1-4 Four bills for dyestuffs from Lediard, Jones & Mortimer, indigo merchants, dry salters etc, Bristol, to Mrs Rachel Mortimer 1845-1846

A/14 Account of Mrs Rachel Mortimer with the late firm of Lediard, Jones & Co 1843-1846

A/15/1-3 Three bills for dyestuffs from William Manning & Co, Bristol, to Mrs Rachel Mortimer 1845

A/16 Bill for dyestuffs from R Evans, Son & Hodgson, wholesale druggists, Exeter, to Mrs Rachel Mortimer 1846

A/17 Income tax demand (for the year 1853) to Rachel Mortimer, assessed at £160. Duty payable: £4 13s 4d. With original On Her Majesty’s Service envelope 1853

A/18 Bill from John Forrester Mortimer to Mr Lee, showing the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Dyers 1853

A/19 Printed letter addressed to The Inhabitants of This Neighbourhood, and in particular to Mr [John Forrester] Mortimer, advertising religious meetings at Compton Street and Raleigh Street Chapels 1860

A/20a Plans of a house for Mrs Mortimer at Cobourg Street, Plymouth c1855

A/21 Copy of agreement between John Forrester Mortimer and the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Plymouth for the tenancy of a tucking or fulling mill, millhouse, outbuildings, offices and residence in Mill Street, together with the right of using the water from the stream there for powering the mill, for a year at an annual rent of £120, payable quarterly 1863

A/22/1-3 Instalments 6, 7 & 8 of £4 10s duty payable by Rose Bramble Mortimer on £450 left to her by her mother 1864-5

A/23/1-3 Instalments 6, 7 & 8 of £10 19s 4d duty payable by Rose Bramble Mortimer on an annuity of £69 13s 3d left to her by her mother 1865

A/24 Appointment of John Forrester Mortimer as a Special Constable to act within the Borough for Plymouth for a year 1866

A/25 Receipt from Rose Bramble Mortimer to John Forrester Mortimer for £20 1s 3d lent on trust 1868

A/26 Letter from Robert Doble to W Mortimer Esq relating to the provision of a band of musicians and performers for the Annual Festival of Mortimer’s Dyeing Works (see also programmes, A/42) 1868

A/27 Receipt from Elizabeth Burgoyne to John Forrester Mortimer for £10 1870

A/28/1-2 Letters (one in English and a French translation) from John Frank Mortimer to his parents announcing the end of his school term 1872

A/29 Bill for the burial of the late Mrs Burgoyne 1873

A/30 Letter from Peter Burgoyne thanking John Forrester Mortimer for his charity towards a young relation, Pollie, and wishing his and Marie’s best love to John Forrester and Louisa Mortimer 1873

A/31/1-3 Entry forms of John Forrester Mortimer’s Bedlington Terrier, called Ruby, into dog shows at Newton Abbot and Tiverton 1875-6

A/32 Excise certificate for removal of four gallons of spirits by [John] F Mortimer Esq 1876

A/33 Printed account of income, expenditure & liabilities of Plymouth School Board for the half-year ended 1876, addressed to John Forrester Mortimer 1877

A/34 Mortimer’s Plymouth Dyeing Works card nd

A/35* Manuscript text of speech given at the Annual Festival for the year 1877 by John Forrester Mortimer (see A/42) 1878

A/36 Agreement between Alfred Pearse of 336 Essex Road, Islington, and John Forrester Mortimer, regarding the take-over of Alfred Pearse’s business by John Forrester Mortimer 1878

A/37 Letter and school report for Forrester Mortimer from John Talland 1879 (?)

A/38 Receipt from Stidston, Moulder & Stidston of Plymouth to John Forrester Mortimer for a coat, vest and trousers for £4 7s 9d 1879

A/39 Printed advertisement from Doidge’s West of England Illustrated Annual 1879 for Mortimer’s Plymouth Dyeing Works. J. F. M. begs to inform his customers and the public generally, that the new Tension System of Dyeing, and the new Chemical Process of Dry Cleaning (System Parisien) are now being adopted at his works. 1879

A/40 Printed letter from the Town Clerk to Councillor [John Forrester] Mortimer desiring him to attend a special meeting of the Coucil of the Borough of Plymouth in order to authorize a poor rate of £10,300 1880

A/41a Letter (on Mortimer’s Plymouth Dyeing Works headed notepaper) from Forrester Mortimer to Frank Mortimer about his meeting Miss Terry in London; the p.s. refers to a tip for a horse in the Liverpool Cup 1883

A/41b* Small notebook, mostly blank, with 15pp of notes in the hand of Catherine Mortimer, née Terry, relating to a visit to Paris c1883

A/42/1-11 Draft programmes of the Annual Festivals of Mortimer’s Plymouth Dyeing Works. These list the toasts and songs (together with the names of those doomed to sing them). The Annual Festival took place at the end of every year; therefore, New Year’s Eve 1867 is the date given for the 186 celebrations. 1866, 1874 & 1876-1883

A/43* The British Journal of Commerce Illustrated, London, 30 June 1888. This contains a page devoted to Mortimer’s Dyeing and Cleaning Works, with the illustration which appears on the copper engraving of the Cobourg Street Works. The supplement to the Journal carried a portrait of John Forrester Mortimer. 1888

A/44 Letter from M Verren of Minehead to F Mortimer of 9 Kirkley Place, North Road, Plymouth, relating to the decoration of Mr Mortimer’s house 1891

A/45 Contemporary copy (on tissue paper) of a letter from Peter Bond Burgoyne to S H Bleechmore Esq at the Bank of New Zealand Chambers in Adelaide, South Australia, requesting details and proof of the death of one Captain Brinsden on whose life John Forrester Mortimer had an insurance policy 1894

A/46 Receipt from Moon & Sons, Plymouth, for £55 to Mr Mortimer for a piano 1894

A/47 Letter (on Mortimer Brothers headed paper, including a telephone no.) from the employees of the company to Mr and Mrs Frank Mortimer offering congratulations on the birth of their son John Stuart Mortimer and begging the acceptance of an accompanying silver salver 1904

A/48* Printed Mortimers Ltd envelope, listing all the south west branches c1916

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Genealogical papers

B/1* Title page of family bible.
[NB The family bible in use (until disposed of by John Stuart Mortimer in 1990) was copied from this page by John Forrester Mortimer and kept up to date by succeeding generations. According to John Stuart Mortimer, the title page of the original (with the details of the family births, etc) had been torn out by Rose Bramble Mortimer in an attempt to prevent anyone in the family knowing how old she was. This page may be the one she tore out. However, there was another (small) family bible in the possession of John Stuart Mortimer in about 1980 which had also lost all its initial pages.] The page is the reverse of the title page of The New Evangelical Family Bible... by Reverend T Priestley. The initial entries appear to be in the hand of John Mortimer (1768-1825) with additions by John Forrester Mortimer and Audrey Pleasance Louise Mortimer.

B/2 Page of a bible inscribed Louisa Mortimer, from her affectionate husband and children and signed by John Forrester, Louisa, John Frank, Kate and Forrester nd

B/3 Envelope addressed to Miss [Louisa] Mortimer containing a sketch of the coat of arms of the medieval family of Mortimer, together with a rough history of the family and a family tree 1074-1398 nd

B/4 Notes in Louisa Mortimer’s hand referring to members of the Burgoyne family, 1842-1892, nd

B/5/1-2 Two notes in Louisa Mortimer’s hand to be inserted inside and attached to a silver teapot belonging to Rachel Mortimer, to be given to John Stephen Mortimer c1950 [The teapot was later swapped for a valueless silver-plated one.] 

B/6/1-3 Two copies of the Mortimer family tree drawn up by Audrey Pleasance Louise, one of which was sent to and returned by David Parkin, solicitor, in 1962, with his covering letter c1962

B/7 Rough family tree of the medieval family of Mortimer of Wigmore and the Mortimer family from John Forrester Mortimer to John Stephen Mortimer, with many errors, in the hand of the latter nd

B/8/1-2 Two small pieces of paper torn from a diary with genealogical notes in the hand of John Stephen Mortimer nd


Miscellaneous manuscripts

C/1 Two recipes on either side of a single sheet, one for ginger wine and the other for currant wine c1850

C/2 Short letter to Mrs Mortimer from a child, H Loosemore (?) c1853

C/3 Recipe for making pellets with which to poison rats c1870

C/4 Unfinished poem entitled Bachelors (of no literary merit whatsoever) c1870

C/5 Poem entitled The Fight in the Great Menagerie late C19th

C/6 Verse in Louisa Mortimer’s hand, in an envelope marked Katie Verse nd

Its not the tears at the moment shed
The feel of a heart that is torn
Its the secret tears of the after years
nd remembrance silently borne

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Photographs of the Mortimer family c1855-1940

D/1 Portrait photograph on glass of a man aged about 30

D/2 Portrait photograph on glass of a man aged about 30 with a young girl

D/3 Portrait photograph on glass of a woman aged about 40

D/4 Portrait photograph on glass of a woman aged about 30

D/5 Portrait photograph (print), inscribed "F Mortimer, at the age of 12" c1875

D/6 Portrait photograph (on paper) of John Forrester Mortimer from the supplement to the British Journal of Commerce, June 30 1888 1888

D/7 Portrait photograph (print) of John Forrester Mortimer c1888

D/8 Portrait photograph (print) of John Forrester Motimer c1895

D/9 Portrait photograph (print) of Catherine Ellen Mortimer, with D/8 c1895

D/10 Portrait photograph on porcelain of John Forrester Mortimer, in original wrappers and photographer’s presentation box c1895

D/11 Portrait photograph of Catherine Ellen Mortimer, in original wrappers c1900

D/12 Portrait photograph (print) of John Frank Mortimer c1910

D/13 Envelope, addressed to Mrs F Mortimer, Walmer Villas, Mannamead, enclosing three snapshot prints and dated July 1910 c1910

D/14 Portrait photograph (print) of John Stuart Mortimer c1920

D/15 Portrait photograph (print) of John Stuart Mortimer and Frank Terence Mortimer c1920

D/16 Portrait photograph (print) of Audrey Pleasance Louise Mortimer c1920

D/17 Portrait photograph (print) of Catherine Ellen Mortimer c1920

D/18 2 small copies of D/14 c1920

D/19 Portrait photograph (print) of Louisa Mortimer, annotated 1920s

D/20 Frank Terence Mortimer and Audrey Pleasance Louise Mortimer, annotated c1928

D/21 Portrait photograph (print) of John Stuart Mortimer in uniform c1940

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Copper advertising plates of the family firm

E/1 Copper plate (approx 4" x 3") engraved as follows: nd

West of England
Steam Dyeing Establishment
Mill Lane Plymouth
Branch Shops
7, George Street, Plymouth
109, Fore Street, Devonport
John F Mortimer Proprietor

E/2 Copper plate (approx 6" x 4") engraved as follows: [1878 x 1888]

Mortimer’s Plymouth Dyeing Works
John F Mortimer
General Dyer and Cleaner
Cobourg Street
Contractor to Her Majesty’s
War Department
London Branches:
Chief Office 79, Cornwall Road, Westbourne Park, W
and at
336 Essex Road, N
5 Frankfort Terrace,
Harrow Road, W
Established 1773

E/3 Copper plate (approx 6" x 4") engraved with an illustration of the Cobourg Street works, showing shop, house, entrances to works and buildings, and inscribed as follows: c1887

Plymouth Dyeing Works
Established 1773

E/4 Contemporary print of the above in wrapper which contained all three plates when received c1887

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Miscellaneous items

F/1 Eighteenth century oil painting on wood, in original frame, marked ‘Shaldon Passage’. One of a set of three - the others being with Jennifer and Angela c1750

F/2 Wallet inscribed ‘John Mortimer; No 2 Drake Street, Plymouth’ c1820

F/3 Writing case/slope which belonged to John Mortimer c1820


Unlisted papers

Family and official papers and photographs of the Mortimer family since 1916

Architectural drawings and papers of John Stephen Mortimer (1935-1993), including plans for Orpington Sixth-form College; the Churchill Library and Theatre, Bromley; and a sportshall, private dwellings at Hillside, Buckland Monachorum (Devon) and at Central Hill, London Borough of Lambeth. Also RIBA student drawings, including designs and drawings at Plymouth College and designs of a theatre in Lewes and two churches in Orpington.

Plans, maps and drawings relating to purchase and development of sites of Overview and Overview Cottage, Horrabridge, Devon.

Family and official papers and photographs of the Terry family of Lydd c1845-1900, including a number of bereavement cards. Includes a stuffed, dead red squirrel shot by Albert Terry near Tenterden, Kent, in 1849

Family and official papers and photographs of the Beard and Stephens families of Mylor (Cornwall) and Horrarbridge (Devon) c1850-1930; including bills for building a bungalow at Horrarbridge 1922

Family and official papers and photographs of the Harvey family of Brighton, and antecedents c1860-1960s

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Appendix: transcripts of selected documents

Baptismal certificate of John Mortimer, 1806 A/1

Baptisms Anno Domini 1768 Sept 9th: John, son of John and Rose Mortimer Baptized. This is to Certifie that the above is a true Copey taken from the rejester of Baptisms kept in and for the parish & of the parish of Coombintinhead in the Diocese of Exeter. Coombintinhead this 9th Day of Febuary 1806 By Me James Metherell Parish Clerke.


Inventory of William Mortimer, 1823 A/6

Inventory and valuation of the household furniture, Dyeing utensils and other Effects of the late Mr William Mortimore, Dyer (deceased), taken the 7th day of March 1823 for the purpose of Administration & to be included in the General Inventory of his Effects.


Sofa with cotton cover 18s

6 & 2 black & Gold Rush seat chairs at 5s £2

Mahogany Pembroke table on brass castors £1 8s

2 lap Mahogany Dining Table £1 10s

Mahogany Tea Caddy 7s

Kiddermister Carpet 18s

Fringed hearth rug 10s

Old hearth rug 2s 6d

Brass Mounted Wire fender £1 5s

Polished steel Fire set & Brush 14s

Gilt frame chimney Glass £2 12s 6d

Bell pulls & ribbons 2s

5 Broken Blue & white Chimney jars 1s 6d

2 Window Blinds 3s

Glass front Bookcase with Drawers £1

Copper Coal Scuttle 7s 6d

1 Rope Mat 2s

Best Bed Room

4 post Bedstead Mahogany Cable Pillars and Cornice with Chintz Furniture £7

[? New] Raiser - Tick Covered - Feather Bed & 2 Bolsters 63 [?lbs] @ 2s £6 6s

Cotton Coverlet 4s

Mahogany Receptacle £1 16s

Carpet Covered Stool 2s 6d

3 Pieces Bedside Carpet 7s 6d

Mahogany hair seat Chair £2

Mahogany Chest of Drawers £3 3s

Large square swing Glass £1 5s

[? Sweetfront] Mahogany workstand 18s

Blue & white jug & Basons 2s

Mahognay hearth brush 1s 6d

White holland rolling blind 5s

Tick Cover for Mattress 3s

Painted Clothes Press 16s

Large Old Cotton Counterpane 7s

5 Blankets 7s, 7s, 7s, 6s, 5s £1 12s

Marseilles Quilt £1

Window Drapery & Fringe 3s

Bedroom adjoining

Beach 4post Bedstead with Cotton Furniture lined £7 3s

Tick Bordered straw Raiser 18s

Feather Bed & Bolster 33 [?lbs] @ 1s 9d £2 17s 9d

Mahogany Chest of Drawers £3 3s

Mahogany Towel Horse 3s 6d

Large square swing Glass £1 1s

Painted Dressing Table 8s

Mahogany Night Stand & Pan 6s

White holland Rolling Blinds 5s

7 Chamber Basons 3s 6d

Small Bed Room next

Cedar Post Tent Bedstead with yellow cotton furniture £2

Feather Bed Bolster & 2 Pillows 46 [?lbs] @ 2s 6d £5 15s

5 Blankets @ 5s £1 5

1 old Cotton Counterpane 1s 6d

1 Patchwork Coverlet 3s 6d

4 lash seat chairs 2s 3d 9s

2 side Carpets 1s 6d

1 long brush, 1 hand brush & Dustpan 2s

3 Blankets @ 5/- 15s

1 Hackney saddle, 1 Bridle &c £1 5s

Servants Room

Small Feather Bed & 2 Pillows 38 [?lbs] @ 2s £3 16s

Beech 4post Bedstead with Cotton Furniture £3 3s

Feather Bed & Bolster & 2 pillows 68 [?lbs] @ 1s 3d £4 5s

6 good Blankets £2

4 old Blankets 8s

1 Quilt 15s

Mahogany Chest of Drawers £2 5s

Square Dressing Glass 8s

Walnut corner Beaufet 10s 6d

Mahogany wash stand Jug & Bason 3s 6d

Small Coverlet 1s

1 Large Chest 7s

1 Stand for a childs chair 1s

Japan hand lantern 2s 6d

Oval copper Tea kettle 7s 6d

1 pair of old Plated Candlesticks 1s 6d

6 oval B & W Dishes 12 Dinner Plates. 1 sauce Tureen & stand 13s

1 blue Edge Pye Dish 6d

6 blue and white coffee cups & 2 B&B [sic?] plates 2s

12 Teacups & saucers & 2 Basons 5s

Black Coffee Jug & 2 Mats 2s

Ironing Cloths 2s

1 Clothes Flasket 1s


8 day clock in Mahogany case £6

1 Rope Mat 9d


2 Rope Mats 1 Wood Coal Box & long brush 2s


Set of Fire Irons & Tin Fender 3s 6d

Table with Drawers 4s

Small round Pillar & claw ditto [?] 4s

6 Yealmton Chairs 3s 18s

1 Nursing Chair 1s 6d

Glass front Corner Beaufet 15s

Large Japan Tea Tray 6s 6d

2 small Japan waiters 2s

1 Metal Teapot 7s

1 pair of Glass Salts 2s

1 Salt 1 cruet 1 castor & 1 mustard pot 2s

Blue & white Teapot 9 Cups & saucers & 1 Jug 3s

Blue & white China Teapot, 12 Cups and Saucers, 2 Basons, Jug & 2 Plates 10s 6d

4 small Mugs & 2 old Teapots 1s

1 wood Bread Bowl 9d

1 Cannister 9d

Brass Pestle & Mortar & 2 brass Candlesticks 2s 6d

1 Ironing Box heaters & stand 3s 6d

1 Ironing Box heaters & stand 6s

1 Italian heater & Irons 2s

2 Tea Cannisters 1s 9d

2 Pokers Tongs & sifter 2s 6d

Set of Fire Irons & Fender 4s 6d

Snuffers & stand 2s 6d

1 brown holland Blind 3s

1 oval Mahogany Tea Tray 3s

½ Dozen Table knives & forks 8 Table Desserts & forks 1 pair Carvers & steel 6s

½ Dozen new Table knives & forks 6s

6 Pewter spoons Nipper & 6 skewers 3s 6d


Safe with tin panels 3s 6d

Pan scraper 2s 6d

Back Kitchen

Dresser with Drawers 7s 6d

1 Iron Boiler 7s

1 Iron Boiler less 5s 6d

5 Iron saucepans & steamer 12s 3d

2 Copper Tea Kettles 11s 6d

1 Gridiron & Frying Pan 2s 3d

Small Dripping Pan Collander & Warmer 2s 3d

Knife Box Trencher Rolling Pin & Meat Stand 1s

Brass Slice Flour Dredge & Tin Sundries 9d

1 Pair Bellows 2s

2 Tin Candlesticks 2s

1 Tin Fish Kettle & Drain 1s 6d

3 Tin Bread Pans 1s 6d

3 Coarse Earthen Pans 2s 3d

1 large glazed Pan 2s

1 washing Copper & stove 35 [?lbs] 1/3 Iron & Brick Work Cover &c 10s £2 13s 9d

5 Pitchers & 2 small ditto [?] 1s 6d

3 Coarse Baking Dishes 1s 6d

5 white oval Dishes 3s

12 white Dinners 1s 6d

5 white Soups 8d

12 white small 9d

4 white Pye Dishes 1s

8 white & coloured Basons 1s

4 Blue & white Basons 1 Jug 1 mug 1 Cup & saucer & 2 Jugs 1s 6d

3 stone Jars 2s 6d

1 old Deal Table 1s

1 old stool 1s 6d

1 Clothes Horse 1s

2 ring Pails 3s

3 Baskets 1s

1 Deal Hanging Table 1s 6d

1 pair Brass Candlesticks 2s 6d

4 Tin Candlesticks 3s

1 Iron Lantern 1 Tinder Box & Candlebox 3s

Slop Pail 3s 6d

3 Washing Trays 3s, 2s, 4s 6d 9s 6d

4 Pairs Snuffers & stand 2s 6d

5 Decanters 10s 6d

7 Wine Glasses 4s 6d

15 Rummers 15s

2 Stone Beer Jugs 3s 6d

2 China Pattern Jugs 2s 6d

Plate & Linen

6 Silver Tea Spoons 16s 6d

3 Silver Tea Spoons 6s 3d

3 Silver Table Spoons £1 8s 11d

1 pair Sugar Tongs 5s

1 pair Salt Spoons 3s 6d

1 Watch £2 10s

1 pair Sheets 15s & 1 pair old sheets 1s 6d 16s 6d

2 pair Calico Sheets 5s 10s 15s

2 Pair Calico Sheets 4s 6d, 3s 7s 6d

10 Pillow Cases 7s 6d

6 Bolster Cases 10s

4 Diaper Table Cloths 13s

3 Huckaback Table Cloths 7s

7 Diaper Napkins 6s

7 Common Towels 3s

2 Dimity Window Curtains 7s


6 Vols Evangelical Magazine 15s

4 Vols Baptist Magazine 10s

Chaptals Chemistry 3 Vols 7s 6d

Howells History 3 Vols 6s

Naval History 3 Vols 7s

Goldsmiths History 3 Vols 12s

Westlake on Baptisms 1s

Power of Religion & 1 other 1s 6d

Paradise Lost 2s

Buchans Medicine 3s

Tillotsons Sermons 4 Vols 7s 6d

Evans Sketch 2s

4 odd Vols Sundries 3s

Wearing Apparel

5 Cotton Shirts 7s 6d

1 Blue Coat 6s

1 Green Coat 3s

1 Black Coat 3s

1 Black Coat 5s

1 Great Coat 10s

4 pairs Blue Trousers 12s

2 pairs Light Mixed Trousers 10s

1 pair Grey Trousers 5s

3 Black Waistcoats 4s 6d

4 Coloured Waistcoats 7s

2 Pocket Handkerchiefs 1s

3 flannel Shirts 1 pair Drawers & 4 pair worsted Stockings 9s


Utensils & Fixtures at Plymouth, including Coppers


2 Side & 1 End Counters in all 25ft 6in long with 1 flap, fronts framed

& painted Mahogany Containing 32 Drawers and 4 Cupboards with Doors £4

Centre Case on East Side with Shelves Partitions. 9 drawers

& 2 Cupboards painted £2 12s 6d

Painted fronts & Tops with 6 Drawers & 1 Cupboard in the recess on

each side of the last mentioned Case 10s 6d

Counter (or dresser) at the back of the shop, painted mahogany,

with 5 drawers and 4 Cupboards 10ft long 2 feet wide 3ft 4 in high with

Back & Bottom £2

Small Counter with 11 Drawers standing on the last mentioned 15s

Painted Desk adjoining ditto 7s

Nest of 25 Drawers with shelves west side of shop 9ft 6 7ft 3in high painted £2 5s

2 shelves at the End of ditto 6s

6 shelves in Windows and over one recess 12s

Racks & 2 Twine reels 12s

Small gilt Letter sign in the window frame 7s

2 Deal stools 2s 6d

Small Steps 1s 6d

2 Covered Trunks 7s

4 rush seat Chairs @ 2s 8s

Drying Loft

Old step Ladder 4s 6d

small pair steps 1s 6d

old desk table with 2 Drawers 7s

Ironing Box, 2 heaters and stand 4s

Tea Chest 6d

Long Glazing Board of 1/4 Deal 13ft by 3ft 9 on legs and bearers with a shelf of Inch deal under 11ft by 2ft 6 & 2 inch Oak bearer in front £1 14s

Tin charcoal pan. Stand and Rack on the Floor. 18ft long 10s 6d

6 Drying racks - about 20ft long each 10s

Large Chest for Dyestuff 12s

Bed for a Mangle 5s

Quantity of old Carboy jugs & hampers [?10s]

Rooms adjoining

2 good Crepe Frames 14s

1 much worn Crepe Frame 3s 6d

1 large Pressing Table <7s 6d> 4 Common & 1 horse Blocks 7s 14s 6d

1 lap Table & forms 6s

Old chest (no cover) 2s 6d

very old Bellows & Tong 1s 6d

4 flat heaters 6s

1 Iron Bolier 2s 6d & 1 old saucepan 4s 6s 6d

1 shelf 1s

small Brass Kettle 4s

Framing Loft

Frame (of Iron and wood) 12ft long with tin Drying Pan stand & good brush £5

smaller frame 6ft 6 long with rollers £1

Old Table & stoll 2s 6d

Old Coal Bucket 1s

steps 2s Drawers 1s 6d & 3 Boxes 2s 3d 5s 9d

Large Oak Chest 6s

1¼ in Deal Top Table 3 Drawers 6ft long 2ft 8 wide 14s

drying racks the whole length of the loft 7s

6 old stone Jars 3s

1 pair stocking Legs & small horse 1s 6d

2 good hard Brushes 1s 4d

Upper Drying House

No 1 Copper. North east end 65 Gallons,

84lbs @ 1s (much worn) "Iron work very good.

Brick work our of repair" £4 4s

No 2 Copper adjoining 23 Gallons, 33 lbs @½

"Stove and brick work very good" £1 18s 10d

No 3 Copper adjoining14 Gallons 20 lbs @ 1/3

"Iron work much worn. brick work out of repair" £1 5s

No 4 Copper adjoining 6 Gallons 10 lbs @ ½

"Iron & brick work good" 11s 8d

Old Poker good shovel & old rake 3s 6d

2 Ring Pails 3s 6d

1 ring pail and stool 2s 6d

4 Iron Bound Barrels 4s 16s

2 Iron bell shaped Vats & Brick Work to one £1 10s

1 Winch 10s

Old shirte racks & shelf 1s 6d

Brass Mortar & Pestle 4s 6d

2 Hair sieves (1 new) 4s

Lemon squeezers 1s 6d

2 Buckets 2s 6d


[illegigble one line deletion here]

5 Old Iron Bound Hogsheads 1/6 4s 4s 1s 2s 12s 6d

11 old iron barrels & Tubs 15s 6d

1 Bucket & 1 lade pail 2s 6d

1 old stool & 1 pair steps 1s 6d

Racks in the court about 70ft 6s

2 Flaskets 3s

2 washing Trays 4s

Large Dye House

No 1 Copper 100 Gallons 140 lbs @ ½s

"Iron work good. Brick work out of repair" 8s 3d

No 2 Copper 40 gallons 60 lbs @ 1/3

Iron work much worn. Brick work good £3 15s

No 3 Copper 20 gallons 30 lbs @ 1/3s

Iron work worn. Brick work good £1 17s 6d

No 4 Copper 26 Gallons 38 lbs @ ½

Iron work good. Brick work out of repair £2 5s 4d

No 5 Copper (old & worn out) 18 lbs @ 6

Iron work good 9s

No 6 small brass Copper 4 Gallons 6 lbs @ 9d

Iron & Brickwork good 4s 6d

No 7 Copper 65 Gallons 90 lbs @ ½

Iron & Brick work very good £5 5s

¾ inch Lead Pipe 146ft @ 6 £3 13s

13 5/8 & 3/4 Inch Cocks @ 2s 1s 6d

Shovel Rake & Poker 3s 6d

6 ling Pails 8s

Tin Bucket 2 Ladepails & 2 Bowls 4s

Stone pitcher & jar with several old pots 3s

1 Iron bound Tub 2s

1 old fan 2s

1 wire sieve & 1 hair sieve 3s 6d

5 large round pans with Covers (sound) 16s 6d

Iron mortar & pestle 3s 6d

6 crackd pans & 2 covers 10s

1 winch & racks 10s

1 long step ladder 5s

Washing House

10 Iron bound casks £3 13s

6 Iron bound Tubs & 1 Cover £1 10s

2 Wood bound Hogsheads 6s

3 Washing Trays & Pans 8s

Large Deal Table 8s

1 stool 2s

1 small Bedstead 5s

8 Carboys @ 3s £1 4s

[?shelf] & 20 rack pieces £1

Store Room

1 large Chest £1

2 Hatches 10s

11 old Casks & Barrels 16s 6d

` 1 Large Iron Mortar & Pestle 15s

2 Beams Scales & Weights 3s

2 Large Stone Jars 3s 6d

1 Indigo Sifter 5s

9 Bags 9s

1 large Iron Bound Cask 12s


12 large & small Barrels woodbound 9s

1 Carboy 3s

Press Room

1 Cast Iron Press with Long Bar 320 sheets press paper (abt half worn)

Works, Boards, Fences, Blocks &c £20

3 old Tables & 1 working Board 7s 6d

1 carboy & 1 old Pail 3s 6d

2nd Court

Water Cask Cock & stand 7s 6d

1 Washing Tray & old Tub 3s

Shop at Dock

2 framed Deal Cannisters with a return end and flap in all 26ft 6ins long

2ft 9 high & 18in wide (Top) - painted with 14 Drawers £3

Set of 30 drawers with Partitions and shelves 5ft long 7ft high £1 10s

4 shelves 25ft rim of inch Deal 8s

2 Iron Saucepans 3s 6d & 2s 6d 6s

Waiter & Tea Ware 2s

4 Black stained rush seat chairs 14s

small oak Pembroke Table 10s

£244 18s 7d



Household Goods & Furniture £109 12s 8d

Plate £3 2d

Linen &c £4 12s 6d

Books £3 17s [6d]

Wearing Aparel £4 3s

Ornam’t of the Person £2 10s

Utensils & Fixtures £117 2s 9d

£244 18s 7d

I Value the foregoing in the sum of two hundred and forty four pounds Eighteen shillings & Sevenpence. Witness my hand this 7th March 1823

John [?Laddor - signature not clear] Appraiser

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Letter from Mary Mortimer to Mrs John Mortimer c1830 A/9

My dear Cousin,

You no doubt have expected to hear from me before this time but I am sure you will forgive me when I tell you that want of time has been the only reason why you have not done so. I have only heard from my dear brother twice since I left Plymouth but I can willingly excuse him - I dare say he has ought else to think about.

I am longing to see my dear friends at Plymouth again. It appears years since I was parted from them. I was much disappointed that I could not see you and Agness before I left Plymouth. I fully expected to have done so as I was so long there after my time.

I dare say you are anxious to know how I like Miss Tilly? I think I may say that I am as comfortable as I could have expected among strangers. I cannot but expect difficulties go where I will; one thing absence will teach me to value the comforts of home.

How are my little favourites Rose and Forrester? Dear little creatures, I am longing to hear little Forrester’s prattling tongue again. How is my Cousin John? I hope very well. Give my kind love to him. I hear Samuel is still with you. I hope he will procure a situation shortly.

How did you leave Mrs Berry and [?Trowt] when you were at Exeter? They have given me a kind invitation to spend my midsummer vacation with them. Do you still receive boxes from Falmouth? I suppose I could send you any time that way. I went to Falmouth last week & saw Miss Bond and Mrs Walter Clatworthy - they both desire to be kindly remembered to you & Cousin John.

You must not think me unkind that I do not write to you oftener for my time is very much occupied. I heard from Susan Small last week and from agness Heller today. She says you felt hurt at my not begging to be remembered to you in my letters. I really do not think that I have written one letter home without begging my very kind love to you. I hope you do not suppose that I could have forgotten you and shall always remember with gratitude the happy hours of former years when I was blessed with the love of a dear affectionate parent. But their recollection altho’ so dear is painful - and it is when I recall them that I feel myself truly an orphan. Never did I feel the loss of that dear parent more than now. But I ought not to murmur; I have no doubt but that he was taken for some wise end. You know as well as I do what an affectionate father he was - you must then fancy how in moments of reflection I feel his loss. But I am sure I cannot dwell on this subject without doing violence to your feelings as well as my own; therefore I will drop it. But I must once more beg you not to fancy you are forgotten - your kindness to my inestimable parent during his last illness will prevent me from doing that and also his attachment to you.

I hope to see you all again in less than 10 weeks. You must suppose the anticipation of it makes me very happy. I will endeavour to write to you again before then. Give my kind love to Mr & Mrs Small and family & my Aunt Mortimer and Mrs Bramble & all friends. I suppose your mother’s strength is failing. I shall be very glad to hear from you the next time William sends. He can send every Monday by the carts so may I expect a letter very soon? If it is ever so short I shall receive it with pleasure. Again begging you to remember me to Mr M & kiss the dear children for me.

I will say adieu and believe me yours affectionately

Mary Mortimer

Give my every kind love to Mr & Mrs Pearce - I hear I have another little cousin: is it a boy or a little girl?

Adieu once more

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John Forrester Mortimer’s speech at the Annual Festival for 1877 A/35

I thank you very sincerely for the manner in which you have received the toast, and responded to it, and I trust that you all and I may long live to see the wish gratified. Continued prosperity to the West of England Dyeing Works.

There cannot be much doubt that this is the wish of all of us. Old and Young. Of the old because of their age, and with many of them, the great length of time that they have been here - for perhaps it will be interesting to you to know that there is amongst us one who has been connected with the place for 60 years, Two nearly 50 years, another 46 years and another 38 years - And then I maintain that it must be the wish of the young, because of their coming and associating themselves with us, and for their encouragement as well as for the older hands, I would say that it is always my wish and endeavour to push forward any who show by their actions that they have a desire to promote the general welfare. My excellent helper Mr Hardy knows this and always has his eye open in going round.

It is gratifying to me to be able to say that notwithstanding a vigorous opposition from the largest firm in the trade in Scotland we have done as well as ever in all our branches, whilst we have opened many new ones with very great success. Indeed we never had so many hands employed as we have had during the last fall.

I might mention curtains, feathers and gloves in particular -

There are many other departments which we have gone into lately, that have never been attempted before in this part of the country. I look upon these successes as being greatly owing to my good foreman and leading hands, who have shewn such energy and ability.

There are just two other things I would like to mention before I finish - The first is that I have just got out as some of you know a new list and scale of sick pay - you all know that if any are absent through illness, they are not at once thrown "overboard" or on their "beam ends" but for some considerable time receive half pay according to length of service. I trust you will all agree that this new scale which I have issued is fair and just.

Lastly I would remind you that my old hands are never turned away when unfit for work but that there have been some, that there will be others and doubtless will be more still who when they could work no more, have received, are receiving and will receive a pension sufficient to keep them from any trouble about their future.

And now upon this first day of the New Year 1878 - I would wish you in the same old words yet none the less felt because they are old - a very Happy and prosperous New Year.

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Catherine Mortimer’s notes of a journey to Paris A/41b

Travelled from Plymouth to Waterloo with J. W. by train leaving 4.14 PM. arrived at Waterloo about 10.30 PM. Frank met me.


Went in the City & saw Arthur Terry then to Evelina for Katies had dinner in St Pauls Churchyard then to Capt Boytons show at earls Court had tea Katie went back to the hospital & Arthur- John, Frank & I went to Tivoli heard the wonderful calculator etc


Went shopping had dinner at the Horses shoe & they saw John off by buss then to Harrow Rd. saw Miss McDonald then in the Groves & back to harrow Road to tea & then Miss McDonald went with us to the Pavilion.


had a strole in the Strand then Katie arrived & we went off to see Dr Braxton-Hick. back to the Strand to dinner & Katie went home. then off to Imperial Institute to see the Wedding presents had tea down there then {up} strolled up to Hyde Park. Saw Princess of Wales & two daughters at Hyde Park corner. after that went to Aquarium saw the great diver etc


Walked to City Temple & heard Dr Parker took a buss to marble Arch heavy showers came so we sheltered in Park Lane & then took hansom back to the Hotel

afternoon. Frank went for walk. I woke etc & in evening went to Westminster Abbey heard Dr Butler master of Trinity College Cambridge. choir sang Hallelujah Chorus very beautifully


left for Paris via Folkestone & Boulogne at 10 AM. arrived about 6. to Dinner after went to [?Traied] Cirqus. very tired


Carriage drive to Bois de Boulogne, Chateau{x} of St Cloud. Grand Trianon then [?Luncheon] on to Versailles Palace & garden home via Champs Elysees


Carriage drive to Church of St Vincent de Paul then to Battes Chaumoul Pere la Chaiss Roquette [?Presons] Bastille & Column on July. Luncheon. then to the Gobelin Tapestry works. Marechal Ney. Luxembourg Galleries. Pantheon. Church of St Etienne des [?Montrome] etc. Place du Carrousal & Rue de Rivoli after dinner to Grand Opera House


Buss to Eiffel Tower Luncheon at Palais Royal after Louvre Galleries after dinner walk on the Champs Elysees


Carriage Drive first to Madeleine then through Parc Monceaux, past Mencir’s House then to Arc de Triomphe on to Trocadero Palace [?Muses] Hall Grotto Aquarium & up in the lift 250 feet Hotel des Invalides & Tomb of Napoleon past Chamber of Deputies Place de la Concorde Champs Elysees Tuilleries to lunch at the Palais Royal after to Bourse where were warmly greeted. Church of St Eustachius loftiest church in Paris then through the principal markets past Palais de Justice to Notre dame Cathedral then morgue & Cluny museum home to dinner, the "Moulin Rouge" a Parisian dancing hall. not home until after midnight.


walked to Jardin de Plants & morgue then buss to Palais Royal to Luncheon then did some shopping & home early to dinner

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Article in the British Journal of Commerce 30 June 1888 A/43


Mortimer’s Cleaning and Dyeing Works, Plymouth

Apart from the beauties of Nature, colours are of primary necessity in the arts, and of almost equal importance in manufactures, and they enter so largely into the pleasures we derive through the eye as to be almost in conjunction with form the very source of such pleasure. Once again, setting Nature aside for the moment, how many admire a striking colour or the exquisite blending of tones and tints in some of the garments now worn, yet how few of us pause for one instant to reflect upon the history of the colours, and give the credit which is due to the worker in the dyer’s art. We were led into some such reflection by a recent visit to one of our leading dyeing works, during which we became much interested in those various processes through which the goods pass, which robbed them of their initial dullness and clothed them in ultimate beauty.

The above firm was founded by the grandfather of the senior partner, Mr J.F.Mortimer, the subject of our portrait. It was carried on in 1773 in a comparatively small way, a dozen hands sufficed for the entire concern, which, however, grew steadily until at the present moment over 150 hands are always employed, although machinery is employed as well in every nook and corner.

The premises extend over an acre of ground, and have nearly five acres of floorage, and some idea of the quantity of work turned out may be formed by the fact that of white window curtains alone as many as 1,000 pairs pass through the works in a single week. Goods are sent to the works from all parts of the world and the firm employ many hundred agents. Messrs. Mortimer are, besides, Gevernment contractors, and have at the present moment the contract for washing the navy and marine bedding , and for cleaning and re-making the hair beds used by the boys on board H.M. training ships, for which they have erected special plant.

The first department we were taken to was the dyeing-house, which contains over thirty large vats. These are principally of wood, but where acids are used, the vessels are of copper. The water is boiled by a steam pipe running into the vat. Here also is a machine for extracting the dye from logwood, etc. After the goods have remained in th vats long enough they are placed in one of the numerous drying-rooms. Dyed stuffs must be dried quickly or the colours will "run," therefore a very high temperature is required, and this is produced by large coke stoves. After being made quite dry the goods are taken to the finishing-rooms. This is a very important department, for, as most of us that when a piece of silk or velvet has been dipped in water, the gloss is lost, therefore to make the article like new it is necessary to get the facing back again. This is done by placing the article on a frame, on each side of which is a row of fine steel pins. The piece of silk is thus stretched very tightly upon the frame, and then runs into its place in a box, which is heated by steam pipes, and by this process a fine gloss is obtained and all "puckering" prevented. Velvet is a very difficult article to deal with, a room being specially set apart for this class of goods. The fabric is put on a frame as before described, and heat is applied to the under-surface by means of steam and gas stoves, travelling on tramways which is essential for raising the pile, as when new.

The method of cleaning must now be described. The firm make a special point of what is known to the general public as the chemical cleaning process, and in order to carry this out in the most effective manner a separate building has been erected, and is fitted with the latest machinery. By this means the most delicate and costly fabrics may be trusted in the hands of Messrs. Mortimer to be most effectually cleaned, without injury to the material.

The method of cleaning by water is largely employed, especially in the case of lace and muslin curtains, fine silks, linen of every description, and various classes of fast-colour goods. Both handwork and every kind of machinery is used. The goods are placed in a somewhat interesting apparatus, which may be described as a zinc cylinder, with two compartments, the inner one being perforated and revolving in a mixture of soap and water. Inside the revolving drum there is a ledge which turns the clothes over and over as the drum goes round, so that the entire article is thoroughly cleaned. They are then dried, if possible in the sun, or in one of the heated rooms already described. Even upholstered furniture is cleaned by this enterprising firm. The furniture can be sent to them complete, and the chairs, sofas, etc., will be returned almost as good as new. We do not think that this is generally known, and our readers will do well before buying a new drawing room suite, to let Messrs. Mortimer try what they can with their "old suite." In the damask-room the goods, after dyeing, are pressed between hot plates by a hydraulic machine, powerful enough to put on a weight of 200 tons.

Garments that have been cleaned or dyed whole are all pressed by hand, and steam bolts are used for finishing the sleeves and small parts of the dress or coat, etc. In this particular department a number of hands are constantly employed. White lace window curtains are cleaned by a special machine, and, after being specially dried, are placed on a frame so arranged as to be able to take any sized curtain, and then placed in a similar box as the silk, etc. The frames and appliances used for these goods are the firm’s own invention.

Chintzes, druggetings, crumb-cloths, etc., are glazed by means of both hand and steam appliances. The workman rubs the fabric lightly with beeswax, and then places it on a concave wooden bench, over which is suspended, from a spring-board, a swinging arm-tool fitted at the end with a polished flint. By the means of a treadle which acts on the spring-board he brings the tool down upon he surface of the material , which, with a quick motion, rapidly produces the required glaze. An expert workman will glaze a large quantity of stuff with the hand-machine in a very short time, but it is needless to say that the steam tool is more rapid.

The principal portion of the machinery is worked by a fine engine of forty horse-power nominal, supplied by Messrs. Willoughby Bros., of Plymouth, six years ago, and it does them great credit. We consider the system of tracing the goods right through the works is perfect, and with the enormous quantity of articles continually passing through their hands, this is most important, and it is to the careful attention paid to every small detail of their business that Messrs. Mortimer chiefly attribute their success. With such perfect organization and enterprise even greater things may be expected of this firm, who, even now rank with the largest in their particular class of business, and are patronized by the leading aristocracy, which speaks well for the excellency of their workmanship. The present patners are John F. Mortimer and his son Mr J. Frank Mortimer, and valuable assistance is given by another son, Mr Forrester Mortimer, who until recently was manager of the London branches, the chief office of which being at 488, Harrow-road, W., and the West-end branch at 36, Brook-street, Grosvenor-square.

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Printed Mortimers Ltd envelope, listing the south west branches c1916

Cobourg Street, 3 Old Town Street and 71 Mutley Plain, Plymouth;

82 Fore Street, Devonport;

72 Queen’s Road, Bristol;

90 Queen Street, Exeter;

10 Torwood Street, Torquay;

5 Market Place, Penzance;

114 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth;

16 High Street, Barnstaple;

24 High Street, Yeovil;

17 High Street, Taunton;

West End, Redruth;

50 Arwenacle Street, Falmouth;

15 Rolle Street, Exmouth;

Bank Street, Newquay;

1 Cathedral Lane, Truro

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Title page of the family bible B/1

<Account of the Birth of> The Children of John and Patiaence Mortimer <married the 8 April 1790>

<A Boy still born Feb 21 1791>

Elizabeth Mortimer was Borne June 21st 1792

Rose Mortimer was Borne July 17th 1794

John Mortimer was Borne August 23rd 1797 <Dyed July 9 1834>

Ann Mortimer was Borne Febuary 13th 1799

William Mortimer was Borne March 21st 1801

<William Dyed Janry 13 1803 on Thursday one o’clock after noone>

<A Girl still borne June 17 1803>

<William was born July 20 Friday Morning 5 oclock 1804>

<William died Wednsday Morn 8 clock July 8 1807>

<Samuell was borne Thursday August 21 Half past 4 oclock after noone 1806>

<Dyed August 8 1832> <½ past 4 P.M.>

A Boy still Born February 28 1808

Account of the births of the Children of the above John & Rachel Mortimer

Rose Bramble Mortimer was born April 21st 1825 <Died August 23rd 1892>

John Forrester Mortimer was born Febuary 9th 1827, married Louisa Burgoyne December 2nd 1852 whose children were born as follows

A boy still born January 25th 1853

Louisa Mortimer born January 25th 1856 <Died Jan 18th 1954>

John Frank Mortimer born October 26th 1857 <Died March 12th 1929>

Kate Mortimer born June 16th 1859 <Died October 3rd 1936>

Mary Mortimer born December 9th 1860 <Died April 8th 1863 at 8.30 P.M.>

Forrester Mortimer born April 3rd 1863 <Died 1927>

John Frank Mortimer married Catherine Ellen Terry December 13th 1883 whose children were born as follows

A girl still born August 4rd [sic] 1896

John Stuart Mortimer May 8th 1904

Frank Terence Mortimer December 26th 1905

Audrey Pleasance Louise January 7th 1908

John Stuart Mortimer married Florence Mabel Beard April 6th 1929 whose children were born as follows

Jenefer Elizabeth Mortimer February 3rd 1930

Florence Angela Margaret Mortimer April 21st 1932

John Stephen Mortimer June 27th 1935

Frank Terence Mortimer married Hilda Mary Short September 4th 1928 whose children were born as follows

Shirley Catherine Mortimer August 3rd 1934

Elizabeth Juliet Tregarthen Mortimer September 14th 1943

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