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Hodgson & Simpson
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Barnsley Canal Soap House Bridge


Farmers Magazine 1837
Hodgson and Simpson invented a chemical seed manure for wheat and turnips, on poor, cold soils.

Valuable Discovery - New Manure
This letter from Mr. M.M. Milburn of Thorpfield near Thirsk, sings the praises of this valuable new invention.

Who invented it?
However, Hodgson and Simpson's claim was challenged by Mr. Joseph Bower of Hunslet, who maintained that the discoverer was Mr. Hopwood Furness. Read the 'New Manure' letter (PDF).

More praise
Their chemical manure is enthusiastically endorsed in this letter 'Chemical Seed Manure' in the Farmers Magazine July - December, 1838.

Hodgson and Simpson's artificial manure features in this price list in the 1858 edition of the Farmers Magazine.


H&S were involved in some trade mark cases.

■ Extract from Reports of Patent, Design and Trade Mark Cases.
In these two examples, the company was plaintiff in one and defendant in the other.


The company was active abroad.

Into Africa
Hodgson & Simpson trade marks registered in Kenya in 1925. From the Kenya Gazette, 8th July 1925.

■ Lion Brand name for common soap, candles and detergent, etc.
No. 75/25.
■ Lion Brand image for common soap, candles and detergent, etc.
No. 76/25.
■ Lion Brand image for perfumed soap, teeth and hair preparations, perfumery, etc. No. 77/25.
■ Tiger Brand image for common soap, candles and detergent, etc.
No. 78/25.
■ Tiger Brand image for perfumed soap, teeth and hair preparations, perfumery, etc. No. 79/25.
■ Bell Brand image for common soap, candles and detergent, etc.
No. 80/25.

The company took steps to protect its brands. The Competition - some other manufacturers' products and advertisements

■ Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap for first class passengers on the ill-fated RMS Titanic.
■ Vinolia "You dirty boy!" Another advertisement from Vinolia.
■ Imp Soap by T.H. Harris, Ltd., London.
■ President Pink Carbolic Soap from the Co-op.
■ Victor Vassier's Congo Soap , supplied by C. Simeons & Co., London. Endorsed by Mr. H. M. Stanley, the Victorian explorer. Published in The Graphic, 1891.
■ Pears Transparent Soap Produces Soft, White and Beautiful Hands. From The Graphic, 1887.
■ Monkey Brand Soap. Cleans, scours, scrubs, polishes, brightens everywhere.
Cleans copper, tin, paint, marble, barss and golf implements, but won't wash clothes. From The Graphic, 1891.
■ Another one of Brooke's Monkey Brand Soap advertisements. From The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 1886.

Click to enlargeHodgson and Simpson's Lamp brand.
Notice published in 1910 concerning the Straits Settlements, Borneo, Federated Malay States, Sumatra and Siam.

Click to enlargeA similar notice to the above, concerning the company's Lantern brand.

Click to enlargeA third notice, similar to the above, concerning the company's Royal Archer brand.
A battle over a patent
Reports of Patent, Design and Trade Mark Cases, Volume 21, Issue 5, 24 February 1904, Pages 95–96,
Published: 24 February 1904.
Web page: Oxford Academic, OUP.
[site accessed 09 Jan 2018]

Read here (pdf).

Hodgson & Simpson's record as contained in Grace's Guide to British Industrial History
William Thornhill Hodgson started as an iron founder and blacking manufacturer in Barnsley.
By 1815 he had turned to the manufacture of various chemicals. For the next two years he experimented with the production of soda from bleachers' waste but was unable to put his process into practice.
1818 Turned to the production of soap.
c.1825 Company established
1833 Thornhill went into partnership with his godson, Edward Thornhill Simpson
1838 Erected a new factory.
1843 Production of sulphuric acid began.
1844 Started making saltcake.
1845 Hodgson became bankrupt; Simpson became the sole proprietor. Simpson was then faced with legal action brought by Charles Waterton and Sir William Pilkington.
1850 Although Simpson was ultimately successful, the cost was very high and Simpson sold the Walton works and moved to the Calder Soap Works at Thomes near Wakefield in 1850.
1866 A partnership of Simpson, his two sons, and James Wigglesworth was formed. Simpson was also a partner in Teall, Simpson and Co. who made stearine and refined indigo. After Edward Simpson's death, the soap-works were run by his sons, Edward and Charles Henry Simpson. Eventually their sons, Edward Thornhill and Charles Harold Simpson, were also made partners. For many years the company was fairly successful and built up a useful export trade.
By the late 1890s, the firm was beginning to feel the effect of Lever Brothers' activities and the company's fate was sealed by the family's disastrous involvement with the production of a patent steam boiler.
1899 Taken over by Lever Brothers
1906 Under pressure from their banks, the Simpsons sold out to Lever Brothers Ltd. Lever Brothers moved the production of Hodgson & Simpson soap to Port Sunlight.
1908 The Thomes works were closed. Charles Henry Simpson and his son stayed in the soap business in a small way, encroaching on the trade marks bought by Levers. The poverty-stricken Edward Simpson was given financial support by other soap-makers and died in 1917.

■ Read the full record (pdf).
Used under licence.

Web page: Grace's Guide to British Industrial History [site accessed 19 Jan 2018]




Hodgson & Simpson's record as contained in the Unilever Archives:

GB1752.LBL - Lever Brothers Limited
Ref No. GB1752.LBL/HS
Alt Ref No. OFR:
Level: Sub collection
Title Hodgson & Simpson Limited
Description Hodgson & Simpson Limited were Soap manufacturer from Wakefield, founded 1818.
The company began at Walton near Wakefield, following a dispute with the owner of Walton Hall they moved to Thorns and acquired an old dye works at the junction of the River Calder and a canal c1826.
The founding Mr Simpson died 1873 and the firm was taken over by his two sons Edward and Charles and remained a family concern with the two sons knowing all of their employees.
10 July 1906 Lever Brothers acquired Hodgson & Simpson, it was the first Home Associated company acquired by Levers.
The business was incorporated 27 August 1906. Lever Brothers bought Hodgson & Simpson as a means of entering the export trade in bar soap, the company was also experiencing financial difficulties.
Lever Brothers soon closed the Wakefield factory.
Access Status: Open

Web page: Unilever Archives - Hodgson & Simpson Limited [site accessed 09 Jan 2018]


Books about Walton, Charles Waterton, Guyana, and more!
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books about Walton,
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