Rogers & Jackson Limited were proud to be called the oldest member of the Owen Organisation. The business began in 1815 in a small shop in Charles Street, Wrexham, purchased by William Overton, a grocer and ironmonger. On Mr. Overton’s death in the early 1860s, the business was acquired by Alfred Owen, A. E. Owen’s father.
Alfred Owen traded as a general and furnishing ironmonger, and opened an agricultural implement warehouse in High Street, Wrexham. In 1884 the business was taken over by Alfred’s brother-in-law, Mr. E. E. Rogers, and his partner Mr. J. E. Jackson, who was only fifteen years old at the time. Although Alfred Owen had left the business, which now became Rogers & Jackson, Ironmongers, he retained a financial interest.
The two partners retired at the end of the century, and on 1st January, 1900 the business was taken over by their eldest sons, Mr. E. L. Rogers and Mr. C. E. Jackson. On C. E. Jackson’s death in 1908 the business became a private limited company, trading as Rogers & Jackson Limited, with Mr. E. L. Rogers as Managing Director, and Mr. A. E. Owen, as Director, and later Chairman (until his death in 1929).
Thanks to their efforts, the business thrived, and further premises were acquired in 1920, and 1925. Two years later the company acquired Cambrian Works in Garden Road, Wrexham.
In 1931 Mr. A. G. B. Owen was appointed a director, and in 1936 the company’s once well-known showrooms in the centre of Wrexham opened, and Rubery, Owen & Company Limited acquired shares in the company.
On the death of Mr. E. L. Rogers in 1943, the board was reconstituted with Mr A. G. B. Owen becoming Chairman, and Mr E. W. B. Owen, and Mr. W. H. Trudgen becoming Directors. Two years later Rubery Owen acquired a controlling interest after purchasing 4,560 shares from the trustees of the Mr. Rogers.
The firm had three stores in Wrexham, at Hope Street, Priory Street, and Vicarage Hill, with a total floor area of over half an acre, and an agricultural depot at Cambrian Works in St. George’s Crescent. The shop in Priory Street had a frontage, 180 ft, long, and a large display area for builders’ supplies. There were several showrooms, and several departments catering for the wide range of goods on sale, including general ironmongery, china, glass, fancy goods, electrical equipment, fireplaces, ranges, grates, cookers, furniture, sanitary ware, heavy agricultural supplies, dairy equipment, garden tools and all horticultural supplies, tyres, engineers’ tools, mill furnishings, bathroom and builders’ supplies, and travelling goods.
By the late 1940s the company’s registered office was at Cambrian Works. The factory consisted of extensive warehouses, engineers’ stores, a timber and joinery department, workshops, a builders’ yard, and a general stores department. The site, which covered around four acres, adjoined the railway station and had its own railway sidings.
The firm used boast that they sold everything from a tin tacks to traction engines. The warehouses held large stocks of builders’ and plumbers’ materials, ironmongery, sanitary ware, hardware, engineers’ tools, household appliances, iron and steel bars and plates.
Cambrian Works also included a service and maintenance section for farm machinery, a timber and joinery department that made such things as fencing and gates for housing schemes, and for agricultural use, poultry houses, greenhouses, garages, and portable buildings.
After the Second War the department produced around 10,000 gates for prefabs. Rogers & Jackson were also large contractors for central heating plant, milking, sterilising, and lighting plant, and erected light steel buildings for agricultural, industrial, and military use.
The company had showrooms at Foregate Street, Chester, Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, and at Mold, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, and City Road, London.
Rogers & Jackson also catered for the local farming communities, with agricultural depots at Mold, Oswestry, and Wrexham, selling agricultural machinery, farm and dairy equipment, and Massey-Ferguson tractors, all of which could be repaired and maintained in the company’s workshop.
The company also erected farm buildings, carried out heating installations, and distributed building materials. At Oswestry the company had an authorised dealership for some of Shell-Mex and BP Limited’s products, including paraffin, and gas.
The Shrewsbury branch was run by a subsidiary company, Shuker & Son (Shrewsbury) Limited, founded in 1890 by Mr. Shuker, who in 1920 went into partnership with Mr. F. Lowe who carried on running the business after Mr. Shuker’s death in 1936.
The firm became part of the Rogers & Jackson organisation in 1944.
Shuker & Son had extensive business premises covering around one acre, with the main showrooms at Pride Hill. There were departments that stocked kitchen and bathroom equipment, heating appliances, fireplaces, engineers’ tools, household accessories, ironmongery, sports goods, fishing tackle, cycles and accessories, motorcycles, and motor scooters. There was also a motor repair section at Rousehill Garage. Shuker & Son were agents for Austin, Armstrong Siddeley, and Trojan commercial vehicles.
There was also an agricultural supplies depot in Smithfield Road, and a depot for Ferguson tractors and agricultural equipment at Battlefields near Shrewsbury, and at Newtown, Shropshire.
In 1947 the company acquired J. W. Baker & Company Limited, King Street, Darlaston, a local ironmonger, builders’ and plumbers’ merchant.
Rogers & Jackson Limited became Rogers & Jackson (Holdings) Limited in 1966, as part of a major reorganisation designed to improve administrative efficiency and to provide better services.
The Chairman of the Holdings company was Sir Alfred Owen, the other Board members were Mr. E. W. B. Owen, Vice-Chairman; Mr. D. Morley-Smith, Managing Director; Mr. Miles Beevor; Mr. K. R. D. Ballard, Agricultural Director; Mr. M. T. Field, Financial Director; Mr. T. W. McConnell, Engineering Supplies Director; Mr. H. T. Mullen, Commercial Director; Mr. J. E. Owen; Mr. R. Parrott, Purchasing and Building Supplies Director; Mr. J. T. Simon; and Mr. Whitefoot, Marketing Director.
Mr. T. W. McConnell was also Managing Director of the Modern Tool and Equipment Company Limited, Belfast, a new and wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers and Jackson (Holdings) Limited.
Mr. G. A. Whitefoot, who became Sales Director of Rogers and Jackson, Limited in 1963, became Managing Director in 1966.
The Holding company had seven subsidiaries, each specialising in an individual aspect of business:
Rogers and Jackson, Limited, builders’ and engineers’ merchants, Wrexham, Shrewsbury, Chester, Oswestry, Colwyn Bay, and London.
Shuker and Son (Shrewsbury), Limited, agricultural merchants, operating from Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Oswestry, Newtown and Bridgnorth and Wrexham (Wholesale) Limited, wholesalers, Wrexham. Rogers and Jackson (Manufacturing) Limited, a manufacturing company at Wrexham. E. Brassey and Son, Limited, iron and steel stockholders, Wrexham. Cambrian Stores, Limited, a new company which controlled the retail activities of the Rogers and Jackson group, in particular the Hope Street store in Wrexham. Modern Tool and Equipment Company Limited, Belfast, specialised in machine tools and the distribution of engineers’ materials.
By 1971 Rubery Owen Holdings had acquired fifty seven percent of Rogers & Jackson Limited’s shares. It became part of Rubery Owen Distributors Limited on 26th May, 1972 when it became the Holding company for Distributor Group.
Sources: 1948 edition of the staff magazine “Goodwill”. 1951 edition of the staff magazine “Goodwill”. The Hardware Trade Journal, 14th October, 1966. The History of Rubery, Owen & Co.
Your Memories of Rogers and Jackson.
Anne Adams mother Mena Hughes worked in their offices in 50s & 60s. Happy days.
Brynmor Meyrick. My father worked for the company in there offices. He worked there from about 1953 until he died in 1969. His name was Cyril Meyrick.
Fiona Williams. My wonderful 85 years young (soon to be 86) Dad worked in R&J… Ron Cope xx
Carol Gardner. Creaky floorboards in there too.
Annie Roberts. Good memories of this shop.
Joy Mccourt. Loved that shop ! Loved going to see father Christmas there.
Jack Richards. I looked forward to Christmas and the train that went around the shop.
Mags Smith. I loved that shop. My father, Dick Roberts, worked as Security Officer from Aug ’65 when he retired from the Denbs Police till he died in Dec ’66.
Lorraine Bradshaw. My aunt Janet Morris(Turnbull) worked on the Prestige counter. I remember them having the best Santa’s Grotto for Christmas.
Barbara Thomson. I remember Santa’s grotto – i think it was the only one on the town!
Wendy Cochran. Loved going to see Santa ,remember the wooden floors,there was a shop opposite anyone remember the name?
Dianne Purdie. I was a clerk in the offices 1969-1972, in Garden Road ,which is now The Salvation Army.
Carol Stevens. Used to see Father Christmas there .. loved that shop!