William Sugg & Co

Welcome to the William Sugg History Website!

  • Welcome to the William Sugg History Website!
Sugg Gas Lights at Buckingham Palace
Maintenance on the original 1901 William Sugg gas lamps on Buckingham Palace

Hello, my name is Chris Sugg and I am attempting to secure the history of a family company called William Sugg & Co through the posting of as much data as possible that I, my Father and previous family members before, have collected over several lifetimes of interest in the business!

Founded in 1837 by William Sugg, it was doubtless his father, Thomas, who inspired William to start a company – as grandson William Thomas stated in a lecture, subsequently printed, to the Liverpool Institute on April 23rd 1887:

The great Gas Industry, (which) made its public appearance in my grandfather’s time, on the 21st January, 1807, when Pall Mall was lighted with gas, and he made the first gas pipes, and fitted Carlton House, has grown etc…

Interestingly, for a significant historical date, there are several alternative claims! Murdoch had lit Boulton & Watts Works near Birmingham in 1802 to the astonishment of the populace who turned out in huge numbers.

According to the “Monthly Magazine” of July 1807, Winsor first lit a number of lamps on the wall of Carlton House Gardens to celebrate the birthday of George III on 4th June 1807.  We do know that Winsor first started his series of lectures in 1804 and who are we at this distance to say that William Sugg had made a mistake over the date, although of course it was well before his own birth.  I have now added a full transcript of the account in News Blog as sent to the Monthly Magazine which explains that experiments had been going on for some time particularly to check the soundness of of the pipework that certainly adds to the credibility of the claim.

The August 1807 issue of the Athenaeum Vol 2 , reports that The Golden Lane Brewery had erected several gas lamps in Golden Lane and the adjoining Beech Street.  Significantly however, King’s Treatise states that the first public street lighting with gas, took place in Pall Mall, on the 28th of January 1807, which is only one week different from William Sugg’s claim!

Finally, on this issue, in William Matthews 1827 book, “An Historical Sketch of the Origin, Progress & Present State of Gas-Lighting” he states: “Mr Winsor removed his exhibitions to Pall Mall, where, early in 1807, he lighted up a part of one side of the street, which was the first instance of this kind of light being applied to such a purpose in London.”

In June 2007 Westminster City Council agreed to mark the bicentenary of the “World’s First Demonstration of Street Lighting by Coal Gas from a Retort Located Here” by the provision of a Green Plaque, so worded, mounted on the wall at 100 Pall Mall, London, the nearest position to the original location. The picture shows ‘unveiling in the rain’ by the Deputy Lord Mayor and the President of the Institution of Gas Engineers.

Unveiling the Frederick Winsor plaque in Pall Mall – June 2007

William Sugg & Co has a long and illustrious history in the Gas Industry of the United Kingdom.  With offices and sales of gas lighting in many parts of the world, particularly during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century, there are many enthusiasts and collectors of Sugg products who I hope may benefit from knowing a little more about both the products that they may have collected, the enormous range of gas and related equipment that the Company produced, and the background and history of a Company that has its origins at the very beginning of a modern industry.

The “One Hundred Years” Brochure “Service During Six Reigns 1837 to 1937”


NOTE, This booklet will be added again shortly in a new format. Apologies.

As far as I am aware, the only previous attempt at the history of the company was made in 1937 for the centenary of the founding.  The booklet, complete with silk ties as shown above, was produced for the occasion, outlining the major steps in the development of the Company.  With the marvels of modern websites you can now view the whole of it by flipping the pages!  Obviously the development of the Company from 1937 onwards was dictated by many things, not least of which was the decline of gas lighting which had been the mainstay of the Company since its inception.  How the Company finally embraced the 20th century in its new factory in Crawley is all part of the story which I shall attempt to unravel.

Although William Sugg & Co. Ltd was subject to an unwelcome takeover by Thorn Electrical Industries Ltd., in 1969, a group of ex Wm.Sugg employees with Chris Sugg and Keith Bouracier at the helm started a new company in 1973 with the off the shelf name of Massrealm Ltd. which in due course became Sugg Lighting Ltd.  The heating products of William Sugg & Co. Ltd. having been absorbed into another company following the takeover, the once famous company name was eventually dissolved at the end of 1989.

Sugg Lighting Ltd, however, re-developed and manufactured both gas and electric lighting equipment with a strong flavour of the past and the eye-catching open flame “flambeaux”. Whilst never claiming to be the original William Sugg & Co., Ltd., the family connection was obvious and by providing a specialist service with high quality products the business prospered.

In due course at retirement of the initiating directors, the business was sold to F.W.Thorpe plc, a street lighting manufacturer with whom the company had been trading. Thorpe owned a number of smaller companies that they allowed to run as independent operations in a smaller factory in Horsham.

In 2008 Sugg Lighting Ltd was awarded a Royal Warrant as a “Heritage Lighting Manufacturer and Refurbishment Specialist”.  Their website and contact information is included in the Contacts section. BUT note the comment below regarding a new company.

After a number of years F.W. Thorpe decided to concentrate on their core business and sold Sugg Lighting as a going concern to an individual who failed totally to support and run the specialist business resulting in the company being put into administration at the end of 2018. Following some mischievous shenanigans Sugg Lighting was finally liquidated. However, the story becomes more complicated but much improved with another ‘rebirth’ in 2019! A new company bearing the name William Sugg & Co., Ltd., has been formed to once again carry the name forward into the future. This comes with the blessing of Chris Sugg who is assisting in the process.

For a number of years Chris Sugg independently offered from his retired position a super-specialist service in interior gas lighting fixtures, spares including glassware and advice and assistance on all matters Sugg!  See Contacts. PLEASE NOTE that the reduction in available parts – and anno domini (for him) – has now (2017) reached a point where it is unlikely that Chris Sugg can still manufacture any more interior fixtures. A few items remain and he is  happy to reply to enquiries. Glassware can, sometimes, be made to order – at least at present!

The site is split into a number of sections built around product groups which are then split further into individual products or even further groups.  During the development of the site there may well be sections that carry only an introduction as this is an enormous task!  However, do not let this prevent you from enquiring should you have a specific question on a ‘thin’ section.

The original website was started in 2006, since when there have been vast strides in website design and presentation. This NEW Website has been developed to provide a more modern and easier system of navigation with an entirely new level of interaction and improved visual content.

Finally, I would like to add that the vast majority of documents, illustrations and pictures used on this site are from my own collection.  Literally hundreds of pictures from this collection have been scanned professionally at very high resolution for the Gas Industry Archive through the auspices of John Horne for the future enjoyment, historical interest and for researchers in the future.  Some items that I have included have been photographed when a collector has brought them along or even sent a picture and I apologise if I have not recorded the source.  The source of independent articles that may have been quoted are given where known and my grateful thanks go to many people and any unspecified sources that help to make up this unusual history of a Company that helped to form the world we live in.

The ‘History‘ section provides a sequential story of the people and the business whilst the huge range of products are split separately into ‘Lighting‘, ‘Cooking‘and ‘Heating‘ and a ‘Technical‘ section that covers gas control, carrying, measurement and testing equipment – and anything else that doesn’t fit in the obvious sections!

Many Sugg pieces of literature are collected in their own right so these have been given a section under the title ‘Publications‘, to enable collectors to recognise them.  It appears that the truly hungry researcher/collector has been frustrated by not being able to ‘open up’ the various catalogues, so for the Jan 2010 upload I have added all 103 pages from the 1931 List 11.  This section has now itself been split into three, ‘Literature‘, ‘Books & Papers‘ and ‘Advertising‘to simplify the organisation of this large collection of information. I have included a separate ‘Collectors‘ section to show relevant collections which will not necessarily all be Sugg but will always include some ‘home’ products!  This may also include pictures sent to me if they do not fit into any other section!  The ‘Contacts‘ section provides means of increasing your knowledge of the subject from museums to archives to gas lit pubs!   Time will show if more sections are required!

This last comment has now come true!  In order to assist the reader in finding something relevant or of interest to their particular search I have started a section called ‘Thumbnails‘ which, as the name implies, carries thumbnails of all the pictures on the site collected into the groups in which they are used.  Thus, if you have a query about ‘lighting’ for instance, you can review all the pictures within this huge group without having to wind up and down many pages of full size text and pictures.

Back in 1979 my father, P. Crawford Sugg B.Sc.(Eng.),A.C.G.I.,C.Eng.,F.I.Gas E.,F.C.I.B.S., Honorary Secretary, The Institution of Gas Engineers, presented a paper to the 116th Annual General Meeting under the title of “Using gas, yesterday and tomorrow”.  Whilst this website is dedicated to providing Sugg specific information, the paper provided an overview of gas ‘utilisation’ indicating and illustrating the steady improvement in manufacture and design achieved by the British gas appliance and equipment makers during the last fifty years (from 1979) in all significant aspects of gas utilisation.  Thus his paper provides an important chronological history of both appliances and manufacturers, peppered liberally of course, with the achievements of William Sugg & Co in this context.  For anyone interested in the history of the Gas Industry this is an invaluable reference and, with the agreement of the Institution I have been given the opportunity to quote liberally from it as a means of disseminating the information more widely and of course filling in details for many aspects of the history of William Sugg & Co which are within this website. This paper is included as a separate section under the heading ‘Gas Utilisation‘.

A new section entitled ‘Brassware‘ has been added for 2013. The Company made tens of thousands of brass components and this section describes this important aspect of the business.

For the same year, 2013, another new section ‘Location Pictures‘ has been added to provide a space for pictures that either don’t fit anywhere obvious or are additional to ones already in a particular section. If they are additional they are given a hyperlink back to the relevant section. All the pictures have also been added to the ‘Thumbnails‘ section in the order used as before. There are currently over 700 pictures on the whole site!

In addition to splitting the Publications section in three in 2014 a new section has been added on the ‘Other Manufacturers‘ who produced gas street lighting during the period of time that William Sugg was in production. This section will necessarily be a joint effort asking for as much information as possible from enthusiasts, collectors and anyone who has detailed knowledge of this popular area of interest.

In 2018 a new section entitled simply ‘People’ has been added to provide a space for photos and recollections of and about employees and Sugg family to give an extra dimension to the history of the company.

Information on Previous Uploads – Starting in 2013

Notes at the top of this Home page for 2013 read: The History section has been enlarged again with the details of the ‘sale’ of the business by William Sugg to form the Limited Company in 1881 and the amazing Crystal Palace Exhibition display in 1883. There is also the story of a fire started by an aggrieved employee in 1896 & his eventual capture after a ‘desperate struggle’ in 1905! Follow the section chronologically. Two new sections have been added, ‘Brassware‘ and ‘Location Pictures‘ and the Windsor lamp section has been considerably enlarged and the Christiania & Argand section has been rearranged with lots of pictures added. A new ‘Collector‘ has been added.

A few sayings about light which William Sugg would doubtless have appreciated:

Light is the most beautiful of materials, it connects us to the natural world, as this world becomes more artificial its purity becomes even more powerful

David Chipperfield

The existence of light allows us to walk along the tightrope between translucency and transparency

Nicholas Grimshaw

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish a candle


Light gives objects existence as objects and connects space and form

Tadao Ando

Shadows are holes in light. An enlightened environment is what we all seek, politically, economically and physically

Ian Ritchie

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that

Martin Luther King

Enjoy Your Visit and do let me have any practical feedback via the Leave a Comment Space. 

Chris Sugg.

News Blog Archives

Site Background & Header

The background to the site is a modern picture of Westminster, the ‘home’ of William Sugg for so many years. It was taken from the roof of The House of Lords during a visit by the Heritage Group of CIBSE in 2004 and centres on Westminster Abbey. The header carries a woodcut of ‘Vincent Works’, the Sugg factory, which might well have been visible from this vantage point. William used this on one of his letter heads. The first and oldest logo also shows the intimate connection with Westminster as it carries the Westminster portcullis with the inscription ‘en avant’ – ‘in advance’. The second logo replaced the earlier one around 1920 and was used right the way through the century until the ‘modern’ era when the ‘flame’ logo was applied to the new era of gas heating equipment with the new factory in Crawley.

60 Responses

  1. Sugg name mentioned this pm (8/8/14) at 40th wedding luncheon when I found myself talking with a gent retired from English Heritage
    He instantly knew “Sugg” had used us Fort Brokenhurts (?) lamp in gateway arch Portsmouth I think it was and Dover Castle? and promoted us to colleagues – has sugg catalogue at his home. He mentioned a precious set of documents which contains all the Forces historical buildings plans and photos.
    Now photocopied and held at Dover Castle military store

    1. Hi Mel, thanks for the note. I still have a number of good EH contacts through CIBSE. We even went on a visit to the Dover Castle site which is fascinating and well worth a visit if down that way! Chris

  2. I was thrilled to see this Benchmark Company so notably listed. When I arrived in London in 1962 (I think), I was very privileged to obtain employment with this very illustrious Company. The people I worked with, came from all over the British Isles, Scotland and Ireland. I shall always remember our dinner breaks and the conversations we had, many of which, I can still recall today. I moved on to Canada, and now the USA. But many fond memories of my tenure with William Sugg shall be mine to treasure for ever! Thank you.

    1. Hi Selwyn, thanks for your comment especially as an ex employee over in the States! I never worked in the Westminster factory myself but my Uncle Raymond wrote an excellent description of the two factories which appears in a couple of places. If you SEARCH ‘Raymond’ it should give you the sections. Chris

      1. Hi Chris
        I have fond memories of working in the heating design office in Regency street and moving to Manor Royal,Crawley with Suggs.I moved to Tyne and Wear in 1973 withThorn,helping to set up a new heating design office.Your Dad,Mr.Crawford was a class act.I remain firm friends with Terry Dunn,who started work in the Vincent Works foundry!!I worked for Tom Frampton/Monty Peacock in the design office.
        Fond memories.

        1. Hi Ted, how nice to hear from you! I have often wondered if Wm Sugg employees from the later stages would come across my site. Of course I remember you and didn’t Terry work with me in the office downstairs? What I hadn’t remembered was that Terry had worked in the foundry at Vincent Works. I never worked in Westminster and only visited as a boy when my father took me around and showed me the foundry which I think was casting aluminium parts for early Halcyons at the time.
          I would really like to add some more details about the late stages in Westminster and Crawley and what happened with Thorn and later takeovers.
          As you know, Keith and I started again eventually building a business which, although we are no longer involved, still exists now in Horsham making traditional lighting and gas flambeaux. There is a separate website under Sugg Lighting Ltd.
          Do you think Terry and/or you might write a paragraph or two about your time at Suggs. I have got some memories from employees far back but nothing to bring it together at the end. You will have seen my photo of the ‘works gang’ that formed the start of our business but there is a gap that I would like to fill if you and Terry could fill it! I will also send this note from my home email so that we can communicate outside the website! Regards, Chris

        2. Hi Chris, I worked at Manor Royal just at the time Thorns were taking over. I worked in the Drawing Office with Ted, John Newcombe, Vic Franklin, Mick MacMahon, Robin, etc.
          I had a great time there, very funny every day with them.
          I moved to the Main Office in 72 and stayed till the closure working with Derek Saunders and Doug Pilbeam.

          I’ll never forget the social aspect of the place. Good times indeed. I went on to work at APV for many years, before finishing my career in Liverpool with Nutricia.

          1. Hi Bob,
            Thank you for making contact and your reminiscence of the drawing office at Manor Royal and especially for the names! I find the filing cabinet is so full these days that names can easily escape! I spent some time in the DO myself and was there in 1966 when I heard of the birth of our fist son earlier than expected and had to dash off to Redhill hospital!

  3. My daughter is trying to buy a house in Cambridge.

    Not as irrelevant as it sounds.

    Built in the 1960s, it has a Sugg heating system throughout.
    I took a few pictures while I was there the other day, https://dematerialisedid.com/sugg.html
    and then tripped over your website last night.

    If the sale proceeds further, I shall no doubt be there again and could take more pictures.

    1. David, You need to check with the owner what has happened to the Halcyon! Your photo inside the cupboard shows the pull-off front cover of an early Halcyon F60 lying on the duct base where the heating unit would normally be. That is to say the Halcyon is missing. Maybe it has been removed to service or maybe it has failed and been removed so that you cannot check it. All is not lost, however! If you can get no answers from the current owner you should look for a preferably local heating engineer who has dealt with warm air appliances. I am sufficiently out of date not to know what is currently available but I do know that one of the major competitors of Suggs called Johnson & Starley still specialise in warm air and doubtless will be able to suggest a replacement appliance. https://williamsugghistory.co.uk/?page_id=30#warmair illustration 43 shows you what it should look like. The cover you have clips across the open front you can see in the picture.

  4. Dear Mr Sugg,

    While doing some research into Liverpool railways, I came across the following from the ‘Liverpool Mercury’ 4 Sept 1890 – article on the Wirral & Birkenhead Agricultural Show.

    “Messrs.William Sugg and Co. exhibited a patent apparatus for ventilating stables, ships, &c. The ventilator, which allows no down-draught, has been tried upon the Wallasey boat Violet, and is about to receive a trial from the Mersey Railway Company.”

    I just wondered if you have any idea what is being talked about here. The Mersey Railway had much need of ventilation, as it had pioneered the idea of running steam trains through deep-level underground stations. These stations also had gas lighting. I suspect that the range of possibilities is too great for any meaningful conjecture, but there’s no harm in asking.

    1. I do know exactly what they are talking about and I realise that ventilating – apart from the famous ventilating sun burner – has so far not made it onto the website except for a brief mention and illustration in the History section for 1903 with the catalogue picture and double page on the “Patent Ventilator for Torpedo Boat Destroyers, Torpedo Boats etc.” Go to Section 3 of History and wind down until the several pictures on Buckingham Palace. It is immediately after this! Now that you have raised it I am trying to see where I might fit it in! Whereas the sunburner provides the energy to ventilate by burning gas so that I included sunburners under the general title of Lighting, William Sugg seems to have made a name for himself in ventilation that does not necessarily use gas at all! His knowledge of air movements and ventilation for gas lamps obviously inspired him to solve ventilation problems in a number of vehicles in which the only energy is that produced by the movement of the device through the air. Hence a catalogue page to be added which illustrates “continuous up-draught” ventilators – extracts foul air from ships cabins, sleeping berths, coal bunkers, holds etc and claims down draughts impossible and continuous up current. It also shows a railway carriage and for ‘tram cars’ showing one that is horse drawn!
      I will review possible places I can add several pages from the ventilation catalogue so that you can see more clearly how this worked.
      I have now uploaded several pages illustrating the Continuous Updraught Ventilators.

  5. Very good indeed Chris – a joy to read through.

    Good luck with this – what a great idea and so good you are recording the history of the company. By the by – the Hicks family had their building yard opposite the Houses of Parliament but were kicked out so they could build St Thomas’s.

  6. Just enjoyed reading the history of sugg gas lamps. Thought you might be interested to know we purchased an original sugg windsor strèet light nearly 40 years ago from our local council when they changed to electricity. We have the lamp in the front of the house and although we have the original gas fitting we have converted the lamp to electric.

    1. Thank you Ann for taking the time to comment and I am glad you enjoyed what is a growing archive, a website being the only way to achieve the flexibility of adding and altering what would otherwise be a book that I could never have finished! I had a Windsor lamp on gas myself for probably 25 years at our previous family house and we moved 20 years ago. I am pleased to say the Windsor is still running on gas! As they had made 50,000 Windsor lamps by 1906 it is not surprising a few have survived and of course they are still being made. 1889 to 2014 = 125 years!

  7. Hello Chris,
    I think we met many years ago when I worked for British Gas (Gas Council) in their exhibitions department, I designed their stand at the Chelsea flower show and on the stand in prime position was a Sugg Windsor gas lamp,which at the end of the event I bought.
    Sadly I never got round to installing it until recently!.
    The only thing is as yet I haven’t connected to the gas supply, would that be difficult and expensive ? Or as an alternative should I try converting it to electric which would be a shame as gas light has movement and a softer light.
    I would welcome your thoughts.

    kind regards

    1. Hello Douglas,
      Thank you for getting in touch.
      Is it a post mounted or wall bracket mounted Windsor? For ease of operation you should definitely have a remote controlled burner with a solenoid and permanent pilot so you can switch it on and off with a switch or time clock. It is a very simple appliance which uses very little gas but you should ask an approved installer to run the gas and electric supplies. If you have trouble finding anyone do come back to me. I have a post mounted Windsor that I had to leave behind in my last house which has run happily for at least 30 years. No gas where we are now!
      Kind regards, Chris

      1. Hi Chris,
        Thanks for coming back to me, It’s a post mounted Windsor and yes I had gas put into my property a couple of years ago and at that time I got the engineer to do a tee off in anticipation of firing up the light.
        I have taken onboard all your other comments thank you, also if you could recommend an installer I would really appreciate that.
        Thank you very much for all your help.

        Kind regards

  8. Being a Doulton Lambeth ware collector, I was intrigued when I managed to obtain an 1885 Doulton & Watts (Lambeth) Ceramic Gas Light Surround. It’s flared at the base & pierced to allow internal light to cool. It originally surrounds a Wenham Recuperative Inverted Gas Lamp made by Sugg & Co. The Doulton design No is 33955. The archive Info from Museum of London states when referring to the pretty decorated Doulton part of the assembly “a short lived interior light fitting known at the Wenham ” “The rest of the assembly being brass and having a glass dome ” When I bought it I thought it was part of a jardiniere !

    I’d love to see an illustration somewhere as I really can not picture this apparatus !!! Can you help please ?

    1. Dear Mick, If you go to the “Market Place” section you will see a couple of bodies, one of which is definitely Doulton that are looking for a home – unless you already have it! The other section that has many ceramic bodied gas fixtures is the one called Cromartie. If you can’t find it use the ‘search’ facility at the top of most pages. Just put in ‘Cromartie’ or even ‘Doulton’. These are amazingly ornate fixtures and I think Doulton may well have supplied the bodies. The ‘Wenham’ name is another manufacturer so far as I know but Suggs may well have made these fixtures for them whilst Doulton supplied the bodies.
      I would really appreciate a picture that could be added to the site if you could oblige. Regards, Chris

      1. Dear Dorian, Thanks for getting in touch again. I do know this picture because it was printed in a Science Museum booklet. The product itself used to be in their lighting gallery in a showcase next to a nice Sugg 3 arm possibly waterslide pendant. I have a picture somewhere to check and I will add it someday all being well!

  9. hi chris i am an avid collector of clocks and recently aquired a fantastic large fusee boardroom clock. on the dial it has the words..WILLIAM SUGG & CO WESTMINSTER.IT ALSO HAS THE PORTCULLIS EN AVANTE TRADEMARK ON THE DIAL.. i wondered if you have any info or pictures of this clock in situe in the boardroom.. ps i am selling this clock if you know of any interested collector…cliff..

    1. Clifford, you will find a couple of Sugg clocks in the Technical section under ‘Other Items’. One may even be the one you have acquired because it came from the Westminster boardroom but I will leave you to read all about it. Should it be another fusee clock then I would be really interested in having some photos to add it to the site. The easiest way to navigate to the right place is to simply type ‘fusee’ into the ‘search’ box when it will jump to ‘Other Items’ and click on ‘Read more’ and then wind down a little way to the clocks. I hope you find it useful.

    1. Thank you, as a Westminster business yourself there is a lot of local history. I am intending to deposit my William Sugg collection of material in the Westminster Archive in due course as I think this is the obvious place for it. They have agreed but I have not finished with it all yet!

  10. Hi Chris, I am in USA. I have an old street gaslight that has been passed down through our family. The family story is that the light originated from London. My wife’s father, was a minister that had it installed at his parsonage for many years in Tower City, Pennsylvania. I now have the light on a shelf in my garage and would like to restore it. I saw the same exact light on an antique dealers website that claimed it was made by William Sugg. While it looks very similar to some of the early lights on your website, I could not exactly identify it. Is it possible that I could email you some pic’s and you could identify it for me and give me some history on the model? Thanks, Dave

  11. Hi Chris,
    An excellent website which I have only just discovered. I believe William was my mother’s uncle so it is of particular interest. She was Minnie Sugg and grew up in the Chingford/Hymes Park area of east London and became a Tufnell when she married my dad. She had a brother Len Sugg and you may have already had some contact with that side of the family. I did know of the connection but your web site is so much more illuminating, well done!

    1. Hello Richard, thanks for the comments.I have quite a lot of family info and I am pretty sure Len is amongst it. I will have a look through and let you know when I have a mo. The other Chris Sugg has a good deal of family info so you could look at that. Go to the contact info page and look for Sugg Family Genealogy.

  12. Just purchased a house built circa 1926.

    Whilst working underneath the floor i found part of an old quotation from william Sugg for some special arp lighting which did not need to be extinguished during an air raid! A steal at 12 shilling & 2d.

    1. It is extraordinary what turns up! Is there any chance that you could scan or photograph the document and send it to me? I have some ARP lighting information for street lighting but it sounds as if this just might be an interior light?

  13. Hi Chris,

    Whilst working on site at a Police property in Folkestone, one of our Engineers came across an Old Halcyon/Suggs warm air heater and what I believe to be an Ascot water heater. I have pictures of the items (these no longer in service) that may be of use to you and may help identify the unit. There is a data plate visible in the photo but we do not have a close-up photo of it.

    Please let me know if this of any interest to you


    Peter Harding

    1. Thank you Peter for getting in touch. I am always surprised when these relatively modern items (i.e. post war!) turn up although they are nowhere near as old as some of the Victorian items – particularly lighting – that has survived! I would appreciate seeing your photos and I should be able to tell you a bit more about the products. Just attach them to my email address and I will come back to you in due course. Chris

    1. Hello Mark. There are 3 pages of Experimental Meters in the 1909 catalogue, one page of which is shown, along with some photos of meters and a story about part of one of these meters found in Australia under the Technical section of this site. Put ‘Gas Meters’ into the search box and wind down a little way if you haven’t already been there! In essence these meters are very carefully manufactured in order to provide accurate measurement of gas consumption of appliances under test. They often include time clocks and automatic stop arrangements to cut off the gas when any quantity of gas from 1 to 10 cubic feet has passed.
      I would really appreciate some pictures of your meter and I should then be able to identify the actual model and perhaps provide more data. Thank you.

  14. Hi Chris it’s Wayne sugg here Noel suggs son. I was looking for some information about Elizabeth sugg and David sugg. What happened to them were did they go to and did they have family’s of there own?

    1. Hello Wayne, I have lots of information on Lizzie and a little on David and of course the third son of William’s first wife Emma Parker was your line through Walter John – known as Jack. It’s a bit outside the website so I will send you an email with the details. Incidentally I did not hear from your father!

    1. Hi Alejandro, thank you, it is an important history but I do want to know how you fit in!! Do you have a family history coming back to the Sugg family in the UK? I am intrigued!! Chris

  15. Chris,
    A friend of mine, Phil Roberts, worked for your company in London.
    He didn’t move to Crawley but played for your team, Suggs Athletic, in the Crawley & District Football League.Through my friendship with Phil I got to play for the team as well.We used to travel down by train from London for the Saturday games. I played in goal. I recall a chap called Charlie Amer who was captain.I think I lasted one season-1964ish. I was the only Irishman in the side-just to jog memories!.

    1. Brian, thanks for getting in touch. I hope it rings a bell with someone else. Personally I know nothing about the team, Suggs Athletic, so if anybody can add anything maybe we can find a space for it on the site! Where did your friend Phil Roberts work in the Westminster factory?

  16. Hi Chris,
    Phil Roberts had a clerical job with your company, possibly in Accounts. I haven’t seen him or been in touch with him for about 47 years. He got married in London(circa 1970) and emigrated to South Africa.I returned to Ireland in 1973.
    Reports of our matches appeared in the local Crawley newspaper. Our colours were green and white stripes. Some memories may be jogged!.

    1. Gordon,
      Do I know you? Your name is familiar!
      I was making the odd pendant until a while ago. The problem is so many parts are now no longer made. I do have an old single drop pendant if that is of any interest. I am not sure how much work it needs but let me know. Send me an email with details to chris@williamsugghistory.co.uk

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    me know. Thank you!

  18. Hello Chris, what a wonderful site you have created here. I live in Sydney Australia.
    I am not sure if you can help me or not, I am writing a bio on a former employee of Sugg, Mr John Davies.
    John has a great memory for detail of his work at Suggs back in the mid to late 40s, but not of dates.
    He has a fascinating story to tell and loved his days and experiences at Sugg as a young man.
    Are you able to find his name on old employee lists? Basically I need confirmation of when he started and when he ended his employment with William Sugg. He worked in the Shipping Department.
    He believes he commenced work there on the 23rd November 1947, however that was also his birthday and he might be slightly confused about the actual date.
    You also may be interested in his memories working there so long ago.
    He moved on to Harrods after working at Sugg for what he believes to be a four year period.
    I can send you a signed authority for me to look into his working life on his behalf. John is now 85 years old.

    1. Hello Ray. I am glad you have enjoyed my site. It has been a fascinating exercise and there is so much more. Doubtless John Davies would have known my father, nearly always known as ‘Mr Crawford’. He would have just returned from the war and was working hard on updating gas lighting and developing what became the Halcyon range of warm air heaters, the first means of central heating applied to the wider population and probably the saviour of the company and even the gas industry!
      I would of course be delighted to learn his story and even add some to my site as I am very short of real employee stories. It is interesting that those who have sent memories have all said how they enjoyed their time at Suggs. During my time and with my new version of the company it was always an enjoyable experience!
      Unfortunately I do not have any personnel records as they all went to the Thorn Company following the takeover. Their pension scheme was based in Crawley but with several takeovers and multiple owners I have no idea if anything survives. Indeed it was this loss of information that determined me to put together the history in a website – so much more flexible than writing the book – and continue to add as time went on.
      I have no need for a signed authority as I am happy to share any information that might help. I will copy this response to an email and add a few more points but thankyou for getting in touch. Chris

  19. Hi, I purchased a flat in Sutton recently. And one of the wild discoveries we made was the weird appliance in our old kitchen was a very well-kept Suggs Incenerator from the 1960s. We’re now in the process of renovating and wondering if there was any interest in faceplates or parts from this by collectors? Happy to share photos of it if desired.

    1. Hi David. There was a period when gas fired incinerators were considered an excellent way of disposing of waste of all sorts including use in hospitals as well as disposing of sanitary products! The device was fitted with a time control that allowed the machine to burn for a set time and every time you opened the small door it effectively raked the ashes into a small drawer that could then be put in the bin. There was a version made especially for multi-storey buildings with a special flue arrangement up through the building. These days of course I imagine it would be looked on unsympathetically because of what went up the chimney although it did reduce the amount of bin waste hugely and was very helpful when you had multi-floors to negotiate with rubbish. If you have a photo it would be good to have it in the archive as it sounds as if it is in good condition – which probably indicates that it hasn’t been used for many years. I really don’t think that there are any incinerator collectors I am afraid but if anybody reads this who is interested they could prove me wrong. Regards, Chris

  20. Hello Chris. Back in 1968 I worked for a company known as “Griffin Warm Air” in Newton le Willows, as a heating designer working essentially on new local authority developments, both low and high rise. Cliff Summers managed the business and we were very successful in obtaining business from Cities of Liverpool, Manchester and others throughout the North of England. We usually specified the Sugg Halcyon warm air heater, sometimes with an associated gas water heater (I seem to think we normally used a 22k Btu unit, could be wrong?) and the Sugg rep was Syd Whitehead, a cracking man who I had loads of respect for. 50 years on I don’t know what has happened to either the units or Cliff / Syd but I loved that part of my younger days. (No doubt some of those high rise blocks no longer exist) Best wishes.

    1. Hello Keith. Back in 2011 Cliff Summers sent a lovely response to the Warm Air section of this website and you can read it for yourself. At that time he was retired and living in France so – who knows, he might see your comment. I knew Cliff and Sid Whitehead of course and it does seem that lots of people enjoyed their time at Suggs as did I. This was of course why I decided to start again – admittedly finally concentrating on lighting, both gas and electric but we all enjoyed that too! This should get you to the section and just wind down to the end of the story where the comments start https://williamsugghistory.co.uk/?page_id=139
      Kind regards, Chris

  21. hi Chris,
    I have an original vellum lease contract between William Sugg & Co Ltd and Robert Montaguen dating from the 1860ties for a location on Regency street number 65 Westminster . This vellum indenture was signed by a Mr Brown secretary of the said company and two directors . This indenture was in a lot of documents from Dalby’s mixture a kind of medical supplience . Having read the information on your site i suppose that william Sugg had nothing to do with this medical entreprise started at the end of the 18th century also in Westminster. According to this lease contract William Sugg ltd was already leasing the premises from an earlier date . If it is of any use to you a will mail you a copy by post,to big to Best regards from dirk rasschaert, lubbeek belgium

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