Britannnia Sewing Machine Company
of Magdalen Street, Colchester
Est. 1866 - 1880s
1811 William Dearn, a nail maker, used the site for business.
1827 Became St Botolph's Works.
1830s The Works was used as an iron foundry as well as for nail making.
1859 William Dearn died. His son, William Dearn Jr., continued to run the ironfounders with a small workforce until his own death in August 1866.
1860 Because of bankruptcy, the premises were sold over Dearn's head to Joseph Blomfield, a Colchester ironmonger who sold Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines. When the patent on these expired, he was approached by Thomas Mayhew Bear, an engineer and ironfounder from Sudbury, suggesting a partnership to make sewing machines.
In 1866 , Thomas Mayhew Bear and Joseph Blomfield joint to form the Britannia Sewing Machine Company to produce sewing machines.
It was so successful that, when William Dearn junior died, Blomfield and Bear gave up their general foundry work and sold the stock, patterns and goodwill to Davey, Paxman and Davey who had recently set up in business.
Joseph Blomfield - Patent GB 2.093 (June 30, 1868)
Improvements in stands or tables especially applicable for sewing machines
In 1871 the Britannia Sewing Machine Company employed 105 people
Overwhelming competition from the Singer Sewing Machine Company of USA forced them to manufacture other products, mainly machine tools and oil engines.
The above illustration is one of the powerful lathes manufactured by the Britannia Company, of Colchester, England. The lathes are exceedingly well finished with all the latest improvements and are suitable for almost any kind of work. They are much used for sewing machine repairs and also for the repair of any kind of machinery which is temporarily out of order. A special feature is the uses to which they can be adapted for almost any kind of work.