A Brief History of the Dunlop Rubber Company

150 to 152 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC. Works: Para Mills, Aston Cross, Birmingham (1914)

as Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd - Goods Division of Fort Dunlop, Erdington, Birmingham, and of Cambridge Street, Manchester. Telephone Central (Manchester) 2131. Telegraphic Address: "Rubber, Manchester". (1937)

as Dunlop Clothing and Weatherproofs Ltd of Bridport Road, Edmonton, London, N18. (1947)

as Dunlop Rubber Co (Dunlopillo Division), Rice Lane, Walton, Liverpool. (1947)

as Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd (Sports Division) of St. James's House, St. James's Street, London, SW1. (1929 and 1947) Sole Distributors of Sports Goods of Dunlop Rubber Co.

  • 1907 In a re-structuring the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co set up the Dunlop Rubber Co.
  • 1912 Purchased 200 acres of land to build Fort Dunlop. [2]
  • 1914 Manufacturers of Dunlop pneumatic tyres for motors and cycles. [3]
  • 1919 New issue of shares. A. L. Ormrod (Chairman), [4]
  • 1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Tennis Machine, Balls, Rackets; Racket Presses; Golf Balls; Hockey Sticks; Bowls; Football Bladders; Sundries. (Sports Goods Section - Stand No. B.16)
  • 1931 Colour image on this page.
  • 1935 Eric Geddes (Chairman). [7]
  • 1937 British Industries Fair Advert for Industrial and Mechanical Rubber Goods. Driving, Conveyor and elevator Belting hose. Anti-corrosion rubber. rubber Rollers. Rubber Blocks for road lines and pedestrian crossings. Rubber Flooring. Gloves. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. D.609) [8]
  • 1938 J. George Beharrell (Chairman); C. A. Proctor and John L. Collyer are joint MD appointed this year. Other directors include Clive L. Ballieu and S. Hardman Lever
  • 1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers
  • 1947 British Industries Fair Advert for Clothing (at Earls Court: Ground Floor, Stand No. 240) including Rainwear, Sportswear, Leisurewear, Skiwear; Sports Equipment (at Olympia: 1st Floor, Stand No. F.1805) for Tennis, Golf, Badminton, Squash, Hockey, Table Tennis, Darts; Dunlopillo (at Earls Court: 1st Floor, Stand No. 679) for Latex foam cushioning, Mattresses, furniture upholstery, cushions, hospital equipment; Industrial (at Birmingham) for Rubber Goods, Belting, Hose, Anti-corrosion rubber, Gloves, Rubber Floors. (Textiles Section) [10] 
  • 1951 Colour advert on this page for various products. [11]
  • 1961 Group employees are 100,000. Sales in 1959 were £261m. Manufacture tyres, tubes, brakes, aviation equipment, adhesives, flooring, footwear, hose, belting, rubber goods, sports goods and marine equipment. [12]
  • 1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Car tyres and tools. [13]
  • 1968 Testing of aircraft tyres at Fort Dunlop. [14]
  • 1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement.
  • The company once had extensive manufacturing operations in the UK. With the closure of the Washington plant in 2006, Goodyear Dunlop have ceased mainstream tyre production in the UK. There is still a bespoke Motorsport manufacturing site on a corner of the original Fort Dunlop factory in Erdington, Birmingham, opened in 1891, which supports specialised vintage, motorcycle and touring car tyre production. The factory produces around 300,000 specialised Racing tyres per year which are shipped all over the globe.
  • The main Birmingham site has been extensively redeveloped with a modern shopping centre (The Fort Shopping Centre) and several logistics warehouses. The iconic former head office building is being redeveloped into a combined residential, office and hotel complex. This can be observed between junction 5 and 6 of the M6, on the east side of the motorway.
  • Note: 
    • Robert William Thomson (1822 - 1873) invented the actual first vulcanised rubber pneumatic tyre. Thomson patented his pneumatic tyre in 1845, his invention worked well but was too costly to catch on.
    • [3] Manchester Archives. Records, 1930s-1950s: correspondence and articles on the company's war work; report of a visit to its factories in South Africa, 1955; photographs including the Gaythorn plant, Manchester, the Gateshead factory, Newcastle upon Tyne, and barrage balloon production and workers. These records can be found in the personal papers of Charles Hemm, Director of the company. (M536/)

Sources: Graces Guide

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