Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd (Coatings) Ltd Established 1841

 

Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd

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Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd - Company History

Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd. has occupied the same site at Little Green Works in Collyhurst Road, Collyhurst since 1841. In that year Henry Leicester, a local builders merchant, formed a company to manufacture tarpaulin and oil cloth for packaging.

 

In 1853 one of Henry's relatives, 12 year old John Blackwell joined him . At first John was paid just half a crown (12.5p) for working up to 80 hours a week before being put in charge of the business in the 1860's. Henry Leicester allowed young John to start up his own business whilst still working for him and in 1873, at the age of 33, John took over Henry's business and merged it with his own to form John Blackwell & Sons.

 

In 1884 the new company took out a patent for the machine production of cotton bale wrapping - material which had previously been made by hand - the new machine would draw cloth by power through an oil trough during the process of making oil cloth which not only increased production speed but also improved the uniformity of the product.

Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd (Coatings) Ltd

 

John Blackwell would become an important figure in the local community; in 1895 he was elected to Hyde Council for Werneth Ward and would subsequently be re-elected in 1898 and 1902. in 1903 he was elected to the Aldermen's bench and in 1904, this now partriarchal bearded figure, became mayor.

 

 

In 1897 John's son, John Duncan Blackwell, took out a patent in his own name for an improved cotton bale wrap, designed to keep exported cotton goods packed in bales free from water penetration during their long voyages to export markets around the world. The patent application document is an interesting one since it makes clear that the oil cloth previously used for this purpose, commonly based on linen, had a tendency to become brittle and crack as well as being unduly heavy.

 

The new patent oil cloth would have as its base plain cotton cloh made of a specially heavy yarn impregnated with a waterproof composition made up of two parts cotton seed pitch to one part of stearine pitch. That 'patent wrap' was still being sold in the UK up until the 1970's, its demise coinciding with the demise of the UK's cotton industry.

 

In 1900 John Blackwell & Sons amalgamated with eight other small packaging companies to form Packaging Materials Association Ltd - 'PMA' - with John Blackwell as Chairman.

 

In his later years John Blackwell moved to Southport; and following his death, in 1923, a beautiful stained glass window was dedicated to his memory at the Southbank Road Wesleyan church. Following John's death his son, Duncan, became chairman of the company - which would soon become wholly owned by the Blackwell family.

 

The original 17th century Little Green Works 100 yards from the present building had burned down in 1922. During the 19th century the original building was notable for being the oldest factory in Manchester.

 

Duncan's brother William Blackwell became chairman of the company following his brother's death at his home in th Isle of man in 1927. William however would be chairman for only eight years before succumbing to a heart attack whilst travelling by train from his summer homw on the Kyle of Bute to visit a customer in Glasgow.

 

The firm now passed to the chairmanship of William's son Alan. On the outbreak of war in 1939 the company supplied packaging materials to the army - part of the armed services in which could be found Alan's younger brother Donald. Because of its strategic importance to the war effort half the firm's production was now moved to Hadfield for greater safety whilst the vacated space was used for storage by the War Office. PPL supply packaging material to the MoD to this day.

 

Following the war PMA (Holdings) Ltd formed Packaging Products (Holdings) Ltd which in turn started to diversify with the acquisition of a waxing company Koters of Liverpool and Superior Packaging in Ireland.

PMA had changed its own name to Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd in 1957 by which time John Blackwell had succeeded his father Alan whilst his uncle Donald worked as the company's Sales Director.

 

By 1965 Packaging Products (Holdings) Ltd would own several subsidiary companies: Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd; Koters (Liverpool) Ltd; Superior Coaters Ltd; Vitaloid Products (Manchester) Ltd; Flexothene Ltd and Vitaloid Products Ltd in addition to Superior Coaters' own subsidiaries: Superior Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd and Presson Labels Ltd.

 

One of the group's acquisitions had been Turtle Wax, a brand much sought after by many larger businesses. After a complex series of deals Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd now became jointly owned by PMA Holdings, Lloyd's Packaging Warehouses and Capseals.

 

The three companies shared control, each supplying chairmen on a rotating basis. In 1967 however Capseals Ltd acquired full control and John Blackwell resigned as Managing Director ending over a century of Blackwells at the helm.

 

T he last member of the Blackwell family to work for the firm, Donald, left the company in 1976 in the midst of a decade which saw the number of employees peak at 320.

 

In the early 1970s Capseals had decided that the diversification that had taken place with the movement into polythene film production, corrugated sheet plant production, gummed tape production, crepe paper production, tube winding manufacture and sales of paper and tapes were to be closed down, with both Koters and Superior to be sold, as the company concentrated on its core business of industrial wrappings.

 

At the same time the introduction of PE coated papers and film was superseding bitumen laminated papers and wax papers for use as waterproof wrappers. The bitumen and wax products had reached their zenith though the company was tehn producing 12,000 tonnes each year. The new strategy meant that time, effort and money could be found to introduce a successor to bitumen laminations and in 1972 a newly-patented method for coating paper was introduced: Blond Union, a hot melt water barrier.

 

During the 1970s acquisitions to add to the core business took place such as the purchase of Neptune, Brookgate and other smaller companies.

 

In 1981 the company acquired its largest UK competitor James Barnes, which was based in Derby Street off Cheetham Hill, making it now the largest manufacturer of waterproof papers in Europe. In 1982 Packaging Products was sold by Capseals to Worcester Engineering, then a private company. Now old unprofitable lines were dropped and older buildings on the site demolished.

 

Retrenchment by Worcester Engineering, now known as Worcester Bosch, in the early 1990s however led to a management buy out by John Cornford, the Managing Director since 1984.

 

In 1992 John Cornford became chairman whilst his son, Andrew, became Sales Director. Andrew's younger brother Robert Cornford, joined the board as Production Director in 2000.


By the start of the new century the Company under the direction of its MD Tony Bennett would be exporting more than 15 per cent of its sales to places as far away as Australasia, the Middle East as well as the EU countries; it had also received approval for a new product for use by the Toyota car company both in Japan and world-wide. the firm had also received an ISO 9002 approval in 1994.

 

In keeping with modern thinking Packaging Products introduced its own environmental policy aimed at producing new recyclable products to replace the old environmentally poor bitumen and wax products, minimising packaging weights and reducing energy usage. The company replaced its older hot-melt laminations with new cold-applied coatings and laminations to manufacture a product which would be totally recyclable. the company has spent ten years developing these products and building machines to manufacture them.

 

With its dedicated workforce, some of whom are the third generation of local families to work for the firm, the Company today is ready to face the 21st century; it looks forward to the current family in the business achieving the same success that was enjoyed for so long by the founding Blackwell family.

 

Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd Copyright 2010


Packaging Products (Coatings) Ltd - Collyhurst Road, Manchester, Lancashire. M40 7RT
Registered at Companies House in England No: 02480123 - VAT No: 984779245