Factory Index

......Some Overseas Companies........

R. P. Charles MD of the Rhodesian subsidiary (1963)

Inside the Salisbury Cadby Hall

Inside the Salisbury Cadby Hall

Salisbury Cadby Hall shortly after opening

Durban factory (Cadby Hall) staff 1935

This is the Harare Office (Zimbabwe) celebrating the Lyons centenary.

Rhodesian Cadby Hall

Harare Ice Cream & Drinks Tricycle Vendors

The office staff, Calcutta in 1928

Some Overseas Companies (Excluding Europe & America)

J. Lyons & Co (Pty) Natal, South Africa

J. Lyons & Co. (Pty.) Ltd was formed in 1927 with its head office situated at Pinetown, Natal, and it was here that another Cadby Hall operated. In August 1935 a photograph of the staff working there was published in the Lyons Mail magazine. Although production probably started in a small way, by the 1950s a large range of food-stuffs was manufactured by the Pinetown factory. The subsidiary company blended and packed tea, roasted and ground coffee and manufactured BEV. Chico and confectionery was imported from Britain. The factory also produced a range of ready-mixes all for distribution in South Africa. Depots were situated at various places throughout the territory covered, each with their own sales representatives. Main depots were established at Cape Town and Johannesburg. In the 1950s the General Manager was Louis Tamine and the Accountant Mrs Warren. In the J. Lyons returns to Companies House a number of subsidiary companies are listed of which nothing is known: Concris (Pty) Ltd, Hind Bros. Co Ltd, Jortssen Street Catering (Pty) Ltd, Luncheon Vouchers (Pty) Ltd, Sably Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Strand Street Caterers (Pty) Ltd, Stylist Shopfitting (Pty) Ltd, Sugarbrush Food System (Pty) Ltd and WS Foods (Pty) Ltd.

Lyons Brooke Bond (Zimbabwe)(Private) Ltd

The Rhodesian company was established in 1950 under the title of J. Lyons & Co (Rhodesia) Ltd. However, it was not until March 1952 that they built the fourth Cadby Hall on a site seven miles from Salisbury (now Harare). Prior to this, and during the war, J. Lyons & Co (Pty) Ltd of Durban handled the Rhodesian market through an agent in Salisbury, who packed and distributed Lyons tea. The trade increased so much that it was decided in October 1950, to form a new company in Rhodesia which was known as J. Lyons & Co (Rhodesia) Ltd. Plans were made and a two acre site was acquired. The land was cleared and the Southern Rhodesian Government laid drainage and services. The architects who had designed the Durban Cadby Hall drew up plans for the new building and these were submitted for approval. Machinery for the new factory was shipped from Britain and Mr Hornall of Durban and formally Greenford, went to Salisbury to supervise its installation. Soon the clean lines of the new Cadby Hall was a feature of the landscape. The factory was situated on Beatrice Road, which formed part of Cecil Rhodes' dream of a highway from Cape Town to Cairo. It covered 3,000 square feet and from the outset allowances were made for a large expansion. Behind the factory ran the railway linking the port of Beira, on the Indian Ocean, through which much of material for the factory came with links to Bulawayo and the Transvaal. Three brands of tea were mixed in Rhodesia. The bulk was green label which, with the Lujeri Estate tea, was mainly for European consumption. For African consumption was a less expensive tea known as Roma Tea. Bev and custard powder were imported from Pinetown, Natal and French coffee, Quoffy and confectionery from London. Behind the factory were quarters for local staff who made up most of the jobs of unskilled workers. However, the company's operations were not mentioned in the Annual Accounts until 1958 when Isidore Gluckstein's statement said: 'We have tea blending and packing factories in Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia and Eire.' In the early 1960s the company had expanded to include Lyons Maid ice cream and ground coffee. Lyons Brooke Bond (Rhodesia)(Private) Ltd was incorporated in October 1963 when Lyons and Brooke Bond merged their companies. R. W. P. Charles, formally general manager of Lyons' cocoa buying operation in Ghana, was appointed the managing director. Both companies thought it best to harness their resources as they faced the impending break-up of the Central African Federation of which Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), along with Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) were all part. Lyons took two thirds of the equity of the newly formed company and Brooke Bond (owned by Unilever) held the rest. In 1965 Rhodesia was plunged into constitutional and economic crisis after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Yet despite sanctions and a civil war the Lyons Brooke Bond business survived and even began to grow expanding its activities to include ice cream manufacture and packing of imported instant coffee. By the 1970s Lyons Brooke Bond began to source its coffee locally and had introduced ground coffee products and a limited range of condiments. By the mid 1970s they moved into fast food catering with the opening of Wimpy, Golden Egg and Peter's Pancake outlets. A soft drinks company (RabRoy of Bulawayo) was acquired and the company moved into non-carbonated drinks. In 1980 Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and this led to a short period of economic growth before the country plunged in economic decline aided by severe droughts. Lyons Brooke Bond had to contend with scare supplies of raw materials and constraints on foreign exchange. By 1994 Lyons Brooke Bond was employing 1500 people split into four divisions: Grocery, Frozen Food, Vending and Food Service. The Food Service Division was the largest and most profitable of the four. They ran 20 outlets thoughout Zimbabwe including 11 Wimpy outlets (in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Victoria Falls). There were five Super Chef takeaways in Harare, Three Mr 'T' outlets and the Milky Lane Ice Cream Parlour in Harare. In 1991 the company launched a new in-house magazine under the title of In Touch. Published quarterly, with articles in English, Shona and Ndebele, it was issued free with 1,500 copies going out to factories and depots. By 1992 a small export market developed when a shipment of peanut butter and mayonnaise was shipped to Mauritius. This was achieved because the Zimbabwean government decided to slowly open up the country's economy which had been closed since 1965. Business growth, however, was short-lived when central Africa suffered the worst droughts in its history during 1991/92. As a food business, the company was hit badly. There was an acute shortage of many of the raw materials used in the manufacture of its products-oils, sugar, butter, flour and tomato paste. Eventually supplies of beef, chicken, eggs, pork and peanuts were also seriously affected. In 1993 hydrological surveys were carried out at the company's three Harare sites. The Melbourne Road site looked the most promising and a depth of 65 meters water was struck and the well eventually produced 440 gallons an hour. The General Manager was C. N. B. Wodehouse who was formerly with the Wholesale Tea Department in the UK. W. Best was a director and Secretary who was responsible for all the accounting, clerical and administrative functions. The territories of this operation included the romantic names of Maschonaland and Matabeleland. In the J. Lyons returns to Companies House two subsidiary companies are listed of which nothing is known: C & E Watson (Pvt) Ltd and Westside Foods (Pty) Ltd.

Lyons Brooke Bond (Zambia)(Private) Ltd

The history of the Zambian operation is not entirely known but it seems to have had a similar background to the Zimbabwean business. That is it was formed in the 1950s. Its title came about with the merging of the Brooke Bond/J. Lyons businesses in 1963 and the subsequent change of name after independence (see Lyons Brooke Bond (Zimbabwe). By the 1990s Lyons Brooke Bond (Zambia) was the largest privately-owned company in the country, marketing a large range of hot and cold beverages and canned foods, as well as jams, pasta, curried products and relishes. It also manufactured baby food and a range of breakfast cereals. The business was based in Ndola, capital of the country's copper belt. Like Zimbabwe it also had depots throughout the country. These were supplied by the company's own distribution network, essential to the operation because of the general unreliability of transport in the region. Lyons Brooke Bond (Zambia) was 60 per cent owned by Lyons and 40 per cent by Brooke Bond (Unilever). This was a slightly smaller holding for Lyons than the Zimbabwe company. In the J. Lyons returns to Companies House one subsidiary company is listed of which nothing is known: Northern Foods Distributors Ltd.


In the J. Lyons returns to Companies House two subsidiary companies are listed of which nothing is known: Emanem Ltd and Clarkham Produce Ltd.

Nyasaland (Malawi)

See Lujeri Tea Estate

Lyons Tetley Australia Pty Ltd (formally Lyons Australia Pty Ltd)

In 1988 Lyons re-acquired the use of the Tetley Tea brand in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The trade mark was transferred, through a series of transactions dating from the late 1970s until Unilever acquired it with their takeover of an Australian tea company called Bushells. Unilever, with their Brooke Bond and Lipton brands, already controlled a sizable slice of the Australian tea market and their Bushells acquisition took their share to more than 65 per cent. As a result they were forced by the Australian Trade Practices commission to part with some of their brands, and as well as the Tetley brand name Lyons bought two other Australian loose tea brands, Billy and Goldenia. All three were distributed throughout Australia by a company called Stimorol. Although it had a smaller market share, Tetley was a national brand in Australia whereas Billy and Goldenia were regional brands mainly in New South Wales and Queensland. Overseas Trading Corporation (Jersey) were responsible for the on-going administration of this Australian venture. Billy tea was one of Australia's oldest branded products and was said to date back to the gold rush days of the 1890s when swagmen developed their own special tea to compensate for the harsh taste of the water in the outback.

In July 1988 Lyons acquired a business called Tuckfield Teas Pty Ltd from Cottee's Foods, the food division of Cadbury Schweppes in Australia. This acquisition lifted their position to second place in the Australian tea market. The business, based in Melbourne, had three main brands, Tynee Tips selling chiefly in Victoria and Tasmania, Kinkara, selling in New South Wales and Highfield selling in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. In September 1991 arrangements were made with the Suntory-owned Cerebos Australia group to use its distribution network and sales team to help expand the Lyons Tetley's business in Australia, a business that had 14 per cent of the Australian tea market. The teas continued to be packed in Melbourne.

In June 1992 Lyons Tetley Australia boosted its market share of tea to 21 per cent when it acquired the interests of the D & J Fowler business. This Adelaide-based food manufacturer produced a range of tea products that complemented those of Lyons. Its main brands were Amgoorie and Robur with particular strengths in South and Western Australia, areas of the country in which Lyons were not strongly represented. The Amgoorie brand, which gets its name from a famous tea estate in the hills of north India, dates back to 1890; that's earlier that the first Lyons teas. It was obtainable in both loose form and teabag. Co-incidental to this acquisition, Lyons Tetley had launched in the second half of 1991, its All Rounder version of the round teabag. It was also announced that Jamie Odell, Malay born and previously national accounts director for Grants of St James's, was appointed Managing Director of Lyons Tetley Australia.

J. Lyons & Co (Canada) Ltd

J. Lyons & Co (Canada) Ltd was formed in 1930 but the Cadby Hall factory in Toronto was not built until 1947. It was situated on the outskirts of the fast expanding city on the Queen Elizabeth Highway, a four lane course which ran to Niagara Falls some 90 miles away. It was a very modern structure where teabags and coffee were blended and packed. Many dollar earning products such as Quoffy, Crispy Fingers, Dundee cakes, Christmas puddings and bottled confectionery from the UK arrived here and then re-shipped to salesmen at various points in Ontario and Quebec and to agents on the west coast. A speciality of the factory was dehydrated chicken noodle soup. All these products were sold in the Dominion of Canada. Sales were undertaken by a team of representatives who covered large areas and territories by UK standards. Some districts were covered by distribution agents. The Toronto headquarters managed all the secretarial, accounting and invoicing for the Canadian operation. It also became the headquarters of the subsidiary company in Canada and in 1951 the General Manager was Harold C. Brinjes, formally manager of the Ice Cream Sales Office, who later became a director and vice president of the American subsidiary. In 1953 the Director and General Manager was J. P. Gledhill while Al Martin was Director and Treasurer. In the J. Lyons returns to Companies House two subsidiary companies are listed of which nothing is known: Margaret's Fine Foods Ltd, and Pells Restaurant & Supply Ltd.

Lyons (India) Ltd

Up to 1921 the company's tea buying in India was done by agents one of which was Heath & Company in Calcutta. Their business was subsequently purchased and Lyons established their own buying organisation shortly thereafter. In 1923 they formed the subsidiary Lyons (India) Ltd to buy for Greenford. Its associated company, Heath & Company (Calcutta) Ltd, continued to buy for other customers all over the world and both companies were located in Pollock House, British India Street, Calcutta. The office employed about forty clerks and occupied the 4th floor of a modern building. The local male clerks took care of invoicing and accounts. There was a cashier, two secretaries, postal and shipping clerks. Most importantly there was a tea sales room where the tea buyers, all Greenford-trained men (Charles Davis, Michael Adams and Peter Hollier), did their tasting and examination of samples due for auction at the weekly sales. The office work was very seasonal; the main tea buying sales taking place between May and November which was the hottest time of the year. There was also a retail and wholesale selling operation which operated in several of the larger conurbations of Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Madras and other cities. By 1928 staff numbers had increased to at least 55 with seven Europeans who had transferred from the UK. They included Messrs Ryan, Cook, Gibson, Lyst, Bentley, Pierce and Mankin. Mankin, formally a salesman in the Tea Agents Department, he was killed in a motor cycle accident at Asansol in June 1930 leaving a widow and two daughters. One of the longest serving employees at the Calcutta office was Haridas Banerjee who started in 1926 as a salesman taking orders for packet blends and travelling all over India and who featured in the August Lyons Mail of 1951. In 1962 the chairman announced to shareholders that the Indian tea buying establishments closed in the Financial year. 'Tea purchasing', he said, 'could be done as efficiently, but more economically, without maintaining our own organisation.' Although not specified it is presumed this buying was centred on the London tea auctions. How the Indian closures affected the tea selling operation is not known but the discontinuance of the buying function would not necessarily mean the closure of tea sales. The Lyons tea buyers obtained stocks from overseas gardens, including their own Lujeri crop, and the London auction rooms right up until 29 June 1998 when the last London Tea Auction was held. It marked an to an era. The company Heath & Company was also registered and operated in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

In January 1993 Lyons Tetley announced a joint venture with Tata Tea of India whereby Lyons Tetley International would have access to the India tea markets and provide a foundation on which to build an export business to many other tea markets. India is the largest tea market in the world. The aims of this joint venture were to first develop the domestic Indian teabag market and then to build an export market to the Middle East, Central Asia and eastern Europe. Round teabags, or pouches as they were called in India, were produced at a Tata factory in Ghaziabad, just outside Delhi, and were first test marketed in the Delhi and Lucknow regions. Developing these markets from the UK were said to be not cost effective. Because India already had strong links with many of the areas, an alliance with Tata was thought to be a better approach to develop the opportunities emerging. Tata tea was said to be the largest integrated tea company in the world. It had 52 tea estates and one coffee estate in four Indian States, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Employing 57,000 people black tea production was 53 million kgs per year. This remarkable growth started in 1962 from a joint venture with tea producer James Finlay & Co. This was established to develop a packet and instant tea for the domestic market but, after the Indian tea industry ran into difficulties in 1980 Finlay decided to pull out and Tata Tea formed their own business in 1983.

J. Lyons & Co (I. F. S.) Ltd

The Irish company was formed in 1932 under the name of J. Lyons & Co (I. F. S.) Ltd and was situated in Dublin. Its main activity was blending, packaging and selling tea and other grocery products. Green Label tea was the most successful blend which sold widely throughout Ireland both north and south. However, Lyons had a number of other small companies in Ireland: Hotel Russell Ltd, Old Ground Hotel Ltd and Robert V. Moore (Dublin) Ltd. See also Gateaux Ltd a large cake producer whose Molly O'Rourke cake sold in many parts of the world particularly in Australia and New Zealand.

Other Countries

The J. Lyons name was registered in many countries across the world including Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland Japan, Venezuela, Cyprus, New Zealand and many others. Some were established to manage Wimpy and Ice Cream franchises and others were registered to protect trade marks. These companies are not listed here but some are listed under Miscellaneous Businesses. The American companies are listed separately under Subsidiary Companies and include: Baskin-Robbins, Chock Full o' Nuts, DCA and Dunkin' Donuts.