Joseph Pickering’s factory was an important aspect of George Cunningham’s life, as the factory was so near to his home and the streets where he grew up. The company originated in 1824 when John Needham began manufacture of ‘Needham’s Celebrated Polishing Paste’. On Needham’s death, the business passed to his niece Harriett who, in 1847, married Joseph Pickering who died in 1902. The business was continued under the Pickering name. By 1856 the works had moved to Mowbray St. and in 1875 Albyn Works, Burton Rd, was built at a cost of £9,000. The company produced a range of cleaning pastes, polishes etc. the most famous of which was ‘Blanco’. In 1900 premises were obtained in Moore Street for the manufacture of boxes and the factory was rebuilt in 1906-08. In 1900 Pickering’s amalgamated with a firm of brass founders and tin box makers, run by Arthur Truelove, who was Pickering’s son-in-law and who was mentioned in the More George! book. At this time the company was incorporated as Joseph Pickering and Sons Ltd. The manufacture of polishes ceased in the 1960s and the company then concentrated on the manufacture of cardboard boxes. (MD7781- Sheffield Archives)
I went to the archives and I did some research about Joseph Pickering & Sons Ltd and I found some interesting photographs and other material.
I found in the 1932, Kelly’s Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham an entry for the factory which is shown below:
57 Pickering Joseph & Sons Ltd. tin box manufacturers.
Kelly’s Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham, 1932, p.348: Courtesy of Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library
The first picture is a George Cunningham painting that shows the frontage of the Pickering factory looking down Young Street with St Silas School on the right of the painting. This shows that George when walking from Michael Road to school every day, he would have had to have walked past the frontage of the Pickering factory and that would have been part of his daily life.
The map shows the exact route that George Cunningham would have taken to walk to school from Michael Road to get to Young Street.
I decided to take a trip to see the area where George grew up and to see what was left of any original buildings in the area. I managed to take a picture which had the former St Silas School and the frontage from the former Joseph Pickering factory in it which were in his painting.