Chapter 11

Garton King Appliances Ltd

I have put together this Final Chapter to the Golden Hammer. This covers the period 1980 up until 1988 when Garton King Appliances, the successors to Garton & King Ltd, was sold to certain senior employees of the Company. RMH.

Display at the Devon County Show, Newton Abbot 1934GARTON KING Appliances as the successors to Garton & King for their part of the business continued the AGA Agency. When the AGA Cooker, invented by a Swede, first came to this country, Garton & King took the Agency as the natural successor to the old kitchen range. This was about 1930, and later it was made in England by an independent company. However, the company was taken over by a succession of firms and was for a time under the umbrella of the owners of the old Coalbrookdale Ironworks, so reviving a very old association. The Ironworks celebrate their 300th Anniversary in 2009.

When Garton & King went into voluntary liquidation, it was arranged that certain Holladay money was made available to finance Garton King Appliances, which continued to be managed by Alec Holladay aided by his son Michael; they were joined by Alec Holladay’s wife Gabrielle.

In 1980 they removed the old workshop and stores and base from Tan Lane to premises in the Old Goods Yard, off Richmond Road, previously occupied by the Devon Trading Company, whilst the showroom remained at 19 North Street where a replica of the Golden Hammer still marks the premises. On redevelopment of the Richmond Road location a new Cookware and AGA Showroom was established at the Dart’s Farm Village at Clyst St George, the shop in North Street remained.

Gabrielle Holladay
Gabrielle Holladay
     Michael Holladay
Michael Holladay

In 1988 Alec Holladay wanted to retire, and as his son Michael did not wish to undertake the future management of the company, it was arranged for certain employees to buy the company and so enable it and them to continue to serve the West Country being completed on the 3rd May 1990. Whilst it is sad that the Holladay family no longer has a stake in the business, they still support it and hope that, as in the past, it will continue under new ownership to meet the future’s challenges.

Alec Hugo Holladay died on the 1st November 2003; his elder brother Henry Edgar Eland Holladay died on the 6th May 2007, aged 94.

The Golden HammerThe original Golden Hammer that used to hang outside the Foundry in Tan Lane is loaned to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, which has had extensive refurbishment carried out to it over the last few years, the Original Golden Hammer is now (2014) on show to the public, together with other artefacts from Garton & King’s past.

The Holladay Family has now created this comprehensive Website dedicated to the History of Garton & King from 1661 up until the cessation of the family’s involvement with the business in 1990. Anyone with any information on the Company, its products, practices, personal experiences (perhaps in the role of an employee or customer) or prepared to donate or loan artefacts or provide information as to the whereabouts of examples of the Company’s Cooking or Heating apparatus from the Victorian era is invited to contact the Holladay Family. Contact details can be found on the About Me page or by emailing me on goldenhammerman@gmail.com
Illustrated Talks on the Company’s History can also be booked.

Garton & King’s history is probably the longest History of any Exeter Business, to date covering 352 years, more than any other by more than a Devon mile!

Unfortunately there remains little of the old Tan Lane Foundry premises. The footpath that used to run alongside the Machine Shop and Office Building still remains but little else apart from a cast iron Bollard. Strangely enough the Plans for the Foundry remain in a filing cabinet at the Planning Department at Exeter City Council and I was allowed to borrow them and copy them – they still, however, wanted them returned!

Plans of Tan Lane Machine Shop and Office

I trust you’ve found this version of The Golden Hammer of interest. The original version was purely for personal distribution within the Company and to valued Customers – this version adds considerably to the 1961 publication but we would also like to draw your attention to my Mother’s version (Miss Nancy R. Lovely as she was when she wrote it) on which S. E. Ellacott’s History is obviously based. She covered the period 1661 – 1939 and there is fuller detail on those earlier years (see The 1939 Notes). The tale ends with the construction and commissioning of the foundry at Tan Lane as shown above. She married my father at St David’s Church, Exeter in the following month (August 1939) – dare I say the story goes that the day of her marriage was not the only event of the day, it was also the day the new Cupola was first fired up!

Richard Holladay, December 2013
Next - The 1939 Notes