Garton and King

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a history

Where did that stove go?

Extract from the Wellington, (New Zealand) Evening Post, 10th October 1887

"The New Zealand Shipping Company’s Steamer  RMS Rimutaki, Capt: Turpin, from London, arrived in harbour at 5.15pm yesterday, and, all being well on board, was berthed at the wharf at 7 same evening.  She left Plymouth at 1.30pm on the 27th August, and to Madeira (reached on morning of the 31st) had strong S.W. winds; left at 5.55 the same day, and reached Cape Town at 5pm on the 16th  September, having had head seas and strong trades.  Here she landed several passengers, including The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and left again at 7am on the 17th. Experienced strong S.E. winds till the 21st, when a sudden gale came over from the S.E. succeeded by a hard gale from the south, wuth very high seas and furious squalls, from which date she had very strong winds till the 30th September, afterward fine weather to Hobart, where she arrived at 2 am on the 5th inst. Moving on at 1.15pm and had fine weather across, arriving here as above.  The usual amusements were indulged in by the passengers, the Rimutaka Minstrels contributing a very good entertainment.  She remains here until Wednesday when she leaves here for Lyttelton….”

RMS Rimutaki
RMS Rimutaki

Somewhere – deep in the hold – protectively oiled and securely packaged and waiting to be offloaded could be found one of Garton & Kings Medium Stoves. 

Between December 1882 and September 1887 something in excess of 332 stoves, according to the records I have – though it was in all probability many more, left Garton & King’s foundry for Australia and New Zealand.  Most of them were sent by rail courtesy the Great Western Railway already packaged for shipment to the GWR Station at Poplar, thence in this instance, the Royal Albert Docks and onward shipment. For Napier it was often the West India Docks and it seems the East India for Sydney, Australia.

SS Kaikoura
SS Kaikoura

Handling Agents, who were, it seems, always out to squeeze every little drop they could in commission or charges from either the consignor or the consignee, included such firms as

McLean Brothers & Rigg,
Buck & Hickman,
James McEwan & Co,
Bryce Junor & White (Glasgow),
F. A. Edelsten & Co,
and perhaps,  dare I say, the shrewdest of the lot
H. & A. Hawley.

The note on one Consignment Memorandum dated  September 12th 1884 states “ .. we shall ship them per sailing vessel – steamer rates are prohibitive.

Some of the names of the ships on these runs on which G & K’s products were cargo appear frequently in the Wellington Shipping Movement Columns of the Evening Post: the SS Allawara, the SS Aorangi, the Trafalgar, Brilliant, Zealandia, and the SS Tongariro.  All long since gone but some pictures of these ships accompany this article, from the age of transition from sail to steam.

SS Tongariro
SS Tongariro

New Zealand advertThe agents in Sydney were the Colonial Stores (By Royal Charter the letter from them proudly states.) It appears that possibly the owner or manager, a Mr McDonell, had a very useful contact – his father in law lived in Exeter and held an account with Garton & King., a Mr Bidwell. A very useful foot in the door! The had outlets within Australia, Geelong being one that is mentioned. One of the distributors in New Zealand was Gunn & Ross of Dunedin. Samuel Bebb advertised in the Hawkes Bay Herald, June 29th 1861 “Garton & Jarvis Patent  Stoves newly arrived off the SS Montezuma direct from Sydney” at his Custom House Street Store and on the 7th October in the same year, the Advert, right appeared in the Hawkes Bay Herald. Click advert to enlarge.

This is not a detailed account of Garton and King's exports over the years, but a small insight from the records that are available, of a period  of 4 years 1883 – 1887. What happened before and what happened after is practically guesswork but one can be fairly sure from what records of Stove and Range Sales that do exist that by the early 1900s exports had peaked and were in steady decline as the cleaner gas and electric stoves became more popular and refined.

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