Holland & Sons
Originally founded in 1803 by Stephen Taprell and William Holland, a relation of the architect Henry Holland, the firm of Holland & Sons soon became one of the largest and most successful furniture making companies in the 19th Century. The firm worked extensively for the Royal Family, being granted the Royal Warrant early in the reign of Queen Victoria, hence taking a leading part in the decoration and furnishing of Osborne House, Sandringham, Balmoral, Windsor Castle and the apartments of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House. Holland and Sons also worked extensively for the British Government, for whom they executed over three hundred separate commissions, including the Palace of Westminster, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and oversaw the State funeral of the Duke of Wellington. Among their private commissions the firm produced a celebrated suite of bedroom furniture for the late Sir Harold Wernher at Luton Hoo.
Always at the forefront of fashion, Holland & Sons employed some of England’s leading designers and participated in all of the International Exhibitions of 1851, 1855, 1862, 1867, 1872 and 1878 and the Vienna Expo of 1873.
Joseph Bramah (1749-1814) was a practical Yorkshire inventor, responsible for the first flushing toilet, a beer engine and a quill sharpener, inter alia; but, his claim to fame was the founding of the Bramah Lock Company of Denmark Street St Giles London, in 1784, presenting his ‘unpickable’ lock to the world. The success was immediate, and the company moved to 124 Piccadilly, with a challenge to fellow locksmiths and felons -‘ The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 guineas the moment it is produced’. The money was unclaimed for 67 years, eventually being opened after 51 hours of constant effort by an American locksmith, Alfred Charles Hobbs. The word ‘brahmer’ exists as an adjective in English vernacular to describe something astonishing or outstanding. The company still exists, as security experts and lockmakers, two and a quarter centuries after its’ foundation.