The Colello lampshade factory, 1940-1978
Acquired by the Partnership
Colello Ltd was set up to manufacture lampshades in 1925 by George a’Court Emberson with his own capital of £350. In October 1938, Colello acquired David Dewsbury Little of 94 Bond Street. At this point, Colello was an independent company that was supplying lampshades to the Partnership. However, two years later in 1940, the decision was taken by the Partnership board to acquire the lampshade factory outright. The business continued to operate from New Bond Street until the lease on the building ran out in 1946.
With the end of the lease, the factory transferred its operations to Clearings. This was a good decision as it put the factory near the lighting stockroom and the lighting factory, where bases for lamps and chandeliers were assembled and wired. At the time of the Partnership’s acquisition, Mr Emberson had left the business, but he retained later to become the Deputy Manager of the factory. By the 1950’s, the business consisted of the manufacture of lampshades made of silk, paper, card and plastic, and a small amount of gift-work including the manufacture of trays and bookends. It was difficult, intricate work. The lampshade work-room at Clearings was filled with highly skilled Partners.
Growth of operations
By the end of the 1960’s eleven Partners and six outworkers made lampshades largely for Peter Jones, under the directorship of the Manger Mr R Tubb. The business was now known as Taylor and Penton, although many still called it Colello. Frequently, lamps shades in the factory were made with a lining, using materials from Cavendish Textiles. The factory also took special orders, making up lampshades with customer’s own material.
In 1978, the decision was taken to close the lampshade factory. With its focus on hand-sewing, the factory’s capacity was small and would not be able to keep with the growing demands of the ever expanding Partnership. Even a small eight-inch lampshade took an hour and a quarter to make!