Booker Group Ltd

From WikiCorporates
(Redirected from Fitch Lovell plc)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
< Tesco plc < Booker Group Ltd
Booker Group is a food wholesale operator, offering branded and private label goods to over 400,000 customers, including independent convenience stores, grocers, pubs, and restaurants.

Booker has had a long history of exploitation of sugar workers through the indentured labour system during the 19th and 20th centuries. At its peak it controlled 75% of the sugar industry in British Guiana and was so powerful that a common joke was to refer to that country as 'Booker's Guiana'.


From Booker Line pamphlet (this list does not include overseas operations):

  • Booker Belmont Retail: 207 supermarkets and self-service shops trading as Budgen, Murdoch Norton and Rusts in the south-east and East Anglia, 59 butchers shops trading as Williams Brothers in the home counties and the Midlands, 11 hardware shops trading as Merit in the London area. ([Oct.1977]) OpenCorporates-sm.svg, CH
  • Booker Pharmaceuticals Ltd operates 77 chemists' shops t/a Kingswood in London and the south-east, and as EE Russell, mainly in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. OpenCorporates-sm.svg, CH
  • Central Wagon Company has 5 operating subsidiaries:
    • RG Brown & Company in Smethwick, a steel stockholder, specialising in mild steel plate.GG
    • Tangye in Birmingham, manufactures industrial and transport hydraulic equipment.
    • Epco in Leeds, as for Tangye
    • Copestick & Farrell in Stoke carries out subcontract fabrication and press work for a wide range of industries.
    • Central Wagon (Engineering) Ltd in Wigan repairs and leases railway wagons and manufactures steel pallets. OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • J & T Lawrie in Clydebank and Port Glasgow manufactures piping systems and stainless steel vessels. OpenCorporates-sm.svg

From hither and yon:

  • Oil Plus Ltd: consultant in water management technology for oil production. BP International Ltd held a 50% stake until late 1981, when Booker bought them out. Dec.1994: owner was EIS Group plc; Jul.2008: Smiths Group plc/John Crane Group Ltd; Mar.2017: sold to Mark James Cavanagh. OpenCorporates-sm.svg

Books to borrow:

Booker Group plc

  • Booker opened its first store in India in Mumbai. The UK chain continued to explore options outside Maharashtra and planned to open 20 cash and carry stores in India over the next five years.
  • Baugur collapsed in February amidst the Icelandic financial crisis.
  • Baugur sold all its assets in Booker Cash & Carry only weeks after its founder was found guilty of accounting irregularities.
  • Booker reversed into AIM-listed wholesaler of groceries Blueheath, to form Booker Group plc.
  • Big Food Group was in turn bought by acquisitive Icelandic group Baugur, which split Booker and Iceland again into separate companies.
  • ?date?: The Booker Prize also had a change in ownership. BFG transferred the award to a charity, which found a new sponsor for it in the Man investment firm. According to the Financial Times, Man agreed to pay £2.5 million over five years; the award was subsequently known as the Man Booker Prize.
  • 2000: Divested were the Foodservice Group, Booker Cash & Carry (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Booker Cash & Carry (Thailand), Marine Harvest McConnel, Sezgingler, Arbo Acres, and Fletcher Smith.
  • 2000: Iceland Group plc purchased Booker.
  • Nov.1999: Trademarket Ltd, a convenience store chain / wholesale cash-and-carry chain, was purchased from Alldays plc. Trademarket owned 9 locations in Scotland and Northern England.
  • Jun.1999: Arbor Acres, the poultry breeding business, was sold to private equity firm BC Partners LLP,ref who also bought Ross Breeders, Hillsdowns chicken breeding business, in Dec.1998. DDG Aviagen
  • Apr.1999: Booker Foodservice, Recheio (the Portuguese food wholesaling joint venture), the Spanish cash-and-carry division, and Booker Wholesale Foods were all sold.
  • AR-Dec.1989: Booker Food Service acquired JW Dale's business in Humberside. Country Chef was acquired by Whitworth's in Nov.
  • Feb.1989: L'Herbier de Provence and IFAS, two French manufacturers and retailers of herb-based toiletry and cosmetic products and nutritional supplements, were acquired.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • Nov.1988: County Catering Company, a foodservice supplier in Humberside, was acquired to supplement the expansion of Booker Food Services.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • early.1988: Castle Frozen Foods was acquired.
  • Jul.1988: Fletcher Smith, a 65/35 joint venture with Tate & Lyle, was formed from the merger of Booker's and Tate & Lyle's sugar machinery businesses.
  • Jul.1988: Booker Tate Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a 50/50 joint venture with Tate & Lyle, was formed to combine the international agricultural management and consultancy resources of both companies. In its first year, a contract was won to develop a new sugar plantation in Ethiopia, and an oil palm plantation in the Republic of Congo.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • May.1988: Country Kitchen Foods,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a mushroom business, was acquired from HJ Heinz Company and combined with Middlebrook Mushrooms, giving Booker a 12% share of the UK Market.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • Jul.1988: Bravi BV, a small Dutch producer and distributor of pan-fried shipped potatoes, was acquired to complement the Whitworth's fresh produce business.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • Jul.1988: Linfood Cash & Carry was acquired from the Dee Corporation, effectively doubling the size of the cash-and-carry business.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • Jun.1988: Booker committed to focusing on its food service operations, and to divesting its agribusiness ventures in the USA and the UK, its fish processing division, Daehnfeldt seeds business, its stake in sugar-related joint ventures, and its interest in Agatha Christie Ltd. But these sales didnn't solve the problem either.
  • Jul.1997: Booker Prepared Foods, the food manufacturing division, was sold to private equity owned Prize Food Group Ltd in an attempt to alleviate enormous debt and sinking profits. The sale didn't help. (todo, todo, todo, todo, todo, OC )
  • 1996: Nurdin & Peacock, a chain of wholesale cash and carry stores, was acquired to expand Booker's food distribution network.
  • 1994: Marine Harvest International, a Scotland-based salmon farming firm, was acquired.
  • early 1990s: Booker Tate, a joint venture with Tate & Lyle, was formed to manage the sugar operations wrt Guyana etc.
  • 1991: Booker purchased the balance of Arbor Acres' equity (10%) from the Rockefellers. Arbor Acres had grown to become the world's largest broiler breeding company, with customers in 70+ countries worldwide. It had emerged as the cornerstone of Booker's American agribusiness division, which also included North America's leading turkey breeder, Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms AR-Dec.1987 pic-link,p10, and CWT Farms International Inc, a producer of broiler hatching eggs.
  • AR-Dec.1990: International Basic Economy Corporation (Ibec): Booker McConnell acquired the 10.5% holding that the Rockefeller family held in Arbor Acres.[AR-Dec.1990]
  • Dec.1990: sold Jus-Rol, manufacturers of frozen pastry and potato products, and WL Muller & Sons Ltd, and Rob?? Ltd, manufacturers of sausages and pies.[AR-Dec.1990]
  • WA Turner, own-label producer of prepared meals
  • Bacon businesses, Stocks Lovell and Lovell & Christmas,
  • 1990 Pullman Foods was acquired by Booker Plc and subsequently merged into Booker Foodservice.[AR-Dec.1990]
  • 1990: #Fitch Lovell plc, a processor and distributor of fish and other food products, was acquired. Subsidiaries Bluefish/Bluecrest Foods and Rossfish were merged into the Booker Fish division.
  • 1990/1991: The UK health food interests were divested.
  • 1989: The French health food interests were divested.
  • early.1988:
  • Jan.1988: Brewhurst Health Food Supplies was transferred to the cash and carry division.
  • Jan.1988: Scan-Core, a colour sorter manufacturer based in Caligornia, was acquired and hived up into the Sortex US operations.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Feb.1988: L Daehnfeldt, a Danish seed company, was acquired to develop the European business, following the purchase of 93% of DEFTA, whose principal assets was a 33.1% holding in Daehnfeldt carring 58.2% of the voting rights.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Jan.1988: J Evershed & Son: acquired the wholesale food distribution business in the south-east. The transaction results from a joint acquisition by Booker and Circle K (UK) of J Evershed & Son.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Oct.1987: Atlantic Sea Products, a Scottish-based salmon farming business, was acquired by McConnell Salmon.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • 1987: The Cartoon Film Company was acquired from Mike Young, creator of "SuperTed", the TV cartoon character.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Nov.1987: Hillstart, a health food shop chain t/a "Happy Nut House", was acquired.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Oct.1987: Freshlabs was acquired by P Leiner Nutritional Products.[AR-Dec.1988]
  • Oct.1987: Copeman Ridley, a wholesale food distributor based in Norwich, was acquired.AR-Dec.1987]
  • Sept.1987: Loseley Dairy Products (90%), a producer of high-quality dairy products and ice cream, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Nov.1987: Nature's Best Health Products and Dietary Specialities vitamin business will combine with Healthcrafts (?) to reinforce standing in nutritional products.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Nov.1987: CR Hargreaves acquired to extend activity in the north-west.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Oct.1987: Copeman Ridley in East Anglia.
  • 1987: Booker Wholesale Foods: the Booker Retail Services and Booker Frozen Foods businesses, both delivering to convenience stores and independent retailers, were combined.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Feb.1987: Vita-Fresh Vitamin Company of Garden Grove, California was acquired by P Leiner Nutritional Products.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • Jan.1987: Booker Seeds Ltd:OpenCorporates-sm.svg Hurst Gunson Coooper Taber Ltd was renamed, with Charles Sharpe & Company merged in. AR-Dec.1987 pic-link,p10
  • 1986: Budgens: the company sold its chain of Budgen convenience stores, which had been purchased during the 1950s-era diversification. pic-link, todo, todo
  • Aug.1986: International Basic Economy Corporation (Ibec): Booker McConnell increased its holding to 100%, with the Rockefeller family maintaining a minority shareholding of 10.5% in Arbor Acres.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Jul.1986: Booker plc: the company was renamed.

Booker plc

  • Jun.1986: EC Steed Ltd, a distributor to caterers in the south-west, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Mar.1986: acquired the delivered catering business of Amalgamated Foods.[AR-Dec.1985]
  • Nov.1986: Nature's Way Holdings Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a chain of health food stores primarily in the south-east, was acquired and hived up into Holland & Barrett, adding .[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Mar.1986: McNab Groceries Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg}} a cash and carry operation in Scotland, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Aug.1986: Middlebrook Mushrooms, the 3rd-largest mushroom producer in th UK, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Jun.1986: Whitworth's Food Group plc,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a packer and supplier of home-grown vegetables to supermarket chains, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Jul.1986: Budgen supermarket chain was sold to Barker & Dobson.[AR-Dec.1986]
  •  ??.1986: The Zipin convenience stores, and John Quality, were sold to Circle K (UK).[AR-Dec.1986]
  •  ??.1986: Plenty & Son: General Descaling of Worksop was acquired; asset buy-out of Swinney Engineering, which supplies a complementary range of gas filters.[AR-Dec.1986]
  • Sept.1985: Charles Sharpe & Company,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a seed breeding business, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1985]
  • Sept.1985: Booker Agribusiness Ltd was established, with the Booker Agriculture International group being transferred in from its US parent Arbor Acres Farm.
  • Feb.1985: Fitch Lovell plc: 13 units were acquired.[AR-Dec.1985]
  • Dec.1984: International Basic Economy Corporation (Ibec): Booker McConnell increased its holding to 90%.
  • Apr.1983: International Basic Economy Corporation (Ibec): Booker McConnell bought a further 35% stake from the Rockefeller family, having increased its shareholding to 45% in 1980, merging Booker Agriculture International into Ibec in part-payment.[AR-Dec.1982,p.4] The company's name was changed from Ibec Inc to Arbor Acres Farm Inc. Subsidiary in Scotland, "Nicholas Europa Ltd", which supplies the European market.OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • Jun.1984: Potter & Clarke Ltd, a pastille manufacturer (Potter's Catarrh Pastilles), was bought by Booker Health Foods Ltd from Simco & Company.ref
  • 1984: The main businesses were Food Distribution, Health Products, Agriculture and a few remaining engineering activities.
  • 1984: P Leiner Nutritional Products Corporation: manufactures and sells vitamin products. Floated in Sept. Booker increased its stake from 28% to 35%, and again to 47.6%.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • The company diversified into the distribution of goods rather than merely shipping them, when it gradually disposed of its fleet of ships. The focus was then put on food wholesale distribution.
  • Apr.1984: Radiance Vitamins was acquired by American Health and hived up.[AR-Dec.1984] The American Health vitamin business was divested in 1986.[AR-Dec.1985]
  • Mar.1984: Iroquois Brands Ltd, a food and vitamin company in Greenwich, Conn., announced the sale of its Radiance Products Co. and El Molino Mills units to US Health Foods Holding Co., a subsidiary of Booker McConnell plc.ref
  • 1984: McConnell Salmon Ltd:OpenCorporates-sm.svg a Scottish salmon farm in the Outer Hebrides was acquired. Also a UK forestry management company, and a fish curing company; acquired Harvey, Bradfield & Toyer, a delivered wholesale business.
  • Feb.1984: Bishop's retail grocery chain was acquired. John Quality chain was also acquired.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • Feb.1984: the spirits, liqueurs and wine interests were sold.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • 1984: Three spirits, liqueurs and wine interests, a specialised food wholesaling business (Parrish & Fenn), a Canadian health food retail chain and the remaining shipping interests were sold or discontinued.
  • Dec.1984: Sortex, principally comprises Sortex, which designs and assembles opto-electronic agricultural sorting equipment.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • Dec.1984: Hurst Gunson Cooper Taber,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a seed breeding company, was acquired.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • 1984: Tilhill Forestry (Nov) forestry management and contracting, industrial landscaping, tree nursery production in the UK acq'd by Booker Agriculture International; Borsea (Nov); Hurst Gunson Cooper Taber Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg a seed breeding company (Dec); Sortex, design and marketing of opto-electronic food sorting equipment for agribusinesses (Dec); and (Dec), a salmon smoking business, were all acquired.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • Dec.1984: W&F Fish Products (80%), a London salmon smoker, was acquired; sold in 1987.[AR-Dec.1987]
  • 1983: SPP was bought out of the Booker Group. Also a specialist confectionery and tobacco wholesale business was sold.
  • 1983: European Vintners, Parrish & Fenn, Rusts Wine Merchants, and Westward Foods were sold.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • Mar.1983: Fletcher Sutcliffe Wild, which had previously benefited having the National Coal Board as a major customer, was sold to British conglomerate Dobson Park Industries plc after orders declined.[AR-May.1982,p3], link
  • Aug.1982: Rusts: 21 small shops were sold, 12 others converted to Budgen, and the remainder sold separately. Also, a decision was made to discontinue the Merit home and garden business.
  • [AR-May.1982]: RG Brown & Company (steel stockholder) was sold to C Walker & Sons, the 3rd largest steel stockholder in the UK (later bought by British Steel);Competition Commission report Tangye (mnf of hydraulic jacks) were sold towards the end of the year. Thermotics Inc in Houston was sold; Copestick & Farrell rationalised.
  • 1982: The Booker Line ships were put up for sale, with the last being sold in Jun.1984. The sale of Coe Metcalf Shipping to James Fisher & Sons plc in Aug.1984 terminated Booker McConnell's involvement in shipping.[AR-Dec.1984]
  • 1982: Fletcher & Stewart: the cane and beet sugar business was acquired, but continued under its own management.[AR-Dec.1982]
  • Jun.1981: Booker McConnell plc: the company re-registered as a public company.[AR-May.1982]

Booker McConnell Ltd


  • 1981: A sugar machinery factory was closed, and its foundry sold.
  • 1981: Three engineering businesses, one in USA, were sold.
  • 1980: Major Reorganisation: failure of two US engineering companies, coupled with recession in UK food wholesaling led to divestment of businesses where substantial, long-term profit growth was seen as doubtful including engineering, ocean shipping and spirits; and reinforcement and expansion of the agriculture and health products businesses, which were seen as growth points, and food distribution, in which Booker had substantial commitment and market position.ref, Dee Corporation
  •  ??.1980: Kearley & Tonge and Warriner & Mason, food wholesaling operations, were acquired.
  • Jul.1978: American Dietades Company Inc: a 70% stake was acquired by Booker Health Foods Ltd, to provide a strong base in the USA for further expansion of the health foods business.
  •  ??.1978: International Basic Economy Corporation: Ibec was, by this time, primarily engaged in poultry and salmon farming, and other agricultural-related endeavors. todo, todo, todo, todo, todo, [todo], todo
  •  ??.1978: International Basic Economy Corporation (Ibec): Booker McConnell Ltd purchased a 10% stake in the Rockefeller family's business, founded in 1947. Arbor Acres, an American producer of broiler breeder stock that had been operating since before World War II, became part of Ibec in 1959. todo, AR-May.1982-todo
  • 1978: W&F Fish Products was acquired.
  • 1978: Pitcraft of Barnsley, a manufacturer of underground coal mining machinery, was acquired, including the National Enterprise Board's 20% stake. Further food-related acquisitions would be in the USA.
  •  ??.1978: American Health Products business was acquired. ( ??)
  • Nov.1978: JD Jenkins Ltd, with 13 pharmacies in London and the south-east, was acquired from Saltraco Ltd/Salpharm Ltd. The operation was hived up into Kingswood Chemists.ref
  • 1978: Booker, McConnell: the company had 100+ warehouses across the UK.
  • May.1976: Nationalisation: the govt of Guyana took over all the interests of the Booker McConnell group. Six months later, Booker McConnell was called back to market the sugar.
  • 1976: Rum: the once vast number of rum distilleries was down to three companies and their associated distilleries: Diamond Liquors Ltd (DLL) – Diamond distillery. Owned by Jessels Holdings; Guyana Distillers Ltd (GDL) – Uitvlugt distillery. Owned by Booker Bros., McConnell. Demerara Distilleries Ltd – Enmore distillery. A subsidiary of Guyana Distillers Ltd.[1] In 1983, DLL and GDL merged to form Demerara Distillers Ltd.
  • 1976: Nationalisation: by the time of the Guyanan nationalisation, Booker had diversified into international agricultural management and consultancy, food distribution, rum and liqueur brands, engineering (mainly for the sugar processing, coal, oil, and gas industries), shipping, health products and authors' copyrights.ref
  • Nov.1976: Holland & Barrett Ltd was acquired, and renamed as "Booker Health Foods Ltd". OpenCorporates-sm.svg, CH-todo, (todo)
    • Nov.1976: Booker Health Foods Ltd: Holland & Barrett Ltd changed its name.
  • 1976: Booker Pharmaceuticals: the retail, wholesale and manufacturing pharmaceutical operations were combined. Kingsood (Chemists) Ltd, EE Russel (Chemists), Rusco Pharmaceuticals, and Rusco Wholesale.ref
  • 1973: ?? division was established to hold the health food manufacturers and retailers, the Kingswood Chemist chain of retail pharmacies, and the Chemimart chain.ref
    • May.1972: Holland & Barrett Ltd: Heath & Heather (Shops) Ltd changed its name.
    • Oct.1944: Heath & Heather (Shops) Ltd was incorporated.
  • Feb.1975: Chemimart Ltd was sold to the previous owners of Save Money Stores, which was purchased as an add-on after the Chemimart acquisition in Mar.1973.ref Mar.1976: Chemimart Ltd was sold on to Hills Airport Shops Ltd,OpenCorporates-sm.svg who operate pharmacies at London's Heathrow.ref
  • Jan.1970: Kingswood (Chemists) Ltd: a controlling interest was acquired by Booker Belmont Ltd.ref Renamed as "Booker Pharmaceuticals Ltd". Sold to Lloyds Chemists plc in May.1991. OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • 1970s: The company was transformed into a food-to-engineering conglomerate.
  • ~1970: Plenty & Son of Berkshire was acquired and merged with SPP. Plenty, based at Newbury, is an engineering company which designs and supplies systems and equipment for the oil and gas industries.
  • 1969: Booker McConnell Prize for Fiction: the company's "Authors" division was developed in ?? after discovering a loophole in the British tax code that allowed the conglomerate to purchase an author's copyrights, pay them a fat fee partly at the expense of the UK taxpayer, and then collect the royalties. Ian FlemingWikipedia-W.svg suggested to the company that it pump some of the £millions it was earning on the backs of writers back into the literary community. [AR-1994]-todo
    • Agatha Christie Ltd, 64% owned in partnership with the Christie family
    • Glidrose Publications Ltd, owns and manages the copyrights of James Bond books, and owns a half-share in the James Bond merchandising rights.
  • 1969: Fletcher Sutcliffe Wild: the mining machinery interests of Fletcher & Stewart were merged with those of Richard Sutcliffe and AG Wild & Company, owned by Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation. Fletcher Sutcliffe Wild, based in Wakefield, supplied self-advancing powered roof support systems and other mining machinery; it was majority-owned by Booker.
  • 1968: Booker McConnell was the parent company of the Booker Group which included Booker Line and Booker Brothers (Liverpool).
  • Jun.1968: Booker McConnell Ltd: the company changed its name.
  • 1967: International Janitor: a joint venture with Powell Duffryn Heating was established. The International Boilers and Radiators subsidiary was transferred in.
  • 1966: Guyana: British Guiana asserted its independence from the British Crown, and renamed itself.
  • 1964: Booker Bowman, a joint venture, was formed with Bowmar Instrumentation Corporation of USA. Reliance Controls was transferred to Booker Bowmar.
  • 1962: SPE, a subsidiary of the Pulsometer Engineering Company which manufactured aircraft fuel pumps, was sold to Plessey Company.
  • 1962: Fletcher & Stewart was formed by the merger of George Fletcher & Company with Duncan Stewart & Company. Based in Derby, the company made sugar machinery and hydraulic presses, and built complete sugar factories.
  • 1961: Pulsometer Engineering Company, a London-based pump company, was acquired and combined with Sigmund Pumps to create one of the largest pump companies in Europe, later known as Sigmund Pulsometer Pumps.
  • 1958: Sigmund Pumps, an engineering company based in Gateshead and Reading, was acquired, including its subsidiaries Small Bore Heating Systems and Crewdson Hardy.
  • 1958: Duncan Stewart and Company, a Glasgow-based engineering and sugar machinery manufacturer, was acquired.
  • 1957: Alfred Button and Sons of Uxbridge was acquired, becoming the cornerstone of Booker's food distribution business.
  •  ??.1956: Reliance Manufacturing Company of Southwark, a maker of high precision potentiometers, was acquired.
  •  ??.1956: George Fletcher and Company, sugar machinery manufacturers, was acquired.
  • 1952: Bookers Sugar Company was established to market sugar for Guyana and St Kitts. OpenCorporates-sm.svg

Booker Bros McConnell & Company Ltd


  • 1949: United Rum Shippers was acquired. (same company?)
  • 1949: United Rum Merchants, the British rum merchants which made Lamb’s Navy Rum, Lemon Hart, Red Heart, and Black Heart rums, was acquired. This gave Bookers an entire “farm to table” rum pipeline from cane fields to bottles on a store shelf.[1] At some point Hiram Walker group acquired a 49% shareholding.
  • 1946: Allinson Ltd, a flour-milling business, was acquired. Allinson became part of Booker Health Foods, t/a Holland & Barrett, which also included Healthcrafts, Prewett's, Heath & Heather, and Alfonal. AR-Dec.1982: Allinson wrapped bread was marketed under licence by Allied Bakeries.
  • 1920: Booker Bros. McConnell & Company Ltd was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • Mar.1900: Booker Bros McConnell & Company Ltd: after being closely associated for some time, the two firms merged, established a new company in Liverpool, operating a service between Georgetown and Liverpool. The new company acquired Booker Bros & Company, George Booker & Company, John McConnell & Company, and Lucas Cook & Company. OpenCorporates-sm.svg


Big Sugar, aided and abetted by govt, exploited other countries' resources using slave labour; it dodged taxes and declined to invest in local infrastructure.ref In 1953, British authorities sent troops to remove Guyana's first democratically-elected minister.

By 1950, Booker companies were involved in all sectors of the Guyanese economy. Bookers Agricultural Holdings owned 15 out of 18 sugar estates, plus a large cattle ranch. The Campbell Booker group owned a large number of wholesale and retail stores selling food items, furniture, household appliances, clothing, hardware, building supplies, sports goods, farm machinery and equipment, and motor vehicles. It also owned the largest taxi service in the country. Bookers Engineering and Industrial Holdings manufactured and sold pharmaceuticals, as well as manufacturing boxes; it was also involved in printing and publishing. Bookers Merchants, in addition to conducting a lucrative advertising business, performed the role of producers and distributors of rum, stockfeed, balata, lumber, and petroleum products.

  • 1874: John McConnell & Company: an ex-employee of the brothers returned to Britain and set up his own company in London.
  • 1834: Booker Brothers & Company: the brothers established their own shipping line to sidestep issues with other Liverpool shipowners.
  • 1834: Finding its profit margins sadly impacted by slave emancipation, the slaves were replaced by East Indian indentured labourers. The vast numbers imported left Guyana with an ethnically mixed population, which subsequently proved to be a source of cultural and political strife.ref
  • 1833: Slavery Bailout: the UK Parliament voted to abolish slavery. However, key members of Britain’s political, banking and religious institutions had considerable slave holdings, and convinced Parliament to pay out £20m (~£2bn today) to compensate slave owners - the largest bailout in global history until 2009. The Bookers benefited enormously from the scheme.
  • ~1818: George and Richard Booker, Josias' brothers, joined him in the hot new start-up industry: sugar, grown and harvested by African slaves.
  • 1815: After the British claimed the small patch of rain forest at the northern edge of South America from its Dutch, French and Spanish rivals, Josias Booker left Liverpool to help manage a cotton plantation in Demerara (later known as British GuianaWikipedia-W.svg). See Congress of ViennaWikipedia-W.svg.
  • 1803: Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice: the British forcibly took control, with the Dutch officially ceding ownership in 1814.
Sources: The History of Booker Line. Booker Line Shipping Company. Original archived on Jul.08.2011.The Bookers Empire. Accessed Apr.22.2020. ♦ The Booker Prize’s Bad History. Natalie Hopkinson, The New York Times, Oct.17.2017. Original archived

Fitch Lovell Ltd

ToDo: Savon Stores, Barrow's, Farmers Table Chicken, based in Witham, Essex; Stocks Lovell, bacon supplier to supermarkets; Dixons, pork processing; L Noels in Oswaldtwistle, todo; Kemsley's, part of West/Layton todo, todo

  • Mar.1999: Fitch Lovell Ltd: the company re-registered as a private limited company.
  • ?date?: Miller-Robirch sold to ??
  • 1991: Keevil & Keevil was sold to George Abrahams, another Smithfield meat trader.ref
  • Dec.1990:
    Jus-Rol Ltd was sold to Grand Metropolitan plc. Bluecap Frozen Foods, a Stockport-based contract distributor mainly of Jus-Rol products, was also sold as part of the transaction.[2][3] OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • 1990: #Booker purchased Fitch Lovell, merging the company into its own businesses the following year.ref
  • 1988: United Yeast Company Ltd, a food services company established in Dec.1899, was purchased from Guinness plc. OpenCorporates-sm.svg todo, piclink
  • 1985: Bluecrest, a frozen fish group, was acquired.
  • 1985: Jacksons of Piccadilly Ltd, owners of the "original" 1830 recipe for Earl Grey tea,ref was acquired. In Jan.1990, Jacksons was sold on to Twining Crosfield & Company Ltd.[4] pic-link WebsiteArchive-org-sm.svg
  • 1984: Buckingham Foods was established as a sandwich manufacturer.[1]
  • 1984: West Gunner Ltd: the Meat division, a chain of ~104 shops, was sold to the Vestey Group Ltd.
  • 1983: Linfield plc purchased the 98 Key Market stores after the transaction was referred to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission, merging the business with their Gateway operations.
  • ?date?: Standard Brands JV: entered the growing margarine market in a joint venture with the American firm.[2]
  • 1975:
    Jus-Rol Ltd, a pastry firm, was acquired from the Forsyth family, who founded the firm in 1954.refArchive-org-sm.svg
  • 1974: Hale-Trent Cakes Ltd was sold to J Lyons & Company.ref
  • 1972: David Greig Ltd, a 219-outlet chain of supermarkets established in London in 1870, was acquired. todo, todo, pic-link, pic-link (?)
  • 1970s: Huttons & Co Ltd, a ship chandlers, food warehousing and transportation company was acquired.ref
  • 1970s: Fitch Lovell split their organisation into retail and catering distribution business.
  • 1965: Barrow Stores, a Birmingham-based chain, was acquired from Cadbury Ltd and merged into Keymarkets the following year.
  • 1960s: Key Markets: Fitch Lovell opened its own supermarket chain in the south and east of England, foreseeing this as the future of food retailing.
  • Jun.1962: West Gunner LtdOpenCorporates-sm.svg was formed through the merger of West Butchers with the Gunner chain, giving 250 shops.
  • 1962: Hale-Trent Cakes Ltd: the Far Famed Cake Company Ltd and the John Trent Company were merged.ref
  • ~1958: West Butchers chain acquired, taking the meat shops to 49.
  • 1952: John Trent Company was purchased.ref
  • 1950: Far Famed Cake Company Ltd was purchased.ref
  • 1950: Layton & Burkett, a 7-store butchery chain, was acquired. Several other London butcher chains were also acquired: Walkers stores, Worlds stores, Robirch & Millers of Poole.
  • post-WW2: Newforge Foods of Gateacre, Liverpool, which held the licence to produce SPAM in the UK, was acquired.ref In 1998, Spam production was switched to the Tulip Food Company, acquired by Danish Crown AmbA the same year.ref,todo,todo,todo,todo
  • post-WW2: Keevil & Keevil: a majority interest in the Smithfield Market meat seller was acquired, thus entering the butchery sector.ref
  • 1940s: Hales Home Bakery (Clevedon) Ltd was purchased from its owner Frank Hales.
  • Jun.1920: Fitch Lovell Ltd: the company changed its name. OpenCorporates-sm.svg
  • 1908: Fitch & Son Ltd: the company was incorporated.
  • 19th C: Fitch & Son grew from being a cheesemaker to become a producer and provider of many food products, from cheese to bacon.ref By 1839 the firm had expanded to provide livestock auctioning;ref by 1878 it was providing dairy products nationwide.wp-8
  • 1784: Fitch & Son: James Fitch opened a cheesemaking business in Leadenhall, London.ref


  1. ^ a b Demerara Distillers Ltd – Part One. Matt Pietrek, Cocktail Wonk. Accessed Apr.21.2020.
  2. ^ Pillsbury UK Ltd. Directors' Report and Financial Statements, Apr.1989., Companies House, Apr.27.1991.
  3. ^ Jus Rol in Berwick. Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives. Accessed Apr.22.2020.
  4. ^ Jacksons of Piccadilly Ltd. Directors' Report and Financial Statements, Apr.1989., Companies House, Apr.29.1989.