The company’s origins were linen drapers but by the end of the 18th century it has begun to trade in sacks. The first half of the 1900’s saw the company expand to five factories. In the 1960’s the group moved in the production of paper sacks is now one of the leading suppliers throughout the UK. In 1978 the corrugated division was established to supply boxes, die cuts and fitments to all industries, principally in the North-West of the UK.
Peter Marsh, the founder of our company was born in 1810 and was married the same year as the company began trading, which was in 1837. Peter had six children two of whom were boys and it was these sons that provided the line to today’s family. His two sons, John (born 1844) and Peter Walter (born 1848) both joined the family business in 1865 and replaced their father as joint heads of the company when he died in 1871.
Production of hessian sacks made from skin of the jute plant grown in India and treated with whale oil for finer spinning in Dundee Scotland starts. The Dundee City crest above the date (1861) which is where the name of our factory derives it’s name from, stands to this day on the gate post as one enters the site.
The above picture was taken from an old engraving and shows what Dundee Works looked like during this period of our operation. Dundee Works was completely destroyed during the blitz in May 1941 and was closed for several years. The manufacture of new hessian sacks and the rework of used sacks continued to take place at our other factories in London and in Manchester.
The construction of it’s replacement began in the early years of the 1950’s.
John Marsh (born 1844) the eldest son of our founder joined the family business in 1865 and remained involved until his own death in 1907. John Marsh had one son, John Albert, who chose not to follow the same career path but instead acquired a company called Textilose who eventually became Trafford Carpets Ltd, manufacturers of quality carpets in Trafford Park, Manchester.
The founder’s second son Peter Walter (born 1848), joined the family business at the same time as his older brother John, which was in 1865. Peter Walter fathered four sons and six daughters. His four sons whose names were Atkin, Ronald, Jack and Harold all joined Peter Marsh and Sons. It is from Atkin that the fourth, fifth and sixth generation are descended from. Peter Walter died in 1922.
The above photograph shows Peter Walter Marsh’s (2nd Generation) four sons at a cricket event taken in 1909.
Under the control of Atkin and his three other brothers, Ronald, John and Harold the company continued to expand with the opening up of additional factories and warehouses in London, Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Leith, Dundee and in Calcutta India. Atkin died in 1953.
In 1913 whilst on their tour of Lancashire, King George V and Queen Mary visited Liverpool and Bootle. The above photograph shows our royal visitors standing outside St Georges Hall which is in the heart of the City of Liverpool. During their visit they came to Peter Marsh and Sons but sadly there is no photograph recording this event.
The photograph shows Dundee Works after the site had been cleared of rubble and other debris.
1952 see’s the completion of the Dundee Works rebuild which was destroyed in the blitz of May 1941. The above image shows the extent of the overall building works which took place at that time.
The original gate posts (1861) were retained. All else was removed from the site prior to the rebuilding of Dundee Works. Today only the left hand gate post as you view the above image is still erected the other being dismantled to increase the width of access.
Peter Ridge was born in 1911 and assumed the reins of the Company upon the death of his father, Atkin in 1953. After rebuilding the bombed Canal Street premises and concentrating all the company’s North West factories under one roof the Company resumed their commercial activities.
Simon Marsh (born in 1941), the elder son of Peter Ridge Marsh, joined the company in 1964. Having graduated from Oxford University he spent a few years working in the industry. Simon oversaw the transition from jute/ hessian sacks to paper sacks and the introduction of the corrugated division, Peter Marsh Packaging Ltd. He remains as Chairman and handed over to his son, Peter, in March 2001 on his 60th Birthday.
Ben Marsh (born 1949) worked in London for a number of years after attending the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester. Ben has assisted in the sales of the paper sack division but mainly concentrated his time on running the family farm in Wiltshire. However he remains a Director and major shareholder of the Company.
As paper sacks had replaced hessian in many sectors, most notably Animal Feed we purchased a small paper sack company called Meadows Multiwall Sacks Ltd in 1968. This was located in Thetford, Norfolk. As Thetford was over 5 hours drive away – there were very few motorways then – and we had an empty factory and an unemployed workforce in Bootle, we moved our new acquisition lock, stock and barrel to Canal Street.
Peter Marsh (born 1968) joined the company in 1996 having worked for 9 years in London. Peter worked in the majority of departments within the Group for a number of years before becoming Chief Executive of the business in 2001.