Gamesons was formed in 1818 and has been owned and managed by the family, through to the present MD, Lawrence Gameson.
It started at a factory in Walsall, Tinning belt buckles for the Napoleonic wars and moved to its present premises in 1970.
John Gameson, who was born in 1777, was listed in the Staffordshire Directory of 1818 as a ‘‘Tinner in general of Dudley Street, Walsall’’. We were typical of an industrial revolution company, in that the company grew out of a collection of terraced houses and passageways. The business expanded with the growth in the Walsall saddlery trade and no doubt the increase in horse harnesses during the Napoleonic Wars gave the industry a boost. In those days buckles were given a thin protective coating of tin by beating a thin layer on to the surface, this was called tin plating.
As time went on, it was found that immersing the work to be coated in molten tin was a much quicker and efficient way (hot dip tinning) and we are still carrying out some work this way today.
By the 20th Century we were electro-plating and also had a malleable iron foundry, we were tinning hollowware and all sorts of components for the fledgling car industry, the buckle trade and tin tacks. We also did a lot of work for Cadbury’s tinning milk churns. World War 1 was kind to us, and by then, Thomas Henry Gameson was coming through, and Robert Gameson, the current MD Lawrence Gameson’s father, joined the company just after World War 2. He oversaw modernising the factory, rebuilding so as to get a better work flow. By this time we were also hot dip galvanising, and nickel, zinc and cadmium plating.
There can be few companies in the Black Country area that can boast of holding a church service on their premises, but this is what happened in 1963.
On Saturday 21st September 1963, a service took place in the factory to commemorate an important anniversary in the history of Walsall’s Congregational church. In 1763, on the site of the factory 200 years previously, there stood the first independent meeting house in Staffordshire. The service was conducted by the Rev. Janet Webber of Broadway Congregational Church assisted by Rev. William Simpson of Blakenhall Congregational Church.
Post war was a tough time for Gamesons, but with the help of good staff , the business managed to grow, until we were asked to leave Walsall in the late 1960’s to make for a new inner ring road which was never built. As a result, the site was compulsory purchased which actually helped get out from our Dickensian factory into a purpose built one in Cannock where will still operate today.