The History of Garton & King - 12th April 2012


What a pity some members missed the ELHS April meeting when Richard Holladay travelled from his home in North Tamerton near Holsworthy to give a PowerPoint presentation of the history of Garton & King, the Exeter ironmongers and foundry owners that had a connection with his family. The talk covered 350 years of unbroken service to the city and the West Country.


The speaker thought everyone present must have stepped on a piece of Garton & King street furniture that included gutter drain covers, round sewer lids and water runaways on pavements. Items were sold in the shop at 190 High Street – with the extensive foundry buildings in Waterbeer Street.


The iron and brass founders and government contractors obtained many important orders from churches and mansions that included the railings around the Exeter Cathedral Green and the entrance gates to St. Thomas Pleasure Ground in Cowick Street. From late Victorian times its main business was concerned with producing ranges, stoves and heating systems for many large houses to provide hot water and to heat conservatories and hot houses.


The firm’s stand at the Great Exhibition in 1851 was awarded a bronze medal. Goods manufactured in Exeter were exported all over the world and included Australia and New Zealand. In 1932 they gained the local Aga concession, one of the first in the country.


Garton & King moved to Tan Lane St. Thomas in 1938 and the buildings in Waterbeer Street were eventually demolished in 1963. Although the Holladay family connection does not exist now, the business still continues to trade as Garton King Appliances at 19, North Street. Look out for the symbol sign of a golden hammer erected over the shop front over 16 feet from the ground so that those mounted on horseback would not collide with it!


Richard Holladay would appreciate any memories or memorabilia connected with Garton & King, he may be contacted on 01626 852512. More on Garton & King can be found on his website, Exeter Foundry.

Christine Trigger

All talks are now on the second Thursday of alternate months (February, April, June, August, October & December).                                          All meetings start at 7 pm and are held at JURYS INN, Western Way, Exeter EX1 2DB.                                                                  Free parking is available from 6pm in the Triangle Car Park at the rear of Jurys.                                                                                Walks/visits are usually on the second Wednesday of alternate months (January, March, May, July, September November). 

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