A history of Thomas Myers Ltd, baby carriage manufacturers and perambulator works

            (This was our family firm - these notes are from my cousin Mrs. Sheila Crossman.)

Thomas Myers, who was a whitesmith by trade, established his Perambulator Works in Mabgate Leeds some time after 1872 (when he was recorded in Kelly's trade Directory as a Tool manufacturer and Whitesmith). After his death in 1887 it seems that his daughter Sarah Liversedge Sharp (and also probably her mother Martha) became very actively involved in the company, which also numbered her brother Frederick. Since records of his occupation do not exist for 1871 or 1881 but show him as a whitesmith on his marriage certificate in 1887, and as a Perambulator Manufacturer only in 1891 and 1901 it seems possible that this may have been a token involvement. Thomas's grandson George Frederick Sharp certainly started to work for the company when he left school, as in 1891 (aged 17) he was a Perambulator Maker (joiner) and in 1901 he was a Commercial Clerk. He is recorded as living with his grandmother Martha Myers in both 1891 and 1901.

On his marriage in 1907 George is described as a Works Manager, but it seems that his brothers Tom and William also worked there. In 1911 George was described in the census as a Baby carriage maker. At some point after this Thomas Myers Ltd was incorporated under the Companies Act (1908-1917) and on the 21st August 1918 shares were issued to George F. Sharp and Mrs Jessie Hebden (of Richardson Street, Roundhay, Leeds and Christchurch, New Zealand) and also probably to the other siblings, and were signed by S.L. Sharp, Director, and George F Sharp, Secretary. In 1929 and again in 1930, further shares were issued to GFS.

At some point the Works was rebuilt and there are references to the land being sold by 'The Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Leeds' to the Company.

In 1939, under the terms of Sarah Liversedge Myers' will, her surviving children received her shares in the company which now included William Sharp as Director while GFS was Secretary, and again in 1941 when Leonard Sharp was Director. They produced perambulators under the trade name 'Swan' – and Kathleen and Connie's babies were the users of these 'carriages' from 1939 to 1946 ! Do you remember?

George Sharp probably retired about 1939/1940 when he was 64, as that was when he and his wife Alice moved to 80 Wyncliffe Gardens. He also seems to have bought up the shares belonging to his siblings, and/or their heirs (Tom, Laurence, and Harry having died) possibly apart from Leonard, and the Works, including the machinery, was let to John G Murdoch and Co Ltd for 3 years, commencing 1st January 1941 for £300.p.a. This was renewed in 1944 for 'the duration of the war' for £400 p.a., and again in 1946 so it would seem that Murdoch's took over the name 'Swan'.

George F. Sharp died on 3rd March 1947. He left all his shares in Thomas Myers Ltd for his trustees to sell or realise the same when convenient, with all proceeds of sale invested to his wife Alice Sharp, and on her death to his daughters Kathleen Sayers and Connie Robertson and in trust to their heirs. In 1949 the lease on the works changed to Simpson Fawcett and Co. for 5 years for £400 p.a. This company was a Baby Car and Toy Manufacturer of Swan Prams, Folding Chairs and Toys on their letter-head. Significantly this company is listed in Kelly's Trade Directory for 1908 next to Thomas Myers under Perambulator Manufacturers of Hunslet. On the renewal of the lease in 1953 Alice Sharp expressed an interest in selling the works, possibly to Simpson Fawcett, but the lease continued for £450 p.a. and was signed by Alice Sharp Director, and Angus Robertson Secretary.

In July 1957 Simpson Fawcett suddenly decided to terminate their lease and close down their production and Alice Sharp decided to sell the Works. In October Andrew Page and Co. who were Motor Parts Distributers (still in existence around the country), offered to buy and on 2nd Dec 1957 the Works was sold for £8000.

This money was invested to provide an income for Alice, and after she died in 1961, about £100-£120 a year to Kathleen and Connie, which continued to about 1989.

About 2004 Sheila went to Mabgate and found the works was still in existence, remembering going there with her mother when she was about 10 years old, and recognising the exterior.