Despite Arthur Price Factory Shop being one of those Lichfield businesses that everybody knows, many LDTA members at our recent meeting mentioned they had never actually paid a visit. This was rectified on Wednesday 13th May when our networking meeting was held there.
Chief Executive Simon Price described the business as a “proud British family owned company” and explained how the business had grown from humble beginnings to a firm with not just one but two royal warrants, from The Queen and The Prince of Wales respectively.
Arthur Price, founder of the Company was born in 1865, like many children at that time he left school at 14 to begin his working life. To avoid having to take a day off work, Christmas Day, being a holiday was chosen as his wedding day. After many years working for others and having the ability and determination to work long hours at home making his own tools, Arthur opened his own factory in 1902 producing spoons and forks in Gem Street, Aston. Company registration number 75016 was issued and A. Price & Co Ltd was born, the business was the first to manufacture chrome plate.
In 1911 another factory was opened in Conybere Street to cast nickel silver ingots and it was from this factory that the cutlery was produced for RMS Titanic. Around the time that World War 1 began a move was made to Vauxhall Street, despite a slowdown in trade Arthur continued to work hard. Sons Arthur and Frederick joined the firm making it a family affair, with high standards, steady progress and the vision to expand by embracing new ideas. Arthur senior died in 1936 leaving behind a first-rate business.
Sadly, Arthur junior died at the age of 50 in the year 1942 and Frederick was left to lead the company. The Second World War meant only Sheffield firms were allowed to produce spoons and forks so the business gained a contract with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. Frederick’s son John joined the company in 1949 and was able to view proceedings with a fresh outlook. In 1964, John Price renamed the Company ‘Arthur Price of England’.
In 1982 the headquarters moved from Birmingham to their present home off Britannia Way, Lichfield, the first outlet on the industrial estate and it is thanks to John Price who came up with the name Britannia Way. Simon joined the family establishment in the 1980’s and business has gone from strength to strength, now Simon’s son James is part of the working team making it a fifth generation venture. The Company’s coat of arms shows white roses representing hope, joy, love and faith, a hammer for honour and the Latin motto ‘fidelis muneris’ translating as ‘faithful service’.
Arthur Price of England work with designers Sophie Conran, Monsoon and Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen so there are designs to suit all tastes. The quality cutlery supplies many famous organisations including the Savoy, Emirates, QE2, Air India and was used at David and Victoria Beckham’s wedding. 15% of products are exported overseas.
Simon Price is passionate about supporting the local community and in 2009 became the 456th Sheriff of Lichfield. He is patron of the ‘We love Lichfield Fund’, supporting 70 voluntary organisations across the district who give their time for free and make a huge contribution to society. If you would like to support this charity visit www.welovelichfield.com
After the talk LDTA Members were invited to visit the wonderful shop and take advantage of generous discounts on the extensive range of gifts and cutlery. After enjoying a glass of orange juice, wine and snacks we were presented with a goody bag as a memento of our visit.
Grateful thanks to Simon Price and Beverly Sheppard who made this visit possible. If you would like more information about this venue take a look at the website www.arthurprice.com or call 01543 257775.
Thank you to Paul Fairs from FM & J Wait, who kindly stepped in at short notice to provide transport to the meeting venue.
This was the first networking for new LDTA member Colin Booker representing Additions of Lichfield. Additions is a gift shop located in Tudor Row which stocks unique items for both ladies and gentleman. We look forward to seeing Colin and partner Fiona at future meetings.
Please join us at the AGM at 2pm on Wednesday 10th June at the George Hotel, Bird Street, Lichfield.
Our next LDTA networking meeting will be held at Woodhouse Farm and Garden CIC on Thursday 20th August at 2pm.