Discussion in 'Fireworks Nostalgia, Collectables And History' started by Sufjan1986, Nov 18, 2020.
This is my aircraft signal. Sorry you can’t see the fuse but it’s in the middle of my cabinet.
Probably not as the boxes are marked in shillings......... much more likely that they were taken back to the States by kids of Servicemen stationed over here... back in the 60's there were thousands of them based here in the UK , many had their families here as well.
Wilders Fireworks was founded by Joseph Wilder in the 1830’s. His son, also named Joseph, took over the business but died in 1871. In 1895 Joseph juniors son’s Joseph and William bought a firework factory and land in Greet, Birmingham from Adams Firework Company who probably closed down after a number of accidents. They also acquired land in Acocks Green.
In 1879 William Wilder (1851-1904) and his brother, John (1855-1924) recieved their explosives licence (above).
The firm Wilders was said to be one of the oldest and largest firework firms in the country. In the 1920’s Joseph’s son, Vernon, joined the company and after his father’s death in 1946, he took over the firm. The company prospered until the 1950’s when Vernon said that buildings were appearing all around his site and it would only be a matter of time before he had to move. Sadly, after Bonfire Night, in November 1957 he decided to sell to Brocks. His 200 employees, 90 separate huts and 13 acre site all had to go.
Vernon accepted an invitation to join the Board of Brocks and he and his Wife, Marjorie, moved to Hemel Hempstead - something he regretted. After appearing on Panorama with the manager of Standard Fireworks (the BBC having helped destroy the firework industry with this programme) Vernon and his wife retired to Wales and Vernon died there in 1976. His wife, Marjorie, moved to Devon where she died in 1979. They had no children.
I traced Vernon and Marjorie’s niece and although she didn’t have much of their possessions she did find me the original Explosives Licence, it’s accompanying letter and one Wilders/Brocks catalogue that Vernon had saved. Vernon was a very happy, humerus character and is remembered with great fondness.
The accompanying letter with the Explosives Licence.
Vernon Wilder’s own copy of the Wilders/Brocks brochure. Shame he didn’t keep a few more!
Well done @Repington you have rescued some interesting info there. Could of all been lost as the Family got more distant over the generations from their Firework heritage
Yes that’s the one..just as I remember it.Thanks a lot....and what a fabulous collection!
Mick. Thanks so much for posting the history and the documents. Much appreciated. I’m curious to know if any photographs of the factory remain?
I’m originally from North Staffordshire and my father always pronounced Wilders as Willders (as in William). I understand the correct pronunciation is Wilders as in wild. Their fireworks were quite common in that part of the world back in the day.
I've always known them as Wilders, but being a Dutch name probably the correct pronunciation would have been Willders . or maybe even Villders
Their fireworks might have been quite common back in the day but they're a devil to find nowadays, some Brocks Wilders about but the earlier Birmingham factory pieces are very hard to find...in my collection it's mainly bangers.......only one I'm not 100% sure about is the 1 1/2d Wonder Banger as the label return has covered where the address would be...... pretty sure it is a Birmingham made one.....
Thanks for the information it fills in a few blanks such as the exact date Brocks took over and when the factory closed, i knew it was around then they took over but wasn't sure if the factory closed then or was closed later. On earlier os maps it shows a fog signal works (large train works nearby) on the same site that was to become Wilders in greet and i had wondered if they had become Wilders or at least shared some kind of business.
On my search for information these were the only factory pictures i could find. You can clearly see the huts in the back of the picture behind the industrial buildings in the first image and then to the right of the second picture
Top left corner in this picture, Fog Signal Works was to the right of that in the open space behind the long thin building ( BSA Indoor Testing Range ) (BSA British Small Arms Co.) The large group of buildings is the BSA Works
map is shown in 180 degrees from the photo picture..... all long gone and under a more modern industrial estate , remnants of the old BSA range building still exists, split down into bits and pieces joined on to late small workshops......... you can see that short curved road in both the photo and the map for ref. The National Works was also part of the factory in it's glory days, later rented out to a confectionary company...........
This gives a small glimpse of what is still there of the range building...
Site is under Tyseley Ind. Estate, River Cole used to be boundary line for the site, range building is top left , Maysons Furniture area on this picture. ntrance would have been between where Osborne Fasteners and Midland Pump Manufacturing are on this picture.
Thanks - your welcome.
I asked the relative about the pronunciation and she said the family always said Wilders.
I have this photo taken in June 1934 which shows 3 members of Wilders staff and a couple of the work sheds.
I never managed to get any Wilders or see any for sale here in ST7 Chris. Unless i was to young and missed the boat
Both of my parents (kids in the 40s) referred to them as Willders fireworks as does a chap I know who worked there briefly as a "tally man" totting up the work from each shed.
ST1, Hanley, here. My dad grew up there in the 1940s. My grandad before him also used to speak highly of “Willders”.
I will ask my dad when i see him what brands were about in his youth as he grew up in the Stanfield's area by the Haywood Hospital .I know he liked Fireworks as he often tells me he and a group of lads got a boot up the behind off a policeman for making cannons with bangers and trying to sink boats on Tunstall park lake
Separate names with a comma.