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Company History

In going back to the beginning of Towers, it is necessary to imagine walking westwards down the Strand, London in the spring of 1838. The Strand of that time was an unplanned collection of houses, stores and ale houses.

On the 2nd May 1838 Harriet Towers gave birth to Alfred, her sixth child and it was Alfred who would expand the business in later years.

In 1848 the family moved to 16 Chandos Street, Covent Garden as coal and potato merchants, and in 1852 they expanded to include a pork butchers shop at 53 Chandos Street. Alfred worked in the family business until 1859 and at the age of 21 he opened his own pork butchers at 60 Praed Street, Paddington, London.

With the opening of the Great Western Railway Alfred was able to purchase pigs direct from west country farmers. By 1869 Alfred had opened his second and third shop and would take the three penny ride down to the new Smithfield Market which opened in 1868 where he would talk to other buyers and sellers. In 1870 he became a pork wholesaler himself taking space in part of Cox and Dennise's shop at No. 114, he was doing very well selling over 400 pigs a week, and at the age of 32 he moved his wife and daughter out of Praed Street to the peaceful and higher class Maida Vale.

With the death of his father, Alfred took control of all the family business and went into partnership with other food wholesalers to take advantage of London's growing population.

In 1878 after numerous failures, success was achieved in the importing of frozen meat when a shipment from South America safely arrived at Le Havre. While the first shipments of frozen meat had arrived from Australia and the Americas, able minds in New Zealand set about pursuing the potential overseas market of Britain.

Alfred realised this growing trade in frozen meat and in 1894 acquired a 28 year lease of the ground floor of Paul's Pier Wharf, a riverside warehouse in Upper Thames Street, with a capacity of around 300 tons.

Unfortunately, upon returning home from his world tour, during the course of which he no doubt visited shippers in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, Alfred fell mortally ill in the summer of 1897, he died in his home at Portsdown Lodge of heart failure, he was 59 years old. Meetings were held between the family and the Executors of his estate and this was divided between family members and business partners ultimately resulting in the formation of Towers & Company Limited as a Private Liability Company that we know today.

 

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