Last year, one of our members was offered a cast iron toilet cistern, yes, a toilet cistern, of the old fashioned variety, with the tank at the top and a long pull chain. What intrigued us was the engraved name on it „Haine & Corry‟. I remembered this firm being in Corsham, but knew very little about them. However a chat with the locals, and a bit of research revealed the following: –
The firm was listed in the Builders Plumbers and Decorators Merchants Catalogue No 55 “ Gloucester, Haine and Corry, 1956”. This was apparently a very substantial publication, being described as “Hardback red cloth covered boards, gilt lettering on front cover. Hundreds of illustrations, with photos of showrooms at Corsham and Abingdon depots”.
The firm sold a great variety of goods: – heating and cooking appliances, sanitary ware, bathrooms and kitchens, plumbing and heating, decorating materials, tools, builders ironmongery, metal windows, glass, heavy goods, agricultural equipment, soil pipes, chimney pots, doors, plaster board, sliding doors, hinges handles, locks, builders tools, paint brushes, mirrors, baths, urinals, cookers, Baxi, stoves etc.
The firm opened the first builders merchants business in Corsham at the bottom of South Street, in the late 1940‟s. The Manager was a Mr Fletcher, who worked there from 1960 – 1972. His secretary was called Joy. It is believed that the business in Corsham closed about 1974. Their customer-base covered a wide area of Wiltshire, including Malmesbury, Calne and Chippenham. They did not manufacture their own goods, but bought in the stock which they then stamped with the firm‟ s name. This, presumably, accounts for the engraved name on this particular toilet cistern.
Regrettably, but unsurprisingly, we have been unable to find a home for this item, no longer a top of the range piece of equipment, it will disappear into the annals of our industrial past.