Chubb - Office Locations and More Recent History
Head Office & Branch Locations
The London Office remained at 57 St. Paul's Churchyard until the need for larger premises prompted a move to 128 Queen Victoria Street in 1877. Five years later Chubb and Sons Patent Lock and Safe Manufacturers received their ‘Letters of Incorporation’ and this address became the Head Office for Chubb and Sons Lock and Safe Co. Ltd.
The Company had a Branch Office in Liverpool in 1841 (see photographs).
By 1926 there were Sales Offices at 39 Aldwych, London WC2 and 68 St. James's Street, London SW1 along with Branch Offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The premises in Queen Victoria Street were badly damaged during an Air Raid on the night of May 10th/11th 1940. At the start of the Blitz, fire watch teams had been drawn up to take care of nos. 124 - 134 Q. V. Street. Each night a team of four would be on duty. On this particular night, one team member had received his ‘call-up papers’ and unable to recruit a replacement at short notice, the team were down to three watchers, Mr. J. Henshilwood (Chubb & Sons), Mr. Walker and Mr. Green.
The account of events from the initial warning at 10.57pm to the ‘all clear’ some six hours later is too lengthy to relate here. Suffice to say that in total, over 400 tons of bombs were dropped on London that night and although none of the HE Bombs scored a direct hit, two in the immediate vicinity around 11pm caused a major fire around the building. This was eventually put out by the Fire brigade even though the raid continued non-stop. Around 4am 12 HE bombs crashed down on the north side of Cannon street creating a huge fire extending from St. Paul's to the General Post Office.
The premises in Queen Victoria Street were badly damaged during an Air Raid during the night of May 10th 1940 forcing temporary relocation in 68 St. James's Street. The late 1940's saw a rapid growth in business and the Head Office moved to 40-42 Oxford Street, W.1. The early 1950's saw yet another move, to 175-176 Tottenham Court Road but by 1959 these offices were too small and in 1960, the Company moved to 14-22 Tottenham Street W.1.
The fires spread to the south side of Cannon Street and together with those that had begun at the east end of Q. Victoria Street, crept towards the Chubb Building. A change in the wind direction made it seem as though the building might be spared but within an hour the direction changed again and the fires crept closer. By this time the water supply had run out and it took some time to establish a new feed from the river. Having done this the supply pipe burst as soon as the hoses were turned on and the flames succeeded in enveloping the building which burned throughout the day! Without electricity or gas supplies since just after 11pm, the watchers spent the night either sheltering from the HE bombs (difficult when you are on the roof) or dashing about with stirrup pumps trying to extinguish fires started by flying embers which rained down for most of the night.
The 300 women and children sheltering in the basement of the building next door had to be evacuated when the block caught fire.
In Chubb’s basement there were two strongrooms, one of brick construction with an old ‘C’ quality Door and the second (of more recent 18” concrete construction) with a Standard Quality Door. These were opened several days later and although surrounded by red hot debris, both preserved their contents in excellent condition. For the rest of the War, Head Office moved to the sales office at 68 St. James’s Street.
The late 1940's saw a rapid growth in business and Chubb’s Head Office moved to 40-42 Oxford Street, W.1. leaving the Banks Division at 128 Q V St. With business continuing to grow, personnel numbers in Head Office increased and the early 1950's saw another move, this time to 175-176 Tottenham Court Road. By 1959 these offices were too small and in 1960, the Company moved to Totfield House, 14-22 Tottenham Street W.1.