A Little bit of Franklins History

29 October 2019

A Little Bit About the Company

Franklins International Ltd. (previously William Franklin & Sons Ltd.) was founded in Coventry, England as a silk ribbon weaver, in 1835. The Company is named after William Franklin (1809-1885), although it was founded by Abijah Hill Pears (Mayor of Coventry 1842).

Abijah Pears and his wife Elizabeth lived next door to Bird Grove; the home of Mary Ann Evans (the novelist George Eliot). Elizabeth became a close friend of Mary Ann.

William Franklin after serving a seven-year apprenticeship with Abijah Pears set up on his own. Shortly afterwards he was asked to join Pears in the old firm, which became Pears and Franklin. This continued to 1856 when F.W. Franklin was taken into the partnership, and the name changed to Pears, Franklin and Son. Soon after Abijah Pears retired due to ill health. The London Gazette lists the partnership dissolved 20th July, 1857. The name was changed to William Franklin & Sons. At the 1881 Census William was living at ‘Highfield’, Saint Nicholas Street, Radford, Coventry.

In 1885 Francis William Franklin took over managing the Company.

From 1860 the Company was based in new premises in Bayley Lane, Coventry. Previous to that, late 1820's and early 1830's, commercial directories place Abijah Hill Pears, Ribbon Manufacturer on Well Street, Coventry.

After a marriage to a Franklin in 1913 the Company was in the possession of the Clarke family. From around that time it was based in Much Park Street, Coventry.

Today Franklin's is the parent company of the Franklins Group of companies.

After a management buyout in the mid 1970's Franklin's (and Franklin's Group) is now locally owned.

Our company History

Silk ribbon weaving had been established in Coventry and neighbouring villages, from the early 18th century. In the mid-20th century, different locations throughout England, specialized in different products, and Coventry was known for excelling in masonic and military ribbons, school hatbands and badges, and above all in name labels and name tapes.

In the early 1960's William Franklin & Son Ltd. employed 200 people in two plants, one in Coventry, and one in Nuneaton. A subsidiary company, Wm. Franklin & Son (NI) Ltd., was opened in Banbridge, Northern Ireland in 1961. They were installed in a new 19,000 sq ft. factory built by the Northern Ireland Ministry of Commerce. This was extended in the mid 1970's to a 35,000 sq. ft. complex. The Company is one of the largest dedicated woven and embroidered badge suppliers in the UK and Ireland.


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