Cook, Son & Co. was one of the largest English wholesale drapers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The company was begun when William Cook established a business as a retail linen draper in Clerkenwell, London in 1819. William’s brother James joined the firm as a partner in 1822 and the company established a wholesale warehouse at 89 Cheapside.
William Cook’s son, Francis, joined the company in 1833 and became a partner in 1843. In 1852 the firm became Cook, Son & Co. Ltd.
On his father’s death in 1869, Francis Cook took control of the company. Cook, Son & Co. Ltd. was now one of the largest of its kind in the country, manufacturing and wholesaling all kinds of silk, linen, woollen and cotton goods.
By the end of the 19th century, Cook, Son & Co. Ltd. became essentially a wholesaler rather than a manufacturer, and imported increasing quantities of ready-made garments from Germany. Francis Cook remained head of the company until his death in 1901, after which it continued as a family business.