Pritchard & Burton

Pritchard & Burton

Pritchard & Burton were a tobacco company established at Snow Hill in the City of London in 1857.

The origins of the company can be traced to Pritchard & Lloyd, snuff manufacturers since 1825. Following the death of his partner, Edward Pritchard continued with the business as sole proprieter. In 1846 he employed Alfred Burton as a clerk in his firm. In 1853 Burton married Pritchard’s niece and was subsequently made a partner in the business which became styled Pritchard & Burton in 1857.

Edward Pritchard died in 1869 and Alfred Burton took sole control of the company which he relocated to Farringdon Road.

Soon after being made partner, Alfred Burton made a spectacular buy of raw tobacco which had a dramatic impact on the future prosperity of the firm. Burton heard that a ship had arrived at London Docks with a cargo of Indian raw leaf tobacco reputedly damaged by sea water, which was to be auctioned as salvage. Burton purchased the entire cargo at a vey low price. Upon delivery to the factory it was found that the water damage was superficial, but the quality of the dark and aromatic tocacco leaf was completely different to the tobacco the company usually bought from Virginia. To utilise this bargain buy, small quantities were blended into an existing pipe mixture that had been on the market for many years. The new blend was named Boar’s Head Shag and became hugely popular and the company’s best seller.

In 1878 Burton’s eldest son Edward joined the company, followed in 1881 by his second son Frank. Alfred Burton refused to move the firm into the manufacture of cigarettes, believing that cigarette smoking was just a passing fad. However, the company remained prosperous into the early 20th century, providing pipe tobacco within the London area.

In the 1930s Pritchard & Burton moved to a new factory in Acton, west London.

By the 1940s the company was in financial difficulty and was taken over by George Dobie & Son Ltd. who sold the firm on to Godfrey Phillips Ltd. which later became part of the American tobacco company, Phillip Morris.

In 1968 Phillip Morris closed down the Acton factory and moved Pritchard & Burton to Silvertown in London’s Docklands where production of Boar’s Head Shag continued until the 1980s.