In 1747 Samuel Hanson started a business at 47 Botolph Lane in east London as a merchant trading in dried fruits. In the early 19th century, Hanson’s son, also called Samuel, expanded the company into a number of new areas including rum, sugar and silk.
In 1871 Samuel Hanson & Son acquired the wholesale grocery business of Jones, Evison & Co. of Southwark. Two new partners joined the company which became titled Samuel Hanson, Son, Evison & Barter.
Evison left the firm in 1885 and the company was restyled Samuel Hanson, Son & Barter. Barter died in 1889 and the company reverted to its original title of Samuel Hanson & Son.
In 1935 Hansons were incorporated as a limited company and expanded their wholesale grocery business with branches in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.
During the Second World War the company produced tinned and dried goods for the armed forces overseas.
After the War, Hansons purchased a chicory factory near Lakenheath, Suffolk. The factory produced powdered milk and was also used to make the first instant coffee which was sold under the brand name Cup-Cof.
Hansons were one of the first companies to take up overprinting, with examples known on the 1d Draft stamp. As far as I am aware, the last issue to be overprinted was the King George V 2d orange (SG 421).