Wilkie & Soames

Wilkie & Soames

Wilkie & Soames was a soap and candle manufacturing company established at Wheeler Street in Spitalfields, London in c.1809.

One of the original partners, Mr. Wilkie died in 1829 and the Soames family continued with the business. James Soames was in charge of the soap works while his brother Henry Aldwin Soames worked as an importer of tallow from Russia.

In 1849 the company moved to larger premises situated on the banks of the River Thames in East Greenwich. The Thames Steam Soap Works (later known as the Thames Soap and Candle Factory) became highly profitable and employed over 140 men and boys. In 1864 the works had special departments for glycerine and paraffin as well as for soap boiling and candle making.

The company’s slogan was “Greenwich the world standard in both soap and time.” Wilkie & Soames soap brands included Apron, Big Wilkie, Spry, Wonderful Water and British Carbolic. The company also made candles Greenwich Sperm and Stearaffine.

Wilkie & Soames were taken over by Lever Brothers in 1913 and the soap factory in Greenwich was closed in the 1930s.