G. Nelson, Dale & Co.

Preserved for the benefit of Warwickians and others by Anthony James Leahy 2008

"Round About Warwick"

Alfred Barnard

With a Peep into the gelatine factories at Emscote Mills, Warwick.

The Outer Cover of  "Round About Warwick" by Alfred Barnard - Published 1899

The Following concerns the chapter relating to Nelson's Gelatine Factory

Chapter 111


West Front of No.1 Factory

   To see the extensive works in which the celebrated NELSON'S Gelatine is made, and to make ourselves acquainted with the modus operandi of its manufacture, was one of the chief objects of our holiday tour in Warwickshire. Among the few firms who manufacture this article there is none in Great Britain so important, so interesting, and whose business is conducted on a scale of such magnitude as that of NELSON, DALE & Co., of Emscote Mills, Warwick.

   In the first place it is necessary to show from what gelatine is made, and next to mention a few of its uses. The word gelatine is derived from the Latin gelo, I freeze (Spanish gelatina), an azotised substance, the production of which is limited to the animal creation. When the skin and membraneous tissues of animals are boiled in water, the liquor on cooling forms a stiff jelly, hence the name. Gelatine softens and swells in cold water, but does not dissolve until the liquid is heated; it is when the solution cools that it solidifies to a firm jelly.


Specimen Buffalo Hide

(Measuring 10 feet in length and 9 feet in breadth)

   The ordinary sources of gelatine are hides, calves' feet, and various tissues of animals; at the Emscote Mills, buffalo hides, shipped from Singapore, which have been dried in the sun, are principally used for the manufacture. It is of the first importance that the hides should be soaked and carefully cleaned, an operation which takes many weeks; they are then subject to boiling, after which the liquor is strained, skimmed, and allowed to gelatinize, the resulting jelly being stiff and tremulous. To make the domestic gelatine of commerce, the hot jelly is taken from the evaporating vessels, and poured in a thin sheet or layer on massive plate glass slabs, from which, when it has set firmly, it is removed to nets stretched on frames, and taken to the drying room, where it quickly hardens and is ready for cutting and packing.

   Gelatine (which, as we have said, dissolves readily and completely in hot water) is largely consumed as an article of food; forming as it does a very transparent jelly, it is indispensable in the preparation of blanc-mange, ices, creams, table jellies, and other dainty delicacies. It is also used for consolidated extracts of meat and soups, and in many preparations of confectionary.

    For photographic purposes gelatine is indispensable, as it is used for preparing dry plates, etc.

   Pure gelatine is largely used for forming moulds for delicate castings, and lately it has been applied to the production of casts in imitation of ivory. The late M. Franchi of Paris found that he could obtain from a gelatine mould, a cast of gelatine in relief, without using any of the sharpness of the original. This enabled him to apply objects modelled on flat surfaces to cylindrical bodies, thus saving the labour and expense of modelling. One very great advantage of gelatine moulds is, that casts without seems can be taken from them.

   We approached the Emscote Mills from Leamington and on emerging from Wharf Street, we had before us an extensive range of buildings, more remarkable for their size than classic beauty, never the less most striking; for they possess one feature which in all uninterrupted lines of buildings has a fine effect, and that is continuity.

    On our arrival we were most courteously received by the Secretary of the Company, who made arrangements for us to be directed through the establishment, and to be attended in our perambulations by the chief of every department.

    Our tour of this wonderful gelatine factory partook of a somewhat rambling character, as we found it desirable to extend our observations beyond the line of factories to the various workshops, forming in themselves quite a cluster of industries which have been established for the purpose of repairs, and the construction of machines and vessels required in the works.


Water Tower

   There was so much to see and learn and record, that we can only attempt the transcribing of a portion of our notes; besides, we find from the experience that no firms care to have their works particularly described, especially when the line of trade, and the firm itself, stand in no need of being favourably spoken of as means of celebrity.

   We are however enabled to say, though we cannot attempt a full description of so great a business, that the Company were pleased to give us the fullest information, feeling that they were promoting ends of public and commercial importance by doing so.

   The firm of NELSON, DALE & Co was established as far back as 1837, the foundation of this gigantic business having been laid at Rock Mills, Leamington, where the firm duly secured their patent for the manufacture of gelatine in 1838.

   From this time the business increased rapidly, and by 1842 reached such dimensions that it was found absolutely necessary to remove to larger premises. At this juncture the late Mr. George Nelson was so fortunate as to acquire Emscote Mills, to which place they removed their business. This property, which is bounded in its entire length by the canal, contained a number of extensive building, highly suitable for the manufacture of gelatine in every stage of its tedious process. At this place the business increased so rapidly and to such an extent as to necessitate continuously the building of additional factories and departments, and even at the time of our visit, builders and masons were in evidence in several parts of the works. The property of the firm comprises upwards of thirty acres, of which nearly five are covered with buildings, together forming a cluster of ten factories, several stories high, all constructed of brick, and roofed with slates.

   There are five entrances to the works, but the principle one is the North Gateway, situated to the left of the General Offices, in which, sunk in the centre of the roadway, is the weighing machine.


Nelson Village adjoining factory grounds

   Water plays an important part in the operation of gelatine manufacture, as it is absolutely necessary that it must be of the purest quality. At the Emscote Mills are two wells sunk to a depth of 60 and 70 feet respectively, whence the pure element is drawn from the Warwick sandstone, and, by means of powerful three-throw pumps, delivered to a tank of large dimensions, placed at a considerable elevation, whence it gravitates to all parts of the premises.

   In such works as the Emscote Mills, machinery is another important factor, and is everywhere used, in the manipulation of the raw material and also in preparing it for domestic and commercial uses. Notwithstanding this fact, there are upwards of two hundred and fifty persons employed on the premises, for whom, as will been seen hereafter, comfortable dwellings have been provided by the firm, as well as means for recreation, amusement, and study.

   An enormous amount of capital has been expended in these capacious factories in valuable appliances, intricate and otherwise, also in copper, iron, and Doulton-ware vessels, machines, steam engines etc., and it is obvious, as one walks through the premises, that the firm's business is worthy of such investments.

   The ventilation throughout is perfect, and there is nothing in the manufacture of gelatine calculated to offend even the most fastidious.

   Here we may also remark that, whether for the taking of goods or transferring them from one department to another, machinery is so extremely used, and so admirably adapted, that a saving of considerable cost in labour is accomplished in every process.

   The system of trucks and water-barrows used here is such as to render the transfer of the raw material from one stage of treatment to another, easy and rapid. All the cleansing vats, soaking tanks, evaporating pans, and cutting machinery are scientifically constructed, and, though costly, effect a great saving in fuel and labour; in short, here it is evident that the combination of the capitalist's money, the chemist's skill, and the mechanist's invention has created a business unique of its class, and of a greater magnitude than any other of its kind in the Kingdom.

   On entering the factory one sees at a glance that the place has the peculiar advantage of spacious thoroughfares and well-ventilated, roomy buildings.

   Our tour of the premises commenced on the banks of the canal which intersects the property, and on which ply barges and fly-boats, some of the latter being worked by steam.

   The raw material, as we have before mentioned, consists chiefly of hides, mostly shipped from Singapore to London, whence they are brought by canal to the doors of the capacious receiving houses. We saw several stacks of theses skins packed solid, from 25 to 30 feet square, containing from 90 to 120 tons weight, each stack valued at upwards of £2,000.

   Besides these "canal-side" warehouses there is another large store filled with skins, in the south block, holding upwards of £12,000 worth of stock, which we afterwards visited. Following our guide we made our way to the sub-division of the Hide stores, where we were shown a ponderous machine called a guillotine, worked by powerful machinery, which, as the name suggests, is fitted with sharp knives which cut up the hides. After this operation the strips of skin are then rolled away in trolleys to the cleansing houses, two adjoining buildings, each of which is 80 feet in length.



   Here on either side of the broad pathway are sunk great open pits, constructed of cement and brick, into which the skins are thrown, and where they repose in the brine of alkali for many weeks, according to the state of the weather and the condition of material. On being removed from the vats, the strips of hide are taken to a sorting house, where they are delivered to benches, at which stand a number of men whose duty it is to pick over and carefully select the strips, and any pieces to be found not quite up to the mark, by reason of being bruised on the skin or otherwise, are thrown out to be manufactured into gelatine for manufacturing purposes, whilst the prime and perfect portions are reserved for domestic use. When this operation is completed they are taken to another place and thoroughly cleansed in pure spring water.

   Following our guide we entered the Skin-cutting room, where there are to be seen three formidable machines with sharp teeth in full work, called in the language of the factory, "Devils," which cut the pieces of hides into strips, which, falling into the receptacle below called "Hades" are there delivered on to an endless band, which carries them to an upper gallery of the building, where they are shredded and afterwards deposited in wagons. Ascending to this place we were shown some of the selected strips, which were as white as snow and as sweet as a nut. Following the process we accompanied the wagons to their destination, the Fleshing room, situated in the next building, where the long strips of skin are finally cleaned and every atom of flesh or fat are removed.

   The material (slices as the pieces are now called) is next removed to the washhouses, three in number with high ceilings, and scientifically ventilated, where it is put into circular vats fitted with revolving machinery to be finally cleansed. The soaking and cleaning operations require great skill and judgement, and whilst it is not our business to describe them, we must say that all the processes were brought under our notice and fully explained.

   Leaving the building behind we ascended to the upper floor of a fine building called the Melting house, a spacious, light and lofty apartment, kept beautifully clean, as indeed are all the factories.


Melting Room

   In order to follow the process we should remark that the slices are removed from the vats in water-barrows to the ground floor of the Melting house, where they are perfectly drained and delivered to the first floor (by a lift), there to be finally treated. The room contains a number of large melting pans, beautifully finished vessels, heated by steam coils and kept as bright and shining as a new pin.

   It is in these vessels that the slices are boiled and quickly become liquid gelatine, when it is drawn off and placed in capacious evaporating pans for the purpose of removing excessive moister. The purest form of gelatine is always thus treated when it leaves the melting vessels.

   Descending to the ground floor of the evaporating room we witnessed the operation of drawing off the hot liquid jelly resulting from the action of the evaporators, whence it was taken away in peculiar shaped vehicles aptly designated "hearses" and "drums" to the cooling house whither we followed it.



   There are several cooling houses, all of them situated east of the middle block, and located on the ground floors of several very extensive buildings. These cooling chambers are called Slabbing houses, owing to the fact that the liquid gelatine is cooled by being poured in thin layers on plate-glass slabs, which are erected on beds of concrete and brick, placed in rows down the centre of the buildings. There are upwards of 1,500 feet of slabs in these two houses, and more than 750 feet in other houses connected with the different departments, making a total of nearly half a mile of glass slabs on the premises. The liquid jelly is dexterously poured on the top of the slabs so as to form a thin layer, which when sufficiently cooled, is peeled off and cut into sheets and strips with bone knives, after which it is moved on nets to the drying rooms.


On the way to the Drying Rooms

   These latter are quite as extensive as the Slabbing houses, and are heated by miles of steam pipes, over which are erected racks to contain the nets (or wire trays) containing the gelatine. In these buildings matters are so arranged that the drying rooms are immediately contiguous to the cooling room.

   When quite dry and hard, the sheet gelatine is conveyed to the stock warehouses, whence as required, it is sent to the various departments to be cut up and packed for domestic use. Over the gelatine cooling room are spacious dry stores and stock rooms, also a foreman's and stock-keeper's office, to which access is gained by lifts as well as staircases.

   We have thought it desirable to give but a rapid sketch of the manufacture of gelatine generally; we must now notice the sub-divisions to which it is subjected. To fulfil this task we made our way to the lofty building some 70 feet in length and of many stories, which faces the main thoroughfare. The ground floor of the structure, called the cutting room, is a busy place, for therein twelve machines are to be seen at work every day from morning to night, for cutting and shredding the sheets of gelatine into a variety of shapes and forms, from the delicate filaments of isinglass to the water-like sheets by which Nelson's famous gelatine is known to commerce.


One of the Cutting Rooms

   The processes carried on in this department are most interesting, and to anyone unused to a gelatine factory they must be a rare curiosity. Some of the cutting machines, which are not unlike those used in the great book-binding factories, only on a larger scale, move like clock-work, cut with an accuracy unlikely to be excelled, and whether it be the cutting into lengths, trimming or shredding, all the material is alike turned out in perfect condition and fit for packing. Of course the workmen at these machines, although they are easy of management, must be attentive and all have to learn how to do their respective parts before they become skilful in the business. Besides these there are two machines for stamping out gelatine lozenges, which accomplish the work with great accuracy and velocity.

   Ascending a stair we followed the material to the packing warehouse above, where our guide, as we passed along, described the various classes of this company's manufacture.

   "Opaque" gelatine, for which the Company is so justly celebrated, and which is known and appreciated in almost every English home, claimed our first attention.

   Taking up a handful of the finely shredded gelatine, our intelligent conductor informed us that it is no uncommon thing for the firm to manufacture eighteen miles of sheets per day of this commodity, which is again sub-divided before reaching the consumer into something like 46,000,000 shreds.

   Next we came to "Brilliant" gelatine, which is made in somewhat thinner sheets than the "opaque," and is cut into very fine shreds, so that it is quickly soaked, and dissolves in about five minutes after being put into water. We were informed that this class of goods is mostly manufactured for export, and to show the capacity of the works and the firm's competency to fulfil orders promptly, our guide mentioned that a short time ago they received a very heavy order from America for immediate delivery. On that occasion no less than sixteen miles of "Brilliant" gelatine, 2 1/2 inches wide, was turned out in one day. For America alone the Company turns out a very large quantity of gelatine, both in packets and in bulk. Amber gelatine is specially manufactured for home consumption, and is used for culinary purposes. Flake gelatine is another favourite article, and is cut into thin sheets, for the reason that a great many cooks prefer to use it in that form. After this we were shown the tablet jellies, which are made in that particular form for the convenience of householders, and are in great demand for their cheapness and excellent qualities. From these tablets a pure, well-flavoured jelly is made by simply pouring on hot water. Granulated jellies are of course the same thing, only in a powdered form, and are so preferred by some housewives.

   Before leaving we were shown some patent refined isinglass, for which the firm are somewhat renowned. It is very finely shredded, and takes the place of Russian isinglass for culinary purposes at far less cost.


Entrance to London Warehouse and Offices

   Having done justice to this room we were taken to another floor, appropriated to gelatine and liquorice lozenges, with many persons a favourite confection. There is a large trade done in these articles, for the company turn out as many as four and a quarter millions of gelatine lozenges per week, also a large quantity of liquorice gelatines, which are both pleasant and palatable to the taste.

   Our next visit was to the packing room, crowded with girls seated at benches packing the different kinds and classes of gelatine for domestic use.

   There is a chief in this department, as in the other factories, and a marked feature in the room is the quiet orderliness of the girls, the spotlessness of the place, and evident activity without any fuss. The greater part of the products of this establishment are for culinary purposes, hence it is absolutely necessary that everything be kept clean as possible and no contamination allowed. We should recommend our readers to apply to Messrs. NELSON, DALE & Co. for a copy of a very interesting and useful book by Miss Mary Hooper, of cookery-book fame, entitled, "Nelson's Home Comforts," which contains some practical hints as to the use of gelatine, and is filled with useful recipes for cooking dainty dishes and confection of all kinds.


No 1 Packing Room

   For more than half a century, Nelson's gelatine has been famed the wide world over, not only because of its purity, but that the article can be depended on to be always of the same strength and quality. The members of the firm are practical men and thoroughly understand their business, hence the public have confidence in respect of the purity of their goods. Their gelatine is made of the best material procurable, and is warranted to be absolutely pure. The chief points, therefore, which we wish to impress on our readers, are that no one need fear to use "Nelson's" gelatine, as the article is perfectly free from anything deleterious to the palate or stomach, and is acknowledged to be the best in the market.

   The finer kinds of gelatine, "made in Germany" (also in France), are very pretty to look at, but the colourless appearance is mainly produced by the bleaching action of sulphurous acid, which leaves a very unpleasant taste in the mouth, from which Nelson's gelatine is absolutely free.

   In going through these extensive works we constantly gave expression to our wonder at meeting the vessels and machines so bright and clean, and the floors as white as if they were scrubbed every day.

   The topmost floor of the building is devoted to the making of white canvas bags for packing gelatine for export, which is accomplished by a number of sewing women.

   Before closing our remarks on this department we should add that in another building photographic gelatine is specially made for photographers'' dry-plate work, and large quantities are sold to the manufacturers of photographic materials.

   A few yards progress brought us to a group of buildings, fitted up with steam pipes, where the gelatine is placed in wire trays on racks to dry, which in the ordinary course of the process we should have visited before. One of these houses is for drying gelatine lozenges, which after being cut into shape in the opposite building are brought here to be dried hard.


Group of Girls in Packing Factory

   Next we reached the refrigerator house and then passed into the boiling room for lozenges, a spacious airy building, fitted up somewhat like the kitchen of large institutions, and containing nine huge boiling pans made of Doulton ware, in which gelatine is melted, with sugar and essences, to make the lozenges of the confectioners' shops. From the boiling kitchen the liquid gelatine is taken to the slabbing rooms to be poured out onto cold slabs, made of plate-glass as in the cooling rooms before described.

   The demands of the establishment are so great in many lines of industries that the resulting business has come to be of considerable importance. For example, the wants in the way of repairs to vessels and machinery, the erection of new buildings, the manufacture of net frames, barrows, etc., etc., are so numerous and constant, that the company long ago found it necessary to operate its own machines and fitting shops, etc. To this end they appropriated a large area, on which are created a number of spacious buildings for that purpose, which are fitted up with machinery and plant adapted to the carrying out of all sorts of repairs, and some for constructional purposes as well. There are as many as ten trades carried on at the company's workshops, among them being engineers', fitters', cabinet-makers and joiners', painters', plumbers', and carpenters' shops, also saw mills, lathes, and hydraulic presses.

   The engineers and fitter's shop is a fine building, some 60 feet long, and contains a planing machine for producing a perfectly level surface on a plate of metal any size, lathes for turning shafts, drills for piercing holes in metals, boring machines, hydraulic presses etc. All sorts of repairs are done in this shop as well as the construction of factory appliances.

   Crossing to the other side of the court, we entered a similar building two stories high, where is the saw mill and a joiners and carpenters' shop, also a packing case manufactory. Following these are the blacksmiths', painters', and other shops, all fitted and furnished, and containing the usual tools and appliances.

   The engine rooms, steam boilers, pumping and machinery rooms, scattered in great profusion in every department of the works, next attracted our attention.


Engineers Shop

   What a wonderful power is steam! Here it is to be found in the factories, the workshops, the drying houses, and cutting rooms. It pumps, it carries, it draws, it lifts, it hammers and drives. There are no less than thirty-eight engines on the premises, some of them fine specimens of their kind, and all kept in a way most creditable to those who have charge of them.

   One seldom sees the engine-driver with a clean face or white hands, but, to the credit of Messrs, NELSON. DALE & Co.'s workmen, we must admit we saw no slovenly engine men, nor any dirty engines; indeed, we were particularly struck with the cleanliness and tidiness of the two engine houses and numerous engines, for they are all pictures of good care.

   As we stated, there are thirty-eight steam-engines, varying in size from 1 to 30 h.p. Four of these are powerful pumping engines for pumping water from the deep wells, three for pumping water into the steam boilers, two for working the filter presses, three for supplying power to the lifts, and the remainder for driving the endless belts and various machinery in the factories.

   We must not omit to mention the freezing house already referred to, which contains a refrigerating engine of 30 h.p. connected with spacious insulated cooling chambers, for use in case the weather is so hot that gelatine cannot cool quickly. During the jubilee of 1987 some three tons of meat were kept a day or two in one of these chambers ready for the Warwick Jubilee feast.


Group of 140 Employees

   Retracing our steps we walked to the Galloway boiler house on the north side of the works, a fine building containing four Galloway boilers, each 30 feet long and fitted with all the latest improvements.

   One of the well houses is situated to the rear of the cleansing houses, and contains a pumping engine of great power; the other is on the south side of the premises, and has a pumping engine of 30 h.p.


Boiler House  

   At this point of our tour we were handed over to the care of the gentleman who superintends the extract of meat factory and soup kitchens.

   The buildings connected with the department are situated at the far end of the property, and quite distinct from the gelatine manufactories. We were first taken to the soup kitchen, a place fitted up with four large boiling vessels and other paraphernalia of a kitchen on a large scale. Every variety of soup is manufactured, the basis of all of them being beef or mutton. Passing through the spacious and airy kitchen we entered the department devoted to extract of meat, beef tea and other invalid specialities; afterwards visiting the floors above, which are devoted to a larder fitted up with refrigerating vessels in connection with the ice house, and spacious storage rooms for raw material, herbs and flavourings.

    One more building, and then we shall have finished our description of this interesting establishment.

   The general offices, board room, private room for directors, etc., are situated in the centre of the long range of factories, etc., that face the roadway; and here are to be found the laboratories, lofty and well ventilated rooms, agreeable to the usual organs, and the most interesting part of the works, They are presided over by, and under the management of, Mr. Walter Nelson, one of the directors, and occupy two spacious rooms on the upper floor of the office building and are models of order and good management. Every ingredient used, and every batch or boiling of gelatine, is examined chemically in this place. The walls of the inner room, lighted by windows which face northwards, are line from floor to ceiling with shelves filled with bottles of material and chemicals for testing the purity of the goods.


Warwick Office

   On one side there is fixed an experimental oven and bath, a complete set of distilling apparatus, washing sink, balance weights, and other chemical appliances. The outer room contains more scientific apparatus and vessels, together with an accurate balance case correct to the hair.

   On leaving the office building we made our way to the adjacent "Nelson Village" built on the slope of the hill running down to the banks of the canal, through which runs Charles Street, bounded on either side by pretty semi-detached villas built for the workpeople, which terminates at the crown of the hill, on which is built a handsome water tower, which supplies the village and club house with a constant supply of the purest water.


The Nelson Club

   At the foot of Charles Street, at the south end of the works, stands the "Nelson's Workmen's Club," a spacious building of handsome elevation, the cost of which was generously defrayed by the firm of G. NELSON, DALE & Co.

   The accommodation provided, includes on the ground floor a spacious entrance hall, an office, a public bar, a smoking and games room, library and reading room, lavatories, etc. A handsome staircase leads up from the hall to the first floor of the building, which contains three spacious and well-appointed billiard rooms, containing four tables by Burroughes and Watts, of the most approved kind and superior quality.

   At the back of the entrance hall is a fine theatre, 90 feet in length by 36 in width, which is used as a dining hall in the middle of the day, and has attached to it a large kitchen fitted up with furnaces, ovens and ranges on a very extensive scale, where the work people can cook their own dinners.

   The theatre or hall, which is fitted up to seat from 400 to 500 persons, possesses a stage fully equipped, with scenery which cost over £100. and a drop curtain recently painted by a London artist; adjacent are dressing rooms, lavatory etc. The stage is also furnished with the usual accessories for concerts, and has a fine toned piano by Collard & Collard.


One of the Club Billiard Rooms

   Besides the various winter entertainments, Messrs. NELSON, DALE & Co.'s workpeople gut up annually a theatrical piece, acted entirely by themselves, which is played for two nights. The first entertainment is free to all the firms employes; the second night it is open to the public at a small charge, the surplus, after paying expenses, going to the funds of the club.

   Referring to this social club we should here remark that Sir. Montague Nelson, K.C.M.G., is the President, whilst the Hon. Treasurer is Mr. J. Mottram and the Hon. Secretary Mr. W. Wallin.

   The walls of the hall are adorned with many portraits, among them being those of the late Mr. George Nelson, the founder, and his partner, the late Mr. Dale, all enclosed in massive oak frames made from the oak taken from the old historic "King's School," which were carved by Mr. T. H. Kendall. There are also portraits of Mr. George Henry Nelson and others of the partners.

   It may be out of place if we refer to the fact that this Company seem to have fully comprehended the proper relations that should exist between Capital and Labour. The firm pay good wages and provide a very large number of their employes with comfortable houses of their own construction, which are built on a large estate adjoining the works, with due regard to comfort and sanitary conditions, and are let to them at most reasonable rents. Indeed, Nelson Village is quite a model colony, containing as it does, twenty-three work-men's cottages and two pretty villas for the Works Managers.


Tom Wright & George Wyatt

   It is the custom of the firm to give pensions to deserving workmen who have been employed for many years, but who are now past their labour; indeed there are five pensioners of their bounty at the present time, one of whom had worked for fifty years with the Company before his retirement. At present there is among the employes a hale, hearty old gentleman, Tom Wright, who has been working in the factory for fifty-five years; there are also nine others who have served forty years, and twenty over thirty years. The head of the London warehouse staff, George Wyatt, has also been in the employ of the firm for upwards of fifty four years. This record can scarcely be matched in any other factory.

   A large part of the success which has attended this firm is due to the broad-minded, liberal and considerate policy which pursues towards its labour, which goes to prove that capital and labour are identical and that both thrive best when there is hearty co-operation, hence the general lines of the policy might be emulated with advantage by other business undertakings.


The Theatre at the Club

   Mr. George Nelson, the founder of the firm, was born in Nottingham early in the year 1800, and both his father and uncle, were ruined by the American war.

   Of his Younger years little is known but that having shown a disposition to the study of chemistry, he was placed under the care of an eminent chemist at Nottingham, to whom he was afterwards apprenticed. After he had served his time and fully mastered his business, he removed to Leamington, where he started business on his own account, and later on migrated to the Rock Mills, where he started his gelatine factory. Here he was joined by his friend and cousin Mr. Thomas Bellamy Dale, who became a partner in the great business which is inseparably connected with their names.

   In the year 1837 the firm applied for a patent for their gelatine, which had caught the public taste and was getting in great demand, but it was not until the following year that the patent was granted. It was at this period that Mr. Nelson introduced his "Opaque" gelatine, which immediately "caught on," for it was seen at once that a great step in advance had been made in dietetic economy. Since then great improvements have been made in its manufacture, and we have no hesitation in say that Nelson's gelatine is, in every respect, the purest gelatinous substance in any market in the world.


Mr. George Nelson

   Mr. Dale, who was some eight years younger than his partner, managed the London business of the firm until the death of Mr. Nelson in the year of 1850, when he found it necessary  to take up his residence in Warwick as the head of the firm. He took an active part in local affairs, and was thrice Mayor of Warwick. Mr. Dale was a philanthropist in every sense of the word, for his name was connected with the principal benevolent institutions of England, of which he was a generous supporter; as a public man he took a very active part in the sanitary improvements of the borough of Warwick, and in the adoption of the Free Library Act. He was a generous supporter of every useful institution in the town, and, though exceedingly charitable, was most unostentatious in all his benefactions. Mr. Dale died in the year 1890 at the ripe age of eighty-two, deeply lamented by all who knew him.


Mr. T. B. Dale

   Mr. George Henry Nelson, the son of Mr. Nelson, the founder and patentee, became partner in 1860, and was the Chairman of the Company until his lamented death in March 1898. Like his predecessors, he took an active interest in the affairs of the borough, and was Mayor of Warwick for several years.


Mr. G. H. Nelson

   In the year 1862 Mr. Montague Nelson (now sir Montague Nelson) and Mr. E. r. Morris were taken in to the firm as partners, and it is these gentlemen who now manage the London business. Sir Montague Nelson was a candidate a great number of years for the representation of the constituency with which he was associated from his boyhood, but was deprived of a safe seat in Parliament by the award of his political leaders.


Mr Edward Robert Morris

Sir Montague Nelson is head of the Colonial Consignment and Distributing company, Limited, London, and of Nelson Brothers, Limited, New Zealand. In this capacity he has performed work of national importance in securing an enormous supply of cheap food to the people of this country, and to British troops in outlying garrisons, such as Gibraltar, Malta, etc.

Sir Montague Nelson  

   In the Diamond Jubilee year Her Majesty conferred upon Mr. Montague Nelson the most distinguished Order of Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George, the appointment being thus graciously worded in the daily paper: "Sir Montague Nelson K.C.M.G., for services rendered in connection with the Australasian Colonies, and as a recognition of his public services in the promotion of measures for the benefit of the community."

   Mr. Edward Morris, who was taken into the firm at the same time as Sir Montague Nelson, is a native of Warwick, and a nephew of the late Mr. Dale, one of the original partners. He was born under the shadows of the venerable St. Mary's Church, and was early trained in the business.

   Before closing this notice we should add that we are deeply indebted to the late Mr G. H. Nelson and Messrs Edward W. and Walter Nelson (the Warwick directors) who afforded us all the information we desired, and placed us in the position to acquire more than we could use.

   Our only regret is that we were not more competent for the task, and better able to give a scientific  description in detail of the beautiful methods adopted in the manufacture of gelatine, etc., so as to give our readers a better idea of the nature and extent of Messrs. NELSON, DALE & Co.'s manufactory.

   And now, as the factory bell rings out that work is done for the day, we bid adieu to the Managers and say good-bye to this great establishment, one of the most interesting places we have ever visited, distinguished alike by the magnitude of the premises, and thorough cleanliness and completion of departments in every detail.

All Items and Text above



Nelson's Cycle Club

"Nelson Cycle Club - PH143/1329 reproduced by kind permission of the Warwickshire County Record Office"



Nelson Mills Wharf 1909

"Nelson Mills Wharf PH352/187/360 reproduced by kind permission of the Warwickshire County Record Office"



(Advertisement from Spennell's directory 1880) Perhaps Nelson's made use of the services of Roberts & son

Roberts & Son,

Iron and Brass Founders

St. Johns Foundry, Warwick

The Warwick Engine

from One to Thirty Horse Power





Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy


Rediscovering the Gelatine Factory



The Gelatine Factory

A comprehensive account 1899

from Round About Warwick


George Nelson



Nelson's Emscote Mills 2009



T B Dale


Charles Nelson's

Cement Works at Stockton


The Nelson Brothers


William Nelson


George H Nelson


Sir E Montague Nelson

E M (Sam) Nelson


A Visit to

Messrs. G. Nelson, Dale & Co. 1880



Nelson Works

Tomoana New Zealand


Guy Montague Nelson

Nelson Village

Charles St, Warwick


The Lawn at Emscote


Nelson's Lozenges

 packaging & adds

Nelson's Club

Isinglass Wars

Swinborne v Nelson


Nelson's 1950's

Warwick Advertiser account 1953



Descendants of George Nelson


George Wyatt A city trade jubilee



Nelson's Heritage Walk


Gelatine and its uses


Davis Gelatine


Sir E Montague Nelson's Scrapbook Circa 1882

Nelson Gym

Nelson Patents


The Nelsons of Warwick Timeline





Walter Nelson




Home Comforts


Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper Letters

 Mary Hooper Book Collection


Nelson's Home Comforts

Mary Hooper


Wives and Housewives

Mary Hooper


Little Dinners

Mary Hooper


Cookery for Invalids

Mary Hooper


Every Day Meals

Mary Hooper


Hints on Cookery

Mary Hooper

Good Plain Cookery

Mary Hooper


Handbook for the

Breakfast Table

Mary Hooper


Weekly Telegraph

Cookery Book

Mary Hooper

Our Dog Prin

Mary Hooper

Ways & Tricks of Animals

Mary Hooper


Lily's Letters from the Farm

Mary Hooper

Charles Wentworth Wass

Round About Warwick

Mary Hooper Books Wanted

Fleur De Lys

The Pie Factory at Emscote

Nelson Story

In Brief


Nelsons Story


Nelson's Home Comforts

From Beginning To End


Cookery & Home Comforts

Mrs Wigley

Rock's Royal Cabinet

Leamington & Warwick 1880



Anthony Leahy



Anthony Leahy


Art & Photography

Anthony Leahy


A Major Arcana

Kathleen Forrest


The Drumroom

Anthony Leahy









Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy




 A Walk in Warwick





Book Wanted Handbook For The Breakfast Table

Book Wanted Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times


3 The Butts



Sky Blue Heaven