– Made in Sheffield
by Albert Jackson
In 1842 John Needham produced a polishing paste for the
cutlery and Sheffield Plate industries from his home and premises
in Harvest Lane, assisted by his niece, Harriet Needham.
Harriet then met Joseph Pickering the son of a silversmith and
they wed. The couple inherited the business, changing the name to
‘Joseph Pickering late John Needham’ and built the ‘Polish
Works’ just around the corner in Mowbray Street.
The ‘Polish Works’ were damaged In the Sheffield Flood
and Joseph started planning the ‘Albyn Works’ on Burton
Road. In time the business became Joseph Pickering & Sons, and
son John Needham Pickering developed new products, including the
famous – ‘Blanco’.
Albyn Works expanded to produce Blanco and employed over 100 workers.
By 1875 they had a sickness and benefit club and a row of houses
in Percy Street, let to his workers at special rents.
Joseph’s sister Hannah married Isaac Truelove and his daughter
Mary married Isaac’s brother Arthur Truelove. Arthur provided
some of the tin packaging used by Joseph Pickering & Sons and
in 1900 Joseph brought together the two companies and they were
incorporated as Joseph Pickering & Sons Limited.
In Moore Street, a new factory for the production of cartons was
built in 1906. Faced with terracotta tiles it was designed by city
architect – C & CM Hadfield.
For three quarters of a century, ‘Blanco’ was the companies’
major product, sold to the Military in over sixty countries. However
with the end of conscription production of Blanco and other polish
products ended and the cardboard box business become the lifeline.
Both factory sites were sold and carton production switched to
new premises in Little London Road. The factory is still owned and
operated by descendents of the original founder, the current Chairman,
Christopher John Pickering is the great-great grandson of Joseph
Did you or any member of your family or friends work at Pickerings
or in Neepsend – do you have any stories of Blanco during
military service or playing sport? Tell the Messenger.