Lawes Chemical Company Ltd.

Reference: TR LAWDate: 1843-1968Extent: 199 documents

Lawes Chemical Co Ltd was founded by John Bennet Lawes at Deptford Creek, London for the manufacture of superphosphate, later moving to Barking Creek. In 1872 it was incorporated as Lawes Chemical Manure Co Ltd, and went into liquidation in 1969.

J.B. Lawes (1814-1900) succeeded to the Rothamsted estate, Hertfordshire in 1822, taking possession in 1834, and began to experiment in agricultural chemistry, testing the action of fertiliser on various crops in field and plot tests through the 1830s and early 1840s. From his experiments he discovered that bone meal treated with sulphuric acid gave better results than untreated bone meal, and it was realised that this was the effect of the phosphoric acid content of the treated meal, the phosphoric acid in mineral phosphates being converted by means of sulphuric acid into a form available to plants. Lawes took out a patent for this means of production of superphosphate, and is responsible for founding the mineral superphosphate industry.

As well as founding the Lawes Chemical Co for the production of superphosphate, in 1843 Lawes founded the Rothamsted Experimental Station, continuing to make a large contribution to agricultural research.

Consists of company records including ledgers, accounts, drawings, trade records, guard books, advertising, house journals, press releases, printing proofs and photographs for the period 1843-1968.

More information

A full description is available on our online database.

A handlist for the whole collection can be found here.

  • Looking for a specific item?

    We are regularly updating the collections that we publish on our website but if you are after something specific that you can't find online, then drop by for a visit or feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.