View Full Version : J. Gilbert, Brompton Road, London. Pleating.

21-11-2012, 12:13 PM
I am told that Jack Gilbert introduced the first pleating/sewing machine into this country at his shop in Brompton Road, London. I suspect this was in the 1930s. Can anyone either confirm or dispell this family belief please? Does anyone have any information about Jack please?

21-11-2012, 2:44 PM
It may be worth an email to the London Sewing Machine Museum, Balham High Road (google it)
There are over 600 machines on display and they may well have a list of importers.

21-11-2012, 3:26 PM
I've just had a virtual walk up and down the Brompton Road in the 1915 London directory (the most recent one I could find on the Historical Directories website). I got a bit distracted by T. Debry Fils Ltd, chocolate manufacturers (at no. 164) but eventually came to no. 48 where there was 'Reed Courtney, accordion pleating manufacturer'. Also at no. 175 was the Singer Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. though they must have had lots of shops. I didn't see any Mr Gilbert, but maybe was thinking about chocolate too much to focus properly.

People are often listed surname-first in directories, so I wonder if the pleating manufacturer at no. 48 was the same person as a Courtenay H. Reed, draper's assistant, who is in the Chelsea district on the 1901 census. (I can only see the free bits on 1901 Census Online.) His age and Cornish birthplace would fit with him being the Courtney Harold Reed whose birth was registered in 1874 in the Launceston district; it looks like he married in the Chelsea district in 1905 and died in the Hackney district in 1917, aged 43.

Whether this is anything at all to do with your Mr Gilbert, I've no idea! Do you have any more information about Jack (e.g. age, birthplace, etc.) that might help track him down?

Edit: oh, I see from googling that there is a reference to an accordion pleating machine (at an exhibition?) in 1885, so it wouldn't have been new even in 1915, let alone the 1930s. Probably a red herring after all, sorry. Maybe later directories would be more useful: Ancestry may have some?

P.S. good find, Mutley!:thumbsup:

21-11-2012, 3:36 PM
This could be another red herring! The date is better though.

London Gazette, 6 February 1931

'LIST of ALIENS to whom Exemptions under Section 7 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act, 1919,
have been granted up to 31st January, 1931.

The name printed in larger type [in fact doesn't look larger, just in capitals as transcribed here] is that in respect of which the Exemption has been granted; then follow the former Name or Names and the Occupation or Business of the Alien or Aliens:-'

[there follows an alphabetical list, including this entry:]

'GILBERT, J.; Barnett Shaw; Pleater; 54, Brompton Road, London, S.W. 3.'

21-11-2012, 5:43 PM
Thanks both - still chucking about the chocolate... I'll try the museum, thanks for the lead Mutley.


21-11-2012, 5:54 PM
Just replied to you both and then saw your "Change of Name" post Coromandel. Jack's property was at 54 Brompton Road. The family was originally from the Polish/Russian border area of the Ukraine and may have had some Romanian input. His surname was originally Ghelber (I believe). His sister got married here in 1921 so I guess the family arrived pre World War 1. His brother-in-law was B Shaw (surname originally Shiovitch) and on his wedding records gave his name as Barnet. - so it looks like you found the right bod in the London Gazette.

Thanks for your persistance. Does Ghelber appear anywhere on that notice please?


21-11-2012, 6:06 PM
Does Ghelber appear anywhere on that notice please?

I'm afraid not. I thought the notice meant that Barnett Shaw was his own former name, but I may have got the wrong end of the stick. Here's the full page of the 'Gazette' in case it helps:


In fact now that I look at it more closely, some of the other names in the list seem to be business names, so could it mean that Barnett Shaw was also involved in the business and they traded as J. Gilbert?

21-11-2012, 7:37 PM
Section 7 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act, 1919

This did apply to changes of business name as well as personal name. You can read the full text of the Act here:


Section 7(2) is the bit about business names.

22-11-2012, 6:05 AM
Thanks again ... I'm almost certain in my own mind that it was a transfer of the business to Gilbert from Shaw, especially given the "in-law relationship". I have subsequently found a death certificate for Barnet Shaw in the 1950s in Southend-on-Sea and the age fits with him being married in 1921. There is also a later one for Florance Caroline Shawin the same district. Florance was the name of Barnet's wife. So my guess is that Barnet sold up and moved to the coast - if not relinguishing control entirely put the business in his brother-in-law's name.

As far as the pleating machine enquiry goes, I have Googled the museum and while they have a website there is only a phone number for contact - no email address. The museum is open for a few hours on the first saturday of each month ... I'll follow that up in due course.

Thank you again ... I'll have a look at the legislation that you gave me the link to.



Mgt Dumbreck
04-07-2018, 4:22 PM
I was researching ‘ pleating’ and found mention of Jack Gilbert on this site, but it was posted in 2012 so what I can contribute may no longer be of interest.
J Gilbert, pleating was situated in Hanover Square, London and it was the place where my parents met: he was employed as engineer for the pleating machines and she was in reception. That would have been circa 1930 because the married in 1934. Dad later started his own pleating company but they kept in touch with Jack Gilbert and his wife. I have photographs of them at their home somewhere Hook, Hants. Jack had a traveller called Lewis Leapman, a Jewish gentleman. As far as I know Lewis and Dad formed a partnership when Jack closed down in Hanover Square. The new premises were just around the corner in Dering Street next to McCullough and Wallis - haberdashers to the trade. Alas Mr Leapman died and my Dad and mother bought out his widow and continued pleating for the fashion houses until retirement circa 1972. Two of their pleating machines were sold to a pleating firm in Potters Bar, Herts and a few years later I heard they were still in use. I do not know Jack Gilberts lineage. My Dad, Eric Miles was a skilled designer and pleater and I only wish I had been older and had paid more attention as he designed, scribed the patterns, and pleated beautiful fabrics, later using synthetic materials so that they would hold the pleat permanently. I hope , ( was it Paul Dorrell?) sees this and finds it useful.