Ref no40913
TitleHarveys of Bristol
Date1815-1996
DescriptionThe collection includes: Corporate records comprising articles of agreement, correspondence, estate records, legal records, minutes, reports and shares; Financial accounts; Management records comprising Fabric papers, marketing and advertising, plans, production and sales records, stocks and purchasing records, and staff records; Historical material on the family and companies; Printed material relating to countries of import; Published books and booklets relating to wine; Books held in the library at Harveys. The collection also includes records of some subsidiary and related companies such as Cockburn Smithies & Co, Martinez Gassiot & Co, Charles Harvey & Co (Kidderminster) and Stokes & Co (Portsmouth)
LevelCollection
Extent18 shelves
Administrative historyWilliam Perry, a Bristol merchant, founded his wine business, importing mainly from Spain and Portugal, at his Gaunt's House premises, Denmark Street, in 1796. Twenty years later, in 1816, he took into partnership Thomas Urch, brother-in-law of Thomas Harvey, a Cornish seafarer trading between Bristol and the West Indies. The business subsequently became known as Perry & Urch. In 1822 Urch's young nephew, John Harvey, joined the firm as an apprentice, serving in Bristol for a few years before being sent to Kidderminster (Worcs) to join the family wine business of Edward Prichard, Urch's new partner following the death of William Perry in 1825. By 1829 the Kidderminster branch was trading as Prichard & Harvey, whose management John Harvey had delegated to his younger brother Charles shortly before 1840. The Bristol firm was now styled Urch, Prichard & Harvey. Soon Thomas Urch retired and Edward Prichard returned to Kidderminster from Bristol for good, leaving John Harvey as senior partner at Denmark Street until his death in 1878. Another partner, William White, had joined the firm in 1842, which henceforth traded as Harvey & White until 1871 when it was renamed John Harvey & Sons, being finally incorporated as John Harvey & Sons Ltd in 1893. The Kidderminster branch, which was running at a loss, was wound down shortly after the Second World War, though it continued to trade under the name of John Harvey & Sons Ltd before finally closing for good in 1967 when its retail and storage premises in Swan Street and Coventry Street were appropriated for redevelopment by the local authority.

The style Harveys of Bristol Ltd was created in 1962 a few years before the firm and its subsidiaries, which included Cockburn Smithes & Co Ltd of London and Oporto (established 1815), were bought out by Showerings, Vine Products & Whiteways Ltd. Showerings, Vine Products & Whiteways Ltd, together with their affiliated businesses, were themselves amalgamated in 1968 as part of Allied Breweries, a conglomerate which subsequently expanded and developed into Allied Lyons plc in 1982 and Allied Domecq in 1995.

Allied Domecq was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2005. Some brands were then sold to Fortunes Brands (US), including Harveys. In 2011 Fortune Brands was broken up and Beam Inc. was created as the spirits line, this included the Harveys brand. Maxxium UK (owned by Beam) became the UK distributor for Beam products including Harveys. In 2016 the Harveys brand was brought by Emperador Inc with Whyte & MacKay distributing it in the UK, so they are the current contacts in relation to the brand.

This collection does not represent the entire Harveys family and company archives, substantial parts of which were lost on the night of 24 November 1940 when the Denmark Street premises were destroyed during an air raid. The premises were subsequently rebuilt and were officially re-opened on 15 July 1954. In 1963, however, the expanding company, now known as Harveys of Bristol Ltd, relocated its centre of operations to its new out-of-town premises at Whitchurch on the southern outskirts of Bristol. Other company records are believed to have gone astray during the return of the firm's offices to its former Denmark Street home in 1989, following the cessation of sherry production in the United Kingdom for world distribution as the result of the decline in consumer demand. While the corporate offices of Harveys remained at its old Denmark Street address, all production and distribution of sherry for world markets was conducted by John Harvey BV in Spain. Although widely associated with quality sherry brands, Harveys is also renowned as a shipper of fine French wines, particularly claret, as its long and influential association with Latour and other leading chateaux testifies.
Access statusOpen
Related materialThis catalogue, with additional background information, has been published - see Bk/2327
Custodial historyDeposited in 1997 and 2003 by Harveys of Bristol; Additional deposit in 2006 by Allied Domecq; Additional gift of records relating to Stokes and Co in 2013 by Mr John Harvey
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