On the label
Brilliant black polish for boots, leggings, belts, bags, harness etc
Crisp Athill & Co Ltd
Tyer’s Gateway, Bermondsey, London
For box-calf, glacé kid, etc – Directions – Apply smallest quantity with corner of clean brush, the polish with soft cloth or pad.
The tin is a very small 2″ diameter, the lid printed in black, yellow and red, and a gilt base.
This 1909 advert in New Zealand’s Taranaki Herald indicates not only the age of the product and that it had colonial distribution but that it competed on price, appearing to be half competitor’s products. They made brown polish as well black and had a range of household polishes and rubber heels as well.
While no details of Crisp Athill & Co Ltd have come to light yet their address was in the heart of London’s leather trade, Bermondsey having a concentration of tanneries, leather works and leather wholesaling. The area was extensively bombed in WWII and they industrial trade fell away, the area being developed largely for housing now although links to the trade remain in street names and the splendid London Leather Exchange, now redeveloped as offices and workshops.
The product name is very much of the British Empire spirit being closely associated with the British Raj.
However, at sometime before 1916 the company changed it’s name from Crisp Athill & Co Ltd to Durbar Polish Company Limited. The company was wound up in 1916.
THE LONDON GAZETTE, 1 FEBRUARY, 1916
The Companies (Consolidation) Act, 1908.
Extraordinary Resolution, of the DURBAR POLISH COMPANY Limited. Passed January 14th, 1916.
AT an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above named Company, duly convened, and held at 503, Old Kent-road, London, S.E., on the 14th day of January, 1916, the subjoined Extraordinary Resolution was duly passed, viz. :— Resolution. “That it has been proved to the satisfaction of this Meeting that the Company cannot, by reason of its liabilities, continue its business, and that it is advisable to wind up the same, and accordingly that the Company be wound up voluntarily; and that Mr. Ernest Alfred Sheppard, of 62, Tooting Bee-road, Upper Tooting, S.W., be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding-up.” H. M. CRISP, Chairman of the Meeting.