Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Plywood importers, Bethnal Green

Even though the name of these plywood, and most certainly veneer, importers does not appear on this ghost sign, it can be identified as being that of Reuben Bros. I have not found when this firm was founded but it may not have been before the 1910s as, according to Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, the word 'plywood' was first recorded in 1907.

The firm originally consisted of a partnership between two Reuben brothers but on 31 December 1937, The London Gazette published the following notice:

NOTICE is hereby given that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us, the undersigned Hyman Reuben of 72 The Avenue Brondesbury London N.W. and Julius Joseph Reuben of 226 Watford Way Hendon Middlesex carrying on business as Plywood and Veneer Importers, at 390 Hackney Road London, E.2, under the style or firm of REUBEN BROS, has been dissolved by mutual consent as from the 24th day of December 1937-—Dated this 28th day of December 1937.

Even though the partnership between the Reuben brothers came to an end in 1937, Hyman Reuben continued trading under the name Reuben Bros at 390, Hackney Road for 14 more years. As for his brother Julius Joseph Reuben, he set up a limited company with addresses at 311, Euston Road and 66, Warren Street. Other members of the family also became plywood merchants, trading from a variety of addresses in central London and Hackney according to various editions of The Timber Trades Journal and Saw-mill Advertiser from the 1940s and early 1950s.

However in late 1950 or early 1951 Hyman Reuben presented a petition for the winding up of Reuben Bros. It was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on 14 January 1951. A few months later, S. Fisher Ltd, radio and television cabinets maker moved into the premises.

Ply-wood &

There is something curious about this ghost sign. Indeed, why were the upper and lower parts left intact when the central part, which certainly featured the word "veneer", was painted over?

Location: Hackney Road / Pictures taken in March 2012


Adam Yamey said...

Fascinating blog, as well as being interesting. Have you ever seen this fading sign in Notting Hill Gate? See: I could take another picture if you are interested or tell you exactly where it is.


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Sebastien Ardouin said...

Thank you very much for your encouraging comment Adam. I took several pictures of the Dundee Marmalade ghost sign in Notting Hill some years ago but haven't published them yet. Soon maybe.
All the best,

Ahmed Yaqoob said...

But for a ghost sign the building does not do justice to the ghost image. I still say the building is in good form. I would like to know more on the details of the plywood sign and this building :)



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