Lightyears Collection
Bush Boake Allen

W.J. Bush & Co.

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Photo of 'Bint El Sudan' perfume by W.J. Bush & Co.

Bint El Sudan, perfume
by W.J. Bush & Co.

"W.J. Bush & Co. was founded by William John Bush in 1850 or 1851. Bush acquired a small factory in London and undertook the steam distillation of herbs, spices, and woods and the preparation of tinctures and essences. W.J. Bush & Co. is credited with being England's first maker of flavorings and essences."

Photo of W.J. Bush
W.J. Bush

"By 1880 the business had moved to Ash Grove where W.J. Bush's Grove chemical works were located."

Over the years, W.J. Bush produced flavorings for foods, essential oils and perfume. Thanks to their worldwide presence, largely in countries that were once part of the British Empire, W.J. Bush & Co. also acted as distributor or agent for other manufacturers in various countries.

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W.J. Bush company outing

Company Outing, Ash Grove Works
Date unknown. Courtesy of Julie Law
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W.J. Bush company outing

W.J.Bush Company Outing
Date unknown. Courtesy of Julie Law

Stafford Allen & Sons

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Photo of Bush Boake Allen plant, Liston, England, 1996

Stafford Allen's original staff, 1833
(From IFF archives)

Stafford Allen & Sons, founded in 1833, evolved into a producer of pure drugs and essential oils. They were known for their sandalwood and clove oil.

A. Boake, Roberts & Co.

Arthur Boake, an Irishman, founded his company in 1869 for the production of brewing chemicals. Boake ran it, as sole owner, until 1888 when a partner was taken into the business. In time the company began to manufacture flavoring essences and to distill essential oils. This evolved into the manufacturing of perfume and flavor chemicals. In 1935, for example, the company published the second edition of "A Handbook for Ice Cream Makers."

Through various business arrangements, A. Boake, Roberts & Co achieved a global reach.

Bush Boake Allen

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Photo of Bush Boake Allen plant, Liston, 1996

Bush Boake Allen plant at Liston, Englnd, in 1996.

In 1966, Stafford Allen & Sons, W.J. Bush & Co., and A. Boake, Roberts & Co. combined their businesses to form Bush Boake Allen. By the year 2000, sales for the new company had reached the $470 million mark.

IFF (International Flavors & Fragrance, Inc.)

In 2000, IFF purchased Bush Boake Allen for $970 million.

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Comments On This Article
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  • Stephen Smith, 03/16/2018. My Father David E. Smith had the Western Canadian sales agency from 1949-1989. Since passed in 2015.

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  • John Rogers, 03/16/2018. My farther inlaw worked at the Letchworth plant in the war years. He was not conscripted 39/45. Why? What did the plant make?

    -- Good question. Beer? Or likely some war time essential. Thanks for the input. -- Phil

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  • Joy, 01/06/2014.
    My grandfather Montgomery st. Alphonse was the president of wj bush & sons factory in Montreal Canada
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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.