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Piggott Bros & Co Of Bishopsgate

October 27, 2018
by the gentle author

Before banks and financial industries took over, Bishopsgate was filled with noble trades like  J W Stutter Ltd, Cutlers, James Ince & Sons, Umbrella Makers and Piggott Bros, Tent Makers – whose wares are illustrated below, selected from an eighteen-eighties catalogue held in the Bishopsgate Institute. If this should whet your appetite for hiring a marquee, Piggotts are still in business, operating these days from a factory in Whitham.

Gentlemen, I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the satisfaction given to my family and friends by the manner in which you carried out your contract, and also to the obliging manner with which your employees carried out their duties and our wishes. Considering the gale during the week in which the ball room was erected, the workmanship  was most creditable to all concerned. Your &c, B Proctor (Glengariffe, Nightingale Lane, SW)

The Round Tent – 30ft circumference, 10 shillings for one day

The Square Tent – 6ft by 6ft, ten shillings for one day

The Bathing Tent – 6ft across with a socketed pole, seven shillings for one day

The Bell Tent – for one day six shillings & eightpence

The Gipsy Tent 9ft by 7ft, six shillings and eightpence for one day

The Boating or Canoeing Tent 9ft by 7ft, six shillings and eightpence for one day

The Mildmay Tent 18ft by 9ft with lining, bedroom partition and awning, forty shillings for one day

Tarpaulins – 24ft by 18ft, two shillings and sixpence per week

Rick Cloth – 12 by 10 yards for 40 loads, two shillings and fivepence for a fortnight

The Banqueting Marquee

The Marquee fitted for the Church or Mission

Wimbledon Camp – The Wimbledon Prize Meeting of the National Rifle Association

The Royal Agricultural Show at Bristol – Dear Sirs,  I have much pleasure in testifying to the excellence of the temporary buildings erected by you for our Tottenham, Edmonton and Enfield Industrial Exhibition, held in October last. The light and ventilation were good, and the buildings warm and waterproof, and well adapted for the purpose. Yours Truly, J Tanner, Architect (24 Finsbury Circus)

The Temporary Ball Room – Dear Sirs, Your Ball Room gave me every satisfaction, and I should have great pleasure in recommending you, should you ever care to apply to me. Yours faithfully A. Cantor (Trewsbury, Cirencester)

The Marquee for Wedding, Ball or Evening Party – In sending you my cheque for the contract price for the ballroom, I think is only due to state to you that the temporary room was a great success and my guests one and all expressed great admiration for the excellence of the arrangements and the perfection of the dance floor. It is only fair that I should state at the same time that your men carried out the arrangements well and with promptitude and in a quiet and orderly way, and I am quite satisfied with all they did. Yours faithfully, E Canes Mason (Reigate, Surrey)

The Marquee for Laying a Foundation Stone

Lord Mayor’s Day, 1881

Lord Mayor’s Day, 1881 Lothbury

Piggott’s Orchestra

Piggots of Bishopsgate in the nineteenth century

Piggots of Bishopsgate in the twentith century

Images courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute

You might also like to read these other stories about Bishopsgate

At Dirty Dick’s

J.W.Stutter, Cutlers Ltd

At James Ince & Sons, Umbrella Makers

Vivian Betts of Bishopsgate

Charles Goss’ Bishopsgate Photographs

The Romance of Old Bishopsgate

Tallis’ Street Views of Bishopsgate 1838

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Greg Tingey permalink
    October 7, 2014

    (Last photo)
    Some of us are old enough to remember ( & remember using) the “557”

  2. October 7, 2014

    Nice article. Those tents and marquees look much better than the generic plastic ones you see everywhere today. Valerie

  3. October 7, 2014

    Interesting story! — We got a similar one in Kassel, also in the East End: SALZMANN & COMP., Tent and fabrics factory, founded in 1876.

    Love & Peace

  4. October 7, 2014

    I remember Piggots well, of shopping there in the early sixties when it became a sports shop as well , buying my Subbuteo figures there spent ages in there with my mates.

  5. Peter Holford permalink
    October 7, 2014

    I think my first camping experience as a boy scout was in a Gypsy tent. That was an experience with no built-in ground sheet and the snow accumulating in the gap where the tent didn’t quite reach the ground! And my friend had a bell tent that we used to use travelling around the continent. I wonder if he still has it.

  6. Ros permalink
    October 7, 2014

    Just loved this post, including the two photos at the end, the second one seeming almost as far away in time as the first. The illustrations made me smile out loud. Thanks for the cheer.

  7. Stephen Barker permalink
    October 7, 2014

    I wonder do they still do Triumphal Arches?

  8. November 8, 2014

    I have inherited a Piggotts Bros Windsor Space Maker caravan awning has anyone got instructions on how to erect it.

  9. Tamsin Hoad permalink
    December 14, 2014

    Piggott Bros was my great grandfathers side of the family lovely to read.

  10. Sara Sheldrake permalink
    February 15, 2015

    Tamsin, what side of the family do you fit in? My great great grandmother was a Piggott of the Piggott Bros and Co…

  11. Lorraine Lloyd -Jacob permalink
    January 27, 2016

    Hi to all my Grandmothers aunt was married to William Parker Piggott… She was a Henbury…
    They used to send a carriage to pick up my grandmother and her sister in tooting for days out and holidays sounded wonderful

  12. Paulina permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Their company’s that operating to this day has undergone a re-branding and reemerged as Piggotts Flags & Branding. Their overview of the company history only briefly mentions the marquee side of business, but it shows how their catalogue evolved throughout the years, before the company became what it is nowadays. Did you know Piggotts Bros. & Co. manufactured one of the first Monoplanes in Britain in the early 1910s? This articles also features some previously unpublished (I reckon) graphics from their early adverts:

  13. Julia McCormack permalink
    January 11, 2018

    My father worked for Piggotts all his life from the 1930s to the 1970s. When war broke out being moved to York on essential war work before being called up to serve in the army. He resumed work with Piggotts after the war where he was very involved with the decorations in London for the coronation, the regent street and oxford street lights/decorations every Christmas, and management of the great marquee for the Chelsea Flower Show. I remember being taken to the office above the shop on BIshopsgate on a Saturday ( they worked on a Saturday morning in those days) – as a young girl – the toy shop was wonderful and when work was over he would take me for lunch at Lyons Corner House. Happy days.

  14. EJ Wilkinson permalink
    October 27, 2018

    What a great story. Tents, marquees and even their own orchestra! Thanks GA for another wonderful story.

  15. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 28, 2018

    I am impressed by the range of marquees they supplied then and also the internal decorations.
    I do quite a bit of marquee ‘zhushing’ for various events and wonder how they did it all without our modern gadgets like staple guns, cable ties, safety pins etc…

    We had a near marquee disaster in the summer when my niece had one for her wedding in Scotland which was blown down by storm Hector! Luckily it happened two days before the actual wedding and a replacement was erected in time – pheeeew!

  16. December 1, 2018

    I’m pretty sure Piggots were in Ongar Essex for a while.

  17. Lynn Clayton - was born Marilynn Piggott in Greenstead, Ongar in 1948. permalink
    June 3, 2020

    Would like to find out who the original Piggott Bros were and whether l have any connection.

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