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Piggott Brothers Of Bishopsgate

April 12, 2021
by the gentle author

With shops reopening today, bars and restaurants able to serve food and drink outdoors, and up to six people from two households permitted to meet in a garden, I thought this might be the ideal moment to draw your attention to Piggott Bros & Co of Bishopsgate, Tent and Marquee Makers.

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

8 Responses leave one →
  1. David Gooding permalink
    April 12, 2021

    10 Shillings a day for a round tent seems quite reasonable for 1880. That’s about £65 in today’s currency.

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    April 12, 2021

    A fantastic selection of marquees and tents and I’m surprised at the variety of shapes that were available then.

    I will forward this to the marquee supplier I have recently worked with who will be particularly interested to see the 1880’s prices!

    He is hoping that there will be a boom in garden parties requiring marquees this year as people are restricted from taking holidays abroad, and will be doing more entertaining at home.

    Let’s hope the weather improves a bit by then… it is snowing as I write!

  3. April 12, 2021

    Last picture is how I remember Piggott Brothers in the 50s, getting off the same Trolley Bus from Hackney Road. Always an interesting shop that to a small boy, used it for buying ping pong balls, and having my bats re rubbered, bought a very nice Cricket bat there along with balls, it was then the only place to go. Thanks GA, for putting that picture up cought the moment and time just right for this Old School Guy. Stay safe London,read your all being let loose today from lockdown, how things are changing for many citizens lives in 2021, my sincere good wishes for all your futures.

  4. Rob Hill permalink
    April 12, 2021

    It looks as if illustration for the wedding marquee features the marriage of Mr Murray Posh and Miss Daisy Mutler. The reason is that I believe I can see Mr Charles Pooter and his dear wife Carrie seated at the end of the table.

  5. Jane Manley permalink
    April 12, 2021

    What an amazing post. I didn’t realise that Pigott Brothers had begun in Bishopsgate. At some time they must have moved to Stanford Rivers near Ongar in Essex. The building that housed their factory was actually the original Victorian buildings of the Ongar Workhouse. Piggots were customers of my family business which was a very old established ironmongers and every year we used to supply them with loads of straining wire. This wire was used to make the Regent Street Christmas lights in London which they used to make in the 1970s and 1980s. We would always take a trip up to London to admire the lights being thrilled to think of the part that we had played in them.

  6. Kelly Holman permalink
    April 12, 2021

    What a wonderful array of illustrations from the grand ballroom marquee to the more humble rick cloth which, although practical, manages to look beautiful draped over the harvest. Having discovered recently that there is a thriving wild swimming movement on our local river, the bathing tent caught my eye. It is gorgeous and I think it would have been greatly appreciated by the swimmers I have seen emerging from the water these past few chilly days.

  7. April 12, 2021

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what an interesting piece about the Piggot Brothers, tentmakers from Bishopgate. Just thinking about the logistics of delivering, setting up, dismantling, and moving these tents and accoutrements back to London sound daunting.

    Needless to say, they must have had a huge storage facility.

  8. Vivian Campbell permalink
    April 12, 2021

    I lived in Bishopsgate as my parents had The Primrose PH. The photos are just how I remember the beautiful buildings. My first boyfriend took me to Piggots to buy me a pair of white ice skating boots. I was so proud to walk along Bishopsgate with them hung over my shoulder to Liverpool Street station to get the underground to Queensway ice ring. I still have the boots in my loft, when I look at them the memories come flooding back.

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