Where it all began…
William Hodgson established the company in 1894, and located the business in the Corn Exchange Building, Manchester.
He was a true 19th century entrepreneur, having travelled Europe and Africa, and brought his experiences (after also serving his time as a manager for several oil companies) to his new business.
He quickly recognised oil as the new ‘gold’, and identified a niche in the market.
William Hodgson & Co. quickly:-
- Became a founder member of the White Sea Oils Association with voting rights (alongside such luminaries as Fina).
- Became the main distributor for Henry Ford Motor Oils in the U.K.
- Became a key importer of Asian oils to Great Britain.
With the need to be close to ports and warehouses, William Hodgson & Co. opened further offices in Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow and London.
The business continued to thrive, and by the 1930’s, William Hodgson had long gone but his pioneering spirit remained. The company supplied essential materials to the Ministry of Defence through both World Wars, such as Tallow, White oils, Paraffin waxes, Candles and Castor oil.
Mr. Eric Mealand had joined the company in 1930 as a ‘tea boy’ junior, and was to work his way up to the position of office manager during the post World War II years, at this time the senior partners were Mr. Bates and Mr. Truin.
Mr. Eric Mealand became a senior partner after the death of Mr. Bates, together with Mr. Long (who succeeded his father-in-law, Mr. Truin). Mr. Eric Paul Mealand joined the company as a ‘junior’ in the mid 1950’s. The trading potential became more difficult as many of the ‘traditional’ industries either ‘disappeared’, moved abroad, or became smaller. Leather, Petroleum refining, Steel manufacturers, all of these industries gradually declined.
Mr. Keith Mealand B.A (Hons) Fellow C.M.I – Mr. Eric Mealand Seniors youngest son was invited to join the company in the late 1970s (Mr Long having left the company in the early 1970s). He joined the company as general manager with a free reign to develop the business using his many skills and experience gleaned from his time in the Retail, Chemical Research and manufacturing industries. Under Keith’s tutelage, the company extended its product range to include natural and essential oils as well as introducing a range of speciality chemicals.
Mr. Keith Mealand (Current company owner)
The company was organised into the following Divisions:-
- Food and Flavourings
- Natural oils and Essential oils
- Pharmaceutical grade and Cosmetic ingredients
- Industrial Division
With the growth of the telephone systems, and more sophisticated means of communication, there was no need for all the various city centre offices, and eventually all of the offices apart from Manchester were closed.
The main markets during the post war years, were the Leather, Rubber & Petroleum industries, although ingredients for the Food and Pharmaceutical industries continued to play a part in the business.
In 1994, the Company was one of the first in its field to gain the coveted ISO 9002 recognition, which was later to be followed by Organic accreditation by the Soil Association in 2008.
Where we are now…
Today, the company is a market leader in its field, and supplies an extensive range of ‘green’ and natural ingredients to the Cosmetics, Soap, Food, Flavourings, Aromatherapy, Herbalist and Health care fields in the U.K and abroad (mainland Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Middle East, West Indies and the Americas).
With Mr. Keith Mealand as owner of the company and his children Karen Taylor M.A.A.T as accounts Manager, Nicci Hurst as Office Manager and Craig Mealand as Transport Manager, we now have a fourth generation family member Jemma Taylor B.A (Hons) as Trainee Development Manager. All ensure a friendly efficient service through from order processing to prompt delivery and play their part in the continuing development of William Hodgson & Company.
Myles Hughes joined the company in 2012 at our North Rode packing unit where small orders are processed. Our latest staff member Katy Tatton, Technical Assistant was recruited in 2016 to help keep up with our evergrowing technical enquiries.