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Sunday, 24th May 2009
ARDATH

I n the early period of this century

it is amazing just how close-knit the tobacco industry was. Again and again the names of the big tobacco barons crop up. I have dealt with BAT and ITC in other articles but now I am going to concentrate for a short while on the company of Ardath.

The cards of this company have never been in the premier division of collecting. This is particularly true of the huge quantity of Photocards they produced in the late 30's. Size and difficulties in sorting does not help these cards.

By no means were Ardath insular they chose to distribute their cards
     

By no means were Ardath insular they chose to distribute their cards in many foreign countries such as New Zealand, Dutch East Indies and Java. They also sent cards to HM Forces.

the early years

It would seem that the company began in Leadenhall Street, E.C by Sir Albert Levy. It began life as Albert Levy & Thomas with the 'State Express' cigarettes being sold.

The earliest record was 1895 and in 1901 the company changed its name to Ardath Tobacco Company along with a new address, 44 Worship Street. In 1912 Ardath incorporated so adding Ltd onto the letterhead.

In 1925 BAT & ITC came to an agreement to purchase Ardath. It was then the original company was wound-up and a new company (under the same name was created.)

This new company was formed on June 30 1926 with Sir Albert Levy (knighted 1913) as Chairman. A certain Mr Barnet S Gluckstein had joined Ardath in 1903 and remained until 1925 where he moved to J Lyons. He had bought into Ardath when Salmon & Gluckstein had joined forces with ITC.

BAT controlled the export side of Ardath and ITC the home market apart from the US market which was jointly held.

the cards

There was a brief flirtation with the cards (1913-1917) with the Photogravures concept (reproductions of famous artists) as well as The Great War series.

After this card issuing stopped.
     

After this card issuing stopped until 1928 which could be considered unusual given the men that were taking a controlling interest in this company. Especially considering the wonderful cards Salmon & Gluckstein had created.

The cards were first destined for the export market and it was not until as late as 1935 that cards were issued for the home market.

Although sales were in decline Ardath did purchase John Wood & Sons Tobacco Ltd, Charlesworth & Austin Ltd and the Express Tobacco Company Ltd during the period 1952-3 in a bout of acquisition fever.

A further decline in sales (1955-7) the company tried to introduce new brands but these were not met with any great success.

decline

By 1960 Ardath was closing their last factory (Worship Street) and all the preference shares were repaid and Ardath (UK) Ltd was created.

There then followed a liquidation of the BAT/ITC 1925 agreement, the exact details of which need not worry anyone but company lawyers. The result was all home trade brands were ITC and all exports were BAT.

By 1964 WA & AC Churchman took over the marketing of the Ardath (UK) Ltd brands. Over the next few years Ardath brands were withdrawn from the UK market until only State Express Filter Kings remained. This was manufactured by BAT and distributed by Wills.

The on Feb 1 1965 Godfrey Phillips appointed Ardath (UK) Ltd sole concessionaire for manufacture and distribution of most of its brands.

This agreement covered the following companies:

Godfrey Phillips Ltd
George Dobie & Son Ltd
Cohen & Weenen & Co Ltd
Cavanders Ltd
J MIllhoff & Co Ltd
United Kingdon Tobacco Co Ltd.

A final note this agreement did not cover Abdulla whose trade rights were eventually taken over by Gallaher & Pritchard & Burton Ltd.

After this it all becomes a bit difficult, but it gives you an idea of just how interbred the large tobacco companies were after the BAT ITC agreements.