Records of Rose Downs and Thompson Ltd., manufacturers of general engineering products, oil mill machinery and food processing equipment



Admin History:

The origins of Rose, Downs and Thompsons date back to 1777 when John Todd established the foundry in Hull. Products at that time included cannons and parts for windmills which were the company's first introduction into the world of oilseed crushing. As the Port of Hull grew it also became one of the world's largest centres for the crushing of oil bearing seeds and Rose Downs and Thompson Ltd. became a major supplier to this industry. By 1820 the company had installed its first hydraulic press for expelling oil from Linseed.

In 1833 Mrs. Christiana Rose inherited ownership of the company. She employed Mr. James Downs, who was to become a partner in the company and in 1874 her grandson Mr. Campbell Thompson also became a partner and the company name became Rose, Downs and Thompson. The company was to trade under this name for over 100 years and became renowned throughout the world as a leading supplier of oil processing equipment.

The Downs family connection continued for over 140 years and Mr. Leslie Downs, the grandson of Mr. James Downs was the Managing Director when the company celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1977.

During its long and distinguished history the company has played a major role in many developments within the oilseed industry. For example, improvements in the processing of seed led to the Anglo-American Press patented in 1874. This became the prominent product until the advent of the Continuous Screw Press. Another first came in 1898, when the company designed and produced the world's first solvent extraction plant.

From the mid 20th Century the company was a part of various large corporate groups including the Power Gas Corporation and the Davy Ashmore Group. During these changes of ownership the names Rose and Downs always featured in the company name and Rosedowns became a brand name known worldwide.

In late 1988, Rosedowns became part of the Belgium based De Smet Group, which was founded in Antwerp just after the Second World War. Within the group Rosedowns concentrated on oil milling and rendering equipment and in particular mechanical screw presses.

In 2004 the ownership of the De Smet group changed and soon afterwards the group joined with the Ballestra organisation to form the Desmet Ballestra Group. This change gave the group a greater presence in the growing Bio Diesel market, as well as strengthening it in the areas of soap and oil based chemicals.

Today De Smet Rosedowns remains at the forefront of the screw press industry, supplying new Rosedowns presses and replacement parts and upgrades for all makes and types of presses.


C DBR/1-739 Title deeds of the firm's properties 1801-1954

C DBR/740-914 Administrative records 1790-1945

C DBR/915-1124 Miscellaneous accumulated papers 1859-1964

C DBR/1125-1566 Correspondence 1859-1886

C DBR/1567-1711 Sales publicity material 1872-1933

C DBR/1712-1738 Printed material 1910-1969

C DBR/1739-1747 Miscellaneous records 1925-1946

C DBR/1748-1802 Photographs and illustrations 1879-1965

C DBR/1803-1881 Printed material relating to the seed crushing and related industries c.1903-1968

C DBR/1882-1899 Trade unions and employers' organisations 1876-1940

C DBR/1900-1904 Score books 1902-1906

C DBR/1905-1913 Printed material 1864-1947

C DBR/1914-1936 Papers relating to shell production and other matters peculiar to the Great War, 1914-1919, 1915-1918

C DBR/1937-1956 Items omitted above and later accessions 1806-1964

C DBR/1957-1974 Pages removed from various publications 1813-1882

C DBR/1975-2007 Manufacturers' catalogues 1902-1922

C DBR/2008-2009 Publications containing Rosedowns advertisements 1861-1883

C DBR/2010-2021 Publications relating to industrial relations 1872-1942

C DBR/2022-2035 Miscellaneous publications 1872-1962

C DBR/2036-2051 Photographs 1884-1945

C DBR/2052-2098 Correspondence 1876-1932

C DBR/2099-2110 Valuations 1879-1883

C DBR/2111-2113 Specifications n.d.

C DBR/2114-2116 Reports 1881

C DBR/2117-2196 Estimates giving details of the machinery required and prices 1882-1894

C DBR/2197-2211 Manufacturers' catalogues 1909-c.1924

C DBR/2212-2217 Miscellaneous publications 1878-1946

C DBR/2218-2305 Buildings in Hennebiques Patent Ferro-Concrete 1898-1904

C DBR/2306-2309 Alterations c.1914

C DBR/2310-2341 Correspondence 1899-1934

C DBR/2342-2351 Sales publicity material c.1920s

C DBR/2352-2370 Reports c.1880-1933

C DBR/2371-2388 Correspondence with W. R. Harrison of Hull, consulting engineer 1898-1906

C DBR/2389-2391 Extracts from publications 1913-1917

C DBR/2392-2393 Papers relating to equipment to be supplied to J. Bibby and Sons, Liverpool 1899

C DBR/2394-2401 Costings and specifications 1898-1899

C DBR/2402-2406 Legal records 1774-1885

C DBR/2407-2413 Financial records 1860-1884

C DBR/2414-2417 Certificates 1896-1966

C DBR/2418-2422 Publications 1896-1928

C DBR/2423-2459 Miscellaneous records 1898-1968

C DBR/2460-2469 Publications 1953-1970

C DBR/2470-2491 Historical Material pre 1751-1982

C DBR/2492-2504 Abstracts of deeds n.d.

C DBR/2508-2515 Historical files 1632-1967

C DBR/2516-2546 Miscellaneous records 1871-1968

C DBR/2547-2557 The Hull District Munitions of War Committee 1915-1919

C DBR/2558-2560 Photographs c.1935

C DBR/2561-2565 Correspondence 1917-1969

C DBR/2566-2571 Reports of overseas visits by L. H. Downs 1919-1957

C DBR/2572-2583 Publications, etc. 1904-1968

C DBR/2584 Papers relating to Charles Downs' service in the 2nd East Riding of Yorkshire Royal Garrison Artillery 1904-1911

C DBR/2587 Agreements regarding Thomas Kynman 1907-1909

C DBR/2590-2593 Plan books 1914-1961

C DBR/2597-2599 Files of presscuttings 1974-1982

C DBR/2600-2601 Journals 1926-1964

C DBR/2603-2610 Files of correspondence 1959-1969