Chairman Fiona Toye, CEO
num_employees = Approximately 200 (2008)
£4.23 million (2008)
Toye, Kenning & Spencer on 19-21 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden
Toye, Kenning & Spencer plc is a British jewellery and clothing
manufacturer based in the
Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham; Covent
London and Bedworth, Warwickshire, England. Founded in 1685,
the company remains family-run by members of the Toye family.
The firm holds a Royal Warrant to
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II for Supply of
Gold and Silver laces, insignia and embroidery. It supplies Honours
badges and ribbons presented at investitures and is sole supplier of
the buttonhole Honours emblem. The company has also been commissioned
to produce semi-official commemorative coins for politically important
events aimed at improving diplomatic relations with the UK.
1.1 Early history
1.2 1900 to present
2 Manufacturing facilities
4 External links
The Toyé family arrived in
England in 1685 as
Huguenot refugees after
the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. The Toyé family
sailed into the
Thames in 1685 disguised as cattle-dealers. They
settled in Hope Town, now known as Bethnal Green, close to
Spitalfields. Here they resumed the traditional family business of
weaving, lace-making, embroidery and gold and silver wire making. In
1784 Guillaume Henry Toyé was engaged in this industry and living
with his family in Hope Town. He had four sons and three daughters.
In 1835 William Toyé (grandson of Guillaume) acquired larger premises
at George Street, Bethnal Green. At first he applied himself to broad
weaving but other forms of weaving soon appealed to him, particularly
the making of ribbons, as there was then a far larger demand for this
commodity. It was found necessary to open retail establishments
further west in
London in addition to the factories. A shop was opened
in 1888 at 18 Little Britain and a short time later a further
establishment was opened up at 17 Clerkenwell Road.
By 1890 the weaving of heavy, double-twilled silks, nine-feet wide,
for trade-union and Friendly Societies became an important part of the
business. The banner department used painting and embroidery to
illuminate the designs. With increased and varied activities it became
apparent that the factory at 186 Old Ford Road was inadequate. The
Masonic section was rapidly becoming more important, therefore it was
essential to move the factory nearer to the headquarters of
Freemasonry in Great Queen Street. Premises were acquired in 1898 at
57 Theobalds Road where showrooms were opened, the factory being
placed at the rear and continuing right through the block into Red
1900 to present
In 1903 Herbert Toye joined the business, a step made necessary by the
considerable expansions that had taken place. In 1909 it became
necessary, in accordance with the Companies Act 1908, to register the
firm as a Company. From then on all business was transacted as Toye
& Co. In 1910 William Toye, Senior died and in the terms of his
will his sons William, Frederick and Herbert and Timothy J Mister, all
became partners in the business.
In 1930 it was necessary to rebuild and enlarge the main factory in
Red Lion Square, London. Then came a fresh crisis. Britain was hit by
the Depression and three million people were thrown out of work.
During these dismal days of dole queues and empty larders Toye
maintained full employment, an accolade for the management. In 1937
the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth gave the company
another great trade boost and provided an outlet for the skilled
crafts of their staff. They worked day and night for six months
producing banners, emblems, robes and insignia for that historic
occasion. The velvet cushions on which the Royal Crowns were carried
Westminster Abbey were made by women at Toye in conjunction with
the Royal School of Needlework.
In 1949 Miss H E Toye, who had completed thirty years' service on the
sales side, was elected to the Board. Few firms at that time had
elected women to the board level.
In 2010 Toye lost a multi-million pound contract with the Ministry of
Defence due to pricing concerns.
Toye’s factory in Birmingham's
Jewellery Quarter is home to the
group's metal manufacturing. Every stage in the manufacture of a metal
product takes place there. Products include medals, badges and
buttons, chains of office and insignia for heads of state and
dignitaries, jewellery and cufflinks, presentation cups for sporting
organisations and commemorative plaques. The
FA Cup medals were made
The group’s textile production is in Bedworth, near Coventry. There
Toye specialises in narrow fabric weaving, manufacturing coloured
ribbons, braids and laces for military, homeland security, club,
association, school and fashion markets worldwide.
specialises in hand and machine embroidery, and making crafted hats
and caps for the military, homeland security, corporate, sports and
show business markets. Customers range from the MOD and overseas
defence forces, to international fashion houses, sporting
organisations and local schools. Honours caps for the Rugby Football
Union, buttons for Henley Royal Regatta and Grand National ties were
^ LSE Toye Accessed on 22 December 2008
^ Toye Royal Warrant Page Accessed on 2 October 2012
^ CCT2514: 1973 silver Exhibition of Archaeological Finds of the
People's Republic of China was minted with parts of the design coming
from high-level Chinese government officials. The coin has the phrase,
in Chinese characters, "Chinese-British friendship".
^ a b Wallop, Harry (8 April 2012). "A trip back in time to our
industrial heritage at Toye, Kenning & Spencer". The Daily
Telegraph. London, UK: TMG. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006.
Retrieved 7 May 2013.
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Homepage of Toye, Kenning & Spencer