Some History

Coventry's oldest business!

Astleys has been around for a long time - it's sometimes easy to forget just how different the world was and the type of events that have ocurred whilst we're been around.

Here's some moments from history that will make you think!

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1730

Astleys is born

John Astley & Sons can trace it's roots back to 1730 when it was established in Coventry.

In the earliest days, we were selling ropes, canvas products, oils and seeds.

Astleys had Coventry's first tobacco license and is known to have done a brisk trade with passing coaches "by proferring cigars on a tray with a long handle"!

Sir Robert Walpole was the Prime Minister of the time - Britain's first and longest serving from 1721-1742.

 
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1745

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Charles Edward Stuart lands in Scotland to take the throne and starts a little trouble south of the border. This leads to the Jacobite rebellion

Astleys has been established for 15 years.

It was also the year of the first ever recorded women's cricket match in Surrey, and the year of the death of Sir Robert Walpole.

1747

Last axe execution

The Scottish Jacobite Lord Lovat is beheaded by axe on Tower Hill, London, for high treason (the last man to be executed in this way in Britain)

Lord Lovat was the third of the Jacobite Lords to be executed for high-treason. Bonnie Prince Charlie had fled (1746) to the Isle of Skye after the failed Jacobite Rising.

The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.

1773

Boston Tea Party

More disturbance - this time from across the 'pond' as the Boston Tea Party a protest at the Tea Act which escalated into of the War of Independence, ending in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to "no taxation without representation".

The American Revolutionary War started near Boston in 1775. 

1789

Revolution is in the air!

It's all kicking off in France, with some sharp ends to some, soon-to-be headless.

Following the 7-Years' War and the American Revolution, France was in deep debt and the punitive taxes put in place to maintain the priviledge of the aristoracy were a step too far for the 3rd Estate (Commoners).

the Bastille was attacked in July and following a few years of political struggle, the Republic was proclaimed in 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed the following year.

A huge number of civilians, from aristoracts to 'enemies of the State' were executed - it is estimated that up to 40,000 may have died.

'Liberté, fraternité, égalité (ou La Mort!)'. 

1804

Napoleon becomes Emperor

After orchestrating a coup in 1799, Napoleon effectively makes himself emperor in 1804 and 'reigns' until 1814.

1805

Trafalgar - need we say more?

Battle of Trafalgar: The British fleet, led by Admiral Horatio Nelson, defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain; however, Admiral Nelson is fatally shot.

The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the 18th century. Nelson overcame superior forces by dividing his smaller force into two columns directed against the enemy fleet, with devastating results.

1815

Apparently yes - Waterloo!

On Sunday 18 June 1815, the Duke of Wellington beat the French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, to end the Napoleonic Wars.

Napoleon addicates. 

 

 
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1821

The Hay Wain

John Constable finished what is considered to be his best piece and one of England's most famous paintings - a rural scene of the River Stour.

The scene is of Flatford Mill on the Suffolk/Essex border and the painting is now hung in the National Gallery in London.

Astleys had a roaring canvas business at this time and although we have no evidence of artists on the team, we certainly were selling paints by this stage.

James Munroe, the second president of America, was re-elected.

1833

Abolition of Slavery

The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, making the purchase or ownership of slaves illegal within the British Empire.

 
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1837

Queen Victoria Crowned

An 18 year old Victoria succedes William IV in June 1837 - she is to reign for 63 years.

Her reign was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Astleys main premises were in Broadgate Coventry at this time, with warehouses and various small factories dotted around Coventry.

1846

Anaesthetic Developed

William Morton, an American dentist, first used Ether as an anaesthetic. Far more effective than Nitrous Oxide, Ether was a pre-cursor to Chloroform.

1854

Crimean War

A war in the Balkans with the legendary and disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. Britain and her allies won, but with horrendous losses.

1861

Abraham Lincoln

The 16th President of the United States, was in office and led the country through the Civil War years, until his assassination in 1865.

1867

Alfred Nobel - Dynamite

The Swedish chemist and engineer invents a method of stabilising the highly shock-sensitive Nitro-glycerine into a transportable explosive.

 
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1869

On your bike!

James Starley, invented the bicycle in Coventry, he went on to develop what would be known as the Penny-farthing.

Coventry became the centre of Bicycle manufacture, which then morphed into the car industry. Starley worked as a foreman for the Coventry Sewing Machine Company.

He went on to found the Rover Cycle Company, which eventually became Rover Cars.

1874

Barbed Wire

Joseph Glidden fought and won a patent case that showed a novel invention that holds the spurs at proper intervals on the wires and to the means for attaining a uniform tension of the wires. You could say he got caught up on the detail.

 

1900

World Population

The world's population was 600 million in 1730, 1 billion in 1800 and 1.7billion in 1900.

In 2018 the estimate is 7.6 billion with over 1/6th living in China.

 

 

Next...

That little lot covered the first 170 years of Astleys history.

We will return soon with an update...

 

Please let us know if you have any dates that you think we should include in this page.