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It is not often that
the history of a modern commercial enterprise extends so far back
into the reaches of time that its origins have been forgotten. Yet,
when this story came to be set down, such was found to have happened
with Haywards Limited. For over a century, the date of establishment,
1783, had appeared on the firm's notepaper and bill-headings but no
one survived to say how it came there.
When questioned at the beginning of the
present century, the last member of the branch of the Hayward family
concerned, William Hayward, frankly stated that he had not "the
faintest idea." His elder brother, Edward Lambert Hayward, who
first caused the date to be printed, had died many years before
and without extensive research, genealogical and otherwise, there
seemed little possibility of recovering the knowledge he took with
him to the grave.
So the matter rested until the late H. T.
Walker, a managing director of the company, initiated enquiries
into the beginnings of a company which was now well into its second
century. This was a labour of love, but for which much valuable
information would have been lost as memory faded in the thinning
ranks of old employees and others who, one by one, themselves passes
into the firm's history.