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Introduction




    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.