Wren’sis the name of a historical brand of shoe polish. It was established, produced and sold in England since 1889. It is one of the few remaining shoe polish brands to exist through three centuries. The founder is an English gentleman by the name of William Edward Wren.
Early History (Late 19th Century)
In the very early years, the company’s name was reflected as William Wren & Co but was most certainly changed to Wm. Wren & Co Ltd in 1918.In a list compiled under the name “NORTHAMPTON BOOT & SHOE TRADE 1928” by Ms Elaine Allen, the company’s name was listed as Wren, William & Co. Ltd. in three different addresses in Northamptonshire.
Business was brisk from the start as Northamptonshire till this very day, is still home to many fine shoe and boot makers likeEdward Green, Loake Shoemakers,Church’s andTricker’s, Wren’s would become a brand that was known for its quality and prestige and Wren’s won its first award from the Leather Trades Exhibition three years later in 1892.
In those days, the Leather Trades Exhibition held in the centre of Britain’s boot making industry Northampton was a very prestigious event and was of significant importance to the trade. William Wren & Co Ltd soon branched into other products like Floor & Furniture Polish, Metal Polish, Saddle & Harness Paste, Puwite Shoe Whitener as well as the reputed Lavendo Furniture Polish in the early years.
The Golden Years (1908-1964)
Since the beginning of the 20th century,Wren’s became almost synonymous with the Royal Family in England. During the reign of King Edward VII, aWren’s advertisement advertising its Boot & Shoe Polish in 1908 appeared with the declaration “As used by all branches of His Majesty’s Service”.The words “Made In England Since 1889” also became synonymous with the brand.
Wren’s reputation reached it’s peak when His Majesty, King George VI in following his grandfather’s footsteps, awarded the Royal Warrant toWren’s despite the acquisition by Chiswick Polish Co., Ltd in 1938. All shoe and boot polish would have “By appointment to H. M. King George VI” on the lids. The product became known asWren’s Super Wax Shoe Polish.
Wren’s Shoe Polish was very likely used by the British Army during World War II that took place from 1939 to 1945 but this was never confirmed. Unfortunately, King George VI passed away in 1952 due to ill health and the throne was ascended by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. There was even a version of the shoe polish with the Royal Warrant “By appointment to the late H. M. King George VI”, very likely as a gesture of mourning for a great King in the most turbulent of times.
The Declining Years (1965-1990s)
This Royal Warrant would continue until around 1964 which was during the reign of of the current monarch, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. At this point of time,Wren’s merged with Meltonian to form Meltonian Wren Limited. The company name even appeared on the lid of the transparent shoe polish “By appointment to H. M. The Queen, Mfrs. of shoe polish Meltonian Wren Ltd”. The discontinuation of the Royal Warrant was most likely due to the uncertainties caused by the acquisitions taking place one after another in such a short period. After further acquisition by Reckitt & Colman Ltd, the brand went on a downward spiral well into the 21st century.
Legacy And Revival
So now, you know the story. Our revival starts now.