Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 14, 2019
Webpage updated: September 14, 2019




The Plymouth business house of Messrs W H Ham Limited, stationers, was located at 11 Market Buildings, East Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War and at 11 Ebrington Street thereafter.

William Henry Ham was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1871.  Ten years later the family were living at New London, Lydford, Devon.  The family consisted of Mr William Davis Ham, who was born at New Passage, Devonport, in 1833, an Assistant Warder of the Convict Prison; Mrs Isabel Ham, 30-years-old, from Devizes, in Wiltshire; Miss Prothesa Ann Ham, their only daughter, born in India; William Henry Ham; George Arthur Ham, born in Plymouth; Charles Ham, also born in Plymouth; Harry Samuel Ham, born at Tavistock; and Percy Frederick Ham, born in Plymouth.

By 1901 young William had become a lithographic writer and was living on his own at number 3 Eton Place, Plymouth.

Mr William Henry Ham married Miss Blanche Charlotte Horrell at Christ Church, Plymouth, on August 22nd 1905.  She was 27-years-old and a Board School teacher, probably at Tracy Street Board School as she lived at number 10 Tracy Street in 1901.

In that same year, 1905, Mr Ham acquired the engraving and copper plate printing business belonging to Mr William Henry Foster.  This was located at number 86A Treville Street and had been founded in 1875.  He immediately moved the business to number 10 Market Buildings, East Street, adjacent to the Plymouth Market, where he introduced stationery and shop equipment.

On March 20th 1940 the business was re-formed as a limited liability company, with Mr William H Ham, Mrs Blanche C Ham, of 19 Endsleigh Place, and Mr Robert S Menhennet and Mrs Edith I M Menhennett, of 14 Maple Grove, as the shareholders.

Miss Edith Isabel Margaret Bromley was in fact Mr William Henry Ham's half-sister and she had married Mr Robert Stephen Menhennet on April 5th 1926 at Charles Church.

This transfer of business was timely because during the night of March 21st/22nd 1941 their business premises at number 11 Market Buildings, East Street, were totally destroyed and they were forced to find a temporary home.

They eventually settled at number 9 Market Buildings, East Street, in refurbished premises just doors away from where they had been before the Blitz.  Listed as general commercial and wholesale stationers, they were also paper merchants, poster and ticket writers, printers, rubber stamp specialists, and sold shop and display fittings and anything else likely to be required by shopkeepers.

Mrs Blanche Charlotte Ham died at 8 Ridge Park Road, Plympton, on January 31st 1944.  She was 70 years of age.  Mr William Henry Ham, of Hellbrun, Ridge Park Road, Plympton, died in a nursing home on August 14th 1944.  The funeral was at Plympton Saint Maurice Church at 9.30am on August 17th 1944.

In 1954/55 the business moved into number 11 Ebrington Street, where they quickly established a reputation for being able to supply items not universally available.

Mr Harold Stephen Rooker acquired the business in 1960 and the following year he took over the typewriter business of Mr A M King and added portable typewriters to the stock range.

During 1962 Ham's took over a similar business, Messrs Rowland Sewell and Son Limited, of North Hill, as a result of which the trading name was changed to Messrs W H Ham and Sewell.   The shop in Ebrington Street continued in business with Mr W Launce as its manager.  However, when the main shop was moved from North Hill to Armada House, 172 Armada Way, in 1965, Mr Ham's original premises was closed.  Unfortunately the date went unrecorded.


  The author's Swallow brand flat-bed duplicating machine was purchased at W H Ham's in 1962 for 3 3 shillings. 
His early publications were printed on it until it was replaced with a Roneo rotary machine in 1965.