Saturday, 25 August 2012
Shopping Saturday - Oetzmann & Co
Oetzmann & Co were described in the London Post Office Directory of 1894 as 'complete house furnishers, cabinet makers and upholsterers, British carpet and rug warehouse, importers of Turkey, Persian, Indian and every description of Oriental carpets and rugs' or, according to the 1908 London Telephone Directory 'Cmplt Ho Frnshrs' - and you thought Text-speak was new! Their bill-head, from which the illustration above was taken, claimed that the business was founded in 1848, and it was still in business nearly a century later. You can see a selection of their advertisements on the Grace's Guide site, and one of them is dated 1947.
The founder appears to have been John Robert Augustus Oetzmann, and the business was carried on by his sons after his death in 1886. His brother, Thomas, was a piano-maker, and he too founded a successful business. The family came from Ipswich, and although their surname is German, there is no-one of that name in any English census who was born outside England. It is worth remembering that for centuries East Anglia has had close trading links with the countries that are now Germany and the Netherlands. I thought it was worth including the bill-head from which the top picture was taken, because it includes a comprehensive list of all the goods and services they provided.
The company advertised extensively in the press, and the example above dates from 1906, when they had evidently taken over another business, Norman & Stacey, or at least acquired their stock. The London Metropolitan Archives holds some records relating to the Oetzmanns, mainly to do with their properties in Hampstead Road.