our heritage

Through nine reigns and five major wars.

1600s
1700s
1800s
1900s
2000s
1600s
You can’t catch me; I’m a cattle dealer!
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Among the refugees was Guillaume Henri Toyé, a Hugenuenot weaver, who fled to London disguised as a cattle dealer. He was penniless but for the skill contained in his two hands plus an inherited knowledge of his craft.
Huguenots, Treaty of Nantes, cattle dealer
16
85
October 21
A history that began in a bloodbath
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
It is a history that began in a bloodbath that shocked the world. In 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and began a vicious persecution of the Protestants. More than 200,000 gave up everything they possessed and fled rather than renounce their faith. That mass exodus weakened France but enriched England, for many of the dispossessed fugitives were craftsmen of incomparable skill.
More than 200,000 gave up everything they possessed and fled rather than renounce their faith. That mass exodus weakened France but enriched England, for many of the dispossessed fugitives were craftsmen of incomparable skill.
Edict of Nantes, 1685, Huguenots
16
85
October 22
A town called Hope
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Guillaume Henri Toyé settled with his family in the appropriately named Hope Town (now Bethnal Green) where he began weaving silk, velvet and gold and silver laces for the gentry.
Soon Guillaume had built up a thriving business, for he had found a ready market for his talents amongst the military which in those days marched into battle in the most resplendent uniforms.
Hope Town, Bethanl Green, Military uniform, Huguenot, Embroidery, silk, velvet
16
85
October 23
You can’t catch me; I’m a cattle dealer!
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
85
October 21 1685
Among the refugees was Guillaume Henri Toyé, a Hugenuenot weaver, who fled to London disguised as a cattle dealer. He was penniless but for the skill contained in his two hands plus an inherited knowledge of his craft.
Huguenots, Treaty of Nantes, cattle dealer
A history that began in a bloodbath
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
85
October 22 1685
It is a history that began in a bloodbath that shocked the world. In 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and began a vicious persecution of the Protestants. More than 200,000 gave up everything they possessed and fled rather than renounce their faith. That mass exodus weakened France but enriched England, for many of the dispossessed fugitives were craftsmen of incomparable skill.
More than 200,000 gave up everything they possessed and fled rather than renounce their faith. That mass exodus weakened France but enriched England, for many of the dispossessed fugitives were craftsmen of incomparable skill.
Edict of Nantes, 1685, Huguenots
A town called Hope
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
85
October 23 1685
Guillaume Henri Toyé settled with his family in the appropriately named Hope Town (now Bethnal Green) where he began weaving silk, velvet and gold and silver laces for the gentry.
Soon Guillaume had built up a thriving business, for he had found a ready market for his talents amongst the military which in those days marched into battle in the most resplendent uniforms.
Hope Town, Bethanl Green, Military uniform, Huguenot, Embroidery, silk, velvet
1700s
From Hope to Camden
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Guillaume Henri Toyé’s sons continued the trade from their base in Hope Town until 1793 when Charles, a great grandson of Guillaume, set up a factory in Camden Town to produce gold and silver threads, cords, laces, braids and naval and military accoutrements.
Camden Town. Hope Town, Toye, 1793
17
93
December 15
From Hope to Camden
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
93
December 15 1793
Guillaume Henri Toyé’s sons continued the trade from their base in Hope Town until 1793 when Charles, a great grandson of Guillaume, set up a factory in Camden Town to produce gold and silver threads, cords, laces, braids and naval and military accoutrements.
Camden Town. Hope Town, Toye, 1793
1800s
From 'Guillaume' to 'William'
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
In 1835 William Toye formally established Toye and Company as the registered trading name for the company, and from here the House of Toye continued to flourish, growing into new markets, and learning new craft disciplines as it reacted to the increasing demands from its customers
1835, Toye, House of Toye, Guillaume, William
18
35
January 25
The first power loom operated by a gas engine
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
William’s eldest Son, also named William, invented a power loom operated by a gas engine. This invention propelled the company to further success and it soon expanded further by building a modern factory in Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green.
power loom, gas engine
18
55
June 13
Playing both sides
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Controversially, and in relative secrecy, entrepreneurial Toye salesmen supplied uniform and accoutrements to both sides of the American Civil War.
American Civil War, Toye
18
61
April 11
Khaki spells disaster
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
There wasn’t a cloud on the horizon. Then came disaster for the Company. The introduction of cordite, a smokeless gunpowder, transformed the battlefield and overnight the resplendent uniforms worn by the British Army, Toye’s largest customer, became a tactical disadvantage. The smokeless battlefield, combined with the increasing accuracy of rifles, allowed the enemy to identify and snipe officers with precision. And so khaki was introduced. It saved the lives of countless soldiers but brought Toye’s to the brink of financial ruin.
Khaki, Toye
18
89
March 17
The Hunt for New Markets
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Fortunately, there was a lot of the original Guillaume Henri Toye’s rugged determination to survive in the bearded William Henry. With disaster staring him in the face he decided he mist find fresh outlest for the work of his craftsmen. So he turned his attention, energies and skills to making high quality regalia for the rapidly growing market provided by friendly societies and masonic lodges. In addition, Toye began making the beautifully embroidered and hand painted banners for the emergent, and then beautifully dressed, trades unions together with their ornamental sashes.
That however was not the only solution required. The societies which provided the bread and butter of the business invariably met during the winter months, which in turn meant a slack summer period. To overcome this and keep the work force intact, the company began making sporting trophies and cups.
Toye, New Markets, Trophies, Medals, Cups
18
90
September 16
From 'Guillaume' to 'William'
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
35
January 25 1835
In 1835 William Toye formally established Toye and Company as the registered trading name for the company, and from here the House of Toye continued to flourish, growing into new markets, and learning new craft disciplines as it reacted to the increasing demands from its customers
1835, Toye, House of Toye, Guillaume, William
The first power loom operated by a gas engine
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
55
June 13 1855
William’s eldest Son, also named William, invented a power loom operated by a gas engine. This invention propelled the company to further success and it soon expanded further by building a modern factory in Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green.
power loom, gas engine
Playing both sides
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
61
April 11 1861
Controversially, and in relative secrecy, entrepreneurial Toye salesmen supplied uniform and accoutrements to both sides of the American Civil War.
American Civil War, Toye
Khaki spells disaster
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
89
March 17 1889
There wasn’t a cloud on the horizon. Then came disaster for the Company. The introduction of cordite, a smokeless gunpowder, transformed the battlefield and overnight the resplendent uniforms worn by the British Army, Toye’s largest customer, became a tactical disadvantage. The smokeless battlefield, combined with the increasing accuracy of rifles, allowed the enemy to identify and snipe officers with precision. And so khaki was introduced. It saved the lives of countless soldiers but brought Toye’s to the brink of financial ruin.
Khaki, Toye
The Hunt for New Markets
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
90
September 16 1890
Fortunately, there was a lot of the original Guillaume Henri Toye’s rugged determination to survive in the bearded William Henry. With disaster staring him in the face he decided he mist find fresh outlest for the work of his craftsmen. So he turned his attention, energies and skills to making high quality regalia for the rapidly growing market provided by friendly societies and masonic lodges. In addition, Toye began making the beautifully embroidered and hand painted banners for the emergent, and then beautifully dressed, trades unions together with their ornamental sashes.
That however was not the only solution required. The societies which provided the bread and butter of the business invariably met during the winter months, which in turn meant a slack summer period. To overcome this and keep the work force intact, the company began making sporting trophies and cups.
Toye, New Markets, Trophies, Medals, Cups
1900s
The Great War
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Ironically the company, which up to this point had been so dependent on military and naval uniforms, always experienced great prosperity in peacetime yet near bankruptcy in wartime. The Great War was no exception.
Frederick Ernest Ward Toye volunteered for military service as did most of the other eligible men from executive to shop floor level. On top of that many women were diverted to munitions factories and other essential war work.
Toye, Great War, World War One
19
14
July 27
Armistice
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
When the Armistice came and the men returned home, it was literally back to square one for Toye’s and the firm did not get back on its feet until 1921. Expansion quickly followed, so that in 1930 it was necessary to rebuild and enlarge the main factory at Red Lion Square, London.
Toye, Armistice, Red Lion Square
19
18
November 11
Avoiding Depression
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Then came a fresh crisis. Britain was hit by the worldwide Great Depression, and three million people were thrown out of work. Toye’s history has always been one of triumph over adversity, but it is this period that they are most proud to recall; for during those dismal days of dole queues and empty larders Toye’s managed to maintain full employment.
Toye, Great Depression
19
29
October 01
The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth gave the company another great trade boost and provided an outlet for the skilled crafts of their men and women. They worked day and night for six months producing banners, emblems, robes and insignia for that historic occasion. The velvet cushions on which the Royal Crowns were carried into Westminster Abbey were made by women at Toye’s in conjunction with the Royal School of Needlework.
coronation, toye, george VI, queen elizabeth
19
37
May 12
No Winners in War
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
It was a short-lived period of peace and prosperity. Two years later Britain was at war with Hitler’s Germany and soon fighting for survival. J.W.A. Toye, who had just been appointed to the Board, immediately joined the R.A.F. He was never to rejoin the company for he died in a prisoner-of-war camp in Borneo.
Once again, Toye’s were reminded in the harshest possible way that their business was a series of peaks and troughs. Not solely in terms of financial loss or gain but human sacrifice, for several others in the firm fought and died in defence of their country.
world war 2, churchill, Toye
19
39
September 01
Peace returns
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Peace duly came and once more in the chequered history of our nation there was dancing in the streets. There was jubilation too at Toye’s, but peace still brought its headaches. There was a tremendous backlog of orders to meet and three years were to pass before the staff had returned from every theatre of war and the company was once more on an even keel.
toye, victory day, ve day, world war 2
19
45
September 02
Forward thinking
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
In 1949, Hettie Toye, who had complted 30 years service at the company, was elected to the Board. That simple act showed that Toye’s, small as they were in comparison with some firms, were at the forefront when it came to modern thinking. Very few firms at the time had yet recognised the vital role that women could play at Board level.
Toye, Women
19
49
July 27
The King is Dead, Long live The Queen
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
In 1952 the nation was plunged into mourning with the death of King George VI. But his passing also heralded the beginning of the new Elizabethan Era for in June the following year came the coronation of the young Queen.
The role that Toye’s played was momentous, supplying many of the items, from embroidered banners to robes, and regalia, both directly as Toye, Kenning & Spencer and also working on behalf of other suppliers.
Toye, Coronation, Queen Elizabeth II
19
52
February 06
The FA Cup
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Toye has long been a supplier to the Football Association, supplying medals, honours caps, trophies and ties to name but a few.
In 1992 the Company was especially honoured to produce the The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world.
Football Association, FA Cup, Football Challenge Cup, Toye
19
92
August 09
The Great War
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
14
July 27 1914
Ironically the company, which up to this point had been so dependent on military and naval uniforms, always experienced great prosperity in peacetime yet near bankruptcy in wartime. The Great War was no exception.
Frederick Ernest Ward Toye volunteered for military service as did most of the other eligible men from executive to shop floor level. On top of that many women were diverted to munitions factories and other essential war work.
Toye, Great War, World War One
Armistice
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
18
November 11 1918
When the Armistice came and the men returned home, it was literally back to square one for Toye’s and the firm did not get back on its feet until 1921. Expansion quickly followed, so that in 1930 it was necessary to rebuild and enlarge the main factory at Red Lion Square, London.
Toye, Armistice, Red Lion Square
Avoiding Depression
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
29
October 01 1929
Then came a fresh crisis. Britain was hit by the worldwide Great Depression, and three million people were thrown out of work. Toye’s history has always been one of triumph over adversity, but it is this period that they are most proud to recall; for during those dismal days of dole queues and empty larders Toye’s managed to maintain full employment.
Toye, Great Depression
The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
37
May 12 1937
The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth gave the company another great trade boost and provided an outlet for the skilled crafts of their men and women. They worked day and night for six months producing banners, emblems, robes and insignia for that historic occasion. The velvet cushions on which the Royal Crowns were carried into Westminster Abbey were made by women at Toye’s in conjunction with the Royal School of Needlework.
coronation, toye, george VI, queen elizabeth
No Winners in War
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
39
September 01 1939
It was a short-lived period of peace and prosperity. Two years later Britain was at war with Hitler’s Germany and soon fighting for survival. J.W.A. Toye, who had just been appointed to the Board, immediately joined the R.A.F. He was never to rejoin the company for he died in a prisoner-of-war camp in Borneo.
Once again, Toye’s were reminded in the harshest possible way that their business was a series of peaks and troughs. Not solely in terms of financial loss or gain but human sacrifice, for several others in the firm fought and died in defence of their country.
world war 2, churchill, Toye
Peace returns
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
45
September 02 1945
Peace duly came and once more in the chequered history of our nation there was dancing in the streets. There was jubilation too at Toye’s, but peace still brought its headaches. There was a tremendous backlog of orders to meet and three years were to pass before the staff had returned from every theatre of war and the company was once more on an even keel.
toye, victory day, ve day, world war 2
Forward thinking
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
49
July 27 1949
In 1949, Hettie Toye, who had complted 30 years service at the company, was elected to the Board. That simple act showed that Toye’s, small as they were in comparison with some firms, were at the forefront when it came to modern thinking. Very few firms at the time had yet recognised the vital role that women could play at Board level.
Toye, Women
The King is Dead, Long live The Queen
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
52
February 06 1952
In 1952 the nation was plunged into mourning with the death of King George VI. But his passing also heralded the beginning of the new Elizabethan Era for in June the following year came the coronation of the young Queen.
The role that Toye’s played was momentous, supplying many of the items, from embroidered banners to robes, and regalia, both directly as Toye, Kenning & Spencer and also working on behalf of other suppliers.
Toye, Coronation, Queen Elizabeth II
The FA Cup
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
92
August 09 1992
Toye has long been a supplier to the Football Association, supplying medals, honours caps, trophies and ties to name but a few.
In 1992 the Company was especially honoured to produce the The FA Cup, also known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world.
Football Association, FA Cup, Football Challenge Cup, Toye

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

Progress is the ruling factor in the advance of any civilisation, and if after reading through our heritage, the reader considers a contribution has been made, then those who have served the House of Toye and passed on will rest content, whilst those who continue in it's service will press forward with renewed acitivity.
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
Company Website
Regalia Shop
London, Badge & Button
Company Website
Toye, Kenning & Spencer
London, Badge & Button
Toye Birmingham
77 Warstone Lane
Birmingham
B18 6NL
Toye Coventry
Regalia House
Newtown Road Bedworth
CV12 8QR
© House of Toye 2019
Toye Birmingham
77 Warstone Lane
Birmingham
B18 6NL
Toye Coventry
Regalia House
Newtown Road Bedworth
CV12 8QR
© House of Toye 2019