The History of Staines Linoleum, a talk given by Nick Pollard

Probably not many shoppers heading into the Two Rivers centre in Staines are aware that this was the site of the Staines Linoleum Company from 1864 to the late 1960s. Then it was full of buildings for boiling linseed oil, powdering cork sheet and storing bales of hessian. Lino was invented by F Walton who bought the site because it had rail access to bring heavy raw materials in and take out the finished product and water power. The 22 acre site spanned the railway leading to the epithet ‘smelly Staines’. Lino was not only plain but in geometric designs, art deco and floral patterns, illustrated in pattern books rescued after the company’s closure in the 1960s. It was fitted into houses and also hospitals and ocean liners, as it was hygienic and the pattern never wore out. Vinyl and fitted carpets caused the demise of the company. It had employed several thousand people with a flourishing Social & Sports Club. The talk was well illustrated with many old photos, some rescued with the pattern books

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