Thomas Pantin traveled to London and joined the firm of Morley and Pinder in Bishopsgate London in 1779 at the age of 17. He had followed his Uncle also named Thomas Pantin who was a well respected Clockmaker in Clerkenwell.
The business was founded by Sir Paul Pinder (1565 -1650 ) Pinder was a wealthy merchant and diplomat who lent the bulk of his fortune to Charles 1 and donated £10,000 to the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The elaborate carved timber façade of the house and office on Bishopsgate is preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington having survived the great fire of London.
Nine years after joining Morley and Pinder in 1788 Pantin formed his own firm and moved the business to 88 Smithfield in London. He kept good relations with the Pinder family and in 1796 he married Samuel Pinder’s granddaughter.
The young firm also dealt in hemp and bristles. Thomas Pantins fortunes changed with a remarkable stroke of business. After the treaty of Tilsit in 1807, Napoleon tried to blockade the south coast. Pantin had foreseen trouble and bought large quantities of bristles from St Petersburg. By shipping the cargo to Hull he avoided the blockade and prospered handsomely from the deal.
Following the company's success Pantin quickly established connections with English nobility and the Royal family. Many of the original documents still exist to this day in our extensive archive of documents including correspondence from the Royal Palaces. Please see our Historical Documentation link at the bottom of this page.
224 Years of Change
Following a move to Upper Thames Street a fire completely distroyed the office at the turn of the Century. For the majority of the 20th Century the firm was located in Epping before a move back to Central London. With over 200 years of documentation including parchment deeds, incorporation documents business and banking letters, cheques and stock books, our archive represents one of the most detailed ever preserved from a private company in England.
Sir Paul Pindar (1565–1650) was a London merchant and, from 1611 to 1620, an Ambassador of King James I of England. He was Knighted by the King in 1623. Paul Pindar's house and office on Bishopgate was one of the only timber framed buildings to survive the great fire of London in 1666. Its façade is preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum. A London pub named “Sir Paul Pinder” now stands on the spot of the original building.
Thomas Pantin (1762-1820) worked for the then named Morley and Pinder Company. With the Pindar's help and blessing he set his own firm up in Smithfield in 1788. Pantin went on to Marry Sir Paul Pindar’s granddaughter. Pantin started the trading firm that still exists today.
Karl Frederick Abel (1723-1787) was a musician. It was on Johann Christian Bach's recommendation that in 1748 he was abel to join the courts orchestra. He later became chamber-musician to Queen Charlotte. Bach, joined Abel in London, and the friendship between him and Abel led, in 1765, to the establishment of the famous Bach-Abel concerts.
William Abel Pantin ( 1827-1897) and his brother Charles were the grandsons of Thomas Pantin, together they formed a formidable partnership which saw the Thomas Pantin firm expand part of its trading business into mechanical engineering. The business thrived under their stewardship and the company changed its name to W&C Pantin during their tenure.
Sir Frederick Augustus Abel (1827-1902) was an eminent Chemist. One of his most important discoveries was the manufacture of guncotton, which with the propellant cordite, was adopted by the British government in 1891.
Abel was president of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, he became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1860. He was a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB) and knighted on 20 April 1883. He received a Royal Medal in 1887 and was also the first director of the Imperial Institute. Later in life he was created a baronet, of Cadogan Place London and awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). The now Managing Director Matthew Wallis oversaw the restoration and preservation of Abel’s important private papers Including correspondence between Abel and Michael Faraday. The family have subsequently gifted the complete Abel archive to the Royal Society of Chemistry at Burlington House Piccadilly where they are on public display.
Herbert Abel Pantin (1863-1935) was Managing Director of the firm throughout the Victorian period and contributed a great deal to the company through difficult and changing times at the turn of the Century. As a testament to his contribution the family collated and published a history of the Pantin Company in his memory.
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (1887 – 1979) was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for his aeronautical designs. In 1945 Wallis was Head of the Vickers-Armstrongs Research & Development Department based at Brooklands race circuit. In 1968 Wallis was Knighted and became Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
In 2002 Barnes Wallis was voted as one of the 100 greatest Britons in a national survey.
Professor Carl Frederick Abel Pantin (1899-1967) was a British Zoologist educated at Christ College Cambridge. Pantin was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1937 and won the Royal Medal in 1950. He went on to become the president of the Marine Biological Association.
Lt Col Charles Robinson Ashby Wallis (1900 – 1962) served in both world wars. As a young airman with the Royal army air corps he was shot down and famously survived only loosing the tip of his finger. He was gassed twice at the battle of Passchendaele and survived. Wallis was also a local historian and created a museum in his home town of Gillingham which is still open to this day. He died as he had lived his life. Seeing a lady in difficulty in the sea at Tintagel in Cornwall he dived in to save her and although a strong swimmer and fit man of 62 they both lost their lives. He was posthumously recognised with the highest award for bravery by Her Majesty the Queen the Patron of the Royal Humane Society.
Dr William Abel Pantin (1902-1973) a former Pantin Company Chairman, educated at Westminster School and Christ Church,Oxford, where he obtained a first-class degree in Modern History in 1923. He became a Fellow at Oxford and Lecturer in History at Oriel College. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Oriel in 1971. On his death Dr Pantin donated his estate to historical research at Oriel College. A new library was built at Oriel in 2013 with the family bequest and named the "Pantin Library" in his honor.
Charles David Ashby Wallis (David) 1925. Current honorary Chairman of the Pantin Company, David was one of the longest serving Managing Directors in the history of the firm. With rapid change through the 1970’s and 80’s he is attributed with saving the firm in some difficult years. Under his stewardship the company had its most successful period in its 200 year history.
John Herbert Pantin (1930 – 2001) Chairman of the company through an exceptional period of the firms history. John along with his cousin David Wallis ran the firm with diverse dealings across the world. He oversaw the sale of the engineering side of the business and was a believer that the company needed to adapt and diversify.
Matthew Charles Wallis 1961. Managing Director and fourth generation grandson of Thomas Pantin. After growing up with the company and working in every area of the Pantin business, Matthew ran the sub division Pantin Controls in the 1990’s then turning his attention back to the trading side of the business. Under his direction the company focuses on the antique clock market and International exports.