Soap and candle factory

By Steve Myall

The candle and soap business run by Edward Heard, lasted from 1819 to 1822, and was on the triangle of land where the Children’s Hospital was later built.

In the ESRO AMS 6468/3 document Heard is described as a ‘practical chemist’ who employed a hydraulic press for the separation of the constituents of fat for candle making. The documents report that Mr. Heard was “using a more powerful pressure than that used by the French Chemists . . . and produced a substance of a beautiful appearance which made candles possessing all the desirable qualities of a wax light at one half the expense. He obtained for this discovery Patents for the Three Kingdoms in the year 1819, and had extensive works erected on the Church Hill at Brighton for their manufacture. Here he produced candles, Cocoa Nut and Palm oils; and made soaps with the separated oil. Considerable encouragement was given to this new fabric at Brighton, London and other parts of the Kingdom; but a most distressing state of health and crippled resources, which precluded a supply equal to public demand, at length obliged (Mr. Heard) to give up the establishment and remove from that part of the country. Mr. Heard resumed the candle trade in London, and took out a fresh patent in 1829”.

This document implies that Heard gained his patent in 1819 and without delay built his premises on Church Hill, on land leased from Kemp. His business lasted from 1819 probably to the spring of 1822. The Rev. Airey then bought the premises from the distressed Mr. Heard, renegotiated the lease from Kemp and in the same building opened the Church Hill School for children from the Workhouse.

There are no known engravings of the Mr. Heard’s factory.

This page was added on 16/04/2011.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.