J&W Nicholson & Co
J&W Nicholson & Co was a London-based gin maker. The company was founded in the 1730s during the Gin Craze, and was based in Clerkenwell, mid-way between the grain mills and milling facilities located at Three Mills, and the Gin palaces in central London. The company stopped making gin in England 1941, and closed its premises Three Mills in 1966.
After his retirement from amateur cricket, William Nicholson became company chairman. In 1864, the Marylebone Cricket Club purchased the freehold of Lord's Cricket Ground, paying all of the £18,333 6s 8d fee from monies advanced by Nicholson. Then, in 1889, the foundation stone was laid for the new Lord's Pavilion, paid for by a £21,000 loan from Nicholson. From its foundation in 1787 until this point, the MCC's colours had been sky blue, but the colours were changed around this date to red and yellow, which was also the corporate colour scheme of Nicholson's.
In 1872, the company acquired Three Mills, moving production of its Lamplighter Gin to the location. The company ceased gin production at Three Mills in 1941 due to rationing based shortages in the United Kingdom during World War II.
In 1966, the company sold the Three Mills facility, and in the 1970s the Nicholson family, headed by Sir Richard Nicholson, sold the remaining gin brands and business to the Distillers Company.
- Chris Partridge (November 2, 2003). "Tide turns for London canals". The Guardian. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
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William Nicholson continued to loan the Club substantial amounts for numerous projects over the next 30 years and was President of MCC in 1879. William Nicholson was the owner of the Nicholson's Gin Company, the colours of which were red and yellow. Although no written proof has yet been found there is a strong family tradition that the adoption of the red and gold was MCC's personal thank you to William Nicholson for his services to the club - sport's first corporate sponsorship deal perhaps?
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