Goblin Vacuum Cleaners
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Goblin Vacuum Cleaners in the early 1930s were manufactured by the British Vacuum Cleaner and Engineering Co. Ltd. (BVC). The managing director was Hubert Cecil Booth who the company claimed had in fact invented the vacuum cleaner in about 1900, and which was subsequently copied in the USA and elsewhere.
In 1902, it was recorded in the Court Journal for 25 October that Booth had the honour of showing the King and Queen the vacuum cleaning process at Buckingham Palace, and that as a result of this, BVC vacuum cleaners were installed there and at many other royal palaces throughout Europe. By the 1930s, many public buildings were equipped with forty or more centralised vacuum cleaners using a common extraction system.
These centralised systems consisted of an air exhauster, a dust filter (with detachable dust container), and wrought iron pipes run through the building, to which flexible hoses could be fitted for use in individual rooms.
Hotels, flats, offices, town halls, railway stations, theatres, clubs, factories churches and ships were all using (or potential users of) the system.
Important users included the Houses of Parliament, Imperial Chemical House, the Bank of England, and the HQ of the State Savings Bank in Victoria, Australia.
Goblin was the trade name of their domestic cleaners.
Their industrial cleaning systems using similar technology were being used in power stations and factories, and include chimney cleaning devices, in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Calcutta, Barcelona, Shanghai and in HM Dockyards worldwide. The company also made Teasmade automatic tea-making machines.
For many years, Goblin Vacuum Cleaners was one of the largest factory based industries in the Surrey town of Leatherhead, Ashtead area. Having such a large work force it even had its own social club on site for staff.
In the early 80s the company changed its name to BVC, British Vacuum Cleaners, though the new name never stuck with staff and locals.
The plant closed its doors in May 1984. After years of sitting empty the site was bought and built on by Esso.
From the 1970s onwards, Goblin became a well known budget domestic brand. Whilst brands Hoover and Electrolux dominated the top end of the British vacuum cleaner market, Goblin continued to sell in large numbers as more budget cleaners. Popular models included the 1970s "Housemaid" cleaner (featuring an advertising campaign by Jenny Tomasin of Upstairs, Downstairs fame) and the compact "Rio" cleaner of the 1980s.
In 1998, the Goblin name was bought by Glen Dimplex (who also manufactured Morphy Richards vacuum cleaners and other small appliances) who continued to manufacture Goblin vacuum cleaners until the mid-2000s. Most of these were budget cylinder cleaners built to similar specifications as their Morphy Richards cleaners but with lower build quality and fewer features. Since the mid-2000s, the Goblin name has been phased out in favour of the Morphy Richards brand.
- Industrial Britain: Britain’s Message to the Empire from the Air. Volume 2. General Exporting Industries. Issued under the auspices of The Air League of the British Empire (Incorporated 1909). Published about 1933, The Albion Publishing Cº Ltd, London.