Lambert & Butler

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Lambert & Butler
A British pack of Lambert & Butler cigarettes
Product type Cigarette
Produced by Imperial Tobacco
Introduced 1834; 183 years ago (1834)

Lambert & Butler is a British cigarette brand launched in Clerkenwell in 1834 by Charles Edward Lambert and Charles Butler, and were one of the earliest British cigar manufacturers.[1]

It eventually started selling cigarettes which were being manufactured by John Wood & Son before Lambert & Butler started manufacturing it themselves in 1876[2] before merging with Imperial Tobacco in 1901. In the late 1800s, it accounted for 20 percent of total sales value and controlled a large piece of the market with a 1870 capitol of £87,200[3] and 1887 total capitol of £175,000, alongside major companies W.D. & H.O. Wills (now Imperial Tobacco) Cope Bros & Co, Hignett Tobacco, John Player & Sons and Stephen Mitchell & Son. In this time, the first largest company in the industry was Wills followed by Cope with Lambert & Butler a strong third and one of Lambert & Butler's most popular brands was Best Bird's Eye.[4]

In 1903, after merging with Imperial, an executive committee was formed with one of the members being Charles Lambert. Lambert & Butler also exported to Jamaica with brands Trumpeter and Needle Point. It established its own bonded warehouse in 1891 and was located on Bucknall Street near Long Acre in Westminster, London. Charles Lambert, who was called "the best judge of a Havana cigar" also ran a tobacco shop on Drury Lane.[5] Lambert & Butler was also part of the "big six", with Wills, Taddy & Co, Cope Bros, Hignett Bros and John Player & Sons.[1]

It relaunched in 1979 after an absence. In the late 1990s, their campaign was a distinguished Lambert with his calm butler, Butler, exchanging humorous quotes[6] until the last one which had their faces blurred and the butler saying "It seems we've been outlawed, Sir".[5] The brand sells £1379 billion (1.379 trillion) worth of cigarettes every year.[citation needed] In 1999, Lambert & Butler owned 17 percent of the British cigarette market, 5 percent more than Benson & Hedges.[7] Due to Imperial Tobacco not owning the trademark on the original name, Lambert & Butler is known in some countries as either L&B or Great & British. It is among the popular and less expensive local brands[8] and, as of 2007, Lambert & Butler King Size were the number one selling brand of cigarettes in the UK.[9]

In 2015, Van McCann of the British band Catfish and the Bottlemen commented Lambert & Butler was his primary tobacco brand and the one thing he can't live without on tour, saying "...this will always be my brand, that’s me feet on the ground. If I start smoking another cigarette I’ve given the lads permission to kick me out".[10] Entertainer Paul O'Grady also commented, saying "Without a doubt my best ciggie is the Lambert & Butler that gets me out of bed every day. I take that first drag, my eyes cross, the blood pressure rises to 2,000 and it's lovely. Some people reach for a bottle; with me, it's cigarettes, I use them like a dummy".[5]


Vintage Lambert & Butler "Weaver" brand

Lambert & Butler cigarettes are sold in silver full strength, silver superkings, gold (formerly lights) and menthol. "Glide Tec" Packs are also now for sale and fast becoming the standard pack for this brand. These packs have a small window on the front of the pack which allows the user to slide up the inner pack with their thumb. This lifts the lid of the outer pack, and the inner pack containing the cigarettes slides out to reveal the cigarettes. Glide Tec packs are available in the silver, gold and menthol king size variants. In 2002, following a European Union ban on descriptive labels on tobacco, Lambert & Butler renamed its Lights band to Gold and its Ultra Lights to Blue.[11]

In April 2012, Lambert & Butler Fresh Burst and Lambert & Butler Profile were added to the range. Lambert and Butler Fresh Burst cigarettes contain a capsule within the filter-tip, which when squeezed, pops and mentholates the cigarette. Lambert and Butler Profile Cigarettes are thinner in diameter, targeted at the busy smoker, who desires a cigarette which provides the same nicotine level as a standard size cigarette but in a smaller package, making the cigarette quicker to smoke. Fresh Burst and Profile are available in price marked or standard 20 packs.[12]


  1. ^ a b Cox, Howard (2000). The Global Cigarette: Origins and Evolution of British American Tobacco, 1880-1945. Oxford University Press. pp. 46–83. ISBN 019829221X. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ William Clowes Ltd. (1886). The Law Reports: under the superintendence and control of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales; Supreme Court of Judicature. Cases determined in the Chancery Division and in lunacy, and on appeal therefrom in the Court of Appeal, Volume 32. High Court of Justice. p. 248. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ Michael Ball; David T. Sunderland (2002). An Economic History of London 1800-1914. Routledge. ISBN 1134540299. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ Alford, B. W. E. (2013). W.D. & H.O. Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry: 1786-1965. Routledge. pp. 159–309. ISBN 1136584196. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Carroll, Sue (2005). The Joy of Smoking: The Light-Hearted Look at Lighting Up. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 1782192417. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ Chris Harrald; Fletcher Watkins (2013). The Cigarette Book: The History and Culture of Smoking. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 1628732415. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ Goldman, Lawrence (2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005-2008. Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0199671540. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ United Kingdom Travel Guide - Tiki Travel. FB Editions. ISBN 9791021304451. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The way the British smoke". BBC News. 29 June 2007. 
  10. ^ "Catfish & The Bottlemen Talk About World Domination, Street Cred, & Cigarettes". February 13, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  11. ^ Paul Baines; John Egan; Frank Jefkins (2007). Public Relations. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 1136370781. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Imperial Tobacco broadens Lambert & Butler range with two additions". April 11, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 

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