Lambert & Butler

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Lambert & Butler
Lambert butler logo.png
Product typeCigarette
OwnerImperial Brands
Produced byImperial Brands
Introduced1834; 185 years ago (1834)
MarketsSee Markets
Registered as a trademark in22nd of July 2014

Lambert & Butler is a British brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by Imperial Brands. During a brief period, the company also commercialised association football trading cards.[1]


Lambert & Butler cigarettes were launched in Clerkenwell in 1834 by Charles Edward Lambert and Charles Butler, who were among the earliest British cigar manufacturers.[2]

Vintage Lambert & Butler "Weaver" brand

They eventually started selling cigarettes which were being manufactured by John Wood & Son before Lambert & Butler started manufacturing it themselves in 1876[3] before merging with Imperial Tobacco in 1901. In the late-1800s, it accounted for 20% of total sales value and controlled a large piece of the market with an 1870 capital of £87,200[4] and 1887 total capital 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.[5]

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.[6] Lambert & Butler was also part of the "big six", with Wills, Taddy & Co, Cope Bros, Hignett Bros and John Player & Sons.[2]

Taking advantage of the rise in popularity of football cards in the 1920s and 1930s, Lambert & Butler released a set of association football trading cards in 1931. It consisted of a series of painted portraits that included West Ham's star centre-forward, Vic Watson. Nevertheless, the outbreak of World War II forced tobacco companies to cease production of cigarette cards.[1]

An old British packet of Lambert & Butler cigarettes, with an English language text warning at the bottom of the pack

The brand was relaunched in 1979 after an absence. In the late-1990s, their campaign was a distinguished Lambert with his calm butler, Butler, exchanging humorous quotes[7] until the last one which had their faces blurred and the butler saying "It seems we've been outlawed, Sir".[6] In 1999, Lambert & Butler owned 17% of the British cigarette market, 5% more than Benson & Hedges.[8] 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[9] and, as of 2007, Lambert & Butler King Size were the best-selling brand of cigarettes in the UK.[10]

In 2010, the Lambert & Butler brand got officially trademarked under the following words: "L&B LAMBERT & BUTLER ORIGINAL". The brand appealed a file for registration on 17 July 2013 and got officially registered on the 22 July 2014.[11]

In 2016, the last factory that still produced cigarettes in Nottingham, United Kingdom which also produced Lambert & Butler cigarettes, closed its doors for the final time. Imperial Tobacco moved the production to either Poland or Germany, which would increase their profits to £320,000,000.[12]


Lambert & Butler is mainly sold in the United Kingdom. It was exported to Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Spain and Egypt.[13][14][15]


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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

In February 2014, Imperial Tobacco announced they would expand their Lambert & Butler range with a new variant called L&B Blue. It would be available from the 3rd of March 2014 onwards.[20]

In May 2015, a survey concluded that Lambert & Butler Kingsize was the most popular variant in the range in 2013 and 2014, followed by Lambert & Butler Gold, Lambert & Butler Menthol and Lamber & Butler White.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The History of Football Cigarette Cards by John Simkin, on Spartacus Educational, September 1997
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Michael Ball; David T. Sunderland (2002). An Economic History of London 1800–1914. Routledge. ISBN 1134540299. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b Carroll, Sue (2005). The Joy of Smoking: The Light-Hearted Look at Lighting Up. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 1782192417. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Chris Harrald; Fletcher Watkins (2013). The Cigarette Book: The History and Culture of Smoking. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 1628732415. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Goldman, Lawrence (2013). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2005–2008. Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0199671540. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  9. ^ United Kingdom Travel Guide - Tiki Travel. FB Editions. ISBN 9791021304451. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "The way the British smoke". BBC News. 29 June 2007.
  11. ^ "L&B LAMBERT & BUTLER ORIGINAL Trademark of Imperial Tobacco Limited - Registration Number 4570454 - Serial Number 79136314 :: Justia Trademarks". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  12. ^ Smith, Alex (21 May 2016). "Last pack of cigarettes made in England". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  13. ^ "BrandLambert and Butler - Cigarettes Pedia". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Lambert & Butler". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Brands". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Lambert & Butler King Size cigarettes now available in Glide Tec packs". 27 October 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  17. ^ Paul Baines; John Egan; Frank Jefkins (2007). Public Relations. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 1136370781. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  18. ^ "Imperial Tobacco broadens Lambert & Butler range with two additions". April 11, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  19. ^ "Two innovations for Imperial's Lambert & Butler". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  20. ^ Walker, Gaelle. "Imperial Tobacco introduces new L&B Blue cigarettes". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Lambert & Butler: leading cigarette brands in the UK 2013–2014 - TGI survey". Statista. Retrieved 18 January 2018.

External links[edit]