Mather & Platt had been trading in France via agencies (Sydney Potter is recorded as the company's General Agent in Paris in 1910) and by its own endeavours since the late 1800s but it was not until 1921 that a fully-fledged company was incorporated in France. Head Office was set up in Paris - 9, Avenue Bugeaud, 75116 PARIS. The Fire Engineering Division at Roubaix - Park Works, 59100 ROUBAIX in the north of France and the Food Machinery works at Quimper - Atelier de l'Eau Blanche, Route de Rosporden, 29000 QUIMPER, situated about 300 miles west of Paris, overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean. There was also a small workshop and stores in Marseilles.
Once launched, the company continued to trade successfully up to (and after) the Second World War. Its wartime experiences will be treated in a separate section at a later date. After the war business restructuring took place and life, trade and fortune took a turn for the better. The company's history was next punctuated by the global take-over by the Australian born, Wormald International, at which point its name was changed to M+P Wormald. After Tyco acquired Wormald in 1990, the prestigious Mather & Platt branding was retained and is now very much prized under the Tyco banner - and the company is still as vibrant and robust as ever it was.
Much of the history and the circumstances surrounding the operations of the French company may appropriately be left in the care of Marcel Boschi to relate through the pages containing the biography of his father, Ernest who served the company for over forty years, and for most of that time as Manager at the Park Works site in Roubaix.
Chairmen of the French Company
The first S.A. Mather & Platt Chairman - appointed when the company was incorporated - was Sir John Wormald. He served from December 1921 until September 1924. The early twenties were difficult years for industry - in France as much as in Britain. The post-war period brought with it a new set of challenges and a labour force, in both countries, ready for change. By this stage in his life John Wormald was 62 and approaching well-deserved retirement. He stepped down as Chairman in France when he turned 65 and was followed in September 1924 by Loris Emerson Mather, the son of the original Mather (Sir William) - co-founder of the 1899 public company in Britain. John Wormald died in 1933.
Loris Mather became Chairman of Mather & Platt Ltd. in Britain shortly before the end of World War 1. He became the longest serving British Chairman of the French company and, although he resigned in France in 1950, he remained as Chairman of the parent company and always kept an avuncular eye on France. He retired from company life in 1960 and enjoyed a busy retirement. He died in 1976.
From January 1950 - May 1955, Herbert North was the Chairman. He was followed by Eustace Balfour who was the son of the British politician. He was the last British-born President, Director-General of S.A. Mather & Platt in France. He was also a man who served the company for a long time - 22 years in all - from 1956 until 1978 when Wormald International acquired global control of Mather & Platt. At this time he was given early retirement - still a comparatively young man to face such a prospect, as were several others at that point. Eustace Balfour died in 2001.
The name of the company in France was very soon changed to Mather+Platt Wormald. The Wormald element stemmed, ironically, from two of Sir John Wormald's own brothers who had set up - with his guidance - a similar company in Australia during the first decade of the century. The venture was originally called Wormald Brothers, growing through the century into an international concern, boasting by 1987 a turnover of some Au$1.5 billion before it also found itself swallowed up in the maelstrom of 1980s corporate raiding.