Catomance Processing Company Limited began 2 July 1936 aiming to develop a new chemical process for waterproofing textiles. Influenced by the provision of incentives attracting manufacturing businesses to WGC the company took a single-bay factory unit at 94 Bridge Road East. The name arose from a combination of two others: Blancato (inventor of the original waterproofing process) and Hermance, who became a company shareholder. The company objective was to commercially develop the chemical waterproofing process and process textiles. By 1938 it was decided to concentrate on manufacturing waterproofing chemicals and sell them to textile processing companies. It ceased processing textiles and, on 7th June 1938, changed its name to Catomance Limited. Catomance operated during WWII developing waterproofing products specifically for the requirements of Ministry of Aircraft production. One product waterproofed fabrics covering aircraft dispersed around the perimeters of airbases to evade enemy bombers. At this time Catomance’s products were sold under the brand name MYSTOLENE, which remains a Registered Trade Mark. In 1940 the company began developing a range of products to preserve textiles. Branded as MYSTOX they included products also meeting the wartime requirements of the Ministry of Defence. Mystox products were used by MoD’s textile suppliers to protect cotton mosquito nets from rotting in the tropics and stop hessian sandbags rotting when filled with wet sand. Catomance obtained a second factory unit at 92 Bridge Road East in 1945. 1947 saw attempts at direct exports to widen the company's sales base and compensate for lost war business. By 1952 more space was needed so a unit was acquired at 37 Broadwater Road. In 1954 factory units at 88 and 90 Bridge Road East became available when Murphy Radio relocated. These were acquired to further develop Mystox textile preservative products. In 1960 Catomance acquired 96 Bridge Road East to build new lab facilities - occupying 88-96 Bridge Road East. Its 25th anniversary in 1961 was celebrated with a staff lunch party, attended by 75 employees, at the newly developed premises. In 2010, Catomance Technologies Ltd was acquired by Murphy & Son Ltd, a long-established company based in Nottingham with interests in the supply of chemicals and other ancillary products to the brewing industry. Our thanks to John Hayes who kindly sent us a brief history of the company and a collection of images - thanks also to Alistair Ingleby for additional information.

Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - cover page of Memorandum & Articles of Association registered 2nd July 1936. The company had the objective of developing a new chemical process for waterproofing textiles. Located in a single-bay factory unit at 94 Bridge Road East, the decision to locate to Welwyn Garden City was influenced by the provision of incentives attracting manufacturing businesses to the town. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance factory interior. Image from Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - factory at 37 Broadwater Road - photo 1950s. By 1952, more space was needed so the company acquired this unit in Broadwater Road. As well as production facilities, this housed new laboratories for technical staff. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - manufacturing plant - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - manufacturing plant - photo dated 1950s. The original aim of the company had been to commercially develop the chemical waterproofing process and process textiles at its factory in WGC. But by 1938 the had company decided to concentrate on the manufacture of waterproofing chemicals and sell these to textile processing companies. Image donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - product ready for dispatch (note Catomance lorry in background) - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - delivery vehicle - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd

Catomance Processing Company Limited - Arthur Lloyd (seated) Catomance’s first microbiologist in laboratory at 37 Broadwater Road - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.

Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Grace (Sadie) Scott in laboratory, 37 Broadwater Road -testing waterproof fabric sample - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Freddy Read in laboratory, 37 Broadwater Road - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd

Catomance Processing Company Limited - Trade advertisement celebrating the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. The expedition’s tents and clothing were all waterproofed using Catomance’s products. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.

Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Dr Eric Higgins in laboratory at 37 Broadwater Road - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd

Catomance Processing Company Limited - outside 37 Broadwater Road - Gordon Whiston furthest left and Dr Eric Higgins 4th from left - photo dated 1950s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.

Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - factory at 94 Bridge Road East - photo dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - 25th Anniversary Lunch in 1961. Pictured from left to right are Mr A E Read, executive director, Mr G W Whiston, managing director, Mr G Proctor, chairman, Mr I Campbell, director & Mr C Van Reis, Swedish agent. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Freddy Read (left) receiving 25 year service award from George Proctor (1961). Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Gordon Whiston in his office 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Gordon Whiston carving turkey for staff Christmas lunch (1960s). Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - staff outing - a boat trip on the River Thames near Windsor dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Jimmy Haywood at a trade exhibition (1960s). Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Mystolene leaflet dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Mystolene leaflet dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Mystox mothproofing leaflet dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Mystox leaflet dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - Mystox rotproofing leaflet dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Catomance Ltd
Catomance Processing Company Limited - delivery vehicle - photo dated 1960s. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by John H as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
 
 
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