A red, grained leather Concertina Despatch Case by Needs & Co.
The case is made with thick, leather covered boards to the top and bottom joined by leather concertina folded to the sides. This allows the case to expand to a depth to suit its contents. The lid is fitted with a lock that is stamped J. T. Needs, 100 New Bond St. and Late J. Bramah, 124 Piccadilly with a crown. The wallet to the inside of the lid is also stamped in gilt Needs & Co. Late Bramah, 100 New Bond Street. W. The owner's initials A.C.B. are stamped in gilt between the handle and eschuchteon.
The famous Bramah lock company was bought by Needs of 128 Piccadilly in 1871. By 1901 Needs had moved to 100 New Bond Street and in that year were themselves bought by the Whitfield Safe & Lock Company. Whitfield recognised the importance of the Bramah brand name which was added back onto their wares as Late Bramah before Bramah superseded the name Needs, which was removed. This information allows us to date the case to 1901 but thanks to the maker's pencil note of Nov. 1901, on the card underneath the leather, we can be even more accurate.
The back of Despatch Case is stamped in gold with 45 Portland Place, London, W. The Adam built Portland Place was one of London's most desirable addresses in the 19th century. Number 45 was the London residence of Henry Arthur Blyth and his family. Blyth, and his wider family, were owners of Gilbey wine merchants. The initals A.C.B. tie in with the Blyth family and the case presumably belonged to one of Henry's children. Although Henry died in January 1901 his widow was still living at the address in 1912. It is now the Kenya High Commission.
We have had 2 of these cases in green leather before, both marked with the same address details. Both were an inch longer and 2 deeper than this version. These cases are sprung to self-lock and we have had a key made to make it useable. They are a great design and the red leather adds to its attraction. Dated November 1901.
Size empty is given.