Week 21 2024

Advertising Chair

This beautifully crafted original wooden chair has the enamel advertising sign of Watson’s Matchless Cleanser fitted in the chair back.

Founded in 1830 by Joseph Watson, the Leeds firm moved in 1861 to a site west of the Canal Basin, between Whitehall Road and the river. This was one of the largest soap works in England, employing around 750 people, and manufacturing six hundred tons of soap a week in 1893. They made brands such as ‘Watson’s Matchless Cleanser’, and ‘Venus Soap’ and the firm was known as ‘Soapy Joe’s’.
Watson’s was sold to Lever’s in 1917, and became Elida Gibbs in 1971, although it was still known as ‘Soapy Joe’s’. It closed in 1987, when the company moved to a new site at Seacroft.