The Simpson shaving brush company has a great deal of the history for their iconic brush brand, including exhibiting at the British Industrial Fair.

I’ve posted previously on the timeline of the Simpson history, but recently discovered in my files the picture below. ‘A. Simpson Manufacturers of Shaving Brushes’ was clearly the exhibitor, but what was B.I.F. London 1934.

A Simpson Exhibition B.I.F. 1934

I’d not heard of the B.I.F. previously so this picture didn’t have any context for me – but the internet came to the rescue!

The B.I.F. started in 1915, but clearly grew rapidly, such that by 1934 it was being described as ‘the world’s largest national trade fair and is attended by buyers from all parts of the world’  with the exhibitors ‘numbered in thousands’ and covering ‘almost the entire range of British manufactures’.

The Royal Family seemed very committed to supporting the B.I.F. with that same report indicating ‘Her Majesty the Queen [Queen Mary, not the current Queen] has not missed a single Fair. Indeed, during the last four years she has paid repeated visits to each Fair.’  She was even captured on film doing so in 1934.


In 1934 when the picture was taken of the exhibition by  A Simpson of 53 High Street, Clapham, London, SW4, they were one of 1,534 exhibitors in London, with the exhibition covering 480,015 square feet, just over 11 acres.

A Simpson, of 53 High Street, Clapham, London, SW4, also exhibited in, at least, 1929, and again in 1947 after having moved to Nimmer Mills, Chard, Somerset. Details as follows:

  • 1929 Listed Exhibitor – British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Superfine Badger Shaving Brushes, including the “Bajer” brand (Trade Mark Registered), in ivory, bone, horn, vulcanite, non-split, etc. (Stand No. PO.17) [1]
  • 1947 Listed Exhibitor – British Industries Fair. Manufacturer of Superfine Badger Shaving Brushes in Ivory, Horn, Non-split, etc. Proprietors of the “Bajer” and “Simie” Brands, “Alexsim,” “Simbal” and “Wee-Scot” Brands (Trade Marks Registered). Home and Abroad. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1265) [2]

While all of this is interesting, what I simply cannot get over is all those brushes!

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