Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 15, 2019
Webpage updated: September 15, 2019




Messrs Fox, Roy and Company Ltd, general merchants, were located at Prudential Buildings, Bedford Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War and at "Hillside", Courtfield Road, Mannamead, Plymouth, thereafter.

Mr Charles Alfred Fox was born at Kingsbridge, Devon, in 1848.  He was the youngest of the thirteen children born to Mr George Fox and his wife Rachael.  His father was a banker in Kingsbridge and his uncles ran banks in Plymouth and Devonport.  These amalgamated to form the Devon and Cornwall Banking Company.

Young Charles commenced his working life with Messrs J H Fox and Company, in London, who were underwriters at Lloyd's.  In 1870 he moved to Plymouth and the following year started out as a merchant.

In April 1873 he entered into partnership with Mr David Roy and formed Messrs Fox, Roy and Company.  Their office was in the Western Morning News Chambers in George Street, Plymouth.

Mr David Roy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1843 and had been educated at Madras College, Saint Andrew, Fifeshire.

In 1874 Mr Charles Alfred Fox married Miss Gulielma Maria Richardson, the daughter of Mr Edward Richardson, of Sunderland and Torquay and later that same year Mr David Roy married Miss Ann Osborn in Camberwell, London.

At the time of the census in 1891 the Fox family were living at Widey Court, in the parish of Eggbuckland, and the Roy family were living at number 6 Holyrood Place, The Hoe, Plymouth.  Both had the usual complement of household servants.

By this time branches of the business had been established in London, Liverpool and Bristol.

Mr David Roy died at around 6am on Wednesday April 22nds 1903.  He was living at number 5 Windsor Villas, Lockyer Street, Plymouth, at that time and had been ill since Christmas 1902.  He was survived by his widow, three sons (David Osborn Roy, Francis Lister Roy and James Stanley Roy, all of whom were known by their second names) and one daughter, Miss Annie Osborn Roy.

The business continued and in 1913 was turned into a limited liability company, with Mr Charles Alfred Fox as chairman.

Mr Charles Alfred Fox, of Battisborough House, Membland, near Plymouth, died at a Plymouth nursing home (probably Crownhill Convalescent Home, which he helped to found in 1884) on Saturday May 18th 1929, following an operation for appendicitis.  He was survived by his widow and six children (N C Fox*, Harold Richardson Fox, Edward Bonvile Fox, Miss Violet Marion Fox, Mrs Maude Grace Richardson, and Mrs Ethel Gladys Bruce Fox).

He never took part in the public life of the Town and was described as having 'a reserved disposition and rather austere in manner' but he always kind and considerate to his staff, especially in times of sickness and trouble.

The business continued after the Second World War, when its main office was at Courtfield Road, Mannamead, and the insurance office was at 24 Lockyer Street.  They were listed as general merchants, exporters and importers of fertilizers, feeding stuffs, raw materials, chemicals, etc, and insurance brokers.

When Mr Charles Alfred Fox died in 1929 his son, Mr Charles Reginald Fox, became chairman.  In addition to running the business, he was also a board member of the Plymouth and South Devon Savings Bank, which he had joined back in 1906 when the Bank's funds were just 431,000.  He was chairman of the Bank between 1944 and 1956, his fiftieth year with them.  By then the funds had risen to 7,500,000.  He was one of the founder members of the Plymouth Rotary Club and during his lifetime served as a trustee of the YWCA and the Durnford Street Nursing Home, was deputy chairman of the Cattewater Commissioners, a local director of the Royal Exchange Assurance Company, and on the executive council of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Charles Alfred Fox died at his home, 15 Thorn Park, Mannamead, Plymouth, on Monday August 27th 1962 at the age of 85 years.

Although he was a widower, it would appear that he had no children and thus it is assumed that this is when the business ceased trading.

* This Mr N C Fox is quoted in the source article but has not been traced.  The eldest son was Mr Charles Reginald Fox, born in 1877, and it is assumed this is who the article is referring to.  He was assisting his father in 1901 and was running the business at Mannamead in 1955.