Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 27, 2019
Webpage updated: September 27, 2019




Those who suspect that the Plymouth business house of Messrs KenRoy Thompson Limited, or the House of KenRoy Limited, was founded by Mr Kenneth and Mr Roy Thompson are totally incorrect.  It was, in fact, a combination of two businesses.

The older of the two business was Messrs Thompson's, printers and stationers, which was founded by Mr Frank Robert Thompson.  He was the first child of Mr Robert Thompson, a labourer in the Royal Naval Hospital at East Stonehouse, and his wife, formerly Miss Henrietta D Miners.  Robert was born in East Stonehouse in 1872.

At the time of the census in 1891, Frank was a merchant's clerk, as was his younger brother, William Henry Thompson, and the family had moved from Clarence Place, right outside the Hospital, in 1871 to number 14 Radford Road, West Hoe.

Mr Frank Robert Thompson married Miss Harriett Georgina Edmunds at Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Monday May 25th 1896.

At the time of the 1901 census, In 1901 29-years-old Frank was the manager of a printing and stationery works and lived at number 19 Egerton Road, Plymouth.  It is not known which local business house he worked for.  Their first child, daughter Muriel Georgina Edwards Thompson, was just 9 months old.

The first mention of Mr F R Thompson as a printer and stationer in his own right was in 1905.  His business was then located at number 31 Old Town Street, an address shared with the Wiltshire Bacon Company.

Between then and 1910/11 the business, now at number 23 Old Town Street, was appointed as the local Ordnance Survey Map Depot.

Sometime between 1926 and 1930 the business was moved to number 16 Tavistock Road, just two doors from the Harvest Home Public House on the corner of Pound Street.

Mr Thompson retired from business life in about 1935 but the business continued in his name.

Frank Thompson's premises at 16 Tavistock Road, Plymouth, 1957.  The Harvest Home Public House is on the extreme right of the picture.

Frank Thompson's premises at 16 Tavistock Road, Plymouth, 1957. 
The Harvest Home Public House is on the extreme right of the picture.
  City of Plymouth Museum & Art Gallery.

Mr Frank Robert Thompson died suddenly at breakfast on Sunday June 16th 1940 at his home, "Port Georgia", Yelverton, Devon.  He was 68.

The funeral service took place on June 19th 1940 at Horrabridge Wesley Methodist Chapel and he was buried at Efford Cemetery.  He was survived by his widow, his daughter Muriel and son-in-law, Harold J Partridge.

It is not known who took over the business and whether that was from his retirement or from his death.  A Mr N G Eade, sales manager, attended the funeral and flowers were sent by a Mr and Mrs Topp and the staff so it is assumed they were the new owners.


The House of KenRoy Limited was founded in the late 1940s by two brothers, Mr Roydon Benjamin Coe and Mr Kenneth Frank Coe.

By 1953 they were at 49 Ebrington Street, where they were listed as commercial stationers, printers, paper merchants, rubber stamp manufacturers, fountain pen dealers, account book manufacturers, poster and ticket writers, stationers and office equipment dealers.

Mr Roydon Benjamin Coe, who was born in Bristol in 1918, married Miss Eileen Garland Midgley at Emmanuel Church, Mannamead, Plymouth, on June 10th 1957.


The two businesses were merged as Messrs KenRoy Thompson Limited during June 1964, when the Coe brothers were joined on the board of directors by Mr Reginald E Rose of Thompsons.  As Thompson's premises at Tavistock Road were to be demolished, the new Company set up in more modern premises at 25 Cobourg Street.  However, the printing side of the business remained entirely in the hands of the Coe brothers.

Mr Roydon Benjamin Coe died at 18 Hartley Park Gardens on Sunday November 30th 1975.  He was the joint managing director of both The House of KenRoy and KenRoy Thompson Ltd.  He had been well known in the City as business manager and chairman of the Boy Scout Gang Show Committee in Plymouth and was responsible for taking their annual shows into the New Palace Theatre.  In 1974 he was awarded the MBE for for his work on microfilm development for the Ordnance Survey.  He was survived by his widow, Eileen, and two children, Alison and Richard.  The funeral took place at Emmanuel Church on Thursday December 4th 1975 and was followed by a private cremation at Efford Cemetery.

Mr Kenneth Frank Coe died at Greenbank Hospital on January 28th 1977.  He was just 56 years of age.  As well as being a good golfer he was a keen tennis player and from his home at number 2 Torr Road, Hartley, he organised the Plymouth Open Tennis Tournament for 14 years prior to his death.  He had two daughters, Sandra and Annette, the latter being the Plymouth-born tennis star.

It is not yet known what became of Mr Reginald E Rose.  The business continued at the same address, 25 Cobourg Street, where it was managed by Mrs Debbie Fuge but its poor location brought about its sudden closure.