It is a measure of the dominance of West Smithfield as a centre for the meat trade of London in the 19th century and earlier, that this small area could support several businesses belonging to the butchers' cutlers and scalemakers.
Thomas Williams, butchers' cutler, was a long established family business; a somewhat ragged copy of his 1905 catalogue states that it was established in 1765 "in Old Smithfield Cattle Market," Their trademark was a churchwarden's pipe, and on 8th March 1877, when Thomas Johnson Williams I (c.1812 - 1899) registered the trademark in accordance with the Trade Marks Registration Act of 1875, he declared that the mark had been used "By applicant and predecessors about 71 years before 26th January 1877."
It would appear that the Williams business was established by a William Williams at No. 7 West Smithfield. It was continued by his son Thomas, grandson Ebenezer (1788 - 1838), great grandson Thomas Johnson Williams I (c1812 - 1899), and great great grandson Thomas Johnson Williams II (1852 - 1918). During its lifetime, the Williams business was situated in several addresses in West Smithfield, the last one being No. 8, which they occupied from 1882, actually next door to Herberts, who were then at No. 7!
It is interesting to note that the Williams business seems to have been twice beset by financial problems, when Herberts made unsuccessful attempts to rescue it, the first in 1889, and the second in 1923.
Contributed by Jenny Hutchinson