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The Shakespeare Family History Site

A Brief History of

The Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Company



Aerial view of the Allcock Redditch
Works, circa 1949

  "AS YOU LIKE IT" the well known play written by the English bard, William Shakespeare, renowned worldwide for his literary works.

Three hundred years later in 1897 an American development engineer by the same name commenced the manufacture of fishing reels in the USA. When William Shakespeare Jnr. held the first reel in his hand he could not have foreseen the corporate empire it would create a century later. But men of innovation are often men of vision. His brand was to become recognised as the most famous and well known in the industry worldwide.
It was in 1965 that the American Shakespeare business acquired the interests of Topp Tackle which comprised the former Allcocks and Youngs manufacturing operations. Located in Redditch, S Allcock and Co Ltd, whose origins go back as far as 1880, had made an undisputed claim to be the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of fishing tackle. The town has long since been regarded as the centre of the British fishing tackle industry. Business flourished and the product range steadily expanded.

The Allcock Premises
in the 19th Century

Through the sixties and seventies progressive expansion saw the establishment of the Company's own operations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands and UK.


See also the History of the Company in the USA


Thanks to the worldwide success of the Fishing Tackle Company it is difficult to walk past a fishing tackle shop or along a river bank without seeing the famous surname.

The town of Redditch, Worcs., was the centre of the needle making history, which also included the manufacture of fishing hooks - hence the establishment of a number of leading fishing tackle firms in the town.

For those in England it might be presumed that the company, being based in Redditch, very near to the Warwickshire border, has its' roots in that county. However, reading the story of the companies origins in the USA before its' acquisition of an English company, it might be thought that the origin of the companies name lies strictly in the USA - there is a strange twist to this! William Shakespeare, the companies founder, was the son of William Henry Shakespeare, who was the son of John Lindsay Shakespeare. This is where the Warwickshire connection comes in, for John Lindsay Shakespeare was a descendant of one of the two brothers, children of John Shakespeare and Jane Whitehead of Coventry, who were transported to the USA for an, as yet, undetermined crime.

May 2004

Information reproduced from the website of the Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Company, with kind permission of Roxanne Coleman, Marketing Services Manager