Artifact of the Week: Yardley’s Lavendomeal – The Perfect Bath Luxury

By Hope Harwood

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The artifact chosen for this week is an old wooden container with a simple white label on the front. The label is for the company Yardley which was founded and is still currently based in England. The original business was established in London in 1770 by the Cleaver family.

Just over 30 years later in 1801 a wealthy and ambitious man, by the name of William Yardley arranged for his daughter to marry William Cleaver, the heir to the business. That same year, William Cleaver took out a large business loan. When he could not repay the money in time; the guarantor, William Yardley took over the debt, and the business. With this, the newly named Yardley company sold soaps, perfumes, hair pomades and many other toiletries.

In 1841, the company changed its name to Yardley and Statham. They changed their name again in 1884 to Yardley & Co. Ltd. By 1905 Yardley’s ended up becoming the world’s leading soap and perfumery house. Five years later, their first store was opened on Bond Street in London.

The Yardley company opened a branch in the United States in 1921, and continued to be a popular brand. So popular that they have received many royal appointments from the British Royal Family. For example, in 1955 Queen Elizabeth II appointed them as her soap manufacturer.

The box we have at Hillary House most likely held bath salts and soaps. Maybe the Hillary’s were a big fan of this English company too!