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Austere changes (1926 - 1943)

Earlier in 1926, Great Britain had seen the beginning of the General Strike, during which Miners, Railwaymen, Transport Workers, Iron and Steel workers, Newspapers and many more trades ceased to function effectively. Plunging the whole country into chaos, unsurprisingly the strike had a very negative impact on business of all kinds.
Things got even worse in October 1929 with the collapse of Wall Street in the USA, which affected every industrialised nation in the world, and set about the Great Depression, seeing the highest ever levels of unemployment in the UK.

As one may expect during severely austere times, music was considered a luxury, and so Francis Hider’s Hidersine Company faced difficult times with many firms failing to pay their bills. Additional to this were the introduction of ‘talkie’ films, and the subsequent demise of a great many cinema orchestras and their rosin-using musicians.

Even Francis’ younger brother Albert - who had been a pioneer in the gramophone record industry and was credited for introducing the first sound-proof cubicles for personal, in-store listening – was also forced to close his previously flourishing music trade business in Earls Court.

The Metropolitan Academy of Music, where Winifred Hider had learnt so much and given so much to, also felt the financial pressure and had to close its doors. Likewise, The Hidersine Company experienced such financial pressure that very quickly, all members of staff were ‘let go’, leaving only Fred Thierauf running the much diminished operation.

Francis had been a wise investor over the years however, having most of his money invested in the shares of a successful oil company based in Mexico. This money, he planned, would be used in case the Hidersine Company ever needed a helping hand. However, just as his investment capital was about to be released, political unrest in Mexico forced the drilling company to flee the country, leaving all its equipment behind, and all of its investors in financial ruin. The Hidersine Company’s financial bail-out had failed.

Despite his very best efforts during the following few years, Francis – now in his mid-60s – could not find an investor willing to take shares in the Hidersine Company, and neither could he find a bank willing to lend money to a business – like so many others - in decline.

Robert-R-Hirt-CompanySo, in November 1932 - just a few months after the birth of Francis’ and Winifred’s first son, Francis Archibald – it was agreed that The Hidersine Company would be sold to Mr Robert Hirt and Charles Robert Bethell – businessmen based in Croydon who sold banjo and drum head vellums and musical instrument strings. (Robert Hirt Logo) The company was renamed as ‘The Hidersine Company Ltd’, and the ever-loyal Fred Thieruaf was kept on as manager. Now with a new lease of life, new ownership and improving national finance, The Hidersine Company Ltd enjoyed 10 years of rejuvenated growth and expansion, resulting in the eventual necessary move of rosin production from Barking to Croydon in 1942.

Francis Hider was 69 years of age when he sold The Hidersine Company, and he spent the next few years employed as a dispensing pharmacist.

On February 6th 1943, during periods of heavy aerial bombardment by the German air force, Francis celebrated his 80th birthday with his wife Winifred, first-born son Francis Archibald and second-born son David Claringbould (Claringbould being a Hider family name dating from the 1740s). Now into his 81st year, Francis senior had lost nearly all his energy with doctors diagnosing failing kidney function.

On Easter Sunday, April 25th 1943, Mr Francis Hider passed away at home, peacefully in his wife’s arms with both sons by his side.

(End of abridged memoirs)

The Hidersine Company, United Kingdom
C/o Barnes & Mullins Ltd, Grays Inn House, Unit 14, Mile Oak Industrial Estate, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8GA