SPERATI, WESTCOMBE HILL
By Jo Hadland
Cornelio Ambrosio Sperati founded the button wholesale business which stands on Westcombe Hill and was one of the oldest enterprises of the area.
The company was founded in 1856 when Cornelio recognised the importance of imported Italian silks and trimmings to the burgeoning textile industry in England. His base was Tooley Street and then Milk Street before, in 1961, the company moved to Westcombe Park to beat rising costs in central London. Managing Director, John Atkinson, has been with the company for 35 years and remembers Westcombe Hill before the motorway was built, with its clusters of shops.
The stock in trade of Sperati’s has not changed much for 100 years -they still sell buttons, sewing thread and trimmings, mostly to British manufacturers, the armed forces and the police. The firm is one of the main six button wholesalers in England and employs nine people.
(reproduced with kind permission of the Westcombe News)