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'Ticker' Riley 11-02-15 10:34 PM

Location of J. R. Gaunt & Son on Beaver Hall Hill
As well as all the excellent Montreal trade directories on the website of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec there are many interesting maps and plans. One in particular, a Fire Insurance Plan of the City of Montreal by Charles Edward Goad, from 1918, has helped me to confidently identify the location of the two addresses that J. R. Gaunt & Son (Canada) Limited occupied on Beaver Hall Hill. Below is a low-resolution section of Sheet No. 21 of this volume of plans, showing part of Beaver Hall Hill, whilst the full size version may be accessed via the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec site here.

As noted in my previous posting, J. R. Gaunt (Canada) Ltd’s first premises on Beaver Hall Hill was Nos 63-65, which would have been the third property down on the right-hand side, and which I have marked with a ‘1’. The plan actually gives these numbers adjacent to this, but they have been crossed out and next to them are written Nos 315-321, which fits with the change in street numbering recorded between the trade directories of 1915-16 and 1916-17 and that I’ve already mentioned.

Gaunt’s second location on the Hill, after moving to 358 St Catherine West for a time, again something I talked about in my last posting, seems to have been right next door to their first one, and so was the fourth down on the right-hand side, which I have marked with a ‘2’. The new numbers given here are 307-313, with the original number that is struck through being No. 61. By the time Gaunt moved here, of course, the second re-numbering had taken place, and so their address was No. 1127.

In case anyone is wondering, I believe that the blue colour is used to denote a stone construction (or sometimes concrete) and the pinky-red is apparently brick. Both the properties in question are also marked with an “S”, and although I can’t be sure exactly what this means I did wonder if it stood for ‘shop’ or ‘store’? Anyway, the site of this whole group of buildings on the right-hand side of Beaver Hall Hill/Côte du Beaver Hall is now occupied by a large tower block, numbered 500 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest. This is the street that runs across the top of the Hill, and which was formerly called Dorchester West (part of this name appearing at the top of the above section).

There is still a little more I can offer derived from the trade directories, which I’ll try and get together over the next few days, though which I might not get ’round to putting up until the weekend. So until then ...

Best regards


Bill A 12-02-15 12:54 AM

Fantastic research Martin. One question, even if Gaunt had the store fronts at this address, that does not preclude the rental or ownership of another address that was a manufacturing location.

jim a 12-02-15 11:54 AM

You'd think that after all these years in operation there would be some company photo's or personal photos of someone manufacturing badges in the plant if that was the case... or photo's showing the equipment that was there...kind of like actually seeing the cap badges in a photo...

altcar73 12-02-15 01:27 PM


Thank you for your very comprehensive research. At the risk of repeating myself, I was always reasonably certain that metal insignia was never manufactured in Canada by J.R.Gaunt. Your very informative postings have confirmed my thoughts beyond reasonable doubt. Very many thanks.


'Ticker' Riley 12-02-15 08:26 PM

J. R. Gaunt & Son’s badge making in Canada?
Hello Bill

Good to hear you think my research has been worthwhile, and I do take your point about the possibility that Gaunts could have had a manufacturing site elsewhere. In fact in my second posting to this thread I did say “Maybe there was badge manufacture by Gaunt in Canada, and if so perhaps this was somewhere else?” I know you said in your posting, after consulting a couple of knowledgeable collectors over there, that there was a belief dies could have been shipped over from England and then badges struck by a sub-contracted in Canada. However, so far I am not personally seeing any obvious evidence for this. As we have already acknowledged more research needs to be done on things, perhaps by someone in Montreal but also at Birmingham Archives. Sadly I am not in a position to do this myself, but maybe there is somebody out there who is?

Best regards


'Ticker' Riley 12-02-15 08:29 PM

J. R. Gaunt & Son (Canada) Ltd Research
Hi Dave

I’m pleased to know you’ve found my investigations of interest, and that they are helping to reinforce your views on matters. At present I am incline to agree with you and I personally doubt that Gaunts ever actually made badges in Canada, and they merely imported items bearing the Montreal mark specifically for the Canadian market. Though, as you will see from my reply to Bill above, I would be happy to accept the idea that they did make badges in Canada if there was some kind of evidence to support this. Research in Montreal, and possibly more importantly in Birmingham’s Archives and the records Julian says are there about the Canadian business, should settle things. Jim raises a good point about photographic evidence, but in all fairness to the opposing view, I can’t say I’ve seen pictures of badge production from Gaunt’s factory in England (though if anyone does have any photos, or knows of any, I’d appreciate hearing about it?). Anyway, as I’ve said before there’s a little more to come, which I will try and post up as soon as I can.

Best regards


magpie 12-02-15 08:36 PM

Private Photos may be near impossible to find as they may have had rules for which you could be sacked, one being bringing a camera to work and taking pictures.

Bill A 12-02-15 10:40 PM

Thanks to all who have contributed to the thread. It is educational and informative. This is the best the Forum can hope to achieve.
Jim, a couple of years ago I spent considerable time searching for photos of Scully's operations and a couple of other First World War era makers (Ellis, Inglis, and Hemsly iirc) to no avail. As Andy says there may have been issues with taking pictures, and in the era under consideration small personal cameras were just coming into general use.
Some clarification, as my interest is in Canadian badges my focus has been on that angle. There is no doubt that the Gaunt outlet in Montreal did not make badges during the Second World War and back into the inter-war years. The time period in my considerations is the pre-FWW and immediately post war era. Question, did Gaunt put plates on the badges distributed in India that read Gaunt Bombay, or similarly Gaunt Melbourne?

'Ticker' Riley 14-02-15 09:59 PM

J. R. Gaunt & Son, Birmingham, London, New York, Montreal, Melbourne, Bombay & Berlin
Hello Bill

You ask a pertinent question in relation to Gaunt’s operations in Melbourne and Bombay, but I’m afraid that my personal collecting experience does not allow me to answer this. I understand, however, that there were items marked “J. R. Gaunt New York” and “J. R. Gaunt New York Made in England”, and there was even a badge posted to the Forum a couple of years ago marked “J. R. Gaunt Berlin”!

I can see where you are coming from on this, in as much as if we are talking solely about badges that are imported it would be reasonable to expect similar marking to have been used in the cases of Melbourne and Bombay as well. This, of course, brings us back to the whole premise of the belief that badges were actually made in Canada because they were specifically marked “Montreal”; with those marked “Montreal Made in England” being the imported ones and differenced as such by this mark from those with just “Montreal”.

Though could there be another reason for the two kinds of Montreal marks? Is there any kind of chronological difference evident in how the marks were used? In other words, do badges with one mark date from a certain period, whilst those with the other mark date to later or earlier? I’m wondering here if Gaunts were perhaps forced to add “Made in England” by the Canadian authorities because they were imported goods, and that marking them just “Montreal” wasn’t enough? Otherwise could the reverse be the true, and that they marked the earlier badges that were imported as being “Made in England” but then found out that they could get away with just putting “Montreal”??

Obviously all of the above is pure speculation on my part, but so far I’m still waiting to see anything that indicates the different marks ‘prove’ that J. R. Gaunt & Son made badges in Canada, rather than merely imported them. The two sources I’ve quoted of Mr Gaunt’s 1994 article and the 1985 Company letter, as well as the information I’ve uncovered from the trade directories, only points to the Montreal based company being an outlet. Maybe they did produce badges in Canada, or had them made in their name, or maybe they didn’t and everything was imported. I would think that the records in Birmingham Archives should help establish things one way or the other, or at least give a hint if any manufacturing did take place in Canada, so here’s hoping someone can take a look?

On the subject of photos, yes Andy makes a very good point that it might well be the case workers weren’t allowed to take pictures of the factory, and as you also observe the use of personal cameras may not have been widespread enough at the time anyway. Still there could, conceivably, be some kind of official photographs out there, but, like I said, at present I am not personally aware of any.

Best regards


'Ticker' Riley 22-02-15 06:59 PM

J. R. Gaunt & Son Addresses in Montreal, 1908-1984
To recap on my previous postings about J. R. Gaunt & Son in Montreal, they first appear in Lovell’s Montreal Directory For 1908--1909 at Room 104 Lindsey Building, 518 St Catherine West, but in the following year they have moved to the first of their two Beaver Hall Hill addresses, this being 63-65 Beaver Hall Hill. Around 1916 the street was renumbered, and Nos 63-65 look to have become Nos 315-321; nevertheless the Company would remain here until in the 1923-24 Directory we find them at 358 St Catherine West. The move to St Catherine West would be short lived, as, according to the alphabetical section of the Directory for 1926-27, Gaunts have returned to Beaver Hall Hill, only now to No. 313 (originally No. 61), which is apparently right next door to their previous address there. Then the 1927-28 Directory shows another re-numbering, changing Nos 307-313 to Nos 1127[-1129].

Moving things forward a little, J. R. Gaunt & Son (Canada) Ltd continued to be at this second Beaver Hall Hill location until Lovell’s Montreal Directory for 1935-1936, when the streets section has a blank entry next to 1127 Beaver Hall Hill. Instead the Firm are shown at 616 Lagauchetiere West, though in the alphabetic section of the same Directory they are given as still being at “1127 Beaver Hall Hill”. In the one for the following year, 1936-37, however, the alphabetical listing also has “616 Lagauchetiere W”, along with noting that “G. F. Fowler” is the “mgr” [manager].

This is obviously the “Mr Fowler” that John Richard Gaunt talked about in his 1994 Button Lines article on the company history, and who apparently bought the Canadian branch after the death of Charles Frederick Gaunt in 1939. This also fits with the fact that from the 1942 Directory onwards it has “mgr dir” [manager & director] after Mr Fowler’s name. This description, and address listing, continues up to Lovell’s Montreal Directory 1956, Vol. 114, where the format changes somewhat and in the alphabetic section we have J. R. Gaunt & Son (Can) Ltd, “Regalia Mfrs”, still at “616 Lagauch W”, but with G. F. Fowler listed as “pres” [president], alongside “J. R. Gaunt” as “v-pres” [vice-president] and a “Joyce Williams” as “sec-treas” [secretary-treasurer].

The Directory for the next year, 1957, clarifies that the vice-president, “J. R. Gaunt”, is “John R. Gaunt”, meaning that the ties between the old firm back in England and the Canadian business had not, in fact, been complexly broken after Charles’ death in 1939. 1960 Directory has “Joan Rutyn” as the “sec-treas”, though in that of 1961 this has been corrected to “Joan Kutyn”. The alphabetic listing stays like this until the Directory for 1965-66, when they are given as being at “rm 1 616 Lagauch W”, with only “Geo. F. Fowler” shown, though he is still down as “pres”. In that of 1966-67 he is given as “Geo. E. Fowler”, which is how this remains from here on, and in the 1967-68 Directory their address is referred to as “apt 1 616 Lagauch W”, whilst in the Directory of 1968-69 it has “1st fl 616 Lagauch W”.

The following years have minor differences, such as in the 1969-70 Directory Mr Fowler is again noted as “mgr dir”, and in the 1970-71 one his name doesn’t appear but instead we have “Z Kutyn” [probably a mistake for J Kutyn] as “sec-treas”. When we get to Lovell’s Montreal City Directory / Annuaire Montréalais 1971-72, Vol. 129, J. R. Gaunt & Son (Canada) Co. Ltd have a larger entry, stating that they are “Manufacturers of Uniform Equipment for the Army - Navy & Air Force” as well as “Police & Fire Departments - Railways - Bands etc.”, along with doing “Miniature Medals Decorations Silverware”. “Geo. E. Fowler” is down as “Pres & Mng Director”, “J. R.Gaunt” as “Vice-Pres”, and “Joan Kutyn” as “Sec-Treas”, again all still at “616 Lagauchetiere W”.

The 1972-73 Directory entry is much the same, except there have at last been some significant changes, inasmuch as Mr Fowler is only down as “Pres” and we now have a “R. J. Nicholls” as “Mgr Dirctor”, and more so a “L. Boileau” as “Vice-Pres”, in the stead of John Richard Gaunt; though “Joan Kutyn” is still “Sec-Treas”. A year later, in the Directory of 1973-74, the Company, with the same officers, has moved, after some 36 years at 616 Lagauchetiere West, and their new address is “594 Place Trans Canada Longueuil J4G 1P1”. After this things are more difficult to trace, but it seems that J. R. Gaunt & Son (Canada) Ltd were still at 594 Trans Canada Place in the 1984 Banlieues de Montréal / Montreal Suburban “Criss-Cross” L’annuaire Rue-Adresse / Street-Address Directory, but not in the equivalent one for 1985-86; which would seem to tie in with what Bill said about them being bought by Scullys around 1984.

Well, this is about as far as I can personally go with the different addresses for J. R. Gaunt & Son in Canada. Hopefully the above, and my previous postings, will be of use to someone who could perhaps investigate the Company further, either in Montreal or at Birmingham’s Archives? At least what I have discovered has helped to shed a little more light on the Firm’s history in Canada, even if it sadly hasn’t given us an absolute answer to the question of whether they made badges on that side of the Atlantic or not.

Best regards


Bill A 03-06-15 01:00 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Another ad has come to light. It was in the Militia List of Canada, January 1925.
Note the wording. Unfortunately not conclusive again.

Warstone 05-06-15 06:44 AM

Nothing posted so far leads me to believe anything was manufactured in Canada. After J R Gaunt retired in 1973 the family connection was broken but J R Gaunt & Son (Birmingham Mint era) continued to supply the Canadian outlet.

Has anyone looked at the shareholding for J R Gaunt (Canada) or J R Gaunt Inc. Were they independent companies or wholly owned subsidiaries to circumvent local procurement issues.

I would point out that the London office manufactured nothing. However it ASSEMBLED items to order, from component parts supplied from Birmingham. Most of the staff were female (based on various photographs), which indicates there was no heavy machinery. It is reasonable to suppose Canada was the same, as was New York, Bombay, Christchurch and Melbourne.

It is worth noting, in view of the repeated mentions of Gaunt Canada being makers or manufacturers, that the Gaunt Royal Warrant was for ribbons. Gaunt never made ribbons. The Company supplied Toye ribbons (bought in) but had the contract for mounting medals at the Royal Household, supplying seamstresses 3 times a year to do so. A description cannot therefore be taken as factually accurate, as their Royal Warrant shows.

An illustration of the exterior of the Beaver Hall premises exists. I shall post it when I've a chance.

manchesters 05-06-15 09:16 AM


Can I ask a little more about the Gaunt office in London.

You say they assembled things. What do you mean by that, are you saying a batch of badges would arrive there and they put the rear fittings on them or they fitted the white metal scrolls to GM badges?

Also why are there "J R Gaunt London" sliders?


Mhayesrivet 22-04-19 03:18 PM

JR Guant Montreal - 1st Hand account of visited in 1950's
I am new to the forum and as a retired officer with CGG, my interest lies with Canadian Grenadier Guards badges and pins. This post thread was very helpful! I appreciate the detail and research conducted by all.

And here is my fathers first hand account of JR Guant in Montreal:

My father worked in the insignia department of Henry Birks & Sons in Montreal during the late 1950's & early 1960's. As part of his regular work tasks, he was responsible for going over to the offices of JR Guant & Sons located on Beaver Hall Hill to drop off, and pick up items commissioned by Birks.

He spent quite a few visits walking around their floors and still has a firm recollection of the rooms, operations and other offices located there. He has attested that they mounted medals, had sewing rooms, and did alot of post production related to uniforms, but there was never any casting, manufacturing, or other cap badge related fabrication. To his observation, all such items were sent to England for manufacture and returned for delivery / disposition back in Canada.

Cheers! If anyone has a spare Guards Guant Montreal tabled cap badge they are willing to sell... please let me know! Cheers!

Mhayesrivet 15-05-19 02:51 PM

CGG 17pt plain ball Gaunt Montreal - made in England
1 Attachment(s)
Example of a CGG 87th Battalion CEF plain ball Grenade fired proper cap badge with reverse Gaunt Montreal & Made in England makers mark (table)

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