Jacob Gliksten started a small furniture business in Tottenham Court road. When his son Reuben Glisten joined him they made the change to become timber suppliers rather then furniture manufacturers.

“Reuben Gliksten was tough and enterprising, his men worked hard, not only beaches they admired the Guv’nor for his determination to success, but because he worked as hard as they did.”

The business grew and they made a move to Wansbeck road (close to the river Lea) in the early 20th Century and then acquired a large site on Carpenters road, Stratford with direct access to the river.  Trading since 1883, in 1946 led by brothers Albert and Stanley Gliksten,  J. Glisten and Son Ltd became a group of many companies such as Gliksten Venners Ltd, Gliksten Doors, Gliksten Building Materials, Glisten (West Africa) – the list goes on living up to their business slogan “Gliksten – the foremost name in timber”.

The post-war timber trade dramatically shifted. With stocks low after the huge demand of the war controls were put in place.

“It was still considered almost a crime for anyone to even think of using timer”.

Native forests were depleted and there were no dollars to continue buying from Canada and America. So they turned to the ‘Gold Coast’ of West Africa. Huge logs from forests were imported into London and processed at their Stratford Wharf.  This also led to a new branch of the business – Gliksten Export Sales Ltd.

Get directions


Share your story

Do you have a story that relates to this history? At Bow Arts we're collating people's memories of these iconic places and items. To share yours, please leave a comment. You can also reply to other people.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • My Father, Henry William Cook, worked at the Stratford depot in the 30s as Timber Yard Foreman, I believe. He cycled to work from our house in Gants Hill every day. I remember that he built our air-raid shelter completely out of large sheets of mahogany, which he recovered after the end of the war.
    Douglas Cook

    • My great grandfather Isaac Gliksten was the youngest son of Jacob Gliksten and ran a timber merchants on Kingsland rd, Hackney, in Mail Coach Yard which is now a youth hostel. In the First World War he switched to making aeroplane propellers.

  • I think I have some knowledge and also know some old folks I can reach out to share more insight on Gliksten (W.A) Limited, with their factory at Sefwi Wiawso in Ghana.

  • My Father Charles Woollacott was a Lighterman working for Thames & General Lighterage Company. In the early 70s I would go to work with him delivering barges to Gliksten,s Wharf at Carpenters Rd , bringing the timber up from the ships in the docks .

  • 3 Generations at Glikstens
    My Grandfather Charles Bangs was Coachman to Reuben & Sophia Gliksten from about 1906. I have photographs of that time. One with Reuben & Sophia, their sons Harold, Stanley and Albert, their maid Minnie Reed and Coachman Charles. Grandad later worked in Carpenters Road as the Storekeeper. He witnessed the great fire in the timber yard in 1926. He was with Glikstens for about 33 years. After WW2 my Dad Harry Bangs, home from war, also worked for Glikstens as Storekeeper retiring in 1976 after 30 years. When I, Anne Bangs started work in 1954 it was in the Main Office in Carpenters Road, for 10 years until we moved out of London

  • My father worked at Gliksten, Harry Wright he retired 1963 I’ll health, he measured logs as they came of the barges, my brother also worked in front/main office Norman 1956/1962i I also worked at Gliksten ,
    Malcolm 1960/1971,as a timber measure ,enjoyed my time there playing for the works football team,I was dismissed ,did not get on with director ,spoke my mind to often,, me and my brother married girls at work ,my farther inlawl and sister inlay both worked at Gliksten

  • My brother worked at the Gliksten wood mill on the river Lea in the 1950s and early 60s. I remember him talking of some of the beautiful timbers like walnuts that would be bound for the likes of RR to make their car interiors and dash boards. We lived in Hackney so the site in Carpenters Road was very local to us. I’m sure his son, my nephew, would have more information and insight into his time at the company .

    • Hi Marilyn, thanks so much for sharing. That’s wonderful to hear about the different woods. Please do tell your nephew to get in touch if he has more insight. We’re always looking to capture more stories and memories 🙂

  • My first job after leaving school in 1966 was at Gliksten Doors in Carpenters Road. I lived in Plaistow at the time and used to get the bus from there to Stratford and then the low level bus down Carpenters Road. I worked in the office typing up the envelopes and sending out the catalogues.

  • I worked as a punch card operator at Glikstens, Carpenters Road in the 1960’s.

  • I worked a!t GLIKSTEINS 1966/68 my brother Joe worked along with my Uncle Bill Smith. Also cousins Alf and Sid Hunt spent many hours in the sjhed listening to all of their tales of their yesreryears while waiting for the logs to dry so we could either empty the barges or stack then up Steve was the Crain driver on the huge tower crain. I Charlie was the Crain driver on the raiilway crain

    • Thanks for sharing Bob – so great to hear from someone who worked at Gliksteins, with so many family members too!

  • My Grandfather was Robert Law, a chartered accountant and ended up as chairman of the board. I remember going to the yard at Strafford in the 1970’s. I loved the big lifting (custom fork-lifts) machines.
    I must have met the Gliksten’s around at the time (probably Michael Gliksten), as we went Charlton Athletic ground to watch from the directors box. Half-time being a boys bonus, sandwiches.

  • My Dad was an engineer at Gliksten West African Limited in Ghana, Sefwi Wiawso. I attended Gliksten Preparatory School for my primary education. We lived in those plush bungalows of the company. Had a great childhood in Africa on the back of this company. So many fond memories coming to mind right now. Currently living in the UK and grateful for the foundation Gliksten gave me.

  • According to the 1921 census My grandfather Charles Hamilton worked for J. Gliksten & Son as a loader, presumably onto delivery carts or lorries.
    I am surprised and very pleased to see that this company is still going strong.

Historic location

Large Timber yards once situated on Carpenters Road.

Archive materials on Glisten can now be found at Stratford Libraries – Newham Heritage and Archive services.