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Second City of The Empire: 1830s to 1914

Trade and Communications

Wholesale Trade

By Michael Moss

Wm. Teacher & Sons The most striking feature of the wholesale trade in the second half of the 19th century was the emergence of branded goods and direct selling by manufacturers. By 1914 no longer did customers buy soap or flour or whisky, but Lifebuoy soap or McDougall's flour or Buchanan's whisky. Some wholesalers adjusted to this change by branding goods themselves or for their customers. Chains, such as Liptons and Massey, developed their own brands for tea and hams. Some Glasgow wine and spirit merchants built huge national and international markets with their brands, such as Graham's port and Jamaica rum and Teacher's Highland Cream whisky.

Grocer's Shop With the arrival of refrigerated ships in the 1880s provision merchants began to import produce from all parts of the world, such as Danish butter and bacon or New Zealand lamb. Andrew Clements & Sons developed a large trade in cheese with North America. This was not to everyone's liking. It was reported of Robert Osbourne, a rival provision merchant who dealt in Ayrshire butter, "none of your Dutch scum comes to his table". The importers had to be continually on their guard against the threat of the introduction of import quotas to protect local producers. They formed defensive trade associations to campaign vigorously against any such proposals.

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