Company name: Arthur & Fraser
Dates in business: 1849-1865
Company name: Frasers
Dates in business: 1849 to date
Type of business: drapers
Type of company: PartnershipLocations:
Management of company
James Arthur was the senior partner. He concentrated on the wholesale side of the business while Hugh Fraser concentrated on the retail side. With the expansion of the wholesale business, it quickly began to demand the attentions of both partners and, in 1856, Thomas Kirkpatrick was appointed to manage the retail branch. He left in 1857 to start up his own drapery business and Alexander McLaren, merino buyer at Arthur & Co, was transferred to take his place.
In 1849, James Arthur and Hugh Fraser opened a drapery store specialising in silk, linens and woollens. They rented premises for the store on the first floor of a mansion at the corner of Buchanan Street and Argyle Street in Glasgow, Scotland. The shop opened on 17 October 1849 with its entrance at 8 Buchanan Street. In 1851, the partners acquired further premises at 118 Argyle Street where Arthur established a wholesale branch. By 1853, to allow for further expansion, Arthur & Fraser had also rented premises at 116 and 120 Argyle Street and 10 Buchanan Street. The wholesale business grew rapidly and, in 1855, Arthur & Fraser created a separate partnership, Arthur & Co, to operate it. In 1856, the wholesale business moved from 118 Argyle Street to a larger warehouse in Miller Street. A number of retail departments were then moved into 118 Argyle Street. The retail branch now had a main entrance and display windows. Soon afterwards, new buildings were erected at 12 Buchanan Street on the other side of a lane to the north of the existing block. In 1860, an overhead passage was constructed between 10 and 12 Buchanan Street, uniting the new building with the main Argyle Street showroom. The store then comprised 32 departments on the ground and second floors.
Throughout the early 1860s, the growth of the wholesale business strained the relationship between Arthur and Fraser. Fraser was eager to gain more control over the retail operation. On 5 December 1865, the partnership between Arthur and Fraser was dissolved by mutual consent and on 6 December 1865 a sale was held to dispose of the entire stock and the proceeds were divided. The business was continued by Fraser, in partnership with Alexander McLaren, trading as Fraser & McLaren.
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