Company: Wylie & Lochhead Ltd

Registration number: 1236/1275

Company name: Wylie & Lochhead Ltd
Dates in business: 1883-1966

Type of business: cabinet makers and funeral directors

Type of company: Private limited company

  • Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Union Street, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Whiteinch, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Kent Road, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Manchester, England
  • Mitchell Street, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Edinburgh, Scotland

Management of company

The first directors of the company were John Wylie, merchant, John Steel Wylie, Robert Wylie, William Adam Wylie and John Wylie junior. John Wylie, merchant, was the chairman. John Steel Wylie was the managing director.

John Wylie died in August 1888 and his entire estate passed to his wife, Minnie. John Steel Wylie became chairman of the company and was succeeded, upon his death in 1895, by Robert Wylie.

In February 1921, Robert Wylie died and John Hunter, of William Arrol & Co, was appointed chairman and director.

Company history

The company was incorporated in 1883 with its registered office at 45 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, to carry on the business of Wylie & Lochhead, cabinet makers and funeral undertakers, of Glasgow. At the time of its incorporation, the business was extensive, offering a wide range of departments and services including undertaking, cabinetmaking, furnishing, upholstering, paperhangings and paperstaining.

Within months of the incorporation, the entire Buchanan Street warehouse was destroyed by fire. The company found temporary premises at 111 Union Street, and Glasgow architect, James Sellars, was commissioned to design a new building for the same site. The new warehouse was completed in 1885.

Despite this setback, the business continued to expand. In 1888, it was awarded a Royal Warrant as cabinetmakers and upholsterers. In 1889, a branch business was established in Manchester, England. By the 1890s, the cabinetmaking business was not only the largest in Scotland but was also pioneering Scottish avant-garde design alongside more traditional furniture styles. Many remarkable designers worked for Wylie &Lochhead and the firm's Art-Nouveau pavilion, designed for the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition, excited considerable interest.

The years before the first world war were difficult and the board determined upon retrenchment. In 1899, for example, the paperhangings branch of its business was sold to the Wall Paper Manufacturers Ltd. Many new ideas were also adopted including the introduction of ticketed goods and sales visits to shipyards and naval architects in 1913; the adaptation of the basement for bargain merchandise in 1914; the provision of a ladies' washroom in 1915; and the establishment of suburban funeral parlours offering plainer funerals and the institution of a wholesale mail order business in 1916. During the war, the Kent Road factory was used for the manufacture of aeroplanes.

After the first world war, the company opened a new estate agency and extended its retail showrooms with the acquisition of Kemps warehouse at 37 Buchanan Street. In 1920, the company also purchased 49/53 Buchanan Street and 46/48 Mitchell Street in order to safeguard the workshops and carpet salon located there. However, within a few months the postwar depression made itself felt. The outlook remained gloomy throughout the 1920s and early 1930s and the company was forced to alter its approach. It introduced cheaper manmade furniture and hire purchase, opened a tearoom, disposed of surplus property and reorganised its management structure. By 1936, sales had begun to recover and an arcade and bronze canopy were built in Buchanan Street. During the second world war, the cabinet factory produced utlity furniture. After the war, the store was refurbished with the introduction of a new smoking room and lift.

By 1953 the board was considering the flotation of the firm as a public company in order to raise funds, and received takeover offers from Waring & Gillow Ltd, Great Universal Stores Ltd and House of Fraser Ltd. House of Fraser's bid was accepted in September 1957. Meanwhile branch businesses were opened in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

In 1966, the Wylie & Lochhead store was linked with another House of Fraser store, McDonalds. Together the stores traded as McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead. In 1975, this merger was taken a stage further by the amalgamation of the shops of Fraser Sons & Co and McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead as a single department store, Frasers, on the west side of Buchanan Street, Glasgow.

The funeral side of the business continued as Wylie & Lochhead (Funerals) Ltd.

Records held for Wylie & Lochhead Ltd:

FRAS 230
Title: Memoranda and articles of association and related papers
Date: 1899-1956
FRAS 234
Title: Annual report and accounts
Date: 1899-1962
FRAS 232
Title: Minutes of meetings of board of directors and of general meetings of shareholders
Date: 1883-1962
FRAS 233
Title: Agenda book for meetings of board of directors
Date: 1901-1913
FRAS 235
Title: Minutes of meetings of warehouse committee
Date: 1928-1930
FRAS 236
Title: Register of members and share ledger
Date: 1883-1966
FRAS 237
Title: Share certificates
Date: 1883-1950s
FRAS 238
Title: Share transfer certificate
Date: March 1912
FRAS 231
Title: Annual returns
Date: 1923-1958
Title: Copies of outgoing letters from Robert Wylie
Date: 1883-1898
Title: Circular letter announcing the death of John Steel Wylie, chairman and managing director
Date: September 1895
FRAS 239
Title: Deed of agreement and declaration of trust relating to issue of debenture stock
Date: December 1899
FRAS 240
Title: Register of debenture holders and debenture transfers
Date: 1899-1962
FRAS 243
Title: Correspondence on legal status of company
Date: January 1949
FRAS 861
Title: List of directorships of Hugh Fraser, Hugh Fraser junior, Robert Keenan, Elson Gamble and Alfred Spence
Date: c 1959
FRAS 862
Title: Page from register of transfers of shares
Date: 1958-1968
FRAS 1533
Title: Royal warrants
Date: 1888-1951
FRAS 242
Title: Agreements between Wylie & Lochhead Ltd and Wall Paper Manufacturers Ltd
Date: 1898-1900
FRAS 247
Title: Letter from auditors certifying company profits
Date: December 1899
FRAS 253
Title: Whiteinch paper staining works profit and loss account and balance sheet
Date: December 1897
FRAS 245
Title: General ledger
Date: 1960-1961
FRAS 866
Title: Debt recovery letter book
Date: 1864-1870
FRAS 251
Title: Funeral trades ledger
Date: 1921-1950
FRAS 250
Title: Funeral insolvent ledgers
Date: 1888-1913
FRAS 858
Title: Lists of funeral bad debts
Date: February 1955
FRAS 252
Title: Funeral journals and general ledgers
Date: 1898-1942
FRAS 857
Title: Funeral journal (no 15)
Date: November 1906-July 1928
FRAS 856
Title: Funeral cash books
Date: 1883-1888
FRAS 246
Title: Cash book (no 2)
Date: 1966-1968
FRAS 859
Title: Customer invoices for funerals
Date: 1839-1914
FRAS 860
Title: Customer invoices
Date: 1856-1933
Title: Funeral order books
Date: 1837-1965
FRAS 254
Title: Funeral order book indexes
Date: 1879-1931
FRAS 272/3-38
Title: Product catalogues and leaflets
Date: c1900-1960s
FRAS 867
Title: Edinburgh branch store guide
Date: 1950s
FRAS 868
Title: Leaflet adverting credit accounts
Date: c 1964
FRAS 869
Title: Leaflet on care of furnishing fabrics
Date: c 1964
FRAS 870
Title: Leaflet giving advice for removals
Date: 1965
FRAS 274
Title: Trade card
Date: 1853
FRAS 273
Title: Press advertisements
Date: 1897-1956
FRAS 275
Title: Poster advertising store in Shandwick Place, Edinburgh
Date: c 1955
FRAS 276
Title: Records relating to Swedish Exhibition in Buchanan Street store
Date: 1947
FRAS 241
Title: Secretary's private letter book
Date: 1899-1928
FRAS 244
Title: Correspondence on bids for takeover of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd
Date: 1956-1957
FRAS 255
Title: Funeral office letter books
Date: 1937-1943
FRAS 855
Title: Letter to Robert Wylie from Robert McAlister, boat builder
Date: June 1890
FRAS 864
Title: Notes by William Lochhead on history and development of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd
Date: 1829-1868
FRAS 865
Title: Poem (author unknown) on fire at Wylie & Lochhead's Buchanan Street warehouse
Date: c 1888
FRAS 714/1
Title: Publication entitled Getting to Know The House of Fraser
Date: 1959
Contains notes on the history of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd and images of the store's entrance and departments.
FRAS 863
Title: History of wallpaper business of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd
Date: c 1980s
FRAS 1204
Title: Photograph of cabinetmaking works
Date: c 1960s
FRAS 1205
Title: Photograph of Byres Road garage
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 1206
Title: Photographs of Berkeley Street garage
Date: 1929-c 1960s
FRAS 271
Title: Photograph of hardware department in Edinburgh store on Shandwick Place.
Date: 1956
FRAS 1154
Title: Photographs of the exterior of the Glasgow store Buchanan Street
Date: 1880-1937
FRAS 1207
Title: Photographs of the central hall in the Buchanan Street store
Date: 1855-c1960s
FRAS 1208
Title: Photographs of textiles department
Date: c 1930s-1950s
FRAS 270
Title: Photographs of cabinetmaking and upholstery staff at work
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 1230
Title: Photograph of kitchen
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1232
Title: Photographs of bedroom furniture
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1234
Title: Photographs of living room furniture
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1236
Title: Photographs of office and study furniture
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1237
Title: Photographs of sewing tables
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1238
Title: Photograph of sideboard with inbuilt radio
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1240
Title: Photographs of occasional tables
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1241
Title: Photographs of chairs
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1242
Title: Photograph of a sofa
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1244
Title: Photograph of a telephone and wall mounted lamp
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1247
Title: Photograph of oak vestibule table
Date: c1950s
FRAS 1251
Title: Photograph of island fitting shelving used for inter-room division
Date: 1953
FRAS 269
Title: Photographs of dining room furniture and displays
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 1247
Title: Photographs of pulpits and lecterns
Date: c1950s
FRAS 267
Title: Photographs of Christening fonts
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 1249
Title: Photographs of unknown Church interiors
Date: c1950s
FRAS 262
Title: Photograph of royal pews, Glasgow Cathedral
Date: c 1950
FRAS 263
Title: Photographs of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
Date: c 1953
FRAS 264
Title: Photograph of chair, St Margaret, Fairlie
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 265
Title: Photograph of Christening font, St George, Greenock
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 266
Title: Photograph of altar, St Catherine's Eventide Home, Baillieston
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 1250
Title: Photograph of ships' cabin furniture
Date: c1950s
FRAS 256
Title: Photographs of SS Franconia
Date: 1949
FRAS 257
Title: Photographs of SS Samaria
Date: c1950
FRAS 258
Title: Photographs of TEV Queen of Bermuda
Date: 1948
FRAS 259
Title: Photographs of SS Scythia
Date: 1949
FRAS 260
Title: Photographs of Queen Elizabeth and dragon class racing at Cowes
Date: c 1950
FRAS 261
Title: Photographs of unidentified ship interiors
Date: c 1950s
FRAS 268
Title: Photographs of bar interiors
Date: c 1950-1952
FRAS 1233
Title: Photographs of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd stand at the Scottish Industrial Exhibition
Date: 1954
FRAS 1238
Title: Photographs of New Furniture from Scotland exhibit
Date: 1950
FRAS 1156
Title: Drawing of wallpaper factory, Whiteinch, Glasgow
Date: c1890s

Related People and Companies:

Corporation name: Wylie and Lochhead
Dates of connection: 1883
Connection type: Wylie & Lochhead was incorporated as Wylie & Lochhead Ltd in 1883.
Corporation name: J & A Ogilvie Ltd
Dates of connection: 1955
Connection type: Wylie & Lochhead Ltd acquired J & A Ogilvie Ltd in 1955.
Corporation name: House of Fraser Ltd
Dates of connection: 1957
Connection type: Wylie & Lochhead was taken over by House of Fraser Ltd in 1957.
Corporation name: McDonalds Ltd
Dates of connection: 1966
Connection type: Wylie & Lochhead Ltd was merged with McDonalds Ltd in 1966.
Corporation name: Wylie & Lochhead (Funerals) Ltd
Dates of connection: c 1966
Connection type: Wylie & Lochhead (Funerals) Ltd was established c 1966 to continue the funeral business of Wylie & Lochhead Ltd.
Corporation name: McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead Ltd
Dates of connection: 1966
Connection type: McDonalds, Wylie & Lochhead Ltd was established 1966 as a result of the merger of the McDonalds Ltd and Wylie & Lochhead Ltd stores.

Access points: Cabinetmakers - Furnishers - Paperstainers - Retail trade - Transport operators - Undertakers - Upholsterers

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