Name: Hugh Fraser
Life dates: 1815-1873
Hugh Fraser was born in Cardross, Dunbartonshire on 19 May 1815, the eldest son of Elizabeth Lennox and John Fraser, the owners of Bainfield Inn in Cardross. Hugh lived at the Inn, which became known as Fraser's Inn, for many years and is described as a cloth salesman in the Cardross enumerator's handbook for the 1841 census. In the mid 1840s, he appears to have obtained a position as lace buyer at Stewart & McDonald in Buchanan Street, Glasgow and was later promoted to warehouse manager. Dealing with customers from all over the West of Scotland, Fraser quickly built up a large connection, becoming particularly friendly with James Arthur who bought extensively at the warehouse to stock his shop in Paisley.
In 1849, Arthur and Fraser went into partnership, opening a drapery store in Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Fraser, who had recently married Jane Bunting, resigned from his position at Stewart & McDonald.
Fraser concentrated his attention on the retail side of the business while Arthur concentrated on the wholesale side. In 1855, they created a separate partnership, Arthur & Co, to operate the expanding wholesale business. Fraser was the managing partner. In 1865, the Arthur & Fraser partnership was dissolved and Fraser retired from Arthur & Co.
In 1866, Fraser went into partnership with Alexander McLaren, the manager of the retail branch, to acquire the business of the now defunct Arthur & Fraser. Fraser became the senior partner. The new business traded as Fraser & McLaren.
Hugh Fraser died on 12 February 1873.
Moss, Michael and Turton, Alison, A Legend of Retailing: House of Fraser, London 1989
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