Company: Fraser Sons & Co Frasers

Company name: Fraser Sons & Co
Dates in business: 1875-1909

Company name: Frasers
Dates in business: 1849 to date

Type of business: drapers

Type of company: Partnership

  • Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Scotland

Management of company

The business was initially administered by James Arthur Fraser, Hugh Fraser's eldest son, alongside Hugh Fraser's trustees: Jane Bunting, his widow, Matthew Pettigrew, Murray Cowbrough and John Snodgrass. The trustees appointed an experienced draper, John Towers, as managing partner. Two of Hugh Fraser's other sons, John and Hugh Fraser, subsequently joined the partnership, John in 1884 and Hugh in 1887. In 1892, the trustees determined to transfer Fraser Sons & Co to James, John and Hugh. This was delayed by a court case in which Hugh Fraser's remaining sons, David and Matthew, contested the transfer. The trustees took the case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, and, in January 1894, the lords judged that David and Matthew Fraser were not entitled to demand assumption as partners and that the business and property might be transferred to James, John and Hugh Fraser in its entirety. Consequently, during the summer of 1894, the existing co-partnership was dissolved and the three brothers commenced in business as sole partners. In November 1905, John Fraser withdrew from the business. In February 1906, James Fraser retired on grounds of ill health, leaving Hugh Fraser in sole command.

Company history

Fraser Sons & Co was established in 1875 to carry on the business of Fraser & McLaren, drapers, of Glasgow, following the retirement of Alexander McLaren from the partnership.

The partners sold drapery, house furnishings and carpets and owned warehouses on a site between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. Business was sluggish for the first few years after 1875. In 1878, the situation was made worse by the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank which precipitated a general commercial collapse. Between 1879 and 1882, the partners suffered severe trading losses. Business picked up in 1883 but losses were again incurred between 1885 and 1888. On 14 October 1888, a fire destroyed the west wing of the Buchanan Street warehouse and business was suspended in the surviving Argyle Street building. Rebuilding began in January 1889 and the opportunity was taken to build in more modern fittings including electric lighting and heating. The new warehouse, occupying the same site between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, was opened in October 1889. In 1890, the Argyle Street entrance was substantially altered to fit in with the new frontage on Buchanan Street. In 1897, the partners inaugurated a bonus scheme for staff, and sales increased substantially during 1898. In 1903, the Argyle Street frontage was altered again, in order to attract new custom. In 1906, the partners embarked upon an extensive refurbishment programme, erecting fitting rooms and a new dress and costume salon and redecorating the warehouse. Due to this timely refurbishment , the partners were able to weather the local recession of 1907 to 1909.

On 26 May 1909, Fraser Sons & Co was registered as a private limited liability company, becoming Fraser Sons & Co Ltd.

Records held for Fraser Sons & Co:

FRAS 278/1
Title: Private ledger
Date: 1866-1910
FRAS 287/1
Title: Index to private ledger
Date: 1866-1910
FRAS 280
Title: Receipts for loan repayments
Date: 1903-1905
FRAS 292
Title: Customer invoices
Date: 1903-1906
FRAS 289
Title: Statement of cost of building works
Date: 1900
FRAS 288
Title: Receipt from R.O. Templeton & Sons, show case makers and shop fitters
Date: 1903
FRAS 297
Title: Photograph of Buchanan Street warehouse, Glasgow
Date: c 1880
FRAS 298
Title: Photograph of sketch in Glasgow Herald showing Fraser's warehouse destroyed by fire
Date: 1888
FRAS 300
Title: Photograph of Tontine Faces
Date: c 1950s
The Tontine Faces were stone masks on the Buchanan Street warehouse, which burnt down in 1888.

Related People and Companies:

Corporation name: Fraser & McLaren
Dates of connection: 1875
Connection type: Fraser & McLaren was renamed Fraser Sons & Co in 1875.
Name: Fraser, James Arthur, 1855-c 1911, retailer
Dates of connection: 1875-1906
Connection type: James Arthur Fraser was a partner of Fraser Sons & Co.
Name: Fraser, John, b 1859, retailer
Dates of connection: 1884-1909
Connection type: John Fraser was a partner of Fraser Sons & Co.
Name: Fraser, Hugh, 1860-1927, retailer
Dates of connection: 1887-1909
Connection type: Hugh Fraser was a partner of Fraser Sons & Co.
Corporation name: Fraser Sons & Co Ltd
Dates of connection: 1909
Connection type: Fraser Sons & Co was incorporated as Fraser Sons & Co Ltd in 1909.

Access points: Drapers - Furnishers - Retail trade

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