An Entrepreneur par excellence: The First Lord Inchcape and the Growth of the Companies in India and at Home, c.1870–1939
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By 1870, the core companies of the Inchcape Group today were slowly expanding their commercial activities on the trading routes of the Indian Ocean and the Far East. In the decades before the First World War, these enterprises grew dramatically through improvements in communications accelerated by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the development of the compound steamship engine. Their growth was sustained by the resultant increase in the world carrying-trade, enabling them to survive and prosper despite the First World War, which completely ruptured existing trading arrangements and led to a world depression of unprecedented magnitude. The links which these independent companies had already built up during the earlier nineteenth century through their dealings in the same ports, and handling the same commodities, were to be further strengthened in one of two ways. Either they became part of the future Lord Inchcape’s portfolio during his lifetime or, much more recently, became members of the Inchcape Group after it was formed in 1958. The following chapters will consider these growing Inchcape interests in various parts of the world. We shall first focus on the two places with which the Group has been most strongly associated — India and London — and on the activities of its most prominent enterpreneur.
KeywordsShipping Line Suez Canal Agency House Voluntary Liquidation Wrought Iron
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