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An Entrepreneur par excellence: The First Lord Inchcape and the Growth of the Companies in India and at Home, c.1870–1939

  • Stephanie Jones
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Part of the Studies in Business History book series

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Shipping Line Suez Canal Agency House Voluntary Liquidation Wrought Iron 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    See George Blake, Gellatly’s 1862–1962 (London, 1962) and Inchcape Magazine 17 (Spring 1984) pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  2. 24.
    See P. J. Griffiths, A History of the Joint Steamer Companies (London, 1979) pp.35-50; Alfred Brame, The India General Steam Navigation Company Ltd (London, 1900) pp. 100–229; and an ms history of the India General by C. Johnson. For histories of the companies involved in the Indian tea industry, see H. A. Antrobus, The History of the Assam Company, 1839–1953 (Edinburgh, 1957); P. J. Griffiths, A History of the Indian Tea Industry (London, 1967); C. A. Bruce, ‘Report on the Manufacture of Tea, and the Extent and Produce of Tea Plantations in Assam’, Asiatic Society of Bengal Journal, 8 (June 1839) pp. 497–526Google Scholar
  3. B. B. Chakrabarti, ‘Introduction of Tea Plantation in India’, Proceedings of the Indian Historical Records Commission, 18 (January 1942) pp. 44–52Google Scholar
  4. E. M. Clarke, ‘Assam and the Indian Tea Trade’, Asian Review, 5 (April 1888) pp. 362–83Google Scholar
  5. Sunil K. Sharma, ‘The Origin and Growth of the Tea Industry in Assam’, Contributions to Indian Economic History, 2 (1963) pp. 119–43.Google Scholar
  6. N. Das, ‘The Old Agency Houses of Calcutta’, Calcutta Review, 46 (March 1933) pp. 317–26Google Scholar
  7. Amales Tripathi, ‘The Agency Houses in Bengal’, Bengal: Past and Present, 73 (July–December 1954) pp. 119–26Google Scholar
  8. 41.
    Blake, unpub. ms., History of MM & Co., pp. 123–6. The growth of rival Indian shipping companies is discussed in Frank Broeze, ‘Underdevelopment and Dependency: Maritime India during the Raj’, Modern Asian Studies, 18, 3 (1984) pp. 429–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Inchcape PLC 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Inchcape PLCLondonUK

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