Burns, Crawford & Co.
Messrs. Burns, Crawford & Co., Importers and Exporters of British and Foreign Fancy Goods, Merchants, and manufacturers, 84 to 92, Miller Street.—
One of the most extensive and important businesses associated with the Glasgow wholesale trade in British and foreign fancy goods is that controlled by Messrs. Bums, Crawford & Co. This well-known house was founded in October, 1867, by its present proprietors, in St. Enoch Square, and was located there on the site now covered by the huge block of the St. Enoch Station Hotel. Five years later a removal was effected to 102, Renfield Street, and after a stay there of ten years the firm purchased the present extensive premises in Miller Street and Virginia Place, and made large improvements in adapting them specially to the nature of the trade engaged in.
The establishment now comprises a fine warehouse of six floors, each flat having an area of 5,000 square feet ; and the whole block has been equipped from end to end with every facility calculated to expedite the conduct of a business that has assumed enormous proportions. An indication of the progress of this notable firm is afforded by a couple of comparisons. The first premises occupied, in St. Enoch Square, were held at an annual rental of £50, and the staff employed aggregated at that time five assistants. The present premises are rated at £1,250 per annum, and the trade conducted calls into requisition the services of nearly one hundred and twenty hands, irrespective of those engaged in manufacturing operations for the firm. The house engages to-day in a very large and comprehensive system of business undertakings, embracing the importation upon a most extensive scale of all kinds of novel and fancy articles from France, Germany, Austria, and America, together with dealings in an immense variety of similar goods of British production. All these they supply to the retail trade of Great Britain and Ireland, and conduct at the same time a very large volume of export business, which is valuably connected in all the British colonies.
At the Miller Street warehouse a vastly comprehensive and varied stock is held. Messrs. Bums, Crawford & Co., issue a catalogue and price list which embodies a great deal of information of a useful character respecting certain prominent and special features of their stock suitable to certain seasons and periods of the year ; but even this cannot pretend to be anything like a complete resume or enumeration of a collection of goods which has no equal in its line in Scotland in the matter of variety and volume. The firm have developed a great number of specialities, among which the following are particularly noticeable as representative selections from a long and diversified list : photographic goods, medallions, frames, &c., in very great variety ; wood-photo, fancy articles,, impressed with scenic reproductions, landscapes, &c., and suitable for the tourist trade ; local souvenirs of divers kinds, particularly a very fine line of glass view goods, of a highly attractive and artistic character ; violins, ’cellos, tenor violins, cases, bows, strings, banjos, guitars, flutes, fifes, metronomes, and other musical instruments and requisites ; magic lanterns and slides, a very exhaustive range of goods of especially high quality and value; rocking-horses, dolls, and toys generally ; a large number of notable novelties in fine cabinet goods ; and an extensive assortment of footballs — especially the new “Perfection”, of the firm’s own make — together with shin-guards, inflators, bladders, boxing-gloves, Indian clubs, &c., &c.
Messrs. Burns, Crawford & Co. have identified, their name with many valuable patents on articles of a novel and useful character, and one of their greatest successes in this respect has been the Improved Triumph Baby Chair, a most ingenious contrivance, adjustable to four different positions, and fitted with shifting playboard. This has only to be seen to meet with appreciation. Every branch of the fancy goods trade is fully and completely represented, and each department is replete with attractive novelties and thoroughly saleable goods. The trade controlled is commensurate in magnitude with the extent of stock held in readiness to meet its requirements, and is practically universal in the range of its operations.
The affairs of the house are most capably and energetically administered, under the personal auspices of Mr. William Bums and Mr. Robert Crawford, the sole partners, who are both well known and prominent citizens of Glasgow. Mr. Crawford has particularly associated himself with public matters of various kinds. He entered the Town Council in 1883, and was appointed a magistrate in 1885. Owing, however, to pressure of business engagements, he has been unable to continue in the magistracy for the present, though he still retains his seat in the Council. He is a member of the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire Road Trust, a manager of the Convalescent Home at Lenzie, and one of the directors of the School of Art. He also fills the post of Chairman of the Sub-committee of Art Galleries and Museums, is Convener of the Committee on Cleansing, Sub-convener of the Gas Committee, and joint chairman of the Fine Art Section of the International Exhibition. In addition to these he is a member of the Archaeological Society, the Glasgow Photographic Society, and the Institute of the Fine Arts.
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