Robert Cochran & Co.
Robert Cochran & Co., Verreville Pottery, Finnieston Street and Stobcross Street.—
This old-established and very influential house dates its history back for upwards of a hundred and ten years to the time when, in 1777, its extensive business was first inaugurated by Messrs. Cookson of Newcastle and Patrick Colquhoun of Glasgow, who, together with five other gentlemen, formed a private company and commenced operations here as flint and crown glass manufacturers. This association sold the works in 1803 to the Dumbarton Glass Company, who in the same year disposed of them to Mr. John Geddes, afterwards well-known as Colonel Geddes. In 1820 this proprietor added the manufacture of earthenware to that of glass, and under his administration the industry assumed proportions of considerable magnitude and importance.
The most marked development of the concern commenced about twenty-five years later (1845), when Mr. Robert Cochran purchased the works, and since that date the establishment has been continued as a pottery by himself and his family. The present principal and proprietor is Mr. Robert Cochran, son of the above-named Robert Cochran, who died in 1869.
The premises devoted to the purposes of the Verreville Pottery are very extensive, having a frontage to Finneston Street of five hundred feet, and to Stobcross Street of three hundred and fifty feet, and occupying an area of about four acres of ground, a very large portion of which is covered by groups of buildings incidental to the various departments of the industry, and presenting a busy scene of activity and animation throughout the working hours of the day. The space at the disposal of the present necessarily brief and concise commercial sketch is quite inadequate to the proper description of such an establishment as this. A pottery, from the very nature of its ancient avocation, is always interesting, and this of Verreville is peculiarly so for many reasons impossible of explanation here.
A very voluminous essay might be penned concerning the admirable care and consideration with which the arrangement of the place has been completed, and it would hardly be possible to overpraise the manner in which every available resource of means and experience has been applied to ensuring the steady and continuous development of the industry here so advantageously centred. The general equipment of the works, mechanical and otherwise, has been brought up to the highest attainable pitch of efficacy.
Upwards of four hundred men and women are regularly employed, the women doing the lighter work, while the men manipulate the heavier classes of goods ; and in one of the many painting-shops of the pottery there is still to be seen, industriously busy, an old and doubtless well-esteemed servant of the house, James Miller, who has worked here for more than fifty years continuously. Such a record suggests the admirable good feeling that is so notably maintained between employer and employed at the Verreville Pottery. It is mentionable that the painting of the various earthenware goods produced at this establishment is done chiefly by girls, who are wondrously quick and dextrous in the execution of this work.
The different buildings composing the entirety of the works seem almost legionary in number, and suggest the possibility that a stranger once well in their midst would experience some difficulty in solving the problem of how to get out again. Nevertheless, the most perfect order and system are prevalent everywhere ; the whole of the vast industrial concern moves with the regularity of clockwork in its every department ; and Mr. Robert Cochran, the courteous and esteemed proprietor of this thoroughly typical Scottish pottery, has every reason to be proud of his fine old establishment, with its accumulated facilities of more than a century, and its eminent reputation, in the maintenance of which his father and himself have played such an active and effective part. The works produce all kinds of earthenware suitable alike for the home and export trade, and the house is noted for the originality, variety, and beauty of its designs as well as for the substantial quality of all its manufactures.
The trade controlled is one of considerable magnitude and widespread range, and a particularly good market for the Verreville goods is Ireland, whither very large shipments are constantly being despatched. Mr. Cochran personally superintends the entire industry and business, both in its productive and commercial phases ; and in his sound policy of management there consists a strong assurance that the confidence of a valuable connection so long and unreservedly enjoyed by this house will be fully retained, to the future augmentation of the prosperity and good name of the concern.
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