William Henderson & Sons

William Henderson & Sons (Mr. David Dreghom), Soap Makers, 88, 90, 92, Smith Street, Kinning Park.—

    This old, important, and thoroughly representative Glasgow business was founded by Mr. William Henderson considerably over half a century ago, the nucleus of its present magnitude and prosperous condition being first modestly laid in the Gallowgate. Thence a removal was subsequently made to New Wynd, where premises which had formerly been used as a tannery were acquired and converted into works for the manufacture of all kinds of soaps. The business here continuously progressed and developed, but this advancement was greatly accelerated with the advent of Mr. William Henderson, jun., son of the founder of the firm, who by diligent and painstaking research succeeded in turning to excellent practical account the sound scientific training he had received. With the co-operation of his brother John, who had also joined the firm, this business was soon constituted one of the foremost in the west of Scotland for all kinds of soap, both hard and soft, for household and manufacturing purposes. Especially did the house become celebrated for its make of soft soaps for various purposes.

    The finest quality of these, for household purposes, known commercially as “Henderson’s First”, achieved a particularly marked success. This soap is remarkable as containing the greatest amount of cleansing properties in combination with a superiority of quality which enables it to be used satisfactorily for the most delicate articles. Linen treated with it assumes an especial degree of whiteness, and the soap is at the same time entirely free from that offensive and disagreeable odour which has always been a great drawback and hindrance to the extended use of soft soap in laundries. Messrs. Henderson were also enabled to develop a valuable speciality in soft soap for manufacturing purposes, notably for wool spinning, where the desideratum is a soap which, while possessed of full cleansing effect, will at the same time leave the wool soft to the touch, instead of, as is so often the case, making it hard and crisp. This particular speciality the firm succeeded in bringing to a very high state of perfection.

    The progress of the business was uninterrupted until the extension of the railway system, in 1880, in the vicinity of New Wynd. In that year the Glasgow and South Western Railway found it necessary to acquire for their purposes the large premises so long occupied by the firm here under notice, and the Messrs. Henderson, deeming this a fitting occasion for their retirement from the active responsibilities associated with a business that had then attained to proportions of great magnitude, availed themselves of the opportunity offered them. The business of soft soap making, so firmly established and so vigorously developed by the Messrs. Henderson, has since been continued at 88, 90, and 92, Smith Street, Kinning Park, by Mr. David Dreghom, who was for many years Associated in a managerial capacity with the former principals, and to whom, on their retiral they made over the business. Mr. Dreghom entered upon his career as head of the house possessed of the benefit of a long experience, and from his advantages he has derived an ability to conduct the industry upon thoroughly sound principles and with the aid of the most approved appliances that such experience could suggest. The manufacture is now carried on by him with conspicuous capacity and success ; and a constantly developing trade, extending to all parts of the country, speaks for the manifest fact that his spirited policy of administration is well calculated to maintain, and even enhance as years go on, the high reputation this house has so long and deservedly enjoyed.

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