James Osborne & Sons
James Osborne & Sons, Contractors, 215, 219, Centre Street, Tradeston.—
It is a most interesting thing to review the history of some of our chief Glasgow houses. Into many of these businesses has been imported an amount of energy and skill which is simply enormous ; and the ever increasing trade of some old-established firms gives evidence that this energy and skill is by no means exhausted. Houses such as that of Messrs. James Osborne & Sons, of the above address, who for many years have borne an honourable record, stand out prominently amongst the names of successful Glasgow traders. It is by no lucky combination of circumstances that such houses have risen into high public esteem ; it is rather by unwearied diligence and enterprise, combined with commercial ability, that they have become so justly influential.
The extensive contracting business, now carried on by Messrs. James Osborne & Sons, was established in 1846 by James Pender. Under Mr. Pender this business gradually developed though it originated as a very small concern. Mr. Pender had only two horses to start with, he going with one himself, and his foreman going with the other. His business was so successful that at the time of his death he had as many as seventy horses. “Will”, whom many traders on the south side will remember as Mr. Pender’s foreman, continued in the business when Messrs. Osborne acquired it in 1874, and remained with them till his death, which took place five years ago.
During the last fourteen years the nature of the contracting work undertaken by this firm has very much changed, and is now more diversified. The chief features in Pender’s carting was pig iron and minerals. There is not nearly so much carting of these products now in Glasgow, as the different railway companies have opened for the reception of their own traffic numerous depots in every part of the city , so that shippers and consumers can have all these goods brought on rails to the ship’s side, or quite close to their works, if not run into private sidings. Instead, however, of Messrs. Osborne’s business decreasing on account of these changes, it has only caused them to turn their attention to other commodities ; and now they are general contractors, carting grain, foreign produce, flour, iron, &c., &c., besides doing a large share of what is left of their original staple trade.
At the season (the early part of the year) they are busily engaged carting from ships’ sides large cargoes of Norwegian ice to the various stores, and of this trade, it may almost be said, they have a monopoly. Year by year the trade has increased and extended the field of its operations. There are over seventy horses presently in the stables and the firm gives employment to over eighty men. The offices, yard, and stables are situated at 215-219, Centre Street, in a first-class position for the requirements of the trade. Here also are workshops for cartwrights, blacksmiths, horse-shoers, and saddlers, the firm making all the plant required in the business, besides doing their own repairs. This firm is one of the most substantial houses in the trade, and is highly esteemed by a wide connection.
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