Francis & James Smith
Francis & James Smith, Cabinet Makers, Upholsterers, Carpet Warehousemen, Decorators, comer of Gordon and Union Streets.—
One of the largest and most notable of Glasgow houses in its important line of industry and trade is that of Messrs. Francis & James Smith, whose magnificent warehouse, situate at the comer of Gordon and Union Streets, constitutes one of the most strikingly handsome structural features of that part of the city. This extensive and remarkably well-developed business was founded as far back as 1835, and passed under its present title in 1872, when Messrs. Francis & James Smith, who now constitute the personnel of the firm, assumed the administration of its affairs. The concern was inaugurated in Great Clyde Street, where for more than thirty years it occupied premises of much historical note, several books having been written concerning them. In 1872, when the firm of to-day took possession of the business, the house was transferred to its present address.
The premises here occupied comprise a singularly stately block, of splendid situation and exceedingly handsome architectural design. The structure is in the form of an almost perfect cube, and contains seven flats, each measuring one hundred feet by eighty feet in dimensions. The frontage on the two thoroughfares at whose junction the building stands is one of singular advantage, and the total floorage area of the interior is considerably in excess of one square acre and a half. The lighting of the warehouse is superb, the two entire facades on Gordon and Union Streets being practically transparent from end to end and from top to bottom. Indeed these two sides of the building are suggestive of nothing so completely as of two vast windows, the mullions and frames of which comprise the only opaque portions of the walls. The advantage accruing to the interior from this admirable scheme of structure is too obvious to need comment. The entire warehouse is devoted solely to showroom purposes, and is replete in its every part with a magnificent and most comprehensive stock.
What this stock embraces may best be gleaned from the statement that Messrs. F. & J. Smith engage exhaustively in every branch of cabinet-making, upholstery, gilding, bedding manufacture, and general house and office furnishing, and operate most extensively as decorators, carvers, and French plate merchants and silverers. In this last-named connection they are particularly well and favourably known, and hold the agency for the celebrated St. Gobain, Chauny & Cirey Plate-glass Company, of Paris, a concern whose origin dates back to the year 1665. The manufactures of this famous company in all kinds of plate-glass are unsurpassed to-day in any quarter of the globe, and Messrs. Smith are in a position to supply their magnificent productions at the lowest quotations.
Mirrors are a great speciality in this connection, and Messrs. Smith have developed a patent silvering process for these goods by which their brilliancy is greatly enhanced, and their imperviousness to damp fully insured. They have supplied these mirrors to some of the largest and most distinguished business houses in Glasgow, and the industry connected with their manufacture is conducted with great vigour and ability at their fine cabinet and silvering works in Kent Road and Berkeley Street, where a most numerous staff of skilled workmen is employed.
Carpets are a very prominent and important department in the Gordon and Union Streets warehouse, the firm holding a splendid stock in this line, inclusive of some of the finest goods produced either at home or abroad. The department for curtains and for all classes of furnishing fabrics is also particularly noteworthy, and is replete with attractions and specialities of an exceptionally choice and meritorious character. In furniture of every description the house is famous for the artistic grace, elegance, and originality of all its designs, and for the soundness and beauty of finish which characterize every detail of workmanship.
The facilities enjoyed at the factory for the production of strictly first-class furniture are of the very best order, and allow of the finest goods being manufactured and sold at exceptionally moderate prices. The entire display in the warehouse is one of the most complete and genuinely attractive in Scotland ; its arrangement in the showrooms is quite perfect in point of general good effect and requisite convenience, and so comprehensive and inclusive is the vast stock as a whole that a house, hotel, institution, or office of any size can be completely furnished from stock. In this way contracts can be undertaken at the shortest notice and delay entirely obviated, a matter which is frequently of the first importance in the furnishing of any establishment.
Neither trouble nor expense has been or is spared by Messrs. F. & J. Smith to consult and fulfil in every respect the requirements of their customers, and upon this basis — the placing of patrons’ interests first in the scale of importance — has been established and developed one of the most popular and successful furnishing depots in Glasgow. The firm control a very great volume of trade, which is supported by a large, widespread, and valuable connection, and the whole business is conducted upon methods and principles which are thoroughly well calculated to perpetuate the high esteem and public favour in which the house has always, and particularly under its present capable proprietary, been deservedly held.
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