John Walker & Co.
John Walker & Co., Family Grocers, Wine Merchants and Italian Warehousemen, 42, West Nile Street.—
One of the oldest most eminently reputed houses of its kind in Glasgow is that of Messrs. John Walker & Co., the well-known grocers, wine merchants and Italian warehousemen, of West Nile Street. This large and thoroughly representative high-class business was founded as far back as 1825, its original location being at the comer of Argyle and Queen Streets. Thence it was successively transferred to Buchanan Street (1844), and to St. Vincent Street (1857) ; and eventually, in 1877, the firm came to their present eligible address in West Nile Street. The situation here is singularly appropriate for a superior trade, and the premises occupied possess every advantage of commodiousness, convenience, and accessible position.
They comprise a very large and handsome double shop, with fine window frontage to West Nile Street, and cellars nearly three times as extensive in area as the ground floor above them. The appointments and fittings of the place have been completed with great care and excellent effect ; every detail of convenience has been fully and thoughtfully considered ; and the establishment will rank among the most perfectly equipped of the kind in the city. For raising and lowering goods from the cellars to their carts, and vice versa, there is an improved hydraulic lift with a capacity of two tons. A numerous and thoroughly efficient staff is employed, and every arrangement is most complete for the reception and prompt service of customers visiting the establishment in person. Goods are delivered throughout the city and suburbs by their own men and van.
The stock held is one of great magnitude and comprehensiveness, and includes the choicest selections in superior family groceries, wines, spirits, bottle and cask beers, fine imported and domestic comestibles and Italian warehouseman’s sundries and specialities of every conceivable description. The assortment is complete in every department, and the quality is unquestionable and unexceptionable in all cases. Messrs. Walker & Co. stock nothing but the best classes of goods in the various lines they specialize, and in this connection they have a reputation of more than sixty years to maintain — an obligation in which their patrons have a full guarantee for the excellence of all articles supplied. The wine, spirit, and beer stock is a most noteworthy feature. All the best and most favourably reputed growths, brands and vintages in Ports, Sherries, Clarets, Madeira, Still and Sparkling Hock, Champagnes, Brandies, Whiskies, Rums, Gins, Bitters, and Foreign Liqueurs are fully represented ; and valuable specialities have been developed in such goods as the famous and wondrously moderate-priced “Dry-Royal” Samur Champagne of Messrs. Ackerman-Laurance, and in Raggett’s celebrated “Golden Hop” Pale Ale and Nourishing Stout, patronized by her Majesty the Queen, and so favourably reported upon by Dr. Hassall, the eminent analyst and others. The bona-fide excellence of these and many other notable specialities well sustains the high character that has always distinguished Messrs. Walker’s stock in this important department.
This is a house of historical fame in the trade annals of Glasgow, and one that has always unfailingly upheld the honour and dignity of the city’s commerce. The founder of the business, Mr. John Walker, who died in 1839, was famous for his fine West Indian sugars (a class of goods that still retains a prominent place in the speciality list of the firm) ; and in this connection he gained for himself the distinctive familiar sobriquet of “Sugar Jock”. It is recorded, we believe, that a letter once came from America addressed, “Isaac Newton, England,’’ and was duly delivered to the great discoverer of the principle of gravitation. Hardly less remarkable was a similar incident in the life of Mr. John Walker, who safely, and without delay, received a communication from the West Indies, bearing the superscription, “Sugar Jock, Glasgow”.
Messrs. John Walker & Co. control a very large trade, which is entirely of a superior class. They enjoy the patronage of many distinguished customers, and have a large and valuable clientele among visitors to the Highlands during the tourist and shooting seasons. An evidence of the confidence and high estimation in which their house is held exists in the strangely multifarious nature of the commissions with which they are entrusted by patrons, orders coming to them for all sorts of things, not even excepting ladies’ bonnets, live donkeys, and cargoes of coal. In recent years the firm have developed a considerable business on the west coast, during the yachting season, in supplying yachtsmen with their superior tinned soups and provisions of all kinds. John Walker & Co. are also well known in the colonies for their famous blend of Scotch whisky, the exportation of which has now become an important branch of their business.
After the death of Mr. Walker, the business was continued by the surviving partners, Mr. William Dick and Mr. James Adam, the latter of whom retired in 1864, from which date till his death, in 1877, Mr. Dick was sole proprietor. The present partners are Mr. William Murray Dick, son of the late principal, and Mr. Alexander Murray, the latter of whom holds a commission in the 1st Lanark R.V., a regiment of considerable fame throughout Scotland.
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