Wylie & Lochhead, Limited
Wylie & Lochhead, Limited, Cabinet Makers, Upholsterers, Carvers, Gilders, Paper-hanging Manufacturers, Carpet Warehousemen, &c., 45, Buchanan Street.
first firm in Glasgow, and one of the most important and representative of
British concerns in its large and comprehensive system of commercial and
industrial operations, is that of Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead, Limited, whose
undertakings embrace the complete exemplification of each of the lines of
manufacture specified at the head of this sketch. The business was inaugurated
in 1827 by Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead, who traded originally as a private firm
under that title. The concern is now conducted on a limited liability basis.
The business was first commenced in Argyle Street, and it was at one time
thought that the fine warehouse erected for its accommodation in that
thoroughfare would have proved equal to all demands likely to be made upon its
capacity, for many years at least. The tide of fortune had, however, determined
to set in strongly in favour of Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead (a determination which
it is pleasing to note has never in their case been revoked) ; and so rapidly was
the house borne along on this stream of prosperity that it soon became
absolutely imperative that larger premises should be secured to give the
business that full scope necessary to the complete development of its
Accordingly, in 1855, the Argyle Street establishment was definitively abandoned, and the firm entered into occupation of their present premises in Buchanan Street. This superb warehouse was also specially erected by themselves, and constitutes to this day one of the finest among the many magnificent commercial structures which have made the business thoroughfares of Glasgow a sight to be remembered. This strikingly handsome and commanding edifice rises from the street to an elevation of seventy feet, comprising six lofty and commodious floors, and possessing a splendid facade that is simply one huge window, so admirable has been the consideration devoted to securing a perfect light for the interior. The fine frontage on Buchanan Street is sixty-six feet in extent, and the building runs back in the rear to a depth of nearly 210 feet. The structure is composed of brick, with richly ornate terra-cotta facings and decorations, and its entire architectural design is at once chaste, tasteful, and eminently well suited to a warehouse of this character. The interior, in every detail of arrangement and construction, can only be described as an embodiment of the best modem principles of structural science.
The most perfect precautions have been taken to guard against the outbreak of fire ; but in the event of such a contingency actually coming to pass, it would certainly be rather interesting to watch the discomfiture which would unquestionably accrue to the destructive element in a building wherein there is not one part or portion upon which even the fiercest fire would be likely to make damaging impression. Indeed, in this establishment of Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead we have one of the very few to which that much abused term "fireproof" can with justification be applied.
Every feature of arrangement and "laying-out" in this warehouse is a study in the achievement of the greatest possible commodiousness combined with the finest obtainable effect in general appearance ; and the result in its entirety leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Each showroom is a picture, and the whole establishment is a complete exemplification of every industrial branch undertaken and developed by the house. The system upon which the interior of the warehouse has been constructed is that of several successive tiers of immense galleries running round the entire edifice, one above another, and leaving in the centre a space entirely unoccupied, from the ground floor to the immense ellipsis of glass and ironwork that roofs the whole. Thus on the very dullest day any light that exists in the street without, or in the air above, is available to its fullest extent within this establishment.
The principal departments here represented, with their several locations in the building, are as follows :On the ground floor : curtains, table covers, bedding, upholstery, carriage furnishing, blankets, and naperies, cabinet furniture and upholstered goods, ironmongery, and ship furnishing, the latter being mentionable as a special feature of much importance. In the first gallery: carpets, rugs, mattings, floorcloths, linoleums, crumb-cloths, &c. In the second gallery: paper-hangings, mural decorations, iron and brass bedsteads, and furniture. In the third and upper galleries: hall, library, office, and parlour, dining, drawing, bed, and smoking-room furniture of every description.
The stock held is enormous, both in point of extent and of variety, and a perfect reconciliation has been effected by the firm between the highest of quality and the most moderate of prices. To stand in any part of this warehouse and survey all that is visible from any one point of view of the magnificent display of superior goods it contains is simply a privilege, an artistic treat, which should certainly enhance the pleasure of making a purchase in an establishment where the convenience and satisfaction of customers constitute at all times considerations of paramount importance. Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead are noted for the perfection to which they have brought every branch and department of their business and industry ; and it would savour strongly of invidiousness to single out from the midst of so much conspicuous excellence any individual feature of the stock for special mention. Bedding, furniture, paper-hangings, decorations, carpets, rugs, iron and metal ware, floor coverings, upholstery, and general furnishing of every description all these are distinct specialties in themselves, and all illustrate the best achievements of modern times in their several lines.
The firms principal works are at Mitchell Street, where upholstery and polishing are done ; Kent Road, where cabinet making, gilding, glass silvering, and bedding are carried on ; Whiteinch, where paper-hangings in all the different classes are manufactured ;
and Berkeley Street stables, where there are over 300 horses and a magnificent stud of Belgian horses, all employed in cab and carriage hiring, and funeral undertaking, this branch of their business being the largest in Scotland. The storing and removing of household effects are largely undertaken, for which a large staff of workmen are employed and gigantic pantechnicon vans.
The trade controlled is enormous in magnitude and world-wide in scope ; the connection maintained is of the most valuable, distinguished, and extensive character ; and so thoroughly has the house identified itself with Glasgow, and become one of the features of that great western metropolis, that visitors to the "City of the Clyde" are in very truth not considered to have properly "done" the place until their tour of inspection has included a survey of Messrs. Wylie & Lochhead's magnificent premises.
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