Company: Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd

Registration number:

Company name: Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd
Dates in business: 1911-1972

Type of business: department store retailers

Type of company: Private limited company

  • King Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

Company history

In April 1864, Hugh Lauder, in partnership with John Brown, opened his drapery store in King Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1911, the partners decided to form a private limited company; Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd was incorporated on 2 May 1911 with the new board consisting of Hugh Lauder, John Brown and their respective sons Hugh Lauder, junior, and James S M Brown.

One of the first decisions taken by the new board was to install large display windows and electric light in the store. The firm continued to expand and, in 1914, the adjacent premises at 45-49 King Street, Kilmarnock, were acquired. With Hugh Lauder's death in 1916 the board had to be reconstructed. John Brown became chairman and John M Burns was made a director. On John Brown's death in 1922, Hugh Lauder, junior, became chairman of the company.

On 10 February 1923, the store was destroyed by fire causing a damage of over GBP 100,000. Within three weeks trading resumed in Kilmarnock's Agricultural Hall, which was used as temporary headquarters while the store was rebuilt. The new premises were ready for partial occupation in October 1927 and in 1932 a new shop front was installed.

Following Hugh Lauder's death in 1935, James Brown became chairman and John M Brown was made co-director. James Brown died in 1942 and at the end of the 1939-1945 World War the board had to be reconstructed again with John Burns now resuming the role of chairman. The grandsons of John Brown, the company's co-founder, E J Gilbert Brown and G Brown became chairman and board member respectively when John Burns died in 1950.

In 1949, the fashion floor of the store was redesigned to meet modern display standards. In 1954, the company purchased the site of W. & K. Gailey (drapers) at 77 King Street with the view to establishing a new store. However, the site was sold to the Saxone Shoe Co. in 1956 following the death of J.N. Cassels, the director in charge of the redevelopment.

In March 1953, the company acquired Archibald Cook, retailers, Campbeltown, Scotland. Despite refurbishment in 1955, the store's profits fell and the decision to cease trading was taken in early 1956.

A further extension programme of Lauder's Kilmarnock premises was completed in spring 1963, increasing the selling space and the administrative accommodation. The new office area also included cloakrooms, a rest room and a staff canteen.

In 1972, House of Fraser Ltd bought over the company, and the store ceased to trade prior to 2003.

Records held for Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd:

FRAS 1033
Title: Minutes of general meetings of shareholders
Date: 1953-1972
FRAS 1034
Title: Minutes of meetings of board of directors
Date: 1930-1971
FRAS 1035
Title: Letter regarding the death of Mr John N. Cassels, director
Date: 1956
FRAS 1036
Title: Memoranda and articles of association
Date: 1911-1955
FRAS 1037
Title: Agreement for sale of Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd shares to House of Fraser Ltd
Date: 1972
FRAS 1038
Title: Press cuttings
Date: c1930-1972
FRAS 1039
Title: Photographs
Date: c1960s
FRAS 1040
Title: Register of directors' shareholdings
Date: 1950-1966
FRAS 1041
Title: Register of directors and secretaries
Date: c1940-1964
FRAS 1042
Title: Register of members, etc
Date: 1911-1972

Related People and Companies:

Corporation name: Archibald Cook Ltd
Dates of connection: 1953
Connection type: Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd acquired Archibald Cook Ltd in 1953.
Corporation name: House of Fraser Ltd
Dates of connection: 1972
Connection type: Hugh Lauder & Co Ltd was acquired by House of Fraser Ltd in 1972.

Access points: Department stores - Retail trade

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