Alex. Davie & Co.

Ironmongers

The 'furnishing ironmongers' Alexander Davie & Co. (also known as Alexander, or Alex., Davie & Sons; and plain 'Alex. Davie') had its origin in another firm of ironmongers, McGeoch & McHaffie, established in the 1830s in Argyle Street, which was then the main commercial thoroughfare of Glasgow. William McGeoch continued on his own, and Alexander Davie (born c. 1828) was working for him by 1867. 1 Davie was eventually assumed into partnership, and in the early 1880s he moved his residence from the substantial tenements of the West End of Glasgow to an even more desirable detached villa in a tree-lined suburban street. At the end of 1883, the partnership split into two separate companies: McGeoch's sons continued under their own name, and Alexander Davie & Sons was formed, retaining the original shop at 113 Argyle Street. 2 Davie had four sons, three of whom seem to have joined the business for varying periods. 3 In 1891, they supplied the fire grates and fenders for Glasgow Corporation's palatial new City Chambers. 4

Davie was a member of various trade bodies, such as the Incorporation of Hammermen and the Glasgow Ironmongers' Friendly Society, which as well as staging lavish dinners, funded sick pay and funeral grants for poorer members. 5

Alexander Davie Senior died in 1900, by which time his sons were working in other professions. 6 In 1903, William McGeoch & Co. bought over their former employees, and reabsorbed Davie's business. 7 McGeoch & Co. continued to be successful, running a brass foundry and lamp factory in Birmingham, as well as a London warehouse. They acted as agents for screw makers and enamelled plate makers, alongside making ships' electrical fittings and contracting as electrical engineers. Younger members of the McGeoch family continued the business, settling in Solihull and also in Helensburgh, the traditional summer retreat of Glasgow businessmen. 8

Notes:

1: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1835–6, 1840–1 and 1867–8.

2: Glasgow Herald, 27 September 1883, p. 1, and 2 January 1884, p. 1.

3: Census 1861–91, Alexander Davie and Alexander Jaffray Davie, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 10 May 2010].

4: James Nicol, Vital ... Statistics ... of Glasgow 1886–1891, Glasgow: James Maclehose, 1891, p. 106.

5: Harry Lumsden and Patrick Aitken, History of the Hammermen of Glasgow, Paisley: Alexander Gardner, 1912, pp. 340, 432; Glasgow Herald, 5 March 1892, p. 6.

6: Wills Search Return, Alexander Davie, SC36/48/174, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed on 10 May 2012].

7: Edinburgh Gazette, 2 January 1903, p. 11.

8: Glasgow Post Office directories, 1900–1, 1905–6, 1910–11, 1920–1.