The Bealeys and International Trade

 A quick glance through the Bealey papers quickly shows that most of their trade came from cotton merchants who were exporting their finished goods abroad. This was a highly successful and lucrative business but things did not always go to plan this blog will show. 

Complaint letters from British cotton merchants in Saigon & Singapore.

Complaint letters from British cotton merchants in Saigon & Singapore.

By the end of the nineteenth century the family business was facing stiff overseas competition and encountering problems with trading partners abroad. The letters above are complaints from merchants such as Eric Birch & Co. who found that the goods which the Bealeys had sent to Singapore in September 1893 were faulty and “had caused a loss of confidence in British traders” there. The right hand letter is from Sydney Hudson who wanted the Bealeys to pay 17/- as compensation for the excess weight of the goods they had shipped to Saigon. He goes on to stress that unless merchants have the support of the bleachers, the Saigon trade will remain in French hands. 

Urgent letters from British cotton traders looking for customers in Europe, 1933-34

Urgent letters from British cotton traders looking for customers in Europe, 1933-34

By 1933-4, the British cotton exports abroad were suffering badly from the “Moroccan Question” which saw the French importing cheap Japanese goods into Morocco. 

Fall off in UK trade in Europe due to Japanese Imports in Morocco

Fall off in UK trade in Europe due to Japanese Imports in Morocco

The British Chamber of Commerce was urgently trying to stem the flood of cheap imports and as the following extract shows, the situation was getting worse. 

Extract from a British Chamber of Commerce report.

Extract from a British Chamber of Commerce report.

The situation became so bad in Lancashire that meetings and rallies were held in protest against the fall in trade due to the actions of the French. The Bealeys were probably at this meeting as they felt it important to keep this newspaper cutting. 

Meeting held in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.

Meeting held in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.

The caption reads: “Lieut. Commander Astbury, MP for West Salford, addressing the meeting held in the Free Trade Hall to protest against the menace of Japanese competition to the Lancashire cotton industry.”
 
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About bealey

Bury archives has employed a professional project archivist, Gillian Paxton, who is sorting through the papers of the Bealey family and their company The Bealey Bleachworks based in Radcliffe near Bury. These records are being catalogued so they can be made available to the public.
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