Records of Finlay, Muir & Co, Calcutta

Scope and Content


  • Partnership records;
  • Administrative records;
  • Correspondence;
  • Accounting records;
  • Staff records;
  • History of Finlay, Muir & Co, Calcutta.

Administrative / Biographical History

Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd, agents, and merchants,  Calcutta, India, were formed in  1870  as a subsidiary of  James Finlay & Co Ltd, textile manufacturers, tea planters, and merchants,  Glasgow, Scotland. The success of  Finlay, Clarke & Co, cotton and textile merchants,  Bombay, India, encouraged  James Finlay & Co Ltd to expand and open the branch in  Calcutta, consolidating the two branches under the name  Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd. Initially, the company concentrated on the trade of imported piece goods, with some investments in insurance and steel. After a hesitant start the company prospered and in  1872  became a member of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.  Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd began to trade in a number of products, such as rice, yarn, silk, and jute, as well as investing in shipping. In  1879  they became the representatives in  Calcutta of the Clan Line steam-ships, who in the  1880s  began to play a prominent part in the sea-going trade of  India. By the late  1880s  the company had added hemp, cotton, tobacco, rape-seed, linseed, saltpetre, sugar, castor oil, poppy-seed, shellac, hides, indigo, and ginger to the growing list of products it traded in. The company also began taking an interest in tea, and various tea estates came under their agency, most notably the four companies known as the Finlay group:  Consolidated Tea & Lands Co Ltd, tea planters,  Edinburgh, Scotland,  Amalgamated Tea Estates Co Ltd, tea planters,  Glasgow, Scotland,  Kanan Devan Hills Produce Co Ltd, tea planters,  Glasgow, Scotland, and  Anglo-American Direct Tea Trading Co Ltd, tea planters,  Edinburgh, Scotland. The shipping of tea to  London,  Australia,  New Zealand, and the Americas became the backbone of  Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd, and continued to be so well into the post-war period. In  1892 ,  Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd were appointed agents in  Calcutta for the  Bengal Dooars Railway Co, which served an important group of estates in the  Dooars, India. The company held this appointment for nearly 50 years until the railway was nationalised.  Finlay, Muir & Co Ltd was still trading in  1964 .


Files arranged as received.

Access Information

Some files in this collection are subject to Data Protection legislation as they contain sensitive information and material under 30 years old is closed to access. It is advised that you should contact the Duty Archivist before visiting:

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Any work intended for publication that is based on research from this collection must be approved in advance. Apply in the first instance to Archives and Special Collections, email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures. Duplicates have been removed.


None expected

Related Material

See GB 248 UGD 091/1/7/2 Calcutta branch records; GB 248 UGD 091/7/1/6/1 for agreements concerning the financing of Champdany Jute Co, and GB 248 UGD 091/1/10/3/2/2/1-2 for notebooks concerning visits by Sir John Muir to Travancore and India.

Material in other repositories: GB 059 Finlay Campbell & Co and Finlay Muir & Co (British Library: Oriental and India Office Collections)


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Collection catalogued by members of Glasgow University Archive Services staff. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant (Cataloguing), May 2012. Additional material catalogued and converted into Encoded Archival Description by Peter Morphew, Cataloguing Archivist, January 2016.