Records of P R Buchanan & Co Ltd

Scope and Content


  • P R Buchanan & Co report and accounts;
  • P R Buchanan & Co partnership agreements;
  • P R Buchanan & Co accounts;
  • P R Buchanan & Co correspondence;
  • P R Buchanan & Co insurance records;
  • P R Buchanan & Co property records;
  • P R Buchanan & Co family records;
  • P R Buchanan's Trust records;
  • P R Buchanan shareholders records;
  • Chargola Tea Association Ltd report and accounts;
  • Chubwa Tea Co Ltd report of directors;
  • Chubwa Tea Co Ltd partnership records;
  • Chubwa Tea Co Ltd accounting records;
  • Chubwa Tea Co Ltd sales records;
  • Chubwa Tea Co Ltd property records;
  • Hopewell Tea Co accounting records;
  • Noyapara Tea Co records;
  • Achabam Tea Co Ltd records;
  • Borhat Tea Co Ltd;
  • The Dumont Coffee Company Limited;
  • Santa Cruz Coffee Company Limited.

Administrative / Biographical History

Patrick Robertson Buchanan, b. 1846 , died in  1929  at the age of 83. Motto: Audacia et Industria Darleith Estate, Bonhill Parish,  Cardross (sale of estate UGD91/375) and the house Fairfield,  Goring on Thames, Oxon.  P R Buchanan signed a gift of mandate for sequestration of his estates (UGD91/371/38). His wife was  Harriette (sic) Buchanan formerly Bryans, of Fairfield,  Goring on Thames, Oxon, who died  1906  at  Muttapatti, Travancore State, South India. His daughter was  Nora Harriette MacLaughlin, wife of  Dr Alexander John Maunsell MacLaughlin  (UGD91/371/33).  Arthur Bryans is his wife's cousin (UGD91/371/33).  P R Buchanan went to  India in  1867  and was working as manager of Monacherra Tea Estate,  Hailakandy Valley. In  1871  He became owner of an estate called Chargola in  Sylhet, near the western boundary of  Cachar. This was actually in fairly close proximity to the  Hailakandy Valley. In  1877 P R Buchanan and friends set up an agency in  London called  P R Buchanan & Co in which  Arthur Bryan was also involved in some way. The four partners were:  P R Buchanan based in  Great Britain;  Gow Smith based in  India;  C T Richardson based in  India; and  Col. P Robertson a sleeping partner based in  Great Britain. By  1878  supervising tea estates was their main business and the backbone of that business was Chargola.  Chargola Tea Co was floated in  May 1877  and developed into the  Chargola Tea Association in  1895 , which comprised of Chargola, Singlacherra, Maguracherra, Hingajea. The original tea estate that were supervised (19) in  1877  were: Chargola, Kalacherra, Tarvincherra, Mookhamcherra, Noracherra, Doorgacherra, Saucherra, Doolabcherra, Lallcherra, Teelacherra, Phanaicherra, Coombiracherra, Oliviacherra, Dukingole, Hingajea, Kajuldhara, Sagurnal, Lallakhal and Baghcherra. In  1878  there were reported to be 4,800 acres under cultivation but very large areas owned but not cultivated.  P R Buchanan & Co established a warehousing business. A city warehouse was leased in Street, and  Andrew Buchanan was set up as its superintendent. In  1885  a lease was taken on Olivers Wharf,  Wapping High Street which they eventually bought. It housed 60,000 packets of tea. In  1900  Colonial Wharf was leased on a 21 year lease and renamed Buchanan's warehouse [this is not to be confused with Buchanan's Wharf which was a separate building]. From  1912  onwards  P R Buchanan & Co concentrated on the warehousing business and rubber was the backbone of this. Rubber was stored at Olivers Wharf. The lease for this warehouse was terminated in  1933 . Tea brokerage within  P R Buchanan & Co was in the hands of  Mr Drew and  Mr Boulnois.  P R Buchanan & Co was closely connected with the formation of four tea companies, known as the Finlay Group:  Consolidated Tea and Lands Co Ltd;  Amalgamated Tea Estates Co Ltd;  Anglo American Direct Tea Trading Co Ltd; and  Kenan Devan Hills Produce Co.  P R Buchanan & Co were the London agents for these companies for the sale of produce and for advising the boards of directors on the processes of tea manufacture.  James Finlay & Co 1894  became partners in  P R Buchanan & Co. For several years  Finlay Muir in  Calcutta had been local agents for  P R Buchanan's firms, and before Finlay it was  Williamson Magor & Co. However, James Finlay helped  P R Buchanan & Co out of some financial difficulties. In  1896 Mr Buchanan formed the  Dumont Coffee Co to acquire 13,000 acres of planted coffee and land belonging to the Santos-Dumont family.  P R Buchanan & Co were managing agents. The  Dumont Coffee Co had an unfortunate career and  P R Buchanan & Co suffered heavy losses.  Agua Santa Co (also a coffee company) was liquidated with losses.  Patrick Robertson Buchanan retired from the business in  November 1905 .  Arthur Bryans retired in  1933  and died in  1944  at the age of 92. He was chairman of the  Indian Tea Association (London) 1901  and  1902  and became president in  1930 . He was also a member of the committee of the  South Indian Association and the Ceylon Association.  P R Buchanan & Co ’s offices were at: Pall Mall (1876 ); 21 Whitehall Place (1877-79 ); 57 Gracechurch Street (1879-83 ); Fenchurch Avenue (1883-90 ); and Leadenhall Street (1890-1929 ). In  P R Buchanan & Co 1929 and  James Finlay's  London office moved into the same premises at 9 St Helen's Place and during WWII their premises were bombed. In  P R Buchanan & Co 1924  started building Buchanan's Wharf, which was completed in  1937  and destroyed by enemy action early in WWII.


Files arranged as received.

Access Information

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Appraisal Information

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


None expected

Related Material

See also GB 248 UGD 091/1/1/4/4 for India accounts; GB 248 UGD 091/1/4/2/3/1-3 for ledgers in account with James Finlay & Co; GB 248 UGD 091/1/3/1/1 for private letterbooks; GB 248 UGD 091/11/1/2 for Patrick Buchanan's portfolio; GB 248 UGD 091/1/4/9/1 and Imray Fund papers; GB 248 UGD 091/1/3/4/1/3 for P R B’s life insurance policies and correspondence concerning these. See also GB 248 UGD 091/16: Kenan Devan Hills Produce Co Ltd; and GB 248 UGD 091/8: Consolidated Tea and Lands Co Ltd, with whom Buchanan's connections were very strong.

Kerala agricultural accounts GB 248 UGD 091/1/1/4/5.

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


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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.