Records of James Marshall (Glasgow) Ltd, millers and semolina manufacturers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes 1901-1982
  • Cash books 1886-1982
  • Ledgers 1901-1982
  • Stock books 1910-1978
  • Journals 1965-1984
  • Wage records 1897-1983
  • Plant and property records 1922-1980
  • Memorandum and articles of association 1900-1979
  • Shareholding records 1901-1981
  • Purchase contract books 1913-1972
  • Sundries books 1963, 1971
  • Day books and sheets 1965-1982
  • Pension scheme records 1935-1982
  • Letterbook 1914-1933
  • Diary 1982
  • Pictures and certificates, 20th century

Administrative / Biographical History

James Marshall was born in 1838  in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland. In his early twenties, Marshall moved to Glasgow, Scotland, to work in the flour mill of W & W Glen , flour merchants and millers. In 1865  , Marshall was created a partner. Marshall, however, decided to set up his own business and in 1878  he set up the Ibrox Flour Mills in Glasgow's south side. Here he produced starchy products generally known as 'Marshall's preparations of wheat'. Marshall's principle product was semolina. Semolina was by no means unique to Marshall, but Marshall's semolina was distinguished by the fact that it was pre-packaged in cartons, the firm being a pioneer in pre-packing refined preparations of wheat.

In 1885  , Marshall went into partnership with his brother Thomas, an engineer. Together the brothers launched a fine grain semolina, farola, which they marketed as having a variety of purposes, including a health food, an invalid food and a base for blancmanges. The success of Marshall's semolina and farola was recognised by the award of two gold medals at the Edinburgh and Liverpool Exhibitions. However, the company had been over ambitious in their level of production, their advertising costs were high, and as a result the company was operating at a loss, which it could not afford to do. James Marshall opted for sequestration in 1887  . This decision led to a dispute between the two brothers, and consequently the business was reconstructed as two new firms. These two firms were in direct competition and both the brothers sought to expand through new wheat based products. Thomas introduced Kassama food. James expanded his products to include Triola, a large grain semolina, Granola, a wholemeal semolina, and Ptyloid, a pure vegetable digest of starch. These years were difficult for James and his company, James Marshall , recorded losses in 1887  , 1888  , 1890  , and 1893  . Despite this, in 1888  , a new packing and office was opened in the east end of Glasgow. In the same year a small warehouse was opened in Pimlico, Westminster, London. In 1889  , James obtained official patents for his semolina, farola and the trade mark "the finest of wheat". 1894  saw the end of the direct threat from his brother Thomas' company. Thomas had died the previous year and in 1894  his company folded.

In 1900  , James' company became a limited liability company, James Marshall (Glasgow) Ltd with James as managing director. The only other director was his son, James P Marshall, who worked for the Glasgow bakers, Mcfarlane Lang . As part of Marshall's advertising campaign he had reached an agreement with Mcfarlane Lang that allowed the bakers to use the trademark farola and granola for their biscuits based on these products. In 1904  , this agreement with Mcfarlane Lang was formalised. Marshall sold them the right to the title granola and also farella, in return Mcfarlane Lang reconveyed to Marshall their right to use farola for biscuits. In the same year James P Marshall established his own bakery. In 1906  Marshall brought his two other sons, Thomas and Allan, into the business. Two years later his youngest son Edward joined the company.

During the war the majority of the firm's production was diverted to provision the troops. Allan and Edward both joined the services with Allan being killed in 1918  while on active service. Thomas died of pneumonia in 1926  . James Marshall remained active in the company promoting sales through advertising until his death in 1928  . It was about this time that the production of pasta products began in earnest, semolina being the raw material for the manufacture of pasta. In the following years, James Marshall Ltd became famous for being "the firm that put the Mac in Macaroni".

In 1932, a subsidiary company was set up in Ireland and from the 1950s, the company specialised in pre-packaged ground rice, self-raising and plain flour.

In 1962, a wholly owned subsidiary company, Farola Fare Ltd , was incorporated to undertake the milling and manufacture of cereal products in Glasgow with James and David Marshall as directors. This company never traded and was dissolved in 1975.

In 2000, James Marshall (Glasgow) Ltd, became Tomkins SC7 Ltd. In 2002, this non-trading company was registered in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Slaven, A and Checkland, S (eds.), , vol 2Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960 ( 1990  , Aberdeen )


This material has been arranged into series, which are described in the scope and content note. With in these series the material is generally arranged chronologically.

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Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2958) and London (NRA21935)

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Related Material

GB 248 UGD 233/16 Records of Farola Fare Ltd

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


Morgan, Nicholas J, Slaven, A and Checkland, S (eds.), , vol 2'James Marshall',Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960(1990, Aberdeen)

Additional Information

This material is original

Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 23 July 2002

Geographical Names