Records of James Robertson (Factors) Ltd, radio and electrical wholesalers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Guard book, 1950-1988;
  • Correspondence and company history, 1906-1970;
  • Photographs, c1950s-c.1960s;
  • History of the Glasgow Cycle Company/Argyle Cycles Ltd, 2002.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Robertson, MBE, was born in 1892. After studying engineering at the Royal Technical College he entered employment within North British Machine Co Ltd, of which his father, James Robertson, senior, was managing director. From 1915 to 1919 he served in the Army, mostly in Palestine, and on his return founded his own business under his name as a motor and cycle factor at 11 Bath Street, Glasgow. The business expanded and new premises were acquired at 48-54 West Nile Street where in 1923 he took an interest in the radio trade, then in its infancy. The continued growth of the business necessitated a further move to larger premises at 95 West Nile Street in 1929.

In 1937 a branch was opened in Edinburgh, but due to the Second World War further expansion was limited. In 1948 the Edinburgh branch moved to larger premises at 12 Young Street and in 1962 the adjoining building at 10 Young street was acquired. In 1949 another branch, dealing only in radio and cycle goods, opened in Aberdeen and in 1957 a new building was acquired in Bon-Accord Terrace which allowed the addition of the company's motor business. The head office and warehouse in Glasgow was moved to St George's Road at the new year in 1961, and with a spacious garage on the ground floor it was one of the most up to date wholesale warehouses in the city.

The firm became a limited company in 1951, and Robertson's son, John H Robertson, became a board member.

Throughout his life and career, Robertson maintained an interest in media, and was credited with bringing television to Scotland earlier than planned through campaigning. He was president of several organisations such as the Scottish Motor Trade Association, Motor Factors' Association, Radio Wholesalers' Federation, and the Radio Industries Club of Scotland. He was also a President of the Rotary Club, a Director of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and a Justice of the Peace. He was awarded the MBE for his wartime service as a major in the Home Guard. He died on 1st February 1957 at the age of 65.

Following Robertson's death, his son became managing director of the company, and under him the company made marked progress in the domestic appliance trade. Like his father, John H Robertson also played an active role in the industry, becoming president of the Scottish Radio Congress as well a Director of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, and serving on the Council of the Radio Wholesalers' Federation and the Scottish Motor Trade Association.

On the 1st of January 1969 after four years of trading as a subsidiary of Ada (Halifax) Ltd, James Robertson (factors) Ltd merged with James Whiteford & Company Ltd, Radio and Electrical Wholesalers, to form Whiteford Robertson Ltd. John H Robertson and G Whiteford became joint Managing Directors. Together the firm held depots in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.

The years following the merger saw the company refine its market, selling its motor trade business to Partco Ltd in October 1972, and transferring its industrial electronics business to S.A.S.C.O. in May 1972.


Chronological within record series.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Miss L E Robertson : August 2004 : ACCN 2608

Other Finding Aids


Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

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

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

With Robertson family before deposit


None expected

Related Material


Location of Originals

This material is original


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 1999 and 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.

Fonds level description compiled by John Lehmann, Archives Assistant, 7 May 2008. Lower level description compiled by John Lehmann, Archives Assistant, 7 May 2008 with revisions by Emma Anthony, Assistant Archivist, 8 February 2012.