Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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McDougall Brothers

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1845 Alexander McDougall, previously a struggling Scottish shoe merchant from Dumfries and then a Manchester schoolmaster, finally achieved his ambition of setting up as a manufacturing chemist.

He recruited his sons into the business

1864 The brothers (Alexander, Isaac, James Thomas, John and Arthur) developed and produced a patent substitute for yeast. This was the starting point which was not only to revolutionise home baking but firmly position McDougall's as a household name especially for self-raising flour.

1869 Milling became an important part of the business, especially after using different millers the results of their flour was varied, and at this time the company opened the Wheatsheaf Mill in the East End of London. The market for their self-raising flour had now extended into the South of England.

1869 The first large mill to be built alongside any of the London docks was the Wheatsheaf Mill, at Millwall Docks, which stood on the southern quay of the Millwall Outer Dock. Its construction was started in 1869 by the Manchester-based McDougall Brothers.

Also see McDougall Brothers (of Manchester) for the parts of the business mainly concerned with chemicals.

1881 Alexander McDougall handed over the Manchester end of the business in order to devote more time to public life as an alderman and magistrate.

c.1884 John McDougall, who had been running the London operation, did the same, eventually becoming Chairman of the London County Council and was knighted by Edward VII.

1886 Mills at London, Liverpool, Manchester[1]

1900 Dissolution of the Partnership between Isaac Shimwell McDougall, James Thomas McDougall, Isaac McDongall, and James Stevenson Binning, carrying on business as Corn Millers, Bakers, and Flour Dealers, at 10, Mark-lane, London, Millwall Docks, London, and the Standard Bakery, Swan-street, Southwark, London ,under the style of McDougall Brothers. James Thomas McDougall and James Stevenson Binning, continued the business as Corn Millers, Bakers, and Flour Dealers, at 10, Mark-lane, London, Millwall Docks, London, and the Standard Bakery, Swan-street, Southwark, London, under the style of McDougall and Co.[2]

The firm evolved into the first of Britain's giant flour milling concerns, more often known by the name of their product McDougall's. They owned several large mills elsewhere in the country. The Wheatsheaf Mill, rebuilt several times over the following century, became one of the major landmarks of the Isle of Dogs.

1926 The two companies were re-united as McDougalls Ltd

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1886/12/17
  2. London Gazette 29 January, 1901
  • [1] BBC/Open University
  • [2] Port Cities - London: Flour milling and the port