Mann, Byars & Co.

Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co., Merchants and Manufacturers, 21, Glassford Street, Glasgow.—

    The firm whose name and chief address appear at the head of this brief sketch holds a high position among the leading houses in Glasgow. The business now so successfully carried on under the style of Mann, Byars & Co. was founded in Glasgow in 1847, and has been centred at its present headquarters for the past thirty-eight years. The house was originally established and know as Mann, Simpson & Byars ; but about thirty years ago the title now obtaining was definitively assumed, and the control of the business is now vested in Mr. John G. Couper and Mr. James Mann. These two gentlemen constitute the personnel of the firm to-day, and the latter is a son of the original Mr. Mann, one of the founders of the concern.

    From time to time the premises of the firm have undergone extension and development, and they now stand in their own line second to none in Glasgow. The establishment in its entirety covers a very large area of ground, and extends through from Glassford Street to Virginia Street, abutting also on Argyle Street (where is situate the Retail Department), and possessing fine frontages on all three thoroughfares. The Glassford Street buildings are handsome in appearance, and a fine row of six fluted and capitalled Corinthian columns, supporting the massive upper portion of this facade, add considerable architectural beauty to the block.

    About fourteen years ago Mr. Mann added a new storey to the portion of the premises facing Argyle Street. This portion of the building was formerly known as the Black Bull Hotel, and another — that in Glassford Street — was occupied by the Commercial Hotel. A part of the Virginia Street block was formerly occupied by the City of Glasgow Bank, and one of the strong-rooms of that institution is still intact and serviceable. Throughout the Wholesale and Retail Departments the best of light (a great desideratum in a warehouse of this kind) is enjoyed ; hot-water pipes circulate a proper degree of warmth everywhere ; and three hydraulic lifts afford means of communication between the several flats. In the various sections of the warehouse, including both wholesale and retail divisions, upwards of four hundred hands are employed, besides whom numerous travellers are employed obtaining orders throughout the-chief towns of the United Kingdom.

    Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co. hold very large stocks in every line in which they deal, and the following brief enumeration of the principal departments embraced will afford some idea of the comprehensive nature of their operations, for the firm are manufacturers as well as merchants, and are as well known in one line as the other. The departments in the Wholesale Division comprise those - for Flannels, Hosiery, Laces, Cloths, Tweeds, Ribbons, Winceys, Small-wares, Stuffs, Prints, White Cottons, Linens, Shawls, Grey Cottons,, Bonnets, Mantles, Silks, Ready-made Boys’ and Men’s Clothing, Shirts, Umbrellas, Skirtings, Boots and Shoes, Carpets, Damask, Floorcloths, Mattings, and Rugs of every description. These are merely heads, and are inclusive of a number of minor sections. Each department is complete in its every detail, and goods are to be found here from the cheapest to the costliest, from the plainest to the most elaborate ; and the arrangement of the whole in the fine warehouse devoted to their accommodation is most excellent even when viewed from a critical nineteenth-century standpoint. All the above departments are fully represented in the firm’s retail division in Argyle Street ; and here everything has been considered in the interests of customers, and all things arranged for their convenience.

    But, great as is the business transacted in the retail department, that carried on in the wholesale is still greater ; and there every item in all lines of goods above enumerated, Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co. supply to the trade, and in any style and quality in which the article, whatever it may be, is produced. Each department, both in the wholesale and retail sections, is under distinct personal supervision, and each manager, having a special staff of assistants under him, is in every way responsible for the proper order of his department, and we have already indicated enough concerning the order and method of the whole establishment to show how creditably these individual responsibilities are discharged. The working parts of the premises, and those devoted to the uses of the staff, are noteworthy for many points of excellence.

    On the upper floor of the buildings is the commodious dining-hall, where the hands dine, and dining-rooms for the principals. In the basement are the packing -rooms, fitted with hydraulic presses and every facility, and divided into three distinct departments — one for English, one for Scotch, and one for export trade. In the retail division the complement of special rooms is complete and well-considered, one being provided for millinery, and another for mantles and dress-making ; and in connection with these are well-equipped private rooms for fitting and trying-on purposes.

    In addition to these warehouses, Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co. control an extensive factory, situate opposite to one entrance in Virginia Street. Here are produced all the different ranges of goods manufactured by the firm,, in which production nine hundred hands are employed. In these well-equipped, commodious, and well-lighted works there are special rooms, each for the manufacture of all kinds of men’s, youths’ and boys’ readymade clothing, shirts, mantles, millinery, and underclothing, and a department reserved for special orders in clothing. There is a department for bespoke tailoring, another for carpet working, and the principal cutting-room is fitted with an ingenious apparatus capable of cutting with perfect, accuracy as many as twenty layers of cloth at one time. In this factory goods are cut out, made up, and sent over to the warehouse to be placed in stock ; and each department is worked with clockwork regularity.

    Five-or six hundred machines are in constant operation in the factory, and a numerous staff is engaged in feeding the noisy shuttles. The comfort and convenience of the operative staff — many of whom are girls — are well and lawfully considered here, and dining-rooms, cloak-rooms, &c., &c., are provided for their use. Indeed, perhaps one of the most pleasing features of Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co.’s entire establishment consists in the considerate attention bestowed by them upon their thirteen hundred employees of every grade, whose welfare is to them a matter of the highest importance. As for the work done at the factory, nothing can be said but that every garment or manufactured article is produced in accordance with the best principle, and nothing is allowed to leave the factory for the warehouse until it has creditably passed a searching examination at the hands of experienced inspectors.

    Messrs. Mann, Byars & Co. have branch offices sand depots at Edinburgh ; Newcastle-on-Tyne ; Toronto, Ontario, Sydney, N.S.W. ; and at Saint John, New Brunswick ; by which it will be seen that they control a trade world-wide in extent, and no word needs to be added here in accentuation of the commercial enterprise, managerial capacity, and careful consideration of all customers’ requirements which have for forty years been identified with the firm of Messrs. Mann Byars & Co., and have combined their influences in constituting their house one of the greatest representative factors in the sum of the commerce of Glasgow.

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