Title: Gilmour and Rankin Collection. -- 1812-1862; predominant 1828-1849. -- 12.5 cm of textual material.
Historical Sketch: In 1804, young Scottish entrepreneurs Allan Gilmour, John Pollok and Arthur Pollok joined forces to create Pollok and Gilmour Co., a Glasgow based import business specializing in timber.  In 1812, they began overseas expansion, sending Alexander Rankin and James Gilmour to establish a base on the Miramichi, in New Brunswick.  Beginning with a sawmill, offices and a house at Douglastown, Gilmour and Rankin Co. later established a shipbuilding yard and a second sawmill.  From their initial foothold in the wilderness, they developed a highly successful business as timber merchant and ship builders.

It was the practice of the parent company to send promising employees to train with Gilmour and Rankin.  In 1818, Robert Rankin, younger brother of Alexander Rankin, joined the company in Douglastown.  In 1822, he began separate but similar operations in Saint John under the name of Robert Rankin and Company.  In 1838, he returned to Scotland during a major restructuring of Pollok and Gilmour.

When James Gilmour returned to Scotland in 1840, a younger associate, Richard Hutchison, became more active in Gilmour and Rankin.  After the death of Alexander Rankin in 1852, Hutchison was the sole resident partner until about 1870 when the business, mills and lands were handed over to him by the Glasgow partners.

See: A History of Our Firm, being some account of the firm of Pollok, Gilmour and Co. and its offshoots and Connections 1804-1920.  By John Rankin, Liverpool: Henry Young and Sons, Ltd., 1921.

Custodial History: This collection was donated by Robert Rankin to Lord Beaverbrook in the 1940s.

Scope and Content: This collection consists mainly of correspondence among members of the various branches of Pollok and Gilmour, especially to and from Alexander Rankin of Rankin and Gilmour; personal financial records of Alexander and Robert Rankin, and North American travel diaries of Allan Gilmour.

Arrangement is roughly chronological.


Title: Title is based on contents of the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:  It is assumed that Lord Beaverbrook donated this collection to the University of New Brunswick Archives in the 1950s.

Availability of Other Formats: Most of the documents in this collection can be accessed via the internet (http://www.lib.unb.ca/archives/gr/gr.html).  Those sections that have not been mounted on the internet have been scanned, and are available upon request.  Transcriptions have been prepared for a sampling of the documents.  These transcriptions appears as attachments to the scanned images.

Access: Access is unrestricted, however copying must be done from scanned images.

Finding Aids: Item level description is available for the documents.

Related Material: In the William J. Bedell fonds (MG H33), there is a letterbook containing correspondence to Gilmour and Rankin on the Miramichi and Robert Rankin in Saint John.

Other: Square brackets were used in the transcriptions for words which the archivist was either unable to decipher eg: [...], or when an educated guess was made for either the actual word or the spelling of a word eg: [the].  In the case of names, square brackets were also used to fill in the full name of an abbreviated signature eg: Jon[athan] Odell.

It should also be noted that in the descriptions, the original spelling of the names of both people and places has been kept.  Consequently, there are many different spellings of the same names.

    Beaverbrook Papers.  114, #67933-67934.  November 19th & 27th, 1956.

Document Maintained by:
UNB Archives
email address  archives@unb.ca
Last Update:  2007/09/04