Friday, 14 September 2012

James Calder causing trouble again

I'm just back from a trip to Glasgow which, obviously, included a visit to the Scottish Brewing Archive.

This is from one of the documents I looked at. Not deliberately. It's one that was brought out by mistake. I wanted production records and got what looked like the minutes of board meetings. Mostly handwritten, but with a few typed sheets pasted in. I'm not sure of the exact date, but it seems to be from the period 1900 to 1905.

It seemed a waste not to give it a look through. I'm glad I did. Because I came across this gem about James Calder. Remember he's the man who attacked his partner with a shovel. I don't think I'd want to get on the wrong side of him.

This time he was just threatening rather using actual physical violence. To be honest, he must have been too old to get involved in a fight. The shovel incident was in 1870.

"To be inserted in Minutes

The Chairman (J.C. King) and Mr. John King reported that last week at the Company's Offices in Glasgow they had received a visit from Mr. James Calder, Brewer, Alloa, and that Calder had pursued a policy of gross and flagrant intimidation with the object of forcing either or both of the Directors into buying back at a stated price, and one very much higher than the current Market quotation, his entire holding of preference Shares in Archd. Campbell, Hope & King Ltd., and thus free and relieve Calder of his existing interest, in the Company; further that Calder threatened - in fact emphatically and deliberately declared - that unless his terms and conditions were agreed to there and then he would forthwith institute legal proceedings in the Court of Session to compel the Company to pay a dividend on his (Calder's) Shares.

That the Chairman firmly resented the attitude assumed; directly accused Calder of intimidation; censured his conduct and warned him that his words were being carefully noted by two witnesses.

That the chairman further reminded Calder of the fact, that Calder was not an original Shareholder, that he had bought the Shares in the open Market at a discount; and that the recommendation of the Directors that no dividend be paid, was carried out unanimously at the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders of the Company."
Document CHK1/6/1/1/1 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
As control of the brewery had passed to his son John Calder, James Calder must have been acting in a private capacity. Both Calders seem to have been particularly hard-nosed businessmen, even amongst Victorian Scots. Though this sounds more like straightforward blackmail.

I don't know what ultimately happened, but it doesn't sound like the Campbell, Hope & King board were in any mood to give in.


Martyn Cornell said...

Fantastic. Clearly a total nutter. What could possibly have made him think that a court would agree a company should be forced to pay him a dividend?

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I think after the attack with a coal shovel his character was pretty clear. Just love me those Calders. I'm sure there's loads of other stories about them.