Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/123-42

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1883-1978

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 59 production units.

Name of creator(s): Macneill and Barry Ltd | general merchants and agents of Calcutta, India


Administrative/Biographical history:

The firm was incorporated in Calcutta in 1949, formed by the merger of the partnerships Macneill and Company and Barry and Company.

MACNEILL AND COMPANY: established in Calcutta in 1872 by Duncan Macneill and John MacKinnon, nephews of William MacKinnon (for details of the shipping, trading and agency firms established by MacKinnon, see the Inchcape Group introductory note at CLC/B/123), the firm operated as an agency house for shipping, coal, tea and jute companies. Among the most important businesses represented were Rivers Steam Navigation Company Limited (see CLC/B/123-47), Equitable Coal Company Limited, Kalline Tea Company (see CLC/B/123-36) and Ganges Manufacturing Company Limited. An associated partnership, Duncan Macneill and Company (see CLC/B/123-23), was established in the 1870s to manage the London end of affairs.

BARRY AND COMPANY: this firm was also based in Calcutta and had been set up in the 1860s by Dr J B Barry, a tea garden doctor (or horticulturist) from Assam. Its managerial and agency interests were broadly complementary to those of Macneill and Company: jute and tea. Barry's son established a London office at this time, J B Barry and Son, to handle the firm's tea exports.

In 1915 Lord Inchcape, as commercial successor to Sir William MacKinnon (for bibliographical details of both men see the Inchcape Group introductory note at CLC/B/123), took over the Macneill and Barry partnerships in England and India. During the 1920s and 1930s, there was considerable expansion of business into commerce and industry.

Two years after incorporation in 1949 as Macneill and Barry Limited, the company acquired a minority interest in Kilburn and Company, a trading and agency house which acted, inter alia, for a further tea company, the Assam Company (see CLC/B/123-05), and for India General Steam Navigation Company Limited.

Following the partition of India, it became necessary to establish wholly-owned subsidiaries to manage Pakistani affairs locally. Thereafter, the management of the tea companies and of the 'Joint Steamer Companies' (Rivers Steam Navigation Company and India General Steam Navigation Company had operated jointly since 1889) was in the hands of Macneill and Barry (Pakistan) Limited and Kilburn and Company (Pakistan) Limited. Remaining equity in the parent company, Kilburn and Company, was bought out by Macneill and Barry Limited in 1956, thereafter the two subsidiaries merged to form Macneill and Kilburn Limited.

Macneill and Barry Limited was brought into the Inchcape Group in 1960. In 1975 it merged with the Calcutta agency house Williamson Magor Limited to form Macneill and Magor Limited.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Macneill and Barry Limited, general merchants and agents of Calcutta, India, comprising: records of Macneill and Company, 1908-67 (Ms 27851-63); Barry and Company, 1883-1944 (Ms 27864-73); Macneill and Barry Limited, 1905-78 (Ms 27874-86); Kilburn and Company Limited, 1942-65 (Ms 27887-91); Kilburn Properties Limited, 1960-5 (Ms 27892); Kilburn and Company (Pakistan) Limited, 1964 (Ms 27893); and Macneill and Kilburn Limited, 1963-4 (Ms 27894). The records include articles of association, deeds, annual reports, financial accounts, reports on business operations, plans, and photographs.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The archives of Macneill and Barry Limited were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 1987-88 by the Inchcape Group Plc, together with those of other companies in the group. They were catalogued in 1988-9. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.


Related material:

This collection is a sub-fond within the Inchcape Group fonds. See CLC/B/123 for a list of all the companies represented in this collection and a history of the Inchcape Group.


Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: January to May 2011.

Agents | People by occupation | People
Business records | Documents | Information sources
Coal industry | Industry
Jute industry | Manufacturing industry | Industry
Merchants | Mercantile personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Plantation records | Documents | Information sources
Plantations | Agricultural land
Shipping | Maritime transport | Transport
Shipping agents | Commercial agents | Business people | People by occupation | People
Tea trade | Food trade | Trade (practice)
Extractive industry
Water transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Macneill and Barry Ltd | general merchants and agents of Calcutta | India

Calcutta | West Bengal | India | South Asia
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe