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Adam & Company Limited (uncatalogued)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 AAM
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Adam & Company Limited (uncatalogued)
Date(s): 1825-1914
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 33ft: 1,006cm
Name of creator(s): Adam & Company Limited


Administrative/Biographical history:

At the beginning of the nineteenth century a Frenchman, Jean-Baptiste Pipon, founded an import-export business in Mauritius. In 1817 Joachim Henri Adam (1793-1856) arrived in Mauritius from Rouen to take up work on a sugar estate; in 1825 he married Jean-Baptiste's daughter and joined the Pipon business thereafter. Henri Adam played a prominent part in the island campaign for an indemnity to owners of slaves emancipated under the Abolition Act of 1832. The firm, which for more than a century was one of the island's three most important firms of merchants and commission agents, traded successively under the names of F Barbe and Adam (1829-1837); Henry Adam and Co (1837-1848); Pipon Bell and Co (1848-1863); Pipon Adam and Co (1863-1897); Adam and Co (1897-1945); and Adam and Co Ltd (1945-1969). The Adam family was important in local administration. Charles Felix Henri (fl 1830-1900) was a member of the Council of Government in the 1880s. His brother Louis Gustave (d 1894) established himself in Paris to watch over the European side of the business. In 1969 the business was sold to the Blyth, Greene, Jourdain and Company Group; a condition of the sale was that the Adam name should be kept. Both the Pipon and Adam families were involved in the production as well as in the marketing of sugar, the main export industry of Mauritius. Through a network of correspondents and agents the firm sold sugar, mostly on consignment, to Britain, France, India, Australia, Malaya, Dutch East Indies, Indo-China and South Africa: it imported rice and jute (gunny sacks) from Calcutta; chemical fertilizers and machinery from Europe and guano from Peru; mules from Montevideo, and a great diversity of consumer goods. An important part of the company's operations from the late 1830s onwards was connected with the transport and allocation of Indian immigrant workers under contract to the sugar plantations. It was also active in the chartering market, acting as agent both for chartered vessels and for regular liners, notably the Clan Line. There was also an insurance business, the Mauritius Marine Insurance Company, which looked after the affairs of a number of overseas insurance companies as agent and claims assessor, besides representing the Bureau Veritas classification society in Mauritius.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Adam and Company Limited covering the period 1825 to 1914. They relate to the sugar trade and import merchanting, including in-letters, bills of lading, charter parties, invoices, account sales and disbursements accounts; to ships' agency work, in particular that of the Clan Line; to insurance matters, consisting of policies and claims; to marine casualties, notes of protest and particular and general average statements and survey reports. There is a great deal of detailed information about the employment of immigrants and the conditions relating to their welfare. There is also a census of slaves employed on the Pipon estates in 1826 ('Greffe de l'Enregistrement des Esclaves'). Note that this collection is uncatalogued and there is no detailed list available.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English French

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

In transit - item unavailable from May to August 2011.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were acquired by the Museum in 1978 through Monsieur Maxime Adam, the senior member of the family.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

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:

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