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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/123-10
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1903-1972
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 75 production units.
Name of creator(s): Binny and Co Ltd | steamship agency, traders and mill operators
Binny and Co (Madras) Ltd | steamship agency, traders and engineers
Buckingham and Carnatic Co Ltd | textile mills


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Binny established himself in business in South India in 1799. In the early years banking was the mainstay of his business, but from the mid 19th century Binnys began to acquire steamship agencies and to diversify into trade in general commodities, particularly coffee. In the last quarter of the 19th century the company turned its attention to textiles, establishing the Buckingham Mill Company and the Carnatic Mill, both near Madras, in 1876 and 1881 respectively. A little later, they took over the managing agency of the Bangalore Woollen, Cotton and Silk Mill.

In 1906 the collapse of the banking house of Arbuthnot and Company in Madras caused a run on Binnys which forced it to wind up. Sir James Mackay, then managing director of British India Steam Navigation Company, and later first Earl of Inchcape, bought the old firm and formed a new public company, incorporated in London as Binny and Company Limited, which took over the agencies formerly held by Binnys. The new head office was in London, rather than Madras, located in the offices of BISN, and former partners were appointed as managers in Madras.

In 1920, Binny hived off all its Indian interests to a new company, incorporated in India as Binny and Company (Madras) Limited. Binnys in London acted as agent for its Madras associate. At about the same time, the Buckingham and Carnatic Company Limited was incorporated in India to consolidate the two Madras mill companies.

In 1924 Binny and Company (Madras) Limited became Madras agents for the P & O Company, thus bringing closer the connection with Lord Inchcape. Binny and Company (Madras) Limited also formed an engineering department, dealing chiefly with ship repairs at first, but later extending to structural steel work and becoming a subsidiary company, Binny's Engineering Works (Private) Limited.

Binny and Company Limited joined the Inchcape Group in 1958. The company had offices successively in East India Avenue, Fenchurch Street, Throgmorton Avenue and Leadenhall Street.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Binny and Company Limited, steamship agency, traders, textile mill operators and engineers, including articles of association; annual reports; financial accounts; investment ledgers; correspondence; memoranda; papers regarding company history; and photographs of staff, offices and works.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

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 Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These archives were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 1987-8 by Inchcape Plc. They were catalogued in 1988-9. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

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.

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:
January to May 2011.

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