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Sir Thomas Lipton

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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Sir Thomas Lipton

Sir Thomas Lipton, (1850-1931), grocer and yachtsman.

Born in Gorbals to Irish immigrants, Lipton went to America at age fourteen and gained valuable experience in the grocery trade. He returned to open a small shop of his own, selling staple foods - butter, cheese, ham, eggs and tea. He opened many more shops throughout the city and beyond, supplying the basic foodstuffs required by the rapidly increasing industrial population. By 1898, the year he was knighted, the Lipton chain had moved its headquarters to London and had 243 branches in the United Kingdom, twelve tea plantations in Ceylon and substantial interests in the United States.

Lipton was one of the first businessmen to recognise the benefits of advertising. He often spent as much as £100,000 a year in newspaper advertising, becoming a household name in the process.

Lipton took up yachting, which allowed him to move up the social scale, even becoming a friend of King Edward VII. Between 1889 and 1930 he tried five times to regain the America's Cup for Britain, but was ultimately disappointed in his life's ambition.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 052 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

America's Cup, butter, chain stores, cheese, eggs, grocers, grocers' shops, grocery shops, ham, Lipton Co, provision merchants, tea merchants, tea plantations, yachting, yachts, yachtsmen

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