Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Scotland's 100 Oldest Companies

Thanks to Simon Fowler for letting me know about the following news posted on the Archives NRA Jiscmail list.

The Scotland’s 100 Oldest Companies project has been completed, with the findings of the business archives catalogued posted online through the project wiki at (Although a wiki site, alteration is by membership only). A completed PDF version of the company list and an Excel Spreadsheet of the results from the project will also soon be available online at the Business Archives Council of Scotland website

According to the post by BACS officer David Luck, "The project has uncovered and surveyed previously unknown record holdings, and has updated previous work done by the National Register of Archives for Scotland. It has featured a wide variety of organisations, reflecting the diversity of limited liability companies in Scotland: local community groups such as The Corstorphine Public Hall Company have featured next to large business like Diageo and professional institutions like The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. The oldest company still registered at Companies House was actually the Cupar Corn Exchange Company, set-up by local people to build and then manage the titular facility in the centre of Cupar, Fife.

"Part of the aim of the project was to provide a snapshot of the current state of the historic records of important businesses in Scotland. Though there are some exceptions, the general results indicate how well Scotland’s business heritage has been preserved; 77 of the companies examined have some sort of historical records, and 57 of these are held within a recognised archive facility."

After a comparison with similar work in England, he goes on to say that "perhaps it is not surprising that the financial services sector are strongly represented in the oldest companies, but there is also a surprisingly large manufacturing element that survives amongst organisations still registered at Companies House Edinburgh.

"All these resources are free to download and use responsibly. I hope the work can be a building block for other researchers in Scottish business, and a useful resource going forward."

The BACS website is at, with the Business Archives Scotland blog at If you have a company archive and you haven't a clue what to do with it, please do contact BACS...!


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