Catalogue description Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd

This record is held by Liverpool Record Office

Details of 380 COT
Reference: 380 COT
Title: Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd

Liverpool Cotton Brokers' Association


380 COT/1. Minute Books of Weekly Meetings,


14 vols., 1842-1851, 1864-1886


380 COT/2. Draft Minute Books, 2 vols., 1877-1880


380 COT/3. Memoranda, 4 vols., 1871-1877


380 COT/4. Resolutions, reports etc., 202 docs., 1850, 1872, 1877-1882


Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd.


380 COT/5. Board Minute Books, 19 vols., 1882-1940


380 COT/6. Minute Books of Extraordinary General Meetings,


10 vols., 1882-1913, 1920-1938


380 COT/7. Shorthand Notes of Proceedings, 9 vol., 1908-1943


380 COT/8. Finance Committee Minute Books, 1 vol., 1924-1929


380 COT/9. Rules Committee Minute Books, 1 vol., 1921-1938


380 COT/10. Miscellaneous papers, 9 docs., 1888-1924

Date: 1842-1943
Held by: Liverpool Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd

Physical description: 60 vols., 211 docs.
Immediate source of acquisition:

The records listed below were deposited in this library by the Assistant Secretary to the Liverpool Cotton Association, 16 Cotton Exchange Buildings, Liverpool, in January 1970.

Custodial history:

Acc. 2191

Administrative / biographical background:

The import of American cotton into Liverpool began in the second half of the 18th century. The cotton trades in Liverpool developed "... on the basis of brokerage transactions ..." (see F. Hyde, B. Parkinson, S. Marriner The Cotton Broker and the Rise of the Liverpool Cotton Market in Economic History Review, Vol. 8, no. 1, 1956, pp. 75 - 83) and the brokers fell into two groups - those acting as sellers for importers and those acting as buyers for spinners etc. As trade grew, in order to exchange information about cotton, current prices etc., the leading brokers issued weekly market reports. Every Friday morning "... the brokers met together in the saleroom of the firm whose turn it was to collect the sales, and at this meeting the figures were called out .... These weekly meetings suggested the establishment of the Cotton Brokers' Association which was formally inaugurated on the 2nd April 1841" (see T. Ellison History of the Liverpool Cotton Market and of the Cotton Brokers' Association in The Cotton Trade of Great Britain, 1886 (1968 ed.) p. 181). The Liverpool Cotton Brokers' Association issued weekly market reports and daily circulars and during the 1870s set up both a Clearing House and a Cotton Bank. The Clearing House (the establishment of which in 1876 coincided with the laying of the first Atlantic cable) and the Bank provided advantages which led to many member brokers themselves becoming importing merchants (see extract from Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury 22 Jan. 1914, p. 11 in Cotton Exchange: Newscuttings 1929 - 1953, p. 36).


To gain access to these facilities and to put an end to "unfair competition" merchants sought membership of the Cotton Brokers' Association. Its refusal led to the establishment of "... a rival institution called the Liverpool Cotton Exchange ..." (see Ellison op. cit. p. 277 and Newscuttings op. cit. p. 36) in 1881. In the following year the two associations amalgamated as the Liverpool Cotton Association, the first meeting of its Board taking place on 4 Sep. 1882 (see Board Minute Book, 1882-1888, listed at 380 COT/5/1 below). The weekly meetings of the Cotton Brokers, however, continued until 18 Jan. 1886 (see Weekly Meeting Minute Book, 1882-1886, listed at 380 COT/1/14 below).


The new Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd., was a proprietor company with transferable shares. Membership was open to merchants, brokers, spinners etc., all persons engaged in the cotton trade.


The first cotton markets were conducted on Exchange Flags (behind the Town Hall) but from 1896 to 1907 an exchange was set up in Brown's Buildings. In 1907 business began in the newly-opened Cotton Exchange, Oldhall Street.


At the end of March 1941 the Liverpool Cotton Market was closed for the duration of the Second World War and the Government took over all the importing of raw cotton.


In 1946 the Government decided that the Liverpool Cotton Market should remain closed and that all cotton should be imported by a central government Raw Cotton Commission. Despite this decision the Liverpool Cotton Association agreed "... to carry on its present form ..." and "... to pursue the ultimate objective of a return to a free trading in raw cotton ..." (see Newscuttings op. cit. pp. 135 and 155. At this time "... trading in raw cotton became a party political issue ..." (see W.E. Hutchinson The Liverpool Cotton Market: a review of Recent Developments and Future Trends in Liverpool Trade Review, Vol. 51, 1952, pp. 395 - 399) and in 1954 legislation was passed whereby the buying and selling of raw cotton was returned to private enterprise. On 18 May 1954 the Liverpool Cotton Market was re-opened.


Trade was not good and in 1962 the Cotton Exchange was sold. In February 1963 the shares of the old Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd, were sold and it ceased to exist as such. On 27 Feb. 1963 a newly constituted Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd. was incorporated as a limited company (see Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Liverpool Cotton Association Limited, 1963). The Cotton Exchange building was again sold in 1964 and in 1967 its conversion into an office block began (see Topographical Newscuttings: Cotton Exchange), the Liverpool Cotton Association Ltd. occupying offices on the premises.

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