Sandilands Buttery and Co. Ltd.

by Chia, Joshua Yeong Jia

Sandilands Buttery and Co. Ltd. was one of the earliest British trading firms established in Malaya. Established in Penang in 1854–55, it was founded by Scottish merchant adventurers George MacFarlane Sandilands and Francis Currie Lorrain, and originally named Lorrain Sandilands. Subsequently, the firm set up business in Singapore in 1856, and a branch was established on Malacca Street in 1859. Following Lorrain’s retirement in 1862, the firm was renamed Sandilands and Co. The firm’s name was changed to Sandilands Buttery soon after, when John Buttery of Glasgow, Scotland, became a partner.

In 1920, Sandilands Buttery set up a branch in Medan, Sumatra, for trading purposes and to serve as a rubber estate agent. Subsequently, offices were established in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Port Swettenham.1 Like many early mercantile companies in the Straits Settlements, Sandilands Buttery was associated with a host of other firms, functioning as an exporter or importer, manufacturers’ representative, as well as an insurance and shipping agent.2


Products and services

Sandilands Buttery dealt with a host of products as a general importer and exporter, as well as an agent for rubber and tapioca estates in Malaya and the East Indies. In its heyday, it imported products such as cotton goods, iron ware, machinery, wine and spirits from Europe, and exported from Malaya and the East Indies produce such as tapioca, spices (pepper, nutmeg, cloves), isinglass, gum Benjamin, rubber, hides, dragon’s blood, tobacco, sugar and tin to Europe and other parts of the world.3


The company also acted as an agent for financial, insurance and shipping companies.4 It became an agent for Ben Line Steamers Limited in Penang in the mid-1870s. It was also associated with other shipping lines such as Knutsen Line.5 In insurance, the firm was an agent for underwriters’ associations and insurance companies in Britain and other parts of the world.6

In 1946, the company was acquired by Henry Gardner and Co. Ltd. of London, but continued to operate under the name Sandilands, Buttery & Co. Ltd. In 1972, Henry Gardner merged its activities with British Metal Corporation Ltd., and Sandilands Buttery traded as a member of the Amalgamated Metal Corporation Group. Through further mergers in the 1970s, the firm became Jardine Sandilands, then Jardine Marketing Services Ltd in 1976.7 By the mid-1970s, Sandilands Buttery was engaged in the business of agency representation in marketing and distribution, in addition to insurance and shipping.8

Over the years, employees of Sandilands Buttery played active roles in the public affairs of Singapore and held prominent positions in the community. The company’s officers served on the boards of port authorities and the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.9



Authors

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia & Chan Fook Weng



References
1. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 90. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN); Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub., pp. 793, 795. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.51033 TWE); George Town World Heritage Incorporated. (2015). A guide to George Town’s historic commercial and civic precincts, p. 23. Retrieved 2020, February 27 from George Town World Heritage Incorporated website: http://gtwhi.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/A-Guide-to-George-Town_s-Historic-Commercial-and-Civic-Precincts.pdf
2. Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub., pp. 793, 795. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.51033 TWE); Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 90. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
3. Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub., pp. 793, 795. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.51033 TWE); Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 90. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN); George Town World Heritage Incorporated. (2015). A guide to George Town’s historic commercial and civic precincts, p. 24. Retrieved 2020, February 27 from George Town World Heritage Incorporated website: http://gtwhi.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/A-Guide-to-George-Town_s-Historic-Commercial-and-Civic-Precincts.pdf
4. Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub., p. 795. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.51033 TWE); George Town World Heritage Incorporated. (2015). A guide to George Town’s historic commercial and civic precincts, p. 24. Retrieved 2020, February 27 from George Town World Heritage Incorporated website: http://gtwhi.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/A-Guide-to-George-Town_s-Historic-Commercial-and-Civic-Precincts.pdf
5. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, pp. 90—91. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
6. Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Pub., p. 795. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.51033 TWE)
7. Jardines to acquire Sandilands Buttery. (1976, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; George Town World Heritage Incorporated. (2015). A guide to George Town’s historic commercial and civic precincts, p. 24. Retrieved 2020, February 27 from George Town World Heritage Incorporated website: http://gtwhi.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/A-Guide-to-George-Town_s-Historic-Commercial-and-Civic-Precincts.pdf; Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 91. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
8. Jardines to acquire Sandilands Buttery. (1976, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 90. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)



The information in this article is valid as at March 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Subject
Commerce and Industry>>Trade
Sandilands Buttery and Co. Ltd.
Trade and industry
Trading companies--Malaysia--Malaya
Business, finance and industry>>Business organization>>Business enterprises