Our History

From small beginnings to an industrial revolution, our history dates back to 1757 and is one of the cotton industry’s most historic and complete archives

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1830-1913

Major improvement to transport and communication systems brought crucial developments. The railways reduced the time and cost of travel and improved reliability in transporting cotton to the Lancashire towns.

The Liverpool Cotton Brokers’ Association was established in 1841 and it quickly established a successful system of arbitration. The Transatlantic Telegraph Cable reduced long distance communication from weeks to minutes.

Liverpool broker John Rew recognised the far-reaching implications of this development and created the hedge fund system. This led to the hugely successful Liverpool Cotton Futures Market, which doubled the business of the Liverpool Cotton Market. In 1911-12 Liverpool imported a staggering 5,230,399 bales of cotton.

15 September 1830
The first railway journey from Liverpool to Manchester is made
The railways were key to the development of the Liverpool Cotton Market. It made travelling from Liverpool to the cotton…

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1831
The Bank of Liverpool is founded
This opened up new sources of credit and became the most important bank to the whole cotton market. It allowed…

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4 July 1840
The "Britannia" sails from Liverpool to Boston
Samuel Cunard’s steamer arrived in Boston just over two weeks later, which marked the start of a revolution in the…

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2 April 1841
The Liverpool Cotton Brokers' Association is founded
The regular meetings of the brokers on Friday mornings to collect information for publishing in their circulars evolved into a…

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6 January 1854
The Great Snowball Fight at Exchange Flags breaks out
Eyewitness accounts vary as to how it all started. Some said that cotton and share brokers, traditionally bitter rivals, dared…

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12 April 1861
The American Civil War breaks out
The drastic reduction of exports from the Southern States in the USA led to the Lancashire Cotton Famine and an…

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16 January 1863
A Committee is appointed to draw up a Constitution
The result was the first edition of “The Constitution, Laws And Usages of the Liverpool Cotton Brokers’ Association.” The rules…

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15 April 1865
Abraham Lincoln is assassinated
Reaction to this terrible event, which happened only 6 days after hostilities ceased in the American Civil War, was noted…

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28 July 1866
The Transatlantic Telegraph Cable becomes operational
It is impossible to overstate the significance of this development to the Liverpool Cotton Market. Messages that would take days…

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c.1866-1867
John Rew invents the hedge fund system
Inspiration came from a Liverpool man who had worked at the Bank of Liverpool from the age of 15 before…

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1874
The Liverpool Cotton Clearing House is established
Practical difficulties soon arose as a result of the huge increase in trading in the futures market. Trading took place…

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14 April 1878
The Liverpool Cotton Bank is established
This was the obvious next step in the financial organisation of the Liverpool Cotton Brokers’ Association. The dangers associated with…

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1881
Liverpool Cotton Merchants set up the Liverpool Cotton Exchange
While the Bank and Clearing House were immensely successful for the brokers, it put Liverpool’s cotton merchants at a disadvantage.…

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1882
The Liverpool Cotton Association is formed
Fortunately, the differences between brokers and merchants were short-lived and the two organisations merged to form the new Association. Business…

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1892
The Spot Cotton Market amounts to 1,589,500 bales of all growths in Liverpool
The success of the use of futures market in cotton as a hedge eliminated the major risk involved in building…

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4 January 1896
The Liverpool Cotton Market moves indoors for the first time in its history
Ever since brokers had traded in cotton, they had naturally gravitated towards the outdoors, oblivious to any inconvenience caused to…

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30 November 1906
The Liverpool Cotton Exchange Building is officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales
Within a few short years, the indoor accommodation at Brown’s Buildings proved inadequate for the increasing hoards of traders in…

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1911-1912
Liverpool imports a record figure of 5,230,399 bales of cotton of all growths
Just over 200 years ago, in 1708, the first slaver left Liverpool to return a year later with a small…

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