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Our 175-year-old milestone

On 2nd April 2016 we will celebrate our 175th anniversary – a significant milestone for the ICA, its members and the entire cotton trade.

To commemorate the occasion a new book is in production – The Story of Cotton. Due for publication this October, to coincide with our annual trade event, the book is beautifully presented. It contains a stunning collection of photographs and fascinating stories from the cotton archives and we are very excited to be able to provide you with a sneak preview by sharing a series of extracts from its pages.
“This book is the story of how a small organisation of brokers was transformed into the largest and most important cotton association in the world,” says the book’s author, Vincent McKernan. “That story cannot be properly understood without putting it into its historical context; and that context includes some of the most momentous events in world history. This story of cotton is set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, the transport revolutions in rail and steam ship, the transatlantic slave trade, the American Civil War, and World Wars I and II. All have played their part in shaping today’s ICA. It is a fascinating story and one that deserves to be shared and recorded for future generations in this way.”
The ICA, formerly the Liverpool Cotton Association, has a history that dates as far back as the mid-1700s when the first-ever cotton auction in Liverpool was recorded. The association was officially formed on 2 April 1841, when a group of 90 firms banded together to create a set of bylaws and rules to help regulate the sale and purchase of raw cotton. 175 years later, the majority of the world’s raw cotton continues to be traded under ICA bylaws and rules.
The association now has more than 550 members from all over the world, representing every sector of the cotton supply chain. The book pays tribute to these members, past and present, as ICA Managing Director, Kai Hughes, explains: “The book is not just a history of important events, it is the actions of our members, in light of those events, which has determined the longevity of our association. And almost two centuries on, one constant thread has been the remarkable ability of the members to work together, to react to new challenges, to make the most of events, to adapt, survive and prosper. This history of the ICA is ultimately a tribute to and celebration of its members, because without them, there would be no history. I am confident the next 175 years will prove be just as eventful and intriguing.”
The ICA’s current President, Jean-Marc Derossis adds: “It is a great honour for me to be President during such an historic milestone. Our anniversary on 2nd April marks the start of a very exciting time for the ICA, which will culminate in Liverpool this October at our annual trade event, where we look forward to greeting our members and the most prominent players in the international cotton trade.”