Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
William B. Common commenced business in Gisborne in 1878 under the name of Murray, Common and Co. in premises adjacent to the site of the Trafalgar band rotunda. He was joined in 1882 by Frederick James Shelton (born in London in 1858), who had been trained by Saunderson, Murray and Co. Ltd., of London, and had been on the staff of Murray, Roberts and Co. Ltd., Wellington. The title of the firm was then changed to Common, Shelton and Co., and larger premises were taken on the firm's present site. The staff at that time included W. L. McLean (who eventually became general manager). In 1892 the business was taken over by a public company, of which the first directors were: John Clark, F. J. Shelton, C. Gray and Massey Hutchinson. When Mr. Shelton (the managing director) retired in 1902 Mr. Common again took up the reins. Mr. Common returned to England in 1906, and J. B. Kells (who had been the firm's auctioneer for eight years) was placed in charge. Mr. Common died in February, 1917.