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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

The Wool Trade

The Wool Trade.

A meeting of English wool buyers, called by Mr H. Joachim, took place in the City Sale Rooms recently, for the purpose of calling the attention of the importers and brokers to the present mode of showing the wools and the extreme length of the catalogues, and of considering whether some better means cannot be devised to save the time of the buyers and shorten the hours of labour. Mr. Butter-worth, of Bradford, took the chair. Mr. H. Joachim opened the proceedings by reading a letter which he had addressed to the committee of the importers in November last, and also their reply, sent in January. They had promised that the matter should have their attention, but he did not think that anything would be done unless the trade exerted themselves and showed the brokers that some alteration must be made. The mode of conducting the sales was the same now as twenty years since, when the importations were not one-fourth of what they are at the present time. One night during the last sales there were 1300 lots, and the buyers were in the sale room until 10 p.m. This was too bad. He did not think that any sale should exceed 700 lots in one night. A great deal of time was also wasted in showing wools. Several speakers expressed their concurrence in the views expressed by Mr. Joachim. It was then proposed by Mr. R. Lowenthal—"That no wools shall be exposed for sale in an uptown warehouse in London Docks on the same day that wools are shown in South Docks and Millwall Docks." It was also proposed by Mr. C. Hirst—"That when two brokers sell on one day, the one having say, 2000 bales and the other 5000 bales, the broker with the smallest quantity shall sell first, thus enabling the broker with the largest quantity to sell his other lots in the regular manner." Both these resolutions were carried unanimously. A vote of thanks to the chairman closed the proceedings. The following is Mr. Joachim's letter upon this subject:—"F. G. Dalgety, Esq., Chairman Committee of Wool Importers. Sir,—Representing some of the largest wool buyers from the Continent, I hope you will not think mo indiscreet in taking the liberty of addressing to the honorable committee, through your good self, a few remarks which seem to me of the greatest importance, and I express the hope that you will give them your kind and serious consideration. I will not allude to the mistake made in commencing the sales so early in the year and with so small a quantity of wool, and to any error of judgment which has thrown the whole trade out of gear and caused such large and, in my humble opinion, unnecessary losses, but with your permission, would devise means that, such a mode of fixing the sales should not recur again:—I. I think the presence of one or two brokers representing the buying interest among your honorable committee would be very useful (I beg to disclaim at once any wish on my part to be one of them). 2. One clear week's notice of the beginning of the sales would be ample time. 3. The sales should be fixed when there is enough in the market to constitute a sale, so as not to have to rely on the wind and waves as to the number of bales that might arrive. 4. That all wools page 199 coming in after four o'clock on the day of fixing the sales shall be excluded from the series. 5. That the first sale in the year shall bring no less than 200,000 bales, and not over 250,000 bales, and that no sale is to be composed of more than 300,000 bales. 6. That these rules shall remain in force until increased production shall cause an alteration to be required. 7. That means be found for acquiring a much larger saleroom, the present being quite inadequate and totally unfit in every respect for the purpose for which it was built. Its acoustic properties are bad, the lighting very insufficient, and the space far too small. 8. If on any day there should be more than one broker selling, the star lots contained in each catalogue should be sold at the end of the second or third broker's catalogue. The reasons for this alteration are many—1st. The time of the majority of the buyers is unnecessarily wasted. 2nd. The sale is protracted, so that many buyers leave limits to their clerks, which they dare not exceed, whilst very often the principal would have advanced here and there to ld. per lb. had he been present himself, and for this reason 700 should be the outside number of lots contained in each catalogue; and, finally, 200 or 250 buyers have a right to be considered, as they have to go to the warehouses and saleroom every day, whilst the selling brokers go to the selling-box once a week. 9. If the wool for show is at the South Dock, or at Mill wall Docks, or both together, there should be no uptown warehouses on that day, as it is physically impossible for the buyers to look at all the wool when such is the case. The foreign element in the sale of your wools being an important fact, I trust you will believe (hat my suggestions have no personal interest, but only the general good of the trade for their object.—I am, &c., H. Joachim."