Mr Simpson of Auchinachie & Simpson, Keith

A well-known Banffshire implement and machine maker was Auchinachie & Simpson, Mid Street, Keith. It was already undertaking its business at that address by 1868; it continued to be associated with that address until at least the First World War. After 1920 the company, as Auchinachie & Simpson Ltd, was located in Keith, Morayshire.

The company undertook a number of trades. From the mid 1870s it was an agricultural implement maker, general implement dealer, machinery broker and dealer, mechanical engineer, smith, and smith and farrier. Its manufactures included ploughs, harrows, seed sowing machines, grubbers and manure sowers. It was also an agent for a number of key Scottish and English makers, which allowed it to sell a wider range of manufactures, including mowers, reapers and binders, which had a huge impact on north-eastern farming. Its agencies included those for W. N. Nicholson & Son, Newark on Trent, Walter A. Wood, London, Macdonald Brothers, Portsoy, Harrison, McGregor, Leigh, Lancashire. D. M. Osborne & Co., London.

The company was a forward-looking one, advertising and promoting its manufactures at the Highland Show from 1876 onwards until 1923. It was awarded a silver medal for its collection by the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876. It entered its manufactures at a number of the Society’s high profile trials, including the trial for three tined-grubbers in 1885, grass seed sowing machines in 1887 and manure distributors in 1899. It was an advertiser in the North British Agriculturist from March 1870 until July 1911.

One of the partners of the business was John Simpson, born in 1840. When he died in April 1909 the Huntly Express included an obituary which includes some information on his role in developing and undertaking the business. It is quoted in full below:

“The late Mr John Simpson

Many over the north of Scotland will, we feel sure, hear with feelings of regret of the death of Mr John Simpson, of the firm of Messrs Auchinachie and Simpson, blacksmiths and agricultural engineers, Keith, which took place at his residence in Land Street, on Saturday evening, after an illness of some weeks’ duration. Deceased was a native of the parish of Forgue, where he was born in June 1840. His father, the late Mr William Simpson, was long farm grieve at Auchaber. The subject of this notice served his apprenticeship as a blacksmith with the late Mr Taylor, Cobairdy, and afterwards worked at his trade at Cullen, Uddingston, and Huntly. He was recognised as a most capable and painstaking workman. In October 1864, in conjunction with Mr James Auchinachie, they purchased the business of Messrs McGregor, blacksmiths and agricultural engineers, Keith, and since then they have carried it on in a most successful manner. The firm have always been noted for the high quality of their work, and in farm implements of their own manufacture they had a wide and lucrative connection. Deceased took a keen interest in the public life of the town. He was a member of the Town Council for at least two terms of office, acting as convener of the Water Committee. Previous to joining the Council, the firm were water managers, and the experience and knowledge which the deceased gained in this capacity stood him in good stead in the Council. He was for long director of the Banffshire Property Investment Company, and when he retired from office in June last year he received the cordial and unanimous thanks of his fellow-directors for the valuable service he had rendered the company. He took a prominent part in the management of Keith Bowling Club, and was an enthusiastic player. He was also a keen florist. He was a Liberal in politics, and was a prominent member of the local Association. He is survived by a widow and five sons and four daughters, to whom in their bereavement a wide circle of friends extend feelings of heartfelt sympathy.”

Quite a man!