The City of Adelaide is always referred to as Devitt and Moore's, but they were only the managing owners. Devitt senior had just died, and Joseph Moore held a quarter share. Captain David Bruce had a further quarter share. Henry Martin, with the third quarter, had emigrated to South Australia in 1839 and became established with his brother Thomas as a butcher in Hindley Street. Thomas returned to Britain following the death of his wife, Mary Fiveash, and her brother Robert Fiveash - father of Rosa, the botanical artist - became Henry's colonial manager when he too retired to London in the 1860s.
Joseph and Daniel Harrold, jointly the fourth owners, were also resident in London. They were better known as the Hindley Street ironmongers Harrold Brothers.
Joseph Harrold (1822-1891) and Daniel Harrold (1828-1873) were born in the old market town of Olney in Buckinghamshire, England, sons of miller Joseph Harrold snr and his wife Jane. Earlier young Joseph had sailed to South Africa to investigate his prospects, but he returned to England in disappointment after a few months. Seeking new opportunities in the young South Australian colony, the two young men arrived at Port Adelaide on the Royal Archer in January 1848, and soon started a hardware business partnership as Harrold Brothers, Ironmongers in a small shop on Hindley Street in Adelaide.
Within fifteen years this enterprise had expanded its interests remarkably, and was sufficiently successful to purchase a quarter share in Captain David Bruce’s new project – the City of Adelaide clipper ship.
The brothers did very well with their business and their investments. Joseph was also part-owner of a mill near Victoria Square, and a partner of Walter Duffield for some years in the Outalpa and Winteriga runs. Each brother in turn made a trip back to England to be married and to bring his bride back to Adelaide. Sarah Jane Lucas married Joseph Harrold at Market Harborough, Leicestershire in 1853, and four years later Daniel and Mary Ann Church were married in the tiny Northamptonshire hamlet of Easton Maudit, very close to Olney where the boys grew up, and to the ancient village of Harrold.
In 1857 Joseph Harrold moved to London permanently, and established a branch of Harrold Brothers at 29 Great St. Helens, EC, very close to the Liverpool Street station. He left his younger brother Daniel in charge of their South Australian business. Daniel had married Mary Ann Church, and it seems clear that in these two cases David Bruce had made valuable contacts through the passengers of his previous ship Irene.
Harrold Brothers Premises, Port Adelaide, 1877; SLSA: B10742 - Courtesy of State Library of South Australia
By 1867 Daniel Harrold, who had controlled the Australian end of the business for the past decade, returned to live in England and to leave the firm in the care of his local partners W M Letchford and S Cornish. With his wife Mary Ann he took up residence in Lawn House at Barnet, also within Greater London. He died there in 1873 aged only 45.
Joseph, his wife and two young sons went to live in Montague House at Stanmore in Greater London with several servants including a governess and a nurse. Another son and two daughters were born there. The three boys all received the best education. His home was always open to welcome visiting South Australians.
Joseph was subsequently assisted in the London office by his youngest son, Leonard Frederick Harrold (1858-1915), who became a partner in the firm with “a capable staff of buyers well versed in the requirements of the colonies and the class of goods in which the firm chiefly trades.” Harrold Brothers also became London agents for the Adelaide Milling Company, and in the 1890s they opened a special department for the sale of Australian wine.
Joseph made two subsequent visits back to Adelaide, the second in 1875 when took his son Arthur out to join the Adelaide firm.
After some years in Stanmore, Joseph moved with his family to live in semi-retirement at Wanstead Hall, which was a larger house with even more servants. Joseph Harrold held many important positions, commercial and financial, being a director of the Merchants Marine Insurance Company, a director of the Bank of Australasia, and chairman of the Anglo-Australasian Steam Navigation Company. He died at Wanstead in 1891 at the age of 69.
In South Australia, Harrold Brothers became probably the largest importers of machinery, iron, metal, coal, etc, in the colony, but they were also general merchants in the broadest sense of the word. The firm sent travelers out to all parts of South Australia, as well as to adjoining colonies. Besides their premises in Adelaide, they also had a large bonded warehouse at Port Adelaide.
As exporters from the colony of Australian produce, Harrold Brothers also controlled a very extensive business, especially in wool. They acted as agents for Luximore & Co. Ltd, wool brokers, of Adelaide, in which they held a large interest, and had their own wool warehouse in Adelaide.
They were also the largest firm of ship brokers in Adelaide, and had separate offices in the city for this branch of their business. These were initially in Hindley Street, but soon had to be moved to a larger building - the former Bank of Australasia. In their capacity as ship brokers they acted as agents not only for Devitt and Moore, London, but also for Sir Donald Currie & Co; Compagnie Messageries Maritimes de France; Anglo-Australasian Steam Navigation Company; Mogul Steamship Company; Australasian United Steam Navigation Company, Brisbane; the Shaw, Savill, & Albion Company Limited; Union Steamship Company of New Zealand; Aitken, Lilburn, & Co, Glasgow; James Dowie & Co, Liverpool; and F Green & Co, London. The firm also had their own steamer, the Karrawera, engaged in the coastal trade.
Arthur Lucas Harrold
Arthur Lucas Harrold (1854-1908), Joseph’s eldest son, was educated with top honours at King’s College in London. Accompanied by his father, Arthur sailed to South Australia on the Glenelg in 1875 to prepare for becoming the principal of the firm in Adelaide. In 1879 Arthur married Eva Annie Morgan at North Adelaide where they set up a home in Barnard Street to live and raise a daughter and son. He possessed all the eminent business characteristics of his father, his indefatigable energy and his commercial enterprise, and he was on the board of numerous companies.
He also found time to take great interest in public work, and occupied many prominent positions on commissions and in societies. He represented North Adelaide in the House of Assembly through 1896-1898. As one of the most ardent supporters of South Australia’s Volunteer Military Force or Militia from 1877 until 1899, he rose steadily to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and became commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Adelaide Rifles.
A L Harrold returned to London in 1905 "in connection with the proposed flotation of a large company" and remained there until he died in July 1908.
Ernest Eyston Harrold
Ernest Eyston Harrold (1856-1907), the second son - who had also been born in Adelaide before being raised and educated in London - arrived back in SA on the Ghazee in 1884 as support for his brother. Ernest married Florence Eugenie Burt at North Adelaide in 1887, and they raised three sons, first at North Adelaide, then at Semaphore.
Final Years of Harrold Brothers Business
Under the guidance of the next generation, Harrold Brothers became one of the largest firms of general ironware merchants in the South Australia, specialising in engineering plant and machinery. By 1890 their machinery show-rooms were on North Terrace “with every mechanical appliance suitable for the requirement of the country” representing “the leading engineers of Great Britain, for many of whom the firm acts as sole agents in South Australia”. In the manufacturing & fitting premises next door, they employed about sixty skilled tradesmen in fitting imported machinery, and in making minor items like their “Heithersay” Patent Reversible Ploughshare, and their “Star” horseshoe, as well as general forging and wrought-iron work.
A branch of the Harrold Brothers was also opened in Sydney.
Until 1890 the firm was largely interested in the hardware trade, but they amalgamated this part of the business with the well-known firm of J. Colton & Co. of Currie Street, Adelaide as Harrold, Colton & Co. Ltd. Ernest E Harrold and John Colton jnr were the managing directors. This business was kept quite distinct from the parent company, and was carried on at the old premises on the Currie Street – Topham Street corner. The London house of Harrold Brothers became the buying depot for Harrold, Colton & Co, Ltd.
Arthur L Harrold’s newspaper obituary in 1908 refers to "the late firm of Harrold Brothers". It would appear that the company and the name disappeared as a result of his financial negotiations in London after 1905. The details are not known.
The following extract from the British Journal of Commerce (date unknown) was provide by Mrs. H.W. Jones, the last remaining descendant of the Harrold family in Australia.
It follows as a natural consequence that in such a colony as South Australia, which embraces at once, and so extensively the pastoral, the agricultural, and the mining, the business of the hardware and machinery importer and merchant must be one of considerable importance. Iron mongery and mechanical appliances form one of the most useful as well as one of the most necessary wants of civilised life, and prosperity in this trade is indicative of the flourishing condition of a country.
In most of the Australian colonies there are to be found various firms of great influence and importance in the hardware trade; houses which have grown with the colonies and enhance their development. We have already referred to similar houses in these columns, but they have been mostly connected with northern Australia, and it is therefore gratifying that we are able to include in the present issue of this series a brief sketch of a firm which occupies a position of the first order in the hardware trade in South Australia—a firm which may be said to have grown with the colony, and whose success has been commensurate with its prosperity; we refer to the well known firm of Harrold Brothers.
The firm of Harrold Brothers was established in Adelaide, as long ago as 1847 by Mr. Joseph Harrold, the present head, and his brother, Mr. Daniel Harrold. lt is, consequently, one of the oldest firms in the colony, being founded only ten years after the first settlers landed in Holdfast Bay and six years after the first Constitution was granted to the colony.
It is needless to say that the business started then was but small. It passed through the usual vicissitudes incidental to young countries; but the men who were at its head were men of more than ordinary force of character, they were not disheartened by temporary reverses. They had an invincible faith in the colony—its fine resources, and its splendid future. One of them has lived to witness the fruition of their hopes and to participate in the prosperity which has rewarded their energy, their perseverance, and their sturdy determination to succeed.
It is not our intention to follow this firm through, the various stages of its career; - a glance at their present position will suffice to show how great their success has been, and exemplifies what may be attained by men gifted with keen perception, steady perseverance, and thoroughness in their undertakings. The history of this house has been one of steady progression, and the position they occupy to-day in Australia is one of which they may justly feel proud. They are at the present time, undoubtedly, one of the largest firms of general merchants in South Australia and their establishments contain the finest and most complete show of engineering plant and machinery in the colony. Their machinery premises on North Terrace are replete with every mechanical appliance suitable for the requirement of the country, and embrace every section of the engineering and machinery trade. To meet the ever-increasing growth of the business they have recently erected additional premises, which provide considerable facilities for the display of goods. The new portion of the buildings is entirely devoted to show-rooms, it has a frontage of 453 ft. while the principal machinery show-room is 130 ft. deep by 63 ft. wide, and contains specimens of the productions of most of the leading engineers of Great Britain, for many of whom the firm act as sole agents in South Australia. The old portion of the premises is now mainly given up to manufacturing and fitting purposes, for although the great proportion of principal goods are imported by this firm, still they employ some sixty skilled artisans in manufacturing certain classes of goods and fitting imported machinery. Although the manufactures are chiefly of a minor character, they have obtained a wide reputation in an industrial capacity for various specialties, among which may be mentioned the “Heithersay” Patent Reversible Ploughshare, which has been patented by the firm throughout the principal countries of the world, and the “Star” horseshoe, which has obtained great celebrity, while general forging and wrought-iron work is carried on by the firm to a large extent.
Previous to 1st July last year Harrold brothers were largely interested in the hardware trade, but have since amalgamated this portion of their business with that of the well-known firm of J. Colton & Co., of Currie Street, Adelaide, of which the Hon. J. Colton was for many years the head, and this amalgamated business is carried on under the name of Harrold, Colton & Co. Limited, with Mr. Ernest Harrold and Mr. John Colton, Jun., as managing directors. This business is kept quite distinct from the firm of Harrold brothers, and is carried on at the old premises in Currie Street. The London house of Harrold Brothers is now the buying depot for Harrold, Colton & Co., Limited.
Although Messrs. Harrold Brothers occupy such an eminent position as machinery merchants and importers, it must not be inferred that this forms the sole feature of their business. They are probably the largest importers of machinery, iron, metal, coal, etc., in the colony, and this forms the staple branch of their trade; but they are general merchants in the broadest sense of the word, and their house in London, besides carrying on a large indent business, consign almost every description of merchandise, notably, dry goods, while wines and spirits are a very prominent department, and in connection with which the firm send travellers out to all parts of South Australia, as well as to adjoining colonies. Besides their houses in Adelaide they also have a large bonded warehouse at Port Adelaide.
As exporters from the colony of Australian produce Messrs. Harrold Brothers also control a very extensive business, especially in wool. They act as agents for Messrs. Luximore & Co. Limited, wool brokers, of Adelaide, in which business they are largely interested, and have their own wool warehouse in Adelaide, - which is acknowledged to rank among the finest in the colony. It is built on the same principle as the London warehouses, and is the only one lighted from the roof.
They are also the largest firm of ship brokers in Adelaide, and have special offices in the city for this branch of their business. These offices, which were formerly in Hindley Street, have recently been removed, in consequence of increased requirements, to the old premises of the Bank of Australasia. In their capacity as ship brokers they act as agents for Sir Donald Currie & Co.; Compagnie Messageries Maritimes de France; Anglo-Australasian Steam Navigation Company; Mogul Steamship Company; Australasian United Steam Navigation Company, Brisbane; the Shaw, Savill, & Albion Company Limited; Union Steamship Company of New Zealand; Aitken, Lilburn, & Co., Glasgow; James Dowie & Co., Liverpool; Devitt & Moore, London; F. Green & Co., London; etc. The firm also have their own steamer the Karrawera, engaged in the coastal trade.
The above brief and concise facts will convey an idea of the magnitude of the firm’s transactions in South Australia at the present time. It is no exaggeration to say that it is a concern which, taken in all its departments, has no superior in the colony. The enterprising spirit of the firm, however, is now carrying them beyond the confines of South Australia, and they have just opened a house in Sydney, which we doubt not will under such a vigorous administration also achieve a substantial success.
The London house of Messrs. Harrold Brothers is at 29, Great St. Helens, E.C. This has been opened some forty years, and is as may be readily supposed, a very important department in their vast business. It is under the supervision of Mr. Joseph Harrold, the able founder and eminent pioneer of this great house. He is assisted by his son, Mr. Leonard Frederick Harrold — a partner in the firm — and a capable staff of buyers well versed in the requirements of the colonies and the class of goods in which the firm chiefly trades. Mr. Joseph Harrold is a gentleman holding many important positions, commercial and financial. He is among other things, a director of the Merchants Marine Insurance Company, a director of the Bank of Australasia, and chairman of the Anglo-Australasian Steam Navigation Company.
The present partners resident in Adelaide are Mr. Arthur Lucas Harrold and Mr. Ernest Eyston Harrold, both sons of Mr. Joseph Harrold. It is Mr. Arthur L. Harrold, who is, perhaps, better known at the present time in South Australia as the principal of the firm there. A gentleman possessing all those eminent business characteristics of his father, his indefatigable energy and commercial enterprise are proverbial throughout the colony. Notwithstanding the arduous duties devolving upon him in the direction of the business, he takes great interest in public work. He is one of the most ardent supporters of the volunteer movement, in which he holds the distinguished officer of major. Messrs. Harrold Brothers are also London agents for the Adelaide Milling Company, and their London house has lately opened a special department for time sale of Australian wine.
~ British Journal of Commerce (date unknown) provided by Mrs. H.W. Jones