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Lord Whitburgh (?–1912)

Lord Whitburgh, n.d.

Lord Whitburgh, n.d.

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 August 1912

A leading personality in the frozen meat trade, and a political tower of strength in Great Britain, Lord Whitburgh, who, as Sir Thomas Borthwick was raised from the baronetcy to the peerage on the King's Birthday, died at the beginning of the month. He was born in Edinburgh, and started at Liverpool and Manchester in 1863 as live stock agent. When the "Strathleven's" cargo arrived in 1880, he was much impressed with the possibilities of the new trade, and quickly discovered that the live stock business would be superseded by that in frozen meat. Foreseeing something of the enormous developments which awaited dead meat import from Australasia and Argentina, Mr. Borthwick decided to take a hand in the trade, and opened up depots at Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham, and in 1883 became selling agent for the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Limited, the name of Borthwick having been associated with the New Zealand meat export trade ever since.

In 1892, the head office was transferred to Smithfield, and, assisted by his sons, whom he took into partnership, Mr. Borthwick transacted a large wholesale business as importer and distributor. Not content with importing and distributing in Great Britain, the firm turned their attention to frozen meat in Australasia, and opened freezing works at Waitara (1901), and Hastings (1905), New Zealand; and at Portland (1903), and Melbourne, Victoria, as well as at Brisbane, Queensland (1911). In 1904, when the volume and scope of the firm's business had largely expanded, Thomas Borthwick and Sons Limited, capital £300,000, was registered. Sir Thomas, who received his baronetcy in 1907, was a past president of the Cold Storage and Ice Association. He farmed about 1000 acres of land on his estate at Whitburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, and it was for his political services as president of the Midlothian Liberal Association that he was elevated to the peerage.

He leaves four sons. Thomas, the eldest, who succeeds to the title, is the managing director of the firm, and is at headquarters, Audrey House, Ely Place, London. The other three sons, Algernon, William and James, respectively have charge of the New Zealand, Australian, and Liverpool and Manchester businesses.

Original publication

Citation details

'Whitburgh, Lord (?–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Lord Whitburgh, n.d.

Lord Whitburgh, n.d.

from Pastoralists' Review, 15 August 1912

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Borthwick, Thomas


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