Record

CodeNA10048
Dates1866-1986
Person NameRobert Smail & Sons; 1866-1986; printer
Epithetprinter
ActivityRobert Smail & Sons was established in 1866 by Robert Smail (1826-1890), who was a bookseller in Innerleithen. He had been in business since 1857 and employed two bootmakers. His brother Thomas was an established bookseller and printer in Jedburgh and sent Robert books and stationery to sell. Robert expanded his business until he could afford to buy the premises and workshop on the High Street and the next door house in Leithen Crescent. The Borders at that time were booming and Smail's business prospered. He diverted water from the Leithen Water under the shop to power his printing machinery. When Robert died his three sons, James Scott (1858-1914), Robert Cowan (1864-1950) and Adam C (1871-1930), carried on the business. James Smail was a commercial traveller for the business and a journalist. Adam C Smail was also a traveller for the business and supervised the sale of fishing tackle from the shop. Robert oversaw the printing business and ran a shipping agency and was a keen photographer. He lived the longest of the three brothers and passed the business on to his son, Cowan Smail. Cowan Smail carried on the business using traditional methods until his retiral in 1986, aged 76, when he sold the business to the National Trust for Scotland, who administer the property as a working museum.
Corporate NameRobert Smail & Sons
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