The Historical Background, c. 1840–1939

  • Stephanie Jones


The period from the origins of the major managing-agency houses to the eve of the Second World War saw their emergence, expansion, and the beginning of their decline. They established their businesses in trading and agency work, handling such imports as piece-goods and such exports as indigo, and grew to prominence on the back of the major commodities of tea, jute and coal, supplying goods and services to the producing and manufacturing companies concerned. In this way, they helped to stimulate the creation of much of India’s economic infrastructure, managing shipping, railways and electricity companies. Many of the managing-agency houses developed branches outside Calcutta, in other outposts of the mercantile Raj.


Historical Background Agency House East India Company Chartered Accountant Indian Member 
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© Inchcape Family Investments 1992

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  • Stephanie Jones

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