Fonds - Grieve & Bremner fonds

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Title proper

Grieve & Bremner fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Supplied title based on provenance

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1832-1902, predominant 1863-1902 (Creation)
    Grieve and Bremner (firm)

Physical description area

Physical description

7.5 m of textual records

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Administrative history

The firm of Grieve and Bremner, a Scottish-based enterprise involved in the Newfoundland trade, was formed by Walter Grieve (1809-1887) and Alexander Warren Bremner (d.1886) circa 1863. Grieve had been a partner in Baine, Johnston & Company but withdrew in 1855 to form Walter Grieve and Company. He subsequently entered into the partnership with Bremner, and purchased the Slade property at Trinity. In 1869, Grieve and Bremner leased the Garland premises at Trinity from John Bingley Garland, giving the firm control of the chief mercantile properties in the town.

During the 1860s, Walter Grieve lived primarily in Greenock, Scotland, while Bremner managed the firm at Trinity. Robert Sweetland Bremner, Alexander's son, succeeded him at Trinity. The firm engaged in all aspects of the trade, although Baine, Johnston and Company or Walter Baine & Company may have handled the firm's imports and exports of goods and fish. These St. John's firms periodically sent one of their steamers to the seal hunt from Trinity, no doubt crewed with many of Grieve and Bremner's regular fishing clients. Sealing appears to have been an important aspect of the Grieve and Bremner business since the old Slade property was used primarily for landing seal pelts and producing seal oil.

Alexander Bremner died in 1886, followed by W. R. Grieve in 1887, bringing an end to the business. Bremner bequeathed his Catalina premises and property to his sons, Robert S. and Alexander Hugh. Robert also received œ10,000 as his father's share of the net profits from the Grieve and Bremner business. The monetary bequest probably helped Robert purchase from Grieve's trustees the Grieve and Bremner premises at Trinity, where he pursued the fish trade until becoming insolvent in 1900.

Custodial history

This fonds remained in the old Garland premises which was taken over by Ryan Brothers in 1906. The material was rescued by the Trinity Historical Society in the 1960s, and was stored in the Museum before being transferred to the archives.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the business records of the firm of Grieve and Bremner, for the period of its operation at Trinity, 1863-1902. It includes financial records, correspondence, diaries (photocopies), shipping records and accounts.

The financial records consist of complete sets of ledgers, journals, day books and store books, produce books, account books, stock books etc. from 1863-1902, which provide an account of the firm's business transactions, as well as information on the individual fishermen and planters throughout Trinity and Bonavista Bay, with whom the firm carried on their business. The correspondence includes letters mainly between the firm of Walter Grieve and Co. in St. John's and Grieve and Bremner at Trinity, and invoices of goods shipped by Walter Grieve from Scotland to Trinity. Shipping records include charter parties, sealing agreements, vessel accounts, and other papers relating to sealing and to individual vessels. A small series of accounts includes advances of pay to vessel crews and sealing crews. The fonds provides extensive information on the operation of the business, the sealing operation and the makeup of the crews of the sealing vessels, as well as the individuals who produced fish and produce for the firm.

The records are arranged in six series: Series 1: Diaries, 1875-1886; Series 2: Correspondence, 1848-1890; Series 3: Shipping Records, 1863-1881; Series 4: Accounts, 1865-1899; Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1832-1875; Series 6: Financial records, 1863-1902.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

    Location of originals

    The location of the original diaries is not known.

    Availability of other formats

    Restrictions on access

    No restrictions.

    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Material in this fonds is protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance from the copyright holder(s).

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    No finding aid available.

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    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    Created - April 22, 2013

    Language of description

    • English

    Script of description


      Accession area