Who: Fred H. Young
Job: Senior Partner
Archive: Scottish Business Archive at the University of Glasgow
Fred H. Young joined Glasgow carpet manufacturer James Templeton & Co Ltd in 1893 where he gained experience in many departments, eventually taking charge of the spool Axminster section. He was made partner in 1897 and became senior partner after the death of his brother D. H. L. Young in 1921. During his tenure as senior partner, Young was among the chief contributors to company magazine The Templetonian.
The dissemination of in-house magazines by British industries since the late nineteenth century aimed to affirm goodwill through sustained communication, as well as circulate news and information to scattered groups of people with common interests. By the time The Templetonian released its first issue in April 1920, James Templeton & Co ran factories in Templeton Street, Crownpoint Road, Kerr Street and Tilicoutry, and had begun to organise welfare provision in the form of the Sick Fund.
By the late 1930s, the company employed 4,500 men and women, established warehouses in London and Manchester, and developed an international presence through their offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington and Montreal. The company also began to experiment with new manufacturing techniques such as woollen yarn spinning to accompany traditional Axminster, Chenille and Wilton methods. The rapid expansion of the James Templeton & Co during the interwar period made The Templetonian an ideal platform to promote staff cohesion and minimise industrial disruption.
Young was a keen advocate of company welfare and recreation initiatives. He and his wife, Mrs F. H. Young, were key players in the establishment of company Recreation Grounds in Burnside, which was believed to be ‘the Summit of the Firm’s success in Welfare.’ The space included a pavilion, bowling green, tennis courts, as well as hockey and cricket pitches to cater for the various sports clubs within the company. The grounds were introduced during a Garden Party on June 14th 1924, and the following week they officially opened to accommodate the employees’ annual Sports Day.
Mr and Mrs Young’s vision for the enhancement of social wellbeing among Templeton employees also led to the foundation of Templeton Club Rooms which opened on William Street in October 1926. The building aimed to centralise company clubs and societies, and accommodate company social functions. It received unanimous praise from prominent members of society who attended its opening, including Earl and Countess Home, who remarked that Templeton’s investment in company welfare would stand as an example to other firms in the amelioration of industrial unrest.
Young’s articles in The Templeton’s Magazine were characterised by an easy prose style underpinned by a paternalistic outlook. In the article below, published in December 1930, he reflects on viewing new business methods and premises as better by default in light of the proliferation of new factory buildings as well as the Corporation of Glasgow’s campaign to clear slum areas.
He underlines the duty of Templeton employees to act on the need to maintain quality assurance in order to improve on what went before:
‘It is… up to us to respond to our better conditions, and to try to keep the standard of perfection of our carpets even higher than in the past, and to fill our new buildings with the spirit of goodwill and happiness.’
Until his sudden death in 1943, Young pioneered a unique brand of company welfare which extolled the personal happiness and contentment of individual employees across the firm to sustain an industrial spirit. His presence in the pages of The Templetonian provides a valuable source for exploring the ethos and vibrant social history of James Templeton & Co.
The Templeton staff magazines are part of the Stoddard-Templeton collection is just one of many collections held by Glasgow University Archive Services which has one of the largest collections of historical business records in Europe and it includes much of the archive of Scottish industries such as banking, retail, distilling and shipbuilding. You can find out more about the Stoddard-Templeton collection, including searching their online catalogue or viewing images from the design archive on flickr from their website.
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