A Piece of Auctioneering History

17th August 2020

A Short History Book On The Great Livestock Salesmen, John Swan & Sons goes on Sale in aid of Charity.

We are pleased to announce the publication of a fascinating book on livestock entrepreneur, John Swan, with all profits to be donated to charitable organisation RSABI.  

It has been written by Andrew Humphries, MBE and celebrates the life of a man who was known as ‘the great livestock salesman’.

Published by our printing division, H&H Reeds, the book is available for £5 at all Harrison & Hetherington Auction marts located throughout Cumbria, the North East and Southern Scotland and via email from Alison Agnew – alison.agnew@hhgroupplc.co.uk

In the backdrop of a changing Britain in the throes of the industrial revolution during the 19th century, this short history recounts the tale of John Swan a livestock industry pioneer.  Thanks to his embracement of change and his entrepreneurial spirit, underpinned by an equally innovative spouse and sons, he contributed to the modern auction mart we know today.

Richard Rankin, Chief Executive said:

“This account of John Swan & Sons describes how one of the companies that has become part of the H&H family sensed the direction of change and what key skills would be required for success.  It is a celebration of a family partnership of rare quality, and what it did to transform our food supply and enrich our rural communities.”

H&H Group’s link to John Swan comes from the purchase in 2016 of John Swan & Sons PLC to create the UK’s largest livestock marts business including the addition of Newtown St Boswells in Roxburghshire, and Wooler in Northumberland, to its already significant portfolio of seven operated by Harrison & Hetherington in Cumbria, the Borders and County Durham.  The acquisition united two well-respected livestock marketing businesses that both have heritages stretching back more than a century.

Scott Donaldson, Joint Managing Director of Harrison and Hetherington added:

“I am thrilled to see all the hard work that went into this book now in print and highlighting the history of the livestock auction mart we operate today.  Thanks to John Swan and his family, that spirit lives on, which is quite a legacy to behold.

“So, if you are attending a sale over the coming weeks, I would encourage you to purchase a copy of the book, which is an interesting read for anyone in the livestock industry, as well as helping us to raise much-needed funds for a worthwhile cause.”

All proceeds of the book will go to the RSABI, which was founded in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and in recognition of the deep agricultural depression at the time. Today it continues to support people in Scottish agriculture providing emotional, practical and financial support to individuals and their families across the agricultural sector including farming, crofting and growing.

On hearing that RSABI were to be the single beneficiary from the sale of this book Nina Clancy the Charity’s CEO said:

“I am delighted that H&H have made this book available and that all profits raised will go to RSABI. The story of John Swan and Sons is close to my heart as I spent many years working next door to them in Newtown St Boswells. I am certainly buying a book.

RSABI has never been busier and we are facing very uncertain times which is why support from businesses like H&H are so important to us. A big thank you to all the H&H team!”