Selling Cotton Learning Journey
Selling is as important as production because without markets and the means of exchanging wares for money or goods there is no profit or benefit for the producer. If products are sold regionally, nationally and internationally, selling involves a complex network of manufacturing, 'middle-men', warehousing, trading and promotion. Cotton manufacture had simple beginnings but it became a global product.
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Selling Cotton Learning Journey Step 1: Cotton Exchanges
As the cotton industry mushroomed nationally and internationally it became necessary to establish central market places or exchanges for the buying and selling of cotton, and Cotton Exchanges were built in many major towns.
Liverpool Cotton Exchange acted as a giant clearing house for the international cotton trade by importing, distributing and exporting cotton and cotton goods. The first recorded cotton auction took place in Liverpool in 1757 and the first cotton exchange building in the city was opened in 1808. A new and larger Exchange was built in 1906, necessitated by the need for more offices when 'telephone selling' speeded up the marketing processes.
The first Cotton Exchange in Manchester was built in 1729 on Exchange Street. It was rebuilt and enlarged four times; the last one being completed in 1921. The Royal Exchange (as it is now known, having received a royal warranty from Queen Victoria) closed its doors for the last time in 1968.
The final figures and prices from New York, Liverpool and Alexandria on the last day's trading were left in situ on the trading board as a memorial. The trading board can still be seen today (2003) in the Exchange building above the theatre cafe-bar.
In 1910 the Exchange was described by R.J.Peake in his book 'Market Distribution of Yarn and Cloth' (Pitman, 1910. Page 118. Chapter VI).
"...Manchester Exchange presents the busiest aspects on Tuesdays and Fridays, the principal market days, when the floor is crowded with principals and agents - spinners, manufacturers, bleachers, dyers and printers, machine makers, and representatives of all firms having direct or indirect connections with the cotton industry. The capital represented is stupendous...."