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Work
Keiller's: Sticky Success

Fruit and peel department
Fruit and peel department
© Scran
Alex’s paranoia about rival businesses and his brother’s performance in the Channel Islands would undermine their own relationship and provide a sad end to what should be a success story. William, the appointed proprietor of the Channel Islands operation, was Alex’s younger sibling and lacked the business acumen of his older brother. A furious series of correspondence between the two highlighted their tensions and exposed a fractured relationship.

Alex, often dismayed with the lack of profitability recorded in Guernsey, constantly reprimanded his brother – for, on occasions, the poor quality of produce, slip-ups in packing which resulted in destroyed goods and, his biggest bugbear, the comparative lack of profitability when placed alongside his own Dundee-based operation. The Guernsey operation, with all its foibles, lasted until 1879 before being transferred to North Woolwich and brought back under the control of the Dundee plant.

The Keiller name continued to grow, and attracted outside investment well into the 20th Century. They built on their humble beginnings and traded off the notion – which still exists to this day – that Janet Keiller invented marmalade.


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