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Chapter Nine

Nicks History and Succession to the Drury Family Ownership and how Timber was imported into the Uk in the 30s Managing Director Lawrence Buchanan died in January 1929. He had not played a major role in public life, but he was one of the senior members of the Gloucester Freemen’s Committee and he was a trustee of the Municipal Charities . Following his death, the Buchanan’s family wanted to withdraw their financial interest in Nicks & Co, and Tom Drury managed to find sufficient finance to pay them off, leaving him as the sole proprietor  and MD at Nicks until his son Thomas Robert Drury joined him a few years later followed by other sons as they became of age . A number of surviving documents indicate how timber imports were arranged. London agents issued schedules of prices for timber (The Russian Schedule) that would be available at supply ports in the coming months. When needing more stock, Nicks & Co sent in an offer to buy so many standards of a range of specific sizes, a standard being 165 cubic feet, and the agent usually sent back a counter offer quoting slightly different quantities to suit better what he had available. Once both parties were satisfied, the agent sent a formal contract recording the names of the seller and buyer, the place and date of shipment and the agreed quantities and prices for all of the sizes ordered. Some contracts included the cost of freight and insurance while for others the buyer arranged the shipment separately. In either case, transport was arranged in accordance with a standard form of charter party appropriate to ports in the Bristol Channel, although it was common for specific clauses to be amended to suit each particular shipment. Before the ship departed, a bill of lading was prepared specifying the quantities that had been loaded – which could differ from what was ordered depending on practicalities at the time. When the ship was discharged, the numbers of each size received were checked by a tally man, and then a clerk had to enter the information into a ledger and calculate the total quantity for comparison with the bill of lading. As the dimensions were in feet and inches and the quantities shipped were in standards, the calculations were tedious and prone to error During the 1930s, Nicks & Co continued to import timber from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries with some shipments from Archangel, Canada and the United States.

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