Request for Information about Edward Chaloner, Liverpool Timber Merchant

19 11 2014

In the middle of the nineteenth century, one of the world’s leading authorities on wood was a Liverpool timber merchant named Edward Chaloner.  Chaloner’s firm, Chaloner and Fleming, branched out from handling timber into the production of commercial intelligence about timber, particularly about the exotic species of wood that became increasingly important to timber merchants after 1842.

His 1850 book on mahogany was the standard reference work on the wood in the era. Chaloner also issued a circular that updated his subscribers about the current state of the timber market. I also know from contemporary newspaper accounts that Chaloner’s  catalogues of timber resembled scientific works of botany in their detail and comprehensiveness. I’m interested in looking at these catalogues and other surviving papers related to Chaloner and his companies. I have learned that these nineteenth-century papers survived as late as 1967, when Liverpool timber merchant Frank Latham published a history of Liverpool’s timber trade. Latham mentions that the 19th century timber catalogues are still in the possession of the successor company.

I don’t know what happened to Edward Chaloner and Co. and its records after 1967. I do know that a company called Edward Chaloner & Co Timber Ltd was registered in 1998, but I don’t know what relation, if any, this now dormant firm had to the old Liverpool company. The registered address of the firm founded in 1998 is in Hartfield, East Sussex, so I strongly suggest that it does not have the papers that were still in Liverpool in 1967. After all, it would have been a lot of work to carry the papers down to Sussex.
I would be very grateful if any readers could point me in the right direction, as I would like to find these papers for my academic research.

This appeal is directed to all parties who may have relevant information, particularly Liverpool timber merchants, descendants of Edward Chaloner, and members of the North West Timber Trade Association.

Andrew Smith, Lecturer in International Business, University of Liverpool Management School

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Latham, Frank A. Timber Town: A History of the Liverpool Timber Trade. Liverpool: Institute of Wood Science (Liverpool Branch), 1967.

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