Marmalade manufacturer. Born in Paisley, Robertson began working in a thread mill but left to become an apprentice grocer. In 1859, he began his own grocery business in started up at 86 Causeyside Street in the town. In 1864, Robertson was persuaded to buy an unwanted barrel of bitter oranges and his wife Marion made these into marmalade which proved popular and brought welcome additional income to the business. This recipe became known as 'Golden Shred' and was initially produced at the back of the shop, but soon a factory was built to meet demand. Jams, jellies and mincemeat were added to the range. Golden Shred was registered as a trademark in 1886 and soon a lemon marmalade known as 'Silver Shred' was added. Factories were established at Droylsden in Manchester in 1890 and in London, and the products were exported internationally.
Robertson's son, John, visited the USA and came across the 'Golly', a rag doll popular with children at the time. From 1910 the now-controversial Golly symbol began to appear on jars and in advertising. The company was granted a Royal Warrant in 1933 and continues today as a division of Centura Foods Ltd., still operating from its Droylsden factory.
Robertson became an important member of Paisley society, serving as a councillor, magistrate, on the school board, and as manager of a savings bank. He was also a noted philanthropist.