Hugh Fraser

(Lord Fraser of Allander)

1903 - 1966

Retailing entrepreneur. Fraser was educated in Glasgow but left school to join the family drapery business in the city's Buchanan Street. This enterprise had been started by his grandfather in 1849. He was Chairman and Managing Director of the House of Fraser by 1926 and proceeded to expand the business by take-over to become the dominant department store chain in Scotland and Northern England. His empire grew to include Arnotts (1936), Binns (1953) and the prestige London store Harrods (1959). Acquiring Harrods was his greatest coup and the jewel-in-the-crown of his empire. With rising living standards, resulting in a post-war sales boom, Fraser became the most successful businessman in Scotland and a leading figure in British retailing, with almost a monopoly in many towns.

He was also Chairman of George Outram and Co., publishers of the Glasgow Herald newspaper and defended it from a hostile take-over by bidding for the company himself.

Fraser was raised to the peerage in 1964 and, in his later years, contributed to the development of the tourism industry in Scotland.

He died at his home in Mugdock (Stirling), which he had purchased from James Graham, the 6th Duke of Montrose, in 1945. The island of Iona was given to the National Trust for Scotland by his son, Sir Hugh Fraser, in his memory (1979). He lies buried in Kilmaronock churchyard at Gartocharn (West Dunbartonshire).

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