The first recorded cotton dealing in Liverpool was a newspaper advertisement for an auction of 28 bags of Jamaican cotton in 1759. Over the next seven decades a series of technological and industrial developments revolutionised cotton production. Liverpool enjoyed a physical proximity to the world centre of the industry – the Lancashire cotton towns. It also had well established trading links with the new powerhouse of raw cotton – the USA. As imports soared to the million-bale mark, Liverpool overtook London as the country’s leading cotton importer.
3 June 1757
The first recorded transaction of cotton dealing in Liverpool in the press appears
The full advertisement in the “Liverpool Chronicle and Marine Gazetter" ran as follows: "To be sold by auction at the Merchants' Coffee House, on Thursday 16th inst., at one o'clock precisely, 28 bags Jamaica cotton in four lots, samples to be seen with R. Robinson, broker." This was not, however, the first cotton to arrive in Liverpool. Small parcels of cotton had been arriving at the port for almost 50 years, albeit amongst mixed cargoes of various other goods, including sugar, tobacco, ivory, coffee and rum. The Richard Robinson mentioned above, like all of the people who dealt in cotton in this early period, was a general broker rather than a cotton specialist.