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Walter Gilbey

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– Early life:
– Born in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire to Henry Gilbey and Elizabeth Bailey.
– Henry Gilbey ran an inn and later a coach service to London.
– Walter worked in an estate agent’s office and later in a firm of parliamentary agents.
– Volunteered with his brother in a convalescent hospital during the Crimean War.
– Started in the retail wine and spirits trade with his brother Alfred.

– Imported wine business:
– Heavy British government duty on French, Portuguese, and Spanish wines led to high prices.
– The Gilbey brothers focused on selling colonial and Cape wines due to lower duty.
– Opened a retail business in London in 1857 with the financial backing of Henry Gilbey.
– Revolutionized their trade with the off-licence system and duty reduction on French wines.
– Appointed grocers as agents across England to exclusively sell Gilbeys products.

– Growth and distribution:
– Cape wines gained popularity, acquiring 20,000 customers in three years.
– Off-licence system and duty reduction on French wines boosted sales.
– Gilbeys appointed grocers as agents in various districts across England.
– Acquired a claret-producing estate in Medoc and two whisky distilleries in Scotland.
– Converted the business into a private limited liability company in 1893.

– Horse breeding and agriculture:
– Known for breeding shire horses and improving English horse breeds.
– President of various horse and agricultural societies.
– Founder and chairman of the London Cart Horse Parade Society.
– Appointed as a deputy lieutenant of Essex in 1906.
– Wrote extensively on horse breeding and agriculture.

– Personal life:
– Married Ellen Parish in 1858 and had ten children.
– Became a baronet in 1898.
– Son Henry Walter Gilbey succeeded him as the second baronet in 1914.
– Walter Gilbey passed away in 1914.
– Known for his contributions to the wine business, horse breeding, and agriculture.

Walter Gilbey (Wikipedia)

Sir Walter Gilbey, 1st Baronet, DL (2 May 1831 – 12 November 1914) was an English wine-merchant, horse-breeder, author, and philanthropist.

In The Sketch, 13 October 1897
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