In 1853 a 63-year-old Scotsman called Alexander Gordon was leasing a market stall in Melbourne, Australia, working as an advertising agent for a local newspaper. One day he befriended a young, penniless Englishman called John Speechly Gotch, who had come to Australia to seek his fortune in the goldfields. Gordon offered Gotch a job selling newspapers at his stall and the two men soon became business partners.
Gordon and Gotch were quick to recognise the opportunities in the rapid growth taking place in Australia and by 1859, when Gordon sold his interest in the business to Gotch and returned to Scotland, the company was pre-eminent in Melbourne as news and advertising agents and as distributors of newspapers and periodicals from Britain.
Gotch took his brother William into partnership in 1860 and his brother-in-law Alfred Jones became partner in the company a year later. Gordon & Gotch opened a branch in Sydney in 1861, another in London in 1867 and a branch in Brisbane in 1875.
Later, expansion continued with offices being set up in New Zealand and Canada. The company’s activities extended from the export and distribution of newspapers and magazines through printing and publishing to advertising, a press telegraph service and the import of stationery and printing supplies. Later the London branch of the firm engaged in general exports and the Australian offices took over agencies for importing such goods as pianos and sewing machines.
In 1885 the business was incorporated as Gordon & Gotch Ltd.
Eventually Gordon & Gotch Ltd. were split up and each country’s division (Australia, New Zealand, UK and Canada) was sold off. Today, the remains of the company in the UK is called Gordon & Gotch Publishing Ltd., and since 1994 the company has been located in Slough, Berkshire.