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Peter Bond Burgoyne

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Peter Bond Burgoyne (1844-1929) of P. B. Burgoyne and Co

Burgoyne was very important for the Australian wine industry and also one of the first supporters of the South African wine trade.

1844 Born in Doddbrook, Kingsbridge, South Devon, the son of John Trist Burgoyne (c. 1812–1856) and Mary Ann Burgoyne, née Bond (c. 1808–1854).

Both parents died before he reached his 'teens, and he was brought up by an aunt and uncle. At age 13 he found employment with a firm in Portsmouth, but had an ambition to travel, and through his brother, then aged 21, was in 1858 introduced to Robert Allsopp of Newfoundland, who offered him a five-year apprenticeship, which he turned down, but accepted a job in his office instead. The business failed a few years later, and he secured a position with St Johns, Newfoundland brokers W. H. Mare & Co., for whom he worked for twelve months, then transferred to Brooking & Co. of the same town, where he acted as second bookkeeper.

At the age of 21 he returned to London, having been offered a position with his brother, by now a prominent London estate agent. This fell through, and he found employment as a bookkeeper in the office of an Exeter wine merchant. This led, around 1868, to a management position in a similar business in Mincing Lane, London.

Around 1871 his aunt, Mrs. Thomas Colton (née Bond, a sister of Burgoyne's mother), of McLaren Vale, South Australia, mentioned to Dr. A. C. Kelly, founder of Tintara, that her nephew would make a good agent in London. That meeting led to A. L. Elder, brother of Sir Thomas, suggesting to Burgoyne that he take on the business of importing and bottling Australian wines, which was at the time practically unknown to English consumers. They signed a three-year contract, which was extended by an extra year. He thereupon founded his own business, P. B. Burgoyne and Co, with offices and cellars in conjunction with the Tintara company, at 50 Old Broad Street, London EC.

1876 Birth of son Cuthbert John Burgoyne (1876–1955), who was later head of the company

Business was difficult for the first ten years. At one stage he became insolvent and was "thrown a lifeline" by Capt. (later Sir) Walter Watson Hughes, who became a partner. In 1886 the taxes which made Australian wines uncompetitive was relaxed. Burgoyne converted his business to a joint-stock company and moved to larger premises, "Burgoyne House" at 6 Dowgate Hill, London, with cellars at the Dowgate Vaults, Cannon Street.

Hughes died in 1887, but by that time Burgoyne was in a sufficiently strong position to drop his European brands and devote his considerable energies to the Australian trade, and any profit the firm made was spent on advertising. The company was restructured as a limited liability company in 1903 with Burgoyne as Governing Director and sons Cuthbert, Alan and Lennox directors. They had an Australian office at 132 William Street, Melbourne and owned the Mount Ophir and Mount Athos vineyards and wineries in Rutherglen, Victoria.

In later years Burgoyne also represented South African winemakers. He had a home "Broadlands" at Sunninghill, Berkshire near Ascot, and was a great friend of Sir Edward Lucas, Agent-General for Australia in London 1918–1925. For 40 years his major interest outside business and his family was the National Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest (later Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest) at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, of which he was chairman for the last 29 years of his life, as well as considerable financial support.

At the time of his death, Burgoyne's firm held the largest stock of duty-paid wine in London, exceeding 300,000 imperial gallons (1,400 kl), and owned Burgoyne House and huge stores in the east of London. He had spent more than £500,000 in advertising Australian wines, but given little credit in Australia for his efforts. His widow, who had been an active partner in the business, was at the age of 80 appointed chairman of Bond Investment Trust at a salary of £8,000 p.a.,[10] several millions in today's currency.

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