Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Robert McVitie (1809-1883)

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Robert McVitie, (1809–1883), baker and confectioner, of McVities

1809 Born at Nunholm, Dumfries, the son of William McVitie, farmer, and his wife, Jean Green.

Apprenticed to a Dumfries baker

Robert joined his father in Edinburgh, where he helped to run a provision shop in a tenement house in Rose Street that had been inherited from an uncle.

When his father returned to Dumfries, McVitie stayed behind, keeping the shop.

1844 Married Catherine, daughter of William Gairns. They had two sons and two daughters.

By 1856 McVitie was advertising himself as a baker and confectioner, the baking being carried out in the shop basement.

His two sons were apprenticed as bakers in the firm, and as the business grew McVitie was able to open other retail outlets and to send his sons to the continent, to learn French and German and to study European baking methods.

On their return, the firm introduced Vienna bread to Edinburgh and described itself as "Boulangerie Française et Viennoise".

1880 Retired

1883 Died from cancer in Edinburgh.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Robert McVitie, ODNB