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Our History


Salt under Sail

The company was established in 1874 by John Craig Peacock, who started his professional career as a ships agent. Within 10 years he had amassed a fleet of 7 ships, plying trading routes from Spain, Brazil, Newfoundland and Norway amongst many others carrying predominantly salt and coal from the British Isles and bring back fish, seal oil and hides.


A Modernised Fleet

With the adoption of steam vessels the company changed direction, focusing more and more on the export of coal and building a business that at one time supplied more than one third of all coal imports into Spain. Business flourished, helped by us backing the right side in the Spanish civil war. Our relationship developed so strongly that we were appointed Consul.

New relationships developed as we became more involved in the trading of coal and lumber to North America; very close ties bringing to our door the practice of Rum Running, meeting thirsty US customers at secret latitude and longitude points in the high sea.


A Change in the Company Direction

World War II had significant impact on our business. Most salt and coal merchanting all but finished, leaving a long and profitable relationships. But swift actions and good decisions steered the company to utilise its significant experiences and resources to offer agency services to the extended fleet operating from the Clyde during the war years. Postwar saw a return to merchanting cargoes and reaching out to new partners.

JC Peacock's expertise and the level of trade now enjoyed in the salt business encouraged the directors to form Peacock Salt Ltd. Exclusive supply agreements with the largest European producers were penned.


140 Years of Innovation

Today Peacock enjoy the enviable position of being the UK's largest salt importer, with the most customers and widest variety of salts. The last few decades have seen us build ships, move headquarters, fully automate our lines, develop a leading oilfield service businesses, develop national depots, recruit leading industry experts, and develop products and services that will, with a fair wind, set us on course for another 140 years.