MR. HARDING BICKFORD.
A VALEDICTORY SOCIAL.
At the Exchange Hotel on Wednesday evening a valedictory social was tendered Mr. Harding Bickford by the employes of the firm of Messrs A. M. Bickford & Sons. There
was a large attendance. Mr. William Bick- ford, who presided, said they met together to wish Mr. Harding Bickford, who had been in the employ of the firm for six years, a pleasant and safe visit to the old country, whither he was going to improve his knowledge in pharmacy. Such a knowledge was now in- dispensable for the firm's growing business. Mr H. O'Connor, the manager of the firm, presented Mr. Bickford with a handsome photoalbum as a token of the respect in which he is held by the employees of the firm. The album is bound in morocco and contains photos of the members and the employees of the firm, together with a number of views of the establish- ment, and an illuminated address, which reads thus:—" Presented to Mr. Harding Bickford on tho occasion of his departure to England on March 31, I897.(sic) We, your fellow employees in the firm of Messrs. A. M. Bick- ford & Sons, Currie street and Waymouth street, Adelaide, on the occasion of your leav- ing for London, desire your acceptance of this album as an expression of the high regard in which your many sterling qualities and ever genial disposition are held by ourselves. We sincerely hope that in the pursuit of extended knowledge and experience you may meet with such uniform kindness and goodwill from those whom you may come in contact with as has been our invariable custom to receive from yourself. We wish you a pleasant voyage and the full attainment of those aims which are the purpose of your journey." Mr. O'Connor said they all appreciated the sterling qualities of their guest, and his future career would be closely watched by them. He asked them to drink to the health and prosperity of their departing friend. The toast was drunk with musical honors, and three cheers were afterwards given for the guest. Mr. Harding Bickford thanked the company for the way in which they had honored the toast and for the beautiful presentation. Mr Harry Bickford said that if their guest did not win honors in the old country it would not be for the want of trying. (Hear, hear.) It was very pleasing to know that a kindly feeling had always existed between the employes and the heads of the firm. Mr. J. H. Young submitted the toast of "Pharmacy" in a few well-chosen words, and expressed the hope that Mr. Bickford would return to the colony with F.C.S. attached to his name. (Hear, hear.) Mr. C. Radcliffe responded. Vocal and instrumental music was con- tributed by Messrs. Harold Bickford, Fox, S. W. Ranford, Hammond, and O'Connor. During the evening Mr. William Bickford said he thought the time opportune to bring before the public a short statement showing the growth of the business. This he read as follows :— The name of the late William Bickford, the founder of the business, was green in the memory of many old colonists. He was born at Churchstow, Devonshire, and sailed in the good ship Platina from Plymouth in 1839 for South Australia. His quiet manner and kindly spirit made him a general favorite with the little band of pioneers. After spend- ing a few months in the service of the late Dr. Bright be opened a chemist shop near Rosina street in Hindley street, and in a remarkably short space of time the trade had increased so much that he removed into larger premises built by the Rev. Mr. Playford opposite to Club lane, in Hindley street. It was here in 1850, after a short iliness, that he was called away to join the great majority. His death was a severe blow to his relatives and numerous friends, who mourned the loss of a man who had en- deared himself to them by his integrity and his every ready willingness to do his part towards alleviating the sufferings of the poor and needy. For 14 years Mrs. A. M. Bickford, the widow, carried on the business, ably supported by the late Mr. Edwin Page and Mr. Robert Hutton, now of Rundle street. During 1864 Mr. William and Mr. Harry Bickford were taken into partnership, and the firm was then known as A. M. Bickford and Sons. Mr. William Bickford for many years represented the firm on the Murray and River Darling, at the same time taking com- missions from Messrs. D. & W. Murray, Harrold Brothers, Whyte, Counsell, & Co., and W. Milne & Co. The trip was done with a buggy and pair through Gawler, Truro, Blanchetown, and then the River Murray, the sheep and cattle stations being visited en route. Wentworth was reached in due course, and as the town was flourishing a good trade was done with the storekeepers and hotel- keepers. From Wentworth the River Darling was followed, and all stations and townships between there and Wilcannia were included in the list. Wilcannia was the last port of call, where Mr. Bickford disposed of the turnout, and returned to the city by steamer or coach. This journey occupied three months, and was undertaken twice a year regularly for some years. The splendid results of the efforts of William Bickford necessitated the erection of buildings to be devoted solely to the manufacture of cordials and aerated waters. The freehold of half an acre of land in Waymouth-street was pur- chased, and on this were placed the present structures. In its initial stage this new industry was worked by comparatively small machinery, but as the reputation of their beverages grew Messrs. Bickford, always alive to satisfying the public demand, added the latest appliances, until at the present time their plant was most replete and extensive. In the meantime the Hindley-street business grew apace, and the premises were found altogether unsuitable for the requirements of the trade, and a site at the corner of Currie and Leigh streets was selected, on which a warehouse was built. In August, 1879, the removal into the new build- ing took place. Since 1889 a complete laboratory and an assay plant had also been added. The firm was represented by five commercial travellers, and employed 53 hands. A branch was established at Perth, Western Australia, worked upon the same lines as the parent business. It was the intention of the firm to add cordials to the other proprietary articles supplied to the public. The manage- ment of the concern was entrusted to Mr. Robert McClure, who was for about 18 years in the Adelaide house. It had been found necessary from the growing demands to have regular direct shipments from London and America in order to keep pace with the times.