The History of Lawrie and...

The History of Lawrie and Symington

The Firm of Lawrie & Symington was constituted on 22nd January 1862

On September 24th 1867 Mr Lawrie who had been in business locally as an Auctioneer and his nephew Mr Symington first held a livestock auction in Lanark. In 1876 Mr Symington started a weekly sale of stock on a Monday and these have continued ever since with sales of Primestock, Dairy Cattle and Calves. Mondays are now regarded within the farming fraternity as the traditional market day.

In 1886 William Elliot , an enterprising son of Borders farmer, Walter Elliot of Holybush, bought the firm and became Chairman and Chief Auctioneer in 1910 until his death in 1929.

Year by year livestock numbers increased and the reputation of the firm and staff grew. Among the many famous sales was the sale of Clydesdale Horses which took place every October and in 1919 the sale lasted for seven days when 2,681 horses were sold at an overall figure of £130,000.

During the first world war the company carried on under very difficult conditions. Both Mr Elliot’s sons were away fighting for their country. The eldest son survived and became a distinguished politician, The Rt. Honourable Walter Elliot, MC.MP. 

In 1916 Mr James Stark joined the Company and became Company Secretary in 1937.

In 1928 Mr Elliot decided to turn the business into a public Company with a capital of £60,000. He remained Chairman and appointed some local farmers and colleagues to the very first Board of Directors. Unfortunately he was not to enjoy the fruits of his labours for long as he died suddenly in 1929.

His Son, Walter Elliot inherited the shareholdings of his Father. At the same time Dr James Watt, WS who was a senior partner in the firm Davidson & Syme W S in Edinburgh was appointed Chairman of the Company.

In 1928 Mr Ian Clark was invited to join the Company to assist Mr Elliot in the Management and as Chief Auctioneer and continued in that capacity until 1975.

In 1936 The market in Peebles was bought and rebuilt on South Parks and opened in 1939


In 1945, Dr Watt retired from the Chairmanship of the Company and the Honourable Walter Elliot MC,MP became Chairman until his death in 1958.

His widow, Baroness Elliot of Harwood DBE became Chairman

In the 1940’s Sales of Implements and Farm Machinery were held periodically on Monday afternoons. This developed to such an extent that Lanark is now the established Centre in Scotland for the Sale of Tractors, Farm Implements and machinery with around 20 sales being held throughout the year on Thursdays.

The new Agricultural Centre was officially opened on 14th May 2004 which can accommodate 2,500 cattle or 13,000 sheep in any one day. Lanark is renowned for Premier Sales of Texel Sheep, Blackface Rams and Females , Border Leicester, Bluefaced Leicester, Charollais Sheep to mention but a few.

The Firm’s Property Department continues to grow specialising in the sale of agricultural and rural properties. Valuations are undertaken for all purposes.

Our Country Supplies Shop offers a comprehensive range of animal feeds and health products as well as a wide choice of country clothing.

The Tinto View Restaurant is very busy on market days and is open to the General Public on Sale and Non Sale days. The restaurant and licensed bar are available when an event or function is taking place to suit the needs of a particular event.

The new Centre has a variety of versatile and adaptable areas for all kinds of events. The Concourse area is available for parties, Wedding receptions and can host a buffet or a seated formal dinner for up to 450 people.

The Conference room on the upper gallery is ideal for seminars, training days or meetings.

The General Purpose Hall has  fast become established as an ideal venue for Trade shows, and demonstrations, dog and rabbit shows.


It has always been the desire of the Company to serve farmers and the agricultural industry to the best of its ability.