About Portal , Dingwall And Norris Emsworth
TODAY: these days, we aim to have a wide range of both wines and spirits which are varied and unique. We strive to build great relationships with our suppliers, ensuring we pass nothing but quality and great value on to our customers. Our team enjoy sourcing interesting, great tasting new products whilst maintaining the level of quality and individuality we look for and value in all our stock. We now supply restaurants and pubs as well as weddings, corporate events and, of course, individuals.
1830: William IV acceded to the throne, two Scottish brothers, Charles and Joseph Dingwall, started a wine and spirit business in London. This was a time when industry in England was changing enormously, due to the invention of machines and the discovery of the power of steam and the application of capital to industry. This ‘revolution’, the economists tell us, gave Great Britain the lead in world commerce and laid the foundation of her economic life in the 20th century. During this period they were joined by Richard and Bernard Portal, sons of a wine merchant in Northampton, to form the expanded Dingwall, Portal & Co.
1861: Joseph Dingwall retired to live in Turkey.
1868: William and Frederick Portal joined the company.
1877: Charles Dingwall retired and his eldest son (also Charles) was admitted to partnership. The name of the company was changed to Portal, Dingwall & Co.
1883: Richard and Bernard Portal retired.
1892: Arthur Norris left Norris & Gilbey, bringing the Lemon Hart Rum brand with him (started by Lehman(Lemon) Hart in Penzance, Cornwall in 1804), to join Portal and Dingwall – hence Portal, Dingwall & Norris. The company had highly important concerns in Port (they were sole proprietors and shippers of Fonseca), Rum (Lemon Hart), Whisky (Glenlivet), Brandy, Sherry and French Wines.
1903: retirement of William Portal and an amalgamation with Messrs. Forbes, Cunningham & Bond, the title remaining the same.
1905: Frederick Portal retired. Eight years later Oswald Norris joined the partnership and the following year Messrs. James Saunders & Co. were amalgamated with the firm, the name remaining unchanged.
1915: the younger Charles Dingwall died in the historic sinking of the Lusitania, followed a couple of years later by the death of Arthur Norris from illness contracted in war service.
1929-1939: the Depression, during which time many changes occurred in the industry, including Portal, Dingwall & Norris’s acquisition of several other businesses, amongst which were Thomas Lowndes Rum Merchants in 1932 and C W Eves Rum Merchants in 1939.
1941: Portal, Dingwall & Norris made an important policy decision to sell off their whisky interests. Just after that, the violence of the war made an impact and created an opportunity, though it probably did not seem that way at the time. On the 10th and 11th May Alfred Lamb & Son (a wine and spirit business started by Alfred in 1849, ageing casks in cool cellars beneath the Thames and producing traditional dark rum (Lamb’s Navy Rum, 1865)) were bombed out of their London permission on Great Tower Street and White, Keeling Rum Merchants (Red Heart Rum, 1888) were also bombed out of theirs during the Blitz that summer. Portal, Dingwall & Norris took them both into their premises at 40 Eastcheap, London.
1946: the three companies merged, becoming United Rum Merchants.
1952: Canadian company Corby Distilleries signed an agreement with United Rum Merchants to bottle the Lamb’s brand under licence in Canada. URM, needing more space, moved from London to Prewett’s Mill in Horsham, but soon afterwards Tom Norris sold the company to sugar giant Booker (51%) and Hiram Walker (49%).
1984: United Rum Merchants Limited and the Canadian group Hiram Walker-Gooderham and Worts Limited formed Allied Breweries, the leading international wines and spirits producer and distributor.
1989: This position was reinforced by the acquisition of James Burroughs Distillers and the buy-out of Whitbread’s 50 per cent holding in the companies joint venture company, European Cellars (Holdings) Limited. During the 1980s Allied Breweries began to fragment with various companies being sold off (some being acquired by Pernod Ricard). The result was Allied Domecq which concentrated on wines and spirits.
1990: around this time Allied Breweries pulled out of the brewing business.
1993: Philip Portal acquired the company and amalgamated it into his existing wine business which traded under the name of Ivy Wines, based in Hermitage near Emsworth, Hampshire.