Minister helps Lawrie and Symington mark 150 years of auctions

Hamish McCall, Fergus Ewing and Brian Dickie.
Hamish McCall, Fergus Ewing and Brian Dickie.

Scottish Government Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing has helped Lawrie and Symington, Scotland’s leading auction mart operator, celebrate 150 years of livestock sales.

Mr Ewing was welcomed to the Lawrie and Symington stand at this year’s Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, by chairman Brian Dickie and managing director Hamish McCall and presented with a special tie to mark the occasion.

The seasoned auctioneers welcome farmers from across Scotland the UK and Europe to numerous high-profile events at their sites in Lanark and Forfar every year, having held regular livestock markets since 1867.

In a typical year around 20,000 cattle and 200,000 sheep are sold in the auctioneers’ Lanark mart, and a further 7,000 head of cattle and 55,000 sheep go under the hammer at the Forfar mart.

Mr Ewing said: “I’m delighted to be here to help Lawrie and Symington celebrate their 150th anniversary. That is some achievement.

“I can’t begin to picture in my mind how many cattle and sheep have passed through the firm’s doors in that last century and a half.

“It’s reassuring to know, despite the huge technological and social changes we’ve seen during that time, that a business with such a fine heritage can survive and thrive. Here’s to the next 150 years and more.”

Mr McCall said: “We, as auctioneers, sit at the very heart of Scottish farming. We are very pleased to welcome Fergus Ewing to our stand at this year’s Royal Highland Show to help us mark this important milestone for the business.

“It is great to see so many people in attendance today, many of whom have dropped by to talk to us about livestock sales in Scotland and the state of farming more generally.

“Clearly, the demands of the agricultural sector are changing, not just here Scotland but around the world.

“However, I’m pleased to say that this has been a strong year for Lawrie and Symington, and we’re absolutely planning to be around for another 150 years.”

It is not just auctions Lawrie and Symington are known for these days - their premises in Hyndford Road are used for weddings, exhibitions and dinners.

This month they hosted the Lanimer Ball, one of the highlights of the Lanark social calendar, for the tenth year running. That was a sell out, with around 370 people attending. Lawrie and Symington found that steaks were a clear favourite for the dinner, with caterers Country Refreshments serving up over 300 fillets over the course of the evening, then the dancing went on into the wee small hours.