1820 Born at Greenock the son of Abraham Lyle (1783-1849) and his wife Mary Ann Bowden Campbell
1832 At twelve years old became an apprentice in a lawyer's office.
He then joined his father's cooperage businesses and in partnership with a friend, John Kerr, developed a shipping business, making the Lyle fleet one of the largest in Greenock. The area was heavily involved in the sugar trade with the West Indies, and his business included transporting sugar.
1861 Living at 20 Nicholson Street, Greenock: Abram Lyle (age 40 born Greenock), Magistrate, Master Cooper Employing 40 Coopers and 30 Boys. With his wife Mary and six sons; Abram (age 13), Alexander (age 11), Charles (age 10), William P. (age 8), John (age 4) and Robert (age 1). Also daughter (age 6).
1865 Together with four partners he purchased the Glebe Sugar Refinery in Glasgow, and so added sugar refining to his other business interests. When John Kerr, the principal partner, died in 1872, Lyle sold his shares and began the search for a site for a new refinery.
1876 He was Provost of Greenock from 1876 to 1879
1881 Living at Oakly, 51 Eldon Street, Greenock: Abram Lyle (age 60 born Greenock), Sugar Refiner. With his wife Mary and sons Robert Lyle (age 21 born Greenock) and John Lyle (age 18 born Greenock). Also a daughter and two SILs.
1881 Together with his three sons he bought two wharves at Plaistow in East London to construct a refinery for producing Golden Syrup. The site was around 1.5 miles from the sugar refinery of his rival, Henry Tate. In the first year Lyle's refinery showed a loss of £30,000, with economies being made by asking staff to wait for their wages on occasion, but eventually the business came to dominate the United Kingdom market for Golden Syrup.
1891 'Ex-Provost Abraham Lyle, of Greenock, head of the firm of Messrs. Abraham Lyle and Sons, ship owners and sugar refiners. London and Greenock, died on Thursday evening, aged 70. The deceased, who was a director of the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, returned from a visit to the Continent last Saturday. He was then suffering from s slight attack of influenza, which developed into acute pneumonia.'
Notes on his six sons
- Abram Lyle (1847- ) - Ship Chandler (1901)
- Alexander Lyle (1849-1933) - Wine and Spirit Merchant (1901)
- Charles Lyle (1851-1929) - Sugar Refiner and Shipowner (1881)
- William Park Lyle (c1853-1935) - Sugar Refiner (retired) (1911)
- John Leitch Lyle (1857-1914) - Wine and Spirit Merchant (1901). Sons Philip and Oliver and three daughters.
- Robert Park Lyle (1859-1923) - Managing Director, Sugar Refining Co (1911)
Sources of Information
- 1861 Census
- 1881 Census
- Huddersfield Daily Chronicle - Friday 01 May 1891