|Description||Correspondence, reports, financial records and other items relating to the Chamberlain scheme for growing sisal in the Bahamas and the Andros Fibre Company Ltd. Some letters from C. E. Turner not relating to this scheme are also included in this series.|
This scheme developed by Joseph Chamberlain and in which he was the main investor was to invest in developing a plantation to grow sisal in the Bahamas which had been thought to be lucrative. After initial investigations by Neville and Austen Chamberlain, a site for a plantation was found at Mastic Point on Andros Island and a company was set up, the Andros Fibre Company Ltd.
The plantation was established with Neville Chamberlain moving to Mastic Point to manage the company with the assistance of James Rattray Knowles. Major investments were made in clearing land for the plants, construction of roads and other facilities, purchasing plants and a number of people were employed from the local region.
It was however a failure with poor sales due to the growth of the plants being poor and in 1896 it was decided to abandon the plantation and Neville Chamberlain returned to Britain. A resolution to wind up The Andros Fibre Company Ltd was passed on 3 September 1896, and Neville Chamberlain was appointed as liquidator. After the failure of the business, Neville Chamberlain maintained ownership of the land at Mastic Point for a number of years and from 1900 this was managed by E. Y. Villier Sutton's 'Sisal Cleaning Company' under agreement from Chamberlain under which Chamberlain received some of the profits from sales of sisal (see NC3/8). However it seems this business was never a success and by 1909 was 'doing practically nothing'.
The documents contained in this series relate to various matters regarding the scheme and the company including about the production of sisal, financial matters, legal matters and Neville Chamberlain's life while in the Bahamas including a journal of his travels in the Bahamas and Cuba. Additional sources not contained in this series relating to the sisal growing scheme include the letters which Neville sent to his family which report in detail about the business and his life in the Bahamas (see NC1/6/10, NC1/13/3/1-35, NC1/14/5-26, NC1/15/2/1-28B, NC1/16/2/1-33D, NC1/19, NC1/20/4-30).