James Robertson of Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland started life working in the local thread mills. During a long down turn in the silk trade, Robertson decided to change trades and became apprenticed to a local grocer, hoping this would give him a better future.
In 1859 he married Marion McFadyen, and started up in business as a grocer at 86 Causeyside Street, Paisley. Robertson was a charitable man, taking pity one day on a salesman bought a barrel of Seville oranges from him, which are known for their bitter taste. Not wanting to see her husband waste money, Mrs Robertson took to making a sweet tasting marmalade in the back of the shop, which the couple perfected over the following few months.
The resultant clear and tangy Golden Shred marmalade was an instant success. The couple had found a way to remove the bitterness of the orange, whilst still retaining what Robertson called "the highly tonic value of the fruit". It is the same secret which even today, gives all of Robertson's preserves their special flavour