I was surprised to make this discovery in November, and had to find a second opinion, after noticing it, as it changes many publications and historical articles.
Dixon’s Rows in Stonefield, were NOT actually built or originally owned by William Dixon & Co, the colliery. Looking at the 1895 valuation roll, I was surprised to notice that actually the rows (which were always called Dixon’s Rows) were owned by an individual, John Mann Thompson.
John, born in 1836 was an iron-master, a wealthy prominent man who forged his business on the back of the Dixon family. He was a cousin of the Dixon family. William Dixon at this time was William Dixon the third, his grandfather started up the iron works at Govan (Dixon Blazes) and his father carried it on, but they came into financial uncertainty and had to form the above mentioned company. This lessened the hold the Dixon family had on things, although the headquarters remained at 1 Dixon Street, Glasgow, the main centre of their operations became the Calder Iron Works. John eventually by 1872, found himself the Chairman of the Dixon’s Collieries in Blantyre, and was essentially “their big chief”
He was the owner of Dixons Rows when they were built that year and the new miner’s homes at Stonefield including Calder Street, Park St, Hall St, Govan St, Burnside St and Miller Street were simply leased out for rent by the company, William Dixon. Consequently, they were then sub let to the miner’s themselves. The 1895 valuation roll is good proof of this.
John Mann Thomson died on 12th March 1899, aged 63. He left behind a widow, a daughter and three sons. He had been quite the shrewd businessman. Upon his death in 1899, the William Dixon Ltd board may have bought the rows from his estate, or inherited them at his will.
So, actually, some of what we call and associate with the William Dixon family and their initial influence on Blantyre is really a misnomer.
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Anne Mackie great you always seem to find out the most interesting items xx