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British Industrial History

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James Donald

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James Donald (c1827-1901) Hanna, Donald and Wilson.

c1827 Born the son of James Donald, Senior

1848 Married Agnes Henderson in Paisley[1]

1851 Jas Mcdonald 24, engineer, lived in Paisley Abbey with Agnes Donald 23, Wm Donald 6 Mo[2]

1851 Became a partner in Reid and Hanna

1861 Living at 31 Glen Street, Paisley: James Donald (age 34 born Johnston), Engine Smith and Gas Holder Maker (master Employing 95 Men). With his wife Agnes Donald (age 33 born Paisley) and their four sons; William Donald (age 10 born Paisley); James Donald (age 6 born Paisley); John Donald (age 4 born Paisley); and Robert H. Donald (age 10 Months born Paisley). One servant.[3]

1861 Living in Paisley Middle Church: James Donald 34, Engine Smith & Gas Holder Maker (master Employing 95 Men). With his wife Agnes Donald 33 and their four sons; William Donald 10; James Donald 6; John Donald 4; and Robert H. Donald 10 Mo[4]

1871 Living in Abbey Burgh: James Donald 44, Gas Engineer, Iron Founder, Iron master, Hands Employed 330, with his wife Agnes Donald 43, William Donald 20, Apprentice Gas Engineer, James Donald 16, John Donald 14; and Robert H. Donald 10, Wilson Donald 8[5]

1881 James Donald 54, Gas engineer & Founder, employing 300 Men 24 & Boys, Agnes Donald 51, John Donald 25, Mechanical Engineer, Robert Hanna Donald 20, Mechanical Engineer[6]

1891 Living in Paisley Abbey: James Donald 64, Steam Engine, Gas Holder & Bridge Maker. With his wife Agnes Donald 63, James Donald, Junior 36, Steam Engine, Gas Holder & Bridge Maker, Robert H. Donald 30, Steam Engine, Gas Holder & Bridge Maker[7]


1901 Obituary [8]

The death took place on the 7th inst., at his residence, Riccartshar, Paisley, of Mr. James Donald, of the wellknown engineering firm of Hanna, Donald and Wilson, Abbey Works, Paisley.

He was in his seventy-fifth year, and was a son of Mr. James Donald, a partner in the firm of Donald and Craig, the original founders of the extensive business now carried on by Fullerton, Hodgart, and Barclay, Paisley. While yet a mere youth his father died, and the partnership lapsed.

Previous to this event Mr. Donald had served his apprenticeship as an engineer with the firm; and afterwards he went to Glasgow, where he was employed in one of the large engineering works for a time. With added experience he returned again to Paisley as engineer on the works of the Paisley Water Company.

The misfortune of his early life in no way daunted the young engineer, and be resolutely set about acquiring a position as an engineer employer, which, had his father lived, he would in all likelihood have inherited. In 1851 he became a partner in the firm of Reid and Hanna, gas engineers and iron boat builders, which had been established in Paisley since 1816.

The constitution of the firm was, on Mr. Donald's accession, entirely changed, as well as the title, which then became Hanna, Donald, and Wilson, under which name the business of the firm has since been conducted.

In 1880 Mr. Donald and his three sons became sole partners, and the management has since been wholly in their hands. Originally mere millwrights, Hanna, Donald, and Wilson have developed an engineering business of astonishing variety. Important work in such diverse branches as shipbuilding, bridge building, boilermaking, gasworks plant, marine, hydraulic, and general engineering has been accomplished by the firm, their productions going to all parts of the world.

Notable examples of their work are the Edinburgh Waverley Market; Albert Bridge, over the Clyde at Glasgow; Partick Bridge, over the Kelvin; huge gasholders for Glasgow Corporation, at Dawsholm, Tradeston, and Dalmarnock Gasworks; capacious water towers for Brazil, and dock gates and machinery for all parts of the world. The firm has also executed in their shipyard and foundries many Admiralty contracts, as well as steamships and barges for the mercantile marine.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1851 census
  3. 1861 Census
  4. 1861 census
  5. 1871 census
  6. 1881 census
  7. 1891 census
  8. The Engineer 1901/03/15