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British Industrial History

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William Dixon

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William Dixon Ltd, producers of iron and coal, of Calder and Govan in Glasgow.


1770s William Dixon (c.1753-1822) became the lessee of the Govan coalfield.

1795 Dixon built the Calder Iron Works in partnership with David Mushet, who had discovered the local blackband iron ore which was intermixed with the coal-seams, and James Creelman, a local pottery maker.

1802 Dixon gained sole control of the works.

1813-1819 Dixon bought the estate of Govanhill, followed by properties at Wilsontown and Fauldhouse. In all these districts he opened up fields of coal and ironstone.

1822/4 Dixon died, leaving his property to his two sons, John and William. John sold his share in the Calder works to his younger brother William.

1830-40 William Dixon (1788-1859) formed the Govan Iron Works.

1837 The first blast furnace at Govan was blown in.

1842 closed the Wilsontown ironworks, concentrating his iron interests at Govan and Calder.

When he thought the Clyde Trustees would not carry his coal and iron at acceptable rates, William Dixon threatened to build a railway to Greenock. Dixon sketched out the plan which was then completed and Dixon's coals were carried to Greenock by rail. Similarly the Clydesdale Junction Railway, which led to the Caledonian Railway, was built (with Dixon as the largest shareholder). He was also sole proprietor of the Polloc and Govan Railway, from Rutherglen to the harbour.

1859 William Dixon died in London in 1859. His son, by his first marriage, William Smith Dixon, succeeded him

1872 The works became a private limited company which action provided funds for investment in coal mines at Blantyre.

1880 William Smith Dixon died in London in June. The works were carried on by trustees.

1860-92 The works built six railway locomotives (five at Govan and one at Calder)[1]

1906 Became a public limited company. The company was registered to acquire the coal and iron business of a company of the same name. [2]

1951 Nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[3]

1954 Dixon's Ironworks were transferred to Colvilles by the Holding and Realization Agency in order to allow rationalisation of the Scottish steel industry[4].

William Dixon by William S. Murphy

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. Hansard 19 February 1951
  4. The Times, 28 August 1954
  • William Dixon (1788-1859) [1]
  • Dixon family, ODNB [2]