The Rise And Progress Of Coatbridge And Surrounding Neighbourhood.

Andrew Miller, Dundyvan Iron Works, Glasgow 1864


"There is a history in all men's lives,
figuring the nature of the times deceased." SHAKSPEARE

In the history, or rise and progress, of those connected with the coal and iron trades, there is perhaps not another district in either Scotland or England where so many iron and coal lords, as they are often termed, have, by their own perseverance, risen from the ranks of the working classes. This is exemplified in almost every work; and, taking each into detail, the first on the list is Calder Iron Works, which were erected about the year 1795 by a company consisting principally of stocking weavers from the city of Glasgow. The works were originally intended for the manufacture of both iron and steel, and cost somewhere about £15,000. It appeared, however, to have been an unprofitable speculation, for after a brief period the partnership was dissolved, and the works were sold, it is said, for the small sum of £4000. The purchasers were William Dixon of Govan, who was one of the partners in the former company; James Creelman of Pottery; and David Mushet, who became manager, and whose name is still associated with the discovery of the Blackband Ironstone. These three continued in partnership for about two years; but from some cause or other they disagreed, and a dissolution of the copartnery was the result, and the works, which, during the interval, had been considerably improved, were a second time, viz., in 1802, brought to the hammer, and sold in Edinburgh for the sum of £19,000. The purchaser was again William Dixon, who thus became sole proprietor, the former manager again acting.

Such are a few of the leading outlines of the early history of Calder; and now for that of its proprietor, in giving which it will be necessary to go back some years. In the year 1770 a number of young lads left their native county, Northumberland, England; and, after a time, they arrived in the county of Lanark, where they obtained employment. All of them, with two exceptions, never rose from the ranks of the working classes; and these two were William Dixon, the founder of the Dixons of Govan, and his cousin, the late Mr Dixon of Knightswood. The former was born in 1753, so that when he left home to seek a fortune in the world, he was but 17 years of age. His first settlement appears to have been Govan, for a few years afterwards he became lessee of the Govan coal field, and ultimately proprietor of the estate. In 1775 he married an Ayrshire lady named Janet Smith, by whom he had several sons and daughters. Twenty years afterwards we find him a partner in the Calder works, and shortly thereafter proprietor. At this period there was no opposition in acquiring leases for the minerals in the neighbourhood of Calder and Coatbridge, and consequently Mr Dixon secured one portion after another, until the whole district may be said to have been under his control, so that his leases extended over a vast area of ground, and included the lands on which the majority of the present iron works are standing. Whether it was the expiration of the leases, or necessity for an immediate working of the minerals according to terms, certain it is, that a few years before the iron works commenced, lease after lease was given up, and latterly secured by others, until but a very small portion of the minerals, comparatively speaking, were retained for the Calder works. In the year 1803 Mr Dixon acquired, by purchase, the estate of Palacecraig, and that of Faskine in 1819; the property of Wilsontown he acquired in 1824, with the blast furnaces and malleable works, the iron-stone fields in connection being of great value. He died in 1824, when the property was left to John and William, the eldest and youngest sons in the family; but the former having, it is said, no inclination for the business of iron manufacture, the latter purchased his share in the Calder works, and, in order to do so, had to take in partners for a term of years. The partners were James Christie, Matthew Pearston, and Alexander Christie, the latter acting as manager. This copartnery continued till 1835, when it was dissolved, and the works reverted again wholly to Mr Dixon.

A short time previous to the dissolution of the copartnery, the Townhead works, Glasgow, were started by the Calder company, along with some other partners. The company thus formed was shortly afterwards dissolved, and in the interim the name of the works was changed to that of the Govan Bar Iron Works. William Dixon was born at Govan in the year 1788, and was married in 1821 to Elizabeth Strang, sister of the late city chamberlain of Glasgow, by whom he had a family of four children, of whom only two now survive, viz., William S. Dixon of Calder, and his sister. In 1843 he acquired the estate of Carfin, which abounds with excellent coal for furnace purposes. Previous to this, however, viz., in 1841, he sold the estates of Palacecraig, &c., containing valuable seams of both ironstone and coal, to the Messrs Baird of Gartsherrie, for the sum of £90,000. He died in 1862, and was succeeded by his son, William Smith Dixon, the present proprietor of the works, who was born in 1824, and who married, in 1851, Miss Napier, daughter of Dr Napier of Singapore, and granddaughter of the editor of the "Encyclopedia Britannica." The present proprietor and his father were educated at the Grammar School in Glasgow, and afterwards went through the curriculum at the University. Such are a few of the leading events in the history of the Dixons, and their worthy progenitor, the miner boy of Northumberland. The Calder works are erected on the estates of Easter and Wester Garturk.

The Monkland Steel and Iron Works, now Calderbank and Chapelhall Works, were at first erected by a company, about the latter end of last century, consisting of three partners - viz., Messrs Aitken, Fleming, and M'Gregor - who carried on the manufacture of steel. In 1805 the works changed hands, the purchasers being Francis Murray, who had a small colliery at that time in the neighbourhood of Banknock, Stirlingshire. In the venture he was joined by John Buttery, who was proprietor of a steel work, which stood a short distance from the High Kirk of Glasgow, close to the Molendinar Burn. This work was originally a manufactory for hair powder, which was converted into a steel work, when powdered wigs, &c., went out of fashion. Of the first-named proprietors of the Monkland Steel Works little can be learned; they, however, belonged to Glasgow. Want of success in the business was the cause of their disposing of the works, which were at the time not very extensive, and were carried on at what is now termed the Old Forge. The next proprietors, Messrs Murray and Buttery, in a few years made considerable extensions in the works, and for more than a quarter of a century carried on the manufacture of steel on a large scale. In 1830 they had two blast furnaces at work at Chapelhall, when, in 1831, a third one was added; in 1835 they commenced to erect furnaces at Calderbank, and by 1840 had six; and in addition to the pig-iron they had previously entered on the manufacture of malleable iron, and had stopped the steel works.

The partners of the Monkland Iron and Steel Company at first, as we previously observed, consisted of Francis Murray and John Buttery; the former was a native of Stirlingshire, and the latter belonged to England. They were both married, and had families; and when Mr. Murray died he was succeeded by his eldest son, William. Ultimately James, brother to the latter, and Alexander, son of Mr Buttery, were taken into the partnership, and later still, Francis, son of William Murray, was included in the company. John Buttery died in 1842, at an advanced age, and William Murray died in 1859; therefore the partners in these works are now said to be James Murray, Alexander W. Buttery, and Francis Murray. Such is a very imperfect outline, gleaned from aged residenters at Calderbank, of the Monkland Iron and Steel Company.


Gartsherrie Iron Works, the proprietors of which are the Messrs Baird, are the next in order, and their career has been without a parallel for success in the West of Scotland, and who, as iron masters, are second to none in the kingdom. Their ancestors for several generations belonged to this parish (Old Monkland); and their father, Alexander Baird, who died at an advanced age in the winter of 1833, was an industrious farmer, being a tenant on both Drumpeller and Rosehall estates of the farms of Kirkwood, Newmains, and High Cross. The family consisted of two daughters and eight sons. The three eldest were born at Woodhead, the next five at Kirkwood, and the two youngest at High Cross. The elder sons aided their father in the work on the farms, and he lived to aid by his counsel and pecuniary assistance to establish the Gartsherrie Works, with two blast furnaces. Seven of the brothers were ultimately partners in the works, John, the second son, being the only one that followed his sire's occupation of a farmer. The year of birth of the respective members of the family - were Janet, 1794; William, 1796; John, 1798; Alexander, 1799 ; James, 1802 ; Jean, 1804; Robert, 1806 ; Douglas, 1808; George, 1810; and David, 1816. The most, of them received their education at the parish school, under the late Mr Cowan, parochial teacher. Several of the younger members attended the schools in Glasgow; and David, the youngest of the family, had the advantage of receiving a first-class education, which was finished under the best tutors that Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Paris could provide.

When the Messrs Baird commenced to erect their first furnace at Gartsherrie they had difficulties in a financial way that would have proved a serious obstacle to men of less determination, but they manfully wrought away until success crowned their efforts. In 1830, the manufacture of iron in the district was but in its infancy; the Bairds, shrewd business men, prepared for the future by securing leases for extensive supplies of both ironstone and coal. At that time there was little or no opposition, and such leases could be and were secured on very reasonable terms, which may be considered the most important acquisition towards the future prosperity of an iron work. But the great secret of their success could also be attributed to another source, and that was their indomitable energy, attention, and strict personal surveillance over all the various departments connected with their business. This appears to have been their mode of conducting whatever undertaking they engaged in, whether as farmers, coalmasters, or ironmasters, and is traceable from their first starting-point as coalmasters, when they became lessees of the small portion of the coal-field on the estate of Rochsolloch in 1816, and on from one point to another, up till the present time, their career has been one of patience, toil, and industry; and now, in the autumn of their days, those who have been spared are reaping their reward in the possession and enjoyment of those comforts and luxuries which wealth can sometimes bestow. In developing mineral resources, they have been equally successful in other districts, for, in addition to the works at Gartsherrie, they have four iron works in Ayrshire. In 1846 they started the Eglinton Iron Works, at which there are eight blast furnaces; in 1852, they acquired the Blair Iron Works, with five blast furnaces; and in 1856, both the Lugar and Muirkirk Iron Works, at which there are seven blast furnaces, and at the latter a malleable work - thus, taking in Gartsherrie along with these other works, they have a total of thirty-six blast furnaces, twenty-six of which are at present working. The produce of iron from these, taking an average, cannot be less than 650 tons daily.

The Messrs Baird, as landed proprietors, are represented in eight counties in Scotland, viz.:- Lanark, Ayr, Fife, Dumfries, Kincardine, Inverness, Aberdeen, and Roxburgh. Taking the brothers in their respective order of seniority, we find William was proprietor of the estates of Rosemount, in Ayrshire, and Elie, in Fifeshire, the former purchased in 1853, for £47,000, and, the latter in the same year for £153,000 [William died in March of the present year, 1864]. John is proprietor of the estates of Loch wood, in Lanarkshire, and Ury in Kincardineshire, the former being a gift from William, who inherited it from his father, the father having purchased it in 1825, and Ury was bequeathed him by his brother, Alexander, who died in 1862. The latter estate was purchased in 1854, for the sum of £120,000. James is proprietor of the estates of Cambusdoon, in Ayrshire, and Knoydart, in Inverness-shire, the former purchased in 1853, for the sum of £22,000, and the latter in 1857, for £90,000. Muirkirk estate, also purchased in 1863, for the sum of £17,500. The estate of Auchmedden, in Aberdeenshire, which was purchased in 1853 for the sum of £60,000, was bequeathed to him by his brother, Robert, late of Auchmedden, who died in 1856. Douglas was proprietor of the estate of Closeburn, in Dumfriesshire, which was purchased in 1850 for the sum of £225,000, At his death, which took place in 1856, it became the property of his two children, twin daughters. George is proprietor of the estate of Stricken in Aberdeenshire, and Stichell in Roxburghshire, the former purchased in 1855, for the sum of £145,000, and the latter he inherited by his brother, David, who died in 1860. Stichell was purchased in 1858, for the sum of £160,000. All these estates represent in round numbers upwards of a million and a half of capital thus invested, independent of what is held by them as a company, such as the estates of Palacecraig, Faskine, Cliftonhill, High Coats, Gartcloss, Dunbeith, &c., and for the first two of which, the sum of £90,000 was paid in 1841. The extents of the respective estates are as follows:- Rosemount, about 1000 acres; Elie, 3000 acres; Ury, 6000 acres; Cambusdoon, 100 acres; Knoydart, 67,000 acres; Auchmedden, 6000 acres; Muirkirk, 17,500 acres, Closeburn, 13,000acres; Strichen, 11,000 acres; Stichell, 4000 acres; and to several of these estates considerable additions have lately been made, by the purchase of farms adjoining. From these facts it is evident that iron manufacture has been a very lucrative business, when conducted on the energetic principles applied by the firm of Gartsherrie Iron Works.

In politics all the brothers were what is termed conservatives. William and James, for many years, represented, in Parliament, the Falkirk district of Burghs, In 1841 William opposed the late Mr Gillon of Wallhouse, Linlithgowshire, for the Falkirk Burghs, and was returned by a majority of 51 votes, and kept his seat till 1846, when he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and retired when Lord Lincoln was returned as the representative. At the election which followed, on Lincoln becoming Duke of Newcastle, in 1851, the seat was again vacant, and James took the field in opposition to Mr Loch, factor to the Duke of Sutherland, when the former beat his opponent by a majority of 55 votes. In the course of the following year a dissolution of Parliament took place, and at the general election James was opposed by Mr Anderson, of London, and was again successful in being returned by a majority of 50 votes. The votes polled in each of the burghs at both elections were as follow :-

James continued to be member for these burghs till 1857, when he retired at the election in that year, and James Merry, of Carnbroe Iron Works, was elected for the seat. Thus for upwards of eleven years was the Falkirk Burghs represented in Parliament by William and James Baird. William was married in 1840 to Janet Johnston, daughter of Thomas Johnston, of Gartcloss, by whom he had a family of four sons and five daughters. John was married in 1848 to Margaret Finlay, daughter of John Finlay, of Springhill, by whom he has a family of two sons and one daughter. James has been twice married, first in 1852, to Charlotte Lockhart, of Cambusnethan, who died at Nice, in Italy, in 1857, and then to Isabella Agnew Hay, daughter of the late Admiral Hay, in 1859. There has been no issue by either marriage. Douglas was married in 1851 to Charlotte Acton, daughter of Captain Acton, of a Shropshire family, in England, by whom he had twin daughters; their father died in 1854. George was married in 1858, to Cecilia Hatton, daughter of Admiral Hatton, of London, by whom he has one son. The other three brothers, Alexander, Robert, and David, were never married, and died the first in 1862, the second in 1856, and the third in 1860. William died on the 9th March of the present year. Janet, the oldest daughter, was twice married, first to Alexander Whitelaw, farmer, Drumpark, who died in 1826; then again, in 1834, to John Weir, farmer, Dunbeith. By her first husband she had a family of four children, two of whom died in infancy, and by her second husband she has a family of two, son and daughter. The surviving children by the first marriage are Alexander Whitelaw, Esq., Gartsherrie House, who was married in 1859, to Barbara Forbes Lockhart, of Cambusnethan, by whom he has two sons and two daughters. His sister was married, in 1846, to Thomas Thorniecroft, Esq., ironmaster, Hadley Park, Wolverhampton. Jean, second daughter, was married in. 1831 to the late Thomas Jackson, Esq., of Coats, and has had issue, two sons and four daughters, the eldest son, Thomas, being now proprietor of Coats Malleable Iron Work, and on his father resigning the Captaincy of the 29th L.R.V., (Coatbridge Company) in 1862, he was unanimously elected to take the command.

In the encouragement of education in the district the Messrs Baird have always taken a very active part, especially in the education of the children connected with their works, in furtherance of which schools have been established in almost every place where they have works of any extent. In concluding this brief outline of the history of this family, it is to be remarked that they have been singularly fortunate in their career, and illustrate forcibly the story of the old man, his sons, and the bundle of sticks.


Dundyvan Iron Works. The founders of these works were Colin Dunlop of Clyde and John Wilson. The latter was a native of the parish of Govan, and was born in 1787, at the farm of Broomhill, a few miles from Glasgow. In early youth he received a good English education, and afterwards assisted his father, who was a farmer, in the management of his farm, continuing thus until he was eighteen years of age. At his leisure hours he improved himself considerably in various branches of education, and having shown considerable talent as a draughtsman, he was, on the recommendation of some friends, brought under the notice of Colin Dunlop, of Clyde Iron Works, who appointed him to be one of the managers at the collieries. Having displayed great natural talent in the duties intrusted to him, he was promoted step by step, until he became manager at the Iron Works. In 1824, when Mr J. B. Neilson, of the Glasgow Gas Works, commenced his experiments with the hot blast, he found an able and willing coadjutor in Mr Wilson, who took a deep interest in these experiments, and introduced the hot blast into practical operation at Clyde Iron Works, and became one of the partners in the venture, when the patent was taken out in 1829, the success of which, in point of revenue, being perhaps without a precedent in the annals of patents. The profits arising from the hot blast patent were divided among four, in the following proportions:- Mr Neilson, three-tenths; Mr Dunlop of Clyde, three- tenths; Mr Mackintosh of Crossbasket, three-tenths; and Mr Wilson, one-tenth. A writer in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" remarks that the transfer of the shares to these gentlemen was judicious and necessary. Mr Dunlop was one of the most sagacious iron masters of his time, Mr Mackintosh was distinguished as a man of much practical science, and Mr Wilson was a man of tried practical talent, and therefore the co-operation of these gentlemen was essential to the steady and successful trial of the novel though simple process. During the existence of the patent from 1829 till 1843 the profits to the proprietors is said to have exceeded £300,000; In 1833 the ground at Dundyvan was selected by Mr Wilson and Mr Dunlop on which to erect the ironworks, to manufacture pig-iron. In 1837 Mr Dunlop died, and Mr Wilson became sole proprietor. In 1839 the works were greatly extended by the erection of machinery, &c., for the manufacture of malleable iron, and also .other four blast furnaces. The works, when these extensions were completed, were said to have cost little short of £300,000. In 1838 Mr Wilson purchased the estates of Arden and Barblues, which are situated about three miles east from the town of Airdrie, and consist of 1100 acres, the purchase-money being £18,000. This was a most fortunate speculation, as the lands contained not only the excellent seams of coal of the district, but also the superior seams of famed Blackband ironstone, thickness and quality corresponding, which proved a valuable acquisition in supplying the works with the best materials for manufacture (the recent discovery of the Slaty band ironstone seam on the estate has enhanced its value considerably (There is also a seam of shale, of workable thickness, hear the “Slaty” of great richness, which will no doubt be worked for the purpose of manufacturing oil.)).

In 1845 Mr Wilson leased from the Duke of Hamilton a portion of the Kinniel estate at Bo'ness, Linlithgowshire, along with the minerals, on which he erected four blast furnaces, for the manufacture of pig-iron. In 1846 he, in company with the Messrs Dunlop, of Clyde Iron works, leased a portion of the Lugar estate, in Ayrshire, from Sir James Boswell of Auchinleck, and erected iron works there, the ironstone on the estate being of excellent quality. Previous to this, Mr Wilson had become one of five partners in acquiring and carrying on the. Muirkirk Iron Works, and in 1850 he became sole proprietor of the Lugar Works, by purchasing the share of the Messrs Dunlop, so that at this period he, as an individual, was the most extensive manufacturer of iron in Scotland.

Mr Wilson was married in 1817 to Margaret Marshall, daughter of the late Mr Marshall, baker, Glasgow, by whom he had a large family, several of whom died in infancy, and only four sons and two daughters reached maturity. At his death, which took place at Ardenconnel House in 1851, John, the eldest son, succeeded to the Dundyvan, Lugar, and Muirkirk property, and also to the estate of Arden, under certain burdens, a detail of which would be superfluous. William, the second son, inherited the Kinniel Works, while the other two sons, Colin and George, and also the two daughters, were handsomely provided with competent fortunes. John was married in 1849 to Marion, eldest daughter of the late Dr Barr of St Enoch's Church, Glasgow, by whom he had two sons. He only survived his father about two years, as he died in 1853. Jessie, the eldest daughter, died the following year. In 1857, Miss Wilson, the only surviving daughter, was married to Sir Henry Orlando Chamberlayne, Bart. William, the second son, was married to Jemima, a second daughter of the late Dr Barr, in 1860; and in 1861, George and Colin were both married, the former to Miss Halkett of Cramond, near Edinburgh, and the latter to Miss Hoyle, daughter of Major Hoyle of Montrose. William and Colin both died within a few months of each other in 1862, and neither of them left any children. George, the only surviving son, was for some time partner with his brother-in-law in the Cramond Iron Works, but ultimately retired out of the partnership. The Dundyvan Works, since the death of Mr Wilson, have been carried on under trustees* In 1856 the Lugar and Muirkirk Iron Works were exposed for sale, and purchased by the Eglinton Iron Company; and since the death of the two sons, William and Colin, the Kinniel Works are carried on by the firm of George Wilson & Co. The ground on which the Dundyvan Works and other properties adjoining are erected is a feu off Mr Buchanan of Drumpeller. In 1840 Mr Wilson purchased the remainder of the Dundyvan estate for the sum of £14,000.

We cannot conclude this sketch without remarking that Mr Wilson was altogether a man of very superior attainments ; and for activity, shrewdness, and all other essential qualities required in business, few could excel him; strict in discipline to all under his control, he invariably followed up his precepts by giving the example. Fortune smiled upon him, as it does on those who are endowed with the firmness, patience, and perseverance which were his peculiar characteristics, coupled with a strong will and iron nerves that could scarcely be shaken. In politics he was a Liberal, and took a very active part in them. In 1846 he contested the Falkirk district of burghs against Lord Lincoln, now

Duke of Newcastle, and only lost that election by the very narrow majority of 11 votes, the contest being very keen. In Airdrie, Falkirk, and Linlithgow he was at the top of the poll—not so in Hamilton and Laaiark. This, however, was only what might have been anticipated, considering the great influence that the Hamilton family possess in these two burghs, and the powerful support brought to bear on all the burghs by the Conservatives to return the son-in-law to the Duke of Hamilton. The following is a list of the votes polled in the five burghs on that occasion:-

At the next election, in 1847, the Liberals again solicited Mr Wilson to become a candidate for the burghs, but he declined. He was highly respected in the district, and at his death in 1851 was deeply regretted.

Summerlee Iron Works. These works were erected in 1837 by a company, under the name of Messrs Wilson & Co., which the firm still retain. The original partners consisted of George Wilson, John Wilson, Walter Neilson, and Alexander Wilson. The first two were brothers, and sons of John Wilson, proprietor of the Hurlet Alum Works, and were both born at Hurlet - George in 1791, John in 1792 - and received their education in the Glasgow University. Walter Neilson is the son of the late Walter Neilson of Oakbank. Alexander Neilson was cousin to the two first-named partners, and died in 1842. The copartnery was for twenty years; at the termination of that period the Wilsons, who survived, went out of the concern. George died in 1861, and John in 1856. The Neilsons (Messrs Hugh and Walter, along with John, son of the latter) are therefore now sole proprietors of these works. Their brother, James Beaumont Neilson, was the patentee for the hot blast; and their father, Walter Neilson, carried on the engineering business at Oakbank, in which he was assisted, in early years, by his sons, that large establishment sending forth annually great quantities of machinery to all parts of the country, consisting of some fine pieces of mechanism, in the shape of pumping and winding engines. At the same works the first iron steamboat was built, named the Fairy Queen, and altogether the Messrs Neilson were trained in a school eminently fitted to qualify them for ironmasters.


Carnbroe Iron Works. These works were erected in 1838 by a company, consisting of Alexander Allison, James Merry, and Alexander Cunningham ; in 1844 Mr Allison retired out of the copartnery. Mr Merry was born in 1803 at Nettlehole, in the parish of New Monkland. His father was a coalmaster there, but removed to the Goat-bridge district about the year 1809, having leased the coal on the farms of Blaiklands and Gunny, then the property of the Maxwells of Baillieston, but which now belongs to the Messrs Baird of Gartsherrie. This colliery was carried on very successfully for many years, the produce being boated to the Glasgow market by the Monkland Canal. Mr Merry received his education at the schools in the town of Airdrie and village of Langloan. After he left school he assisted his father in the management of the colliery, where he had every opportunity of acquiring a thorough practical knowledge of pit working, and the business connected with it. In 1833 he leased the coal-field of Old Carnbroe from the proprietor, Mr Meiklam, which turned out an excellent speculation, and was successfully carried on by him until the expiry of the lease in 1853. The Carnbroe works were started, as before mentioned, in 1838, and in 1844 the company or firm of Messrs Merry & Cunningham leased the minerals on the Woodhall estate. Mr Merry, amid the toil of business, appeared to have been able to enjoy the pleasures and pastimes of the sporting world, for which he had always evinced a fondness; his penchant for the turf and other field sports, and his successes, are well known, and have been duly chronicled, and few commoners can boast of such honours as are recorded in the racing calendar of England in the name of James Merry. In 1847 he married a daughter of the late Mr M'Hardie, Sheriff-Clerk of Glasgow, and shortly afterwards purchased as a residence the large estate of Belladrum, in Inverness-shire. Mr Merry's career has been apparently a successful one, whether as a coalmaster, ironmaster, or sportsman. At the general election in 1857 Mr Merry took the field as a candidate for the representation in Parliament of the Falkirk District of Burghs, in opposition to Mr George Baird, one of the partners in the firm of Messrs Baird of Gartsherrie. Mr Merry was the popular candidate, and carried the election by 279 votes of a majority, as the following list of votes polled on that occasion shows:-

Notwithstanding this overwhelming majority, the Conservative or Tory party, on the 22nd May, presented a petition to the House of Commons against his return, for corrupt practices, $c., at said election, supported by such evidence that a committee was appointed to investigate the case and examine witnesses, the result of which was that the petitioners were successful in their opposition. Mr Merry was accordingly unseated, and Captain Hamilton of Dalziel was elected without opposition on the 8th August, and continued to represent the burghs till the next general election in the year following, when Mr Merry was re-elected and returned to Parliament without opposition, and since then has fulfilled the duties as the representative of the Falkirk Burghs in the House of Commons. It is worthy of notice that since 1841, up till the present time, with the exception of those periods when Lord Lincoln and Captain Hamilton sat as members, the Falkirk Burghs have been represented in Parliament by ironmasters of this district.

Alexander Cunningham was born in 1803 at Craigends, in Renfrewshire, his father being proprietor of that estate. The Cunninghams of Craigend are a branch of the Glencairn family. Mr Cunningham was educated partly by private tuition, and finished in the Glasgow University. Shortly after he left the college, he started a small colliery and lime work on a part of the Craigends estate, which he carried on until the period when he became a partner in the Carnbroe works. In 1848 he married Miss M'Hardie, sister to Mrs Merry.

In 1843 the partners in the Carnbroe Iron Works purchased the Glengarnock Iron Works, Ayrshire, at which there were two blast furnaces nearly finished; other seven have since been added to the number. In 1854 they acquired the site at Ardeer, in Ayrshire, at which they have four blast furnaces; thus, taking in Carnbroe, they have at the whole of their works nineteen furnaces, and of these sixteen are in blast. Carnbroe Iron Works are built on the estate of Carnbroe. The feu consists of about 12 acres in extent.

Langloan Iron Works. These works are erected on the Drumpeller estate; and when operations were commenced in 1841, the partners in the company were Robert Addie, Robert Miller, and Patrick Rankine, the designation of the firm being Messrs Addie, Miller & Rankine, which continued till 1855, when Mr Miller retired from the copartnery. In I860 Mr Rankine also sold out his share, and Mr Addie became the purchaser and sole proprietor of Langloan Iron Works.

Robert Addie was born in the parish of Blantyre, in 1799. His father was overseer on the estate of Earnock, He, however, removed with his family to Airdrie in 1807, to fill the office of overseer on the Airdrie estate, so that the boy received his education in the town of Airdrie. In the year 1822 Mr Addie's father took a lease of the Gartlee farm, in which he assisted until 1829, when he took a lease of the farm of Whiterigg; and eight years afterwards he, in company with Mr Miller, took a lease of the minerals on Whiterigg from the proprietor, Mr Thomson. In the same year the two partners leased the minerals on the Rosehall estate, which are the chief sources of supply for the Langloan Iron Works. Mr Addie has been twice married, and by his first wife he had two children, one of whom died; by his present wife he has nine of a family, all living. In 1851 he purchased the estate of Viewpark, in the parish of Bothwell. Since then he has been adding to its extent considerably, by purchasing portions of land contiguous. .The whole now acquired is said to have cost about £40,000. He is also, proprietor of several farms to the east of Airdrie. Of the other two gentlemen who were partners in the Langloan Iron Works, little requires to be said farther than that Mr Miller was born at Glenmill, in the parish of New Monkland, in 1790, and died in 1857; Mr Rankine was born at Mavisbank, in the same parish, in 1788.

The successful career of the ironmasters carries along with it lessons of what can be done by industry and perseverance. Their success, no doubt, has been partly augmented by the peculiar branch of manufacture, which in this district has been very lucrative. Still, many, with the same favourable opportunities, might have failed; at least, in absence of evidence, let those who have prospered get the credit. In other districts where iron works have failed, it is worthy of remark that they have prospered so soon as they passed into the hands of proprietors from the Coatbridge district; and it is such men that sustain the prosperity or greatness of a country. The fruits of industry from this district have spread from Calder to Govan; from Gartsherrie to Eglinton, and Blair; from Dundyvan to Kinniel, Lugar, and Muirkirk; from Carnbroe to Glengarnock and Ardeer, and many other places on a smaller scale ; so that the district of Coatbridge has been instrumental in developing the resources of other districts in Scotland, and the far-famed "Mushet Blackband" ironstone, with the superior seams of coal, can with truth be termed the source from which the wealth has been extracted to aid in the development and general prosperity of the iron trade in Scotland. The Coatbridge district has been highly favoured in many respects; and in proportion to the rapid increase of population, drawn thither by the increase of the iron and coal trades, the wants of the people, both spiritually and physically, called forth the services of ministers and doctors eminent in their respective professions, and who, in fulfilling the duties of their office, must have found it no sinecure; it is therefore unnecessary to remark that they deserve to be noticed, and not only those who are doing duty at present; but also those who have gone " to that bourne whence no traveller returns." From the very important position that professional gentlemen occupy, it may be considered that in the present case they should have preceded the ironmasters; but, with all due respect to them, however high or important their station, their services or success invariably depend upon the population to whom work is provided by the employers; consequently it may be assumed that although last, they are not least. Churches, ministers, and doctors have, in history, something interesting about them, connected as they all are with the more prominent events, both of a public and private nature, in all stages of a people's existence, from the cradle to the grave.