Charles Hodgson Parker Esquire
A native of County Durham, Charles Hodgson Parker, son of Provost Parker, came to Dundee in 1849, when his father founded the family firm of Charles Parker & Sons. He spent 15 years in Dundee as an engineer at Ladybank Works in Chapelshade.
Subscription value in 1863:
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Personal details and history
Charles Hodgson Parker
Date of birth
1824 - baptised 20-04-1824 at Haughton Le Skerne, Durham
Place of birth
Haughton Le Skerne, Durham
Thomas Laidman (c 1848): William Robinson (c 1850): Elizabeth Isabella (1853): William Frederick (1856): Amelia Jane (1857): Charles (1858): Flora (1860): Mary Eleanor (1861): Sarah Ann (1862): twins Edward and James McLean (1864): Alfred Campbell (1865): Rosalie Gelderd (1867):
Age at death:
Place of death:
Date of death:
St James' Cemetery, Toronto, Canada
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Methodist - The family members of Charles Parker (father and Provost of Dundee) were staunch Wesleyan Methodists, his brother Edward taking a leading role in the establishment of the new Methodist Chapel in Ward Road and his brother Thomas becoming a Methodist minister.
Clubs / societies
Career and worklife
Engineer and machinist
Place of work
Charles Parker & Sons, Engineers & Machine Makers
Career to date:
As a teenager, Charles Hodgson Parker appeared in the 1841 census, listed as an 'Engine Smith' in Priestfield, Darlington. By 1850, he had entered into partnership with his father in the firm of 'Charles Parker & Sons' of Ladybank Works, Chapelshade, Dundee, founded in 1849. The firm was engaged as power loom manufacturers, machine makers, millwrights etc. In 1851, Charles was established as an engineer and machinist in a business which employed 54 men and boys. The firm was one of three in Dundee celebrated for producing power-looms, machines for winding and other preparing machinery for weaving. He remained in Dundee until 1865.
Charles Hodgson Parker married Jane Robinson in 1846 in Darlington. However, their marriage was short lived. Having given birth to two boys, Thomas Laidman and William Robinson, Jane died of influenza and was buried on 27 March 1850 in Dundee. Their son William also died that year – the previous month. The family lived on Bucklemaker Wynd at the time.
Charles, grieving for a wife and son after 4 years of marriage, was still the father of a young boy and also a partner in a recently established business (1849). The 1851 census indicated that he moved back into his father’s household at 10 Reform Street. His son, Thomas Laidman Parker was subsequently raised by his grandparents, Charles Parker and Isabella Hodgson. Soon after, Charles H Parker, machine maker, married for a second time, to Amelia Jane McLean, at Murraygate, on 14 October 1851. Between 1852-1865, Charles and Amelia bore 10 children although, not all survived.
By 1861, Charles and Amelia had moved out of the town to the more salubrious district of Broughty Ferry – an indicator of their affluence and aspiration.
Charles Parker Snr founded his business of ‘Charles Parker & Sons,’ manufacturers, machine makers, millwrights etc. in Dundee in 1849. It has been claimed that ‘nearly all of the world’s nineteenth century jute weaving machinery was made in Dundee,‘ with ‘Charles Parker & Sons’ being one of the principal makers.
The Parkers applied for numerous patents for their various products, manufactured from Ladybank Works and, later, Clepington Foundry. They also exhibited their products at different exhibitions. At the Great French Exhibition in Paris held in 1855, it was reputed that;
‘Charles Parker & Sons of Dundee exhibit some power-looms for the manufacture of navy canvas, which are not remarkable in themselves but it may be permitted to mention here that this firm has just succeeded in constructing a loom for oilcloth canvas, nine yards wide, working from 20 to 30 picks aper minute.’
The firm also displayed extensive exhibits at the International Exhibition held in London in 1862.
Charles Hodgson Parker did not remain in Dundee. In 1865, a farewell soirée for held for him, presenting as a farewell gift, a silver tea and coffee service, inscribed –‘Presented to Charles H Parker Esq by the workmen of Ladybank Foundry, as an expression of their respect and good wishes – Dundee, May 1865.’
By December of 1865, Charles H Parker had established himself in Sheffield. The length of his stay in Sheffield remains uncertain. His daughter, Rosalie was born there in 1867 and notices were placed advertising articles for sale from his Corporation Street premises in 1868.
Certainly, by 1881, the Parker family had made a major emigration journey to Canada where Charles eventually was employed as a clerk with Ontario Central Railways. He and Amelia continued to add to their family while in Canada.
Charles Hodgson Parker died in Toronto in 1893, his wife Amelia surviving him by six years.
- Northumberland and Durham Baptisms. (1824). Find My Past website.
- Old Parish Records. Dundee. Marriage. 14 October 1851. 282/230 379. ScotlandsPeople website.
- England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915. Darlington. (1846). Ancestry Website.
- Dundee Directory, 1850, p.142. Local Studies, Dundee Central Library.
- Dundee Directory, 1856-57, p.128. Local Studies, Dundee Central Library.
- Dundee Directory, 1864-65, pp.168 and 329. Local Studies, Dundee Central Library.
- Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 December 1893, p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Canada Death and Deaths Overseas. 1869-1947. Archives of Ontario. MS935. Reel:70. Ancestry website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1851). 282/ 71/ 8. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Directory, 1861-62. p.190. Local Studies, Dundee Central Library.
- Census Returns. Durham. Darlington. (1841). Enumeration District:13. Folio:16. Page:27. Ancestry website.
- Warden, Alexander J. The Linen Trade, Ancient & Modern. (1864). London. Longman. p.699.
- Dundee Advertiser. 23 may 1865. p.5. British newspaper Archive website.
- England & Wales Marriage Index. (1837-1915). Volume:24. Page:53. Ancestry website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1850). 282/ 290 53. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1850). 282/ 280 303. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Burial Records. Howff Burying Ground, Dundee. P01. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1851). 282/ 230 379. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Census Returns. Monifieth. (1861). 310/5/21. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Watson, Mark. Jute and Flax Mills in Dundee. (1990). Tayport. Hutton Press. p.87.
- The Scotsman. 22 September 1855. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 25 June 1862. p.2. British newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Advertiser. 23 May 1865. p.5. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 25 January 1868. p.5. British newspaper Archive website.
- Census Returns. Toronto. St Patrick's Ward. District No. 134. (1881). Ancestry website.
The information above about Charles Hodgson Parker has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.