Return to Subscriber listings and search...

James Paterson Esquire

James Paterson was a wealthy manufacturer, the owner of Heathfield Works, Hawkhill, which specialised in the production of jute carpeting. He never married and bought the estate of Kinnettles, near Forfar, where he built a 'splendid mansion.'

Subscription value in 1863:


Relative to inflation up to 2024:


Relative to income compared to 2024:


Click Image to Enlarge

Personal details and history

Full name

James Paterson

Date of birth


Place of birth

Inverarity, near Forfar.[1]



Marital status


Name of spouse




Home address

40 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee (1867-1882);

Also Kinnettles House, near Forfar (from 1864, see below)

Age at death:


Place of death:

40 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee[3]

Date of death:




Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Free Church of Scotland, Old St Paul's Church, Nethergate, Dundee[2]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Dundee Chamber of Commerce: elected president in 1870.[2]

Public offices


Related subscribers

Subscriber 261: James Neish of the Laws, business partner

Subscriber 224: Strachan, Kinmond and Co, merchants, former employers

Career and worklife




Owner, sole partner in jute factory

Place of work

Heathfield Works and Coldside Works, Dundee.[4]

Work address

James Paterson & Co., Heathfield Works, Hawkhill, Dundee.[4]

Career to date:

In 1838, James Paterson began his career as a clerk with Alexander White, a Dundee merchant, and rose to become confidential clerk of Kinmond and Hill. In 1850 he was taken into partnership with James Neish of the Laws, owner of Heathfield and Lawside works. When Neish retired in 1857, he became the sole partner in James Paterson & Co., Heathfield Works jute factory, Hawkhill, a position he retained up to his death in 1882.[2]

More information

James Paterson was born in 1819 in the village of Inverarity, near Forfar, the son of a farmer, and was educated at the village school. Despite this fairly humble start in life, his rise to wealthy factory owner and landowner suggests that he was a determined and talented individual. He secured a place in a Dundee merchant’s office, and rose to become a confidential clerk with Kinmond and Hill. In 1850, the prosperous  merchant and manufacturer, James Neish, made him a partner in Heathfield Works. Neish was one of the first Dundee manufacturers to exploit  the potential and market for jute goods, and the first to pioneer the production of jute carpeting. At Heathfield Works, they overcame technical difficulties and expanded into spinning, weaving and dying of jute carpets for the domestic and overseas markets.[5] When Neish decided to retire early to his estate at the Laws in 1857, Paterson capitalised on  the mid-century boom in the demand for jute products, in what was the greatest period of economic expansion in Dundee’s history. He extended Heathfield Works, and the manufacture of jute carpeting and backing for linoleum became its staple product.[6]

By 1864, Paterson had acquired sufficient wealth to purchase a country estate at Kinnettles, near his childhood home, and eventually bought over part of the neighbouring estate of Invereighty. He is reported to have taken an intelligent interest in county affairs and the progress of the Liberal Party, but otherwise he was not active in municipal or political affairs. His main activities centred on running his business and the jute trade (he was elected president of Dundee Chamber of Commerce in 1870) and improving his estates. Paterson was a member of the Free Church of Scotland from its outset in 1843, a generous benefactor to and office bearer in Old St Paul’s Church, Nethergate, under its minister, the Rev Dr William Wilson.[2] Paterson also served as a director of the Albert Institute Ltd and was on the Dundee board of the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society.[7]

James Paterson never married and died in his Dundee home, aged 62, in 1882. His nephew, William Longair, and Thomas Cooper succeeded him as partners in Heathfield Works.



  1. Old Parish Records. Inverarity, Forfarshire. Birth. 25 June, 1819. 292/10 181. Scotland's People website.
  2. Obituary Book 1, copy obituaries of James Paterson of Kinnettles, pp.94-5; Dundee Year Book. 1882, p.86. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  3. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Death. 17 March 1882. 282/1 100. Scotland's People website.
  4. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Obituary Book 1, copy obituary of James Neish of the Laws. d.22 May 1882. p.90.
  6. Lenman, Bruce, Lythe, Charlotte, and Gauldie, Enid, eds. (1969) Dundee and its Textile Industry (1850-1914). Dundee. Abertay Historical Society, no. 14. pp.25-30.
  7. Dundee Directory, 1867-68. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.

The information above about James Paterson 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.