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Messrs Leadbetter & McCaul

A partnership, lasting c.1861-1869, of two men who were associated primarily with Glasgow and did not live in Dundee, but who nonetheless saw the value of the proposed Albert Institute and the wisdom of being associated with the proposal.

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Details and history

Name of company:

Messrs Leadbetter & McCaul

Company address:

1837 East Cowgate South[1]
1845 Cowgate Port and Ericht-side works Blairgowrie[2]
1850 Meadowside Dundee[3]
1885 Albert Square, Dundee[4]
1895 10 Panmure Street, Dundee[5]
1902 114 Seagate, Dundee[6]

Number of employees:


Nature of business:

Textile merchants, powerloom manufacturers



Date ceased trading:



John Leadbetter was born in Penicuik in 1788. He established himself in the linen trade from c.1815 in Glasgow and eventually expanded his business to Dundee and Belfast. After 1848 Leadbetter took a less active role in the business he had established due to declining health. John Leadbetter died in Glenallon in Torquay on 17 March 1865, leaving behind his widow, two sons and three daughters. His sons carried on the business.[7] He is buried in Glasgow Necropolis.[8]

His obituary described him as a successful businessman and upstanding citizen who was involved in municipal politics in Glasgow, holding positions of Councillor, Magistrate and Dean of the Guild. He was very much a rail enthusiast and was Chairman of the Glasgow-Edinburgh Railway Company; Director of the Ayrshire Railway Company and Chair of the Dumfries Railway.[9] He provided the Glasgow Mechanics Institute with a building in 1831 and was chair of the Institute for ten years.[10] He was a Conservative in politics.[7]

Malcolm McCaul was born in Glasgow about 1804[11] and died in Stirling in 1891.[12] He was married to Isabella Alston, 26 June 1832, in Glasgow.[13] In 1841 Malcolm, described as a merchant, Isabella and their first four children were resident at East Bay, Dunoon.[14] In the 1851 Scottish Census he was registered as a linen manufacturer, living at 1 Clifton Place in the parish of Barony, Lanarkshire, with his wife Isabella and seven children: Margaret aged 17, Gilbert aged 16, Jessie aged 14, Isabella aged 13, Malcolm aged 6, Annie aged 1 and Cath aged 8 months. [11] In the 1861 Scotland Census he was listed as linen manufacturer and merchant living in Wilton Crescent, Maryhill and  having a further daughter Robina aged 9.[15] Isabella died at Stirling in 1875, aged 63,[16] which is where Malcolm, retired linen and cotton merchant, was living at 5 Drummond Place, with his eldest daughter, Margaret, in 1881.[17] Malcolm’s death on 18 January 1891, aged 86, is recorded on a family headstone at the Ramshorn Graveyard, Glasgow, which also mentions that he is buried in the Glasgow Necropolis.[18]

From entries in the Dundee Post Office directories, Leadbetter, Adamson & Co. were first listed in 1837 as flaxspinners, linen manufacturers and merchants, operating from Cowgate, Dundee.[1] The entries for Leadbetter, Adamson & Co., 1845-1848, list the company as flaxspinners, bleachers, dyers and power loom manufacturers, with a warehouse in Cowgate and works at Erichtside in Blairgowrie. From 1850-1859, the entry changes to John Leadbetter & Co. operating from 37 Meadowside, Dundee with no mention of Blairgowrie.[3] From 1861 through to 1867, the entry was listed as Leadbetter & McCaul.[19] From 1869, all entries were listed as Leadbetter Bros & Co. and the McCaul name was dropped.[20] The company continued through to the late 1920s.


  1. Dundee Directory, 1837-38. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  2. Dundee Directory, 1844-45. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  3. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  4. Dundee Directory, 1885-86. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Dundee Directory, 1895-96. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. Dundee Directory, 1902-03. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  7. John Leadbetter biography in Mclure & Macdonald. (1885) 100 Glasgow Men. Glasgow West Address website.
  8. UK and Ireland Find a Grave Index, 1300s -present. Findagrave website.
  9. Dundee Advertiser, 4 April 1865, p.4. (Reproduced from the Glasgow Herald). British Newspaper Archive website.
  10. Information on Glasgow Mechanics Institute website.
  11. 1851 Census Scotland. Barony, Lanarkshire. 622 ED132 p.7. Ancestry website.
  12. Statutory Registers. Stirling. Death. 1891. 490/35. ScotlandsPeople website.
  13. Scotland Select Marriages 1561-1910. Glasgow. 26 June 1832. FHL Film no.0102928, 1042986, 1042942, 0102927, 1042987, 1042988, 1042989. Ancestry website
  14. 1841 Census Scotland. Dunoon & Kilmun, Argyllshire. 510 ED5 p.20. Ancestry website.
  15. 1861 Census Scotland. Maryhill, Glasgow. 644/7 ED41 p.14. Ancestry website.
  16. Statutory Registers. Stirling. Death. 1875. 490/237. ScotlandsPeople website.
  17. 1881 Census Scotland. Stirling. 490 ED18 p.32. ScotlandsPeople website.
  18. McCaul family headstone photograph. Ramshorn Graveyard, Glasgow. Public Members Section. Ancestry website.
  19. Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Dundee Directory, 1869-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.

The information above about 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.