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William Fullerton Lowson Esquire

A successful merchant and investor, whose wealth allowed him to purchase Balthayock Estate in Perthshire, as well as maintaining a household in Dundee where his business interests were located. He was briefly a director of the Albert Institute Ltd.

Subscription value in 1863:

£200

Relative to inflation up to 2019:

£20000

Relative to income compared to 2019:

£160000

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Personal details and history

Full name

William Fullerton Lowson

Date of birth

20-09-1814[1]

Place of birth

Arbroath[1]

Gender

Male

Marital status

Married 25-12-1851[2]

Name of spouse

Helen Flowerdall[2][3] / Flowerdew[4]

Children

William, b.1852;[5] Eliza Anne, b.1854;[6] Margaret, b.1855;[7] Patrick Alexander, b.1856;[8] James Grey Flowerdall, b.1860;[3] Anne Inches, b.1861;[9] Helen Flowerdew, b.1861[4] and Mary Louise, b.1863.[10]

Home address

Upper Pleasance, Dundee c.1837-1847.[11]
31 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee, c.1850-1857.[12]
Graybank, 166 Nethergate, Dundee, c.1858-1893.[13]
Balthayock, Kinfauns, Perthshire, c.1865-1893.[14][15]

Age at death:

78 years[16]

Place of death:

Graybank, 166 Nethergate, Dundee[15][16]

Date of death:

08-01-1893[16]

Buried:

Kinfauns Churchyard[17]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Church of Scotland - elder in East Church, Dundee. He also served on the Church Extension Committee under his friend the Rev. Dr. Watson and was zealous in moves to build the Wallacetown and Dudhope Churches in the 1840s[15]

Political affiliation

Liberal[15]

Clubs / societies

Junior manager, public library, 16 St. Clement's Lane, Dundee, c.1842-1843.[18] Committee of management, Model Lodging House Association, c.1850-1854.[19] Ordinary director, Institute for Education of the Deaf and Dumb, 1856-1857.[20] Local director, Lancashire Insurance Company, c.1856-1859.[21] Director, Dundee & Arbroath Railway Company, c.1856-1862. Director, Dundee Chamber of Commerce, c.1858-1862.[22] Patron, Mrs. Margaret Petrie or Morton's Mortification, c.1858-1893.[23] Ordinary director, Dundee Banking Company, c.1861-1862.[24] President, Dundee Chess Club, c.1861-1879.[25] Secretary, committee of merchants for the construction of the Royal Exchange, Dundee.[15] Chairman, Northern Assurance Company (Fire & Life) (united with Forfarshire and Perthshire Insurance Company), c.1864-1893.[26] President S.&T. Whist Club, c.1864-1865.[27] Director, Albert Institute Limited, c.1867-1868.[28] Director, c.1850 and 1867-1885, vice-president, c.1886-1889, director, c,1890-1893, Dundee Industrial Schools Society.[29] Ordinary director, Royal/Dundee Orphan Institution, c.1871-1872 and c.1884-1893.[30] General committee, Mars Training Ship, c.1871-1893.[31] Vice-president, Dundee Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, c.1871-1893.[31] Committee member, Dundee Royal Infirmary, c.1874-1875.[32] Secretary, Dundee Prison Aid Society, c.1874-1893.[33] Member, Dundee board, Anglo-Indian Christian Union, c.1874-1893.[33] Trustee, Dundee Working-Men's Club and Institute, c.1874-1879.[34] Vice-chairman, Dundee Mortgage and Trust Investment Company, c.1876-1881.[35] Vice-chairman, Oregon & Washington Trust Investment Company, c.1876-1879.[36] Trustee, William Harris's Institution, 1876-1893.[37] Director, Dundee Land Investment Company, c.1880-1881.[38] Managing director, Oregonian Railway Company Limited, c.1880-1886.[39] President, Dundee Boys and Girls Religious Association, c.1884-1886 and honorary vice-president, c.1886-1893.[40] Honorary director, Dundee Sabbath School Teachers' Union, c.1884-1893.[40] Trustee, Armitstead Lecture Trust, c.1884-1893.[40] Patron, Dundee Horticultural Society, c.1884-1893.[40] Director resident in Scotland, National Telephone Company Limited, c.1884-1893.[40] Vice-president, Dundee Adult Free Breakfast Mssion, c.1887-1893.[41] Trustee, Patrick A. Lowson Memorial Scholarship, c.1887-1893.[41] Chairman, finance committee, Dundee & London Shipping Company.[15] Alliance Trust.[15]

Public offices

Justice of the Peace connected to the Dundee District, c.1871-1893.[42] Deputy Lieutenant, Perthshire.[17] Justice of the Peace for the Carse District of Perthshire, c.1892-1893.[43]

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.4 – George Armitstead – intimate friends and Lowson was trustee on the Armitstead Lecture Trust.

Subscriber no.186 – Pattullo & Thornton – Thornton was a director of the Prison Aid Society.

Subscriber no.190 – William Ritchie – fellow director of Dundee Industrial Schools Society.

Career and worklife

Occupation

Merchant[44]

Employment

Owner[45]

Place of work

119 Murraygate, Dundee[46]

Work address

St Andrew's Street, Dundee, c.1837-1838.[47]
27 Cowgate, Dundee, c.1842-1847.[48]
119 Murraygate, Dundee, c.1850-1868.[46]
109 Murraygate, Dundee, c.1869-1870.[49]
107 Murraygate, Dundee, c. 1871-1893.[50]

Career to date:

William Lowson was born in Arbroath in 1814, the son of Alexander Lowson and Margaret Small.[1] His father was a writer, but died while William was young, which led to him moving to Dundee to live with his Uncle Peter. He was educated at Dundee Grammar School and then entered his uncle's firm, John Lowson & Son, canvas manufacturers.[15] The firm was listed in the directories at St. Andrew's Street and then Cowgate, with the family home at the Upper Pleasance.[11] After the introduction of power-loom weaving the firm sold its hand-loom factory and devoted itself to the business of export merchants, being a large buyer of canvas and known and respected in all the foreign markets. As steam began to supersede sail the firm turned increasingly towards investment business. William Lowson, who by 1850 was the head of the firm,[51] was connected to many of the local commercial companies. He was a director of the Dundee Banking Company until it merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland and also a director of the Dundee & Arbroath and Scottish North Eastern Railways until they merged with the Caledonian Railway Company.[15] He was also secretary of the committee of merchants who had the new Royal Exchange built in Dundee.[15] William's very large subscription of £200 to the Albert Institute suggests that his various business interests had been very successful. He was able to move from the Upper Pleasance to Magdalen Yard Road and then Graybank, 166 Nethergate. This remained his Dundee home, but he was also able to purchase the Balthayock estate, a little east of Perth, for a reported £40,000.[52] He had the old house demolished and a new one built in its place, probably by the Dundee architect, James MacLaren.[15][53]

More information

William Fullerton[1] Lowson did not play any part in municipal life in Dundee but was involved in many philanthropic and religious bodies. As early as 1850 he was involved in the Dundee Industrial Schools Society and the Model Lodging House Association.[54] His wife was also a member of the ladies committee of the Dundee Industrial Schools Society[55] and for many years was one of the governesses of the Dundee Orphan Institution.[56] They both took an interest in India, with William a member of the Dundee board of the Anglo-Indian Christian Union[33] and Mrs Lowson on the committee of the Dundee branch of the Scottish Ladies Association for Female Education in India.[57] She also became a member of the Dundee Presbyterial Auxiliary Church of Scotland Ladies’ Association for Missions.[58]

The couple was hit by tragedy when their son, Patrick Alexander, drowned at Balthayock in 1872, aged 15.[15][59]

William Lowson was a keen liberal and a close personal friend of fellow Dundee merchant and Liberal MP, George Armitstead. He is said to have provided “yeoman service” to the cause of electing a Liberal MP in Perthshire in 1868. Towards the end of his life the issue of disestablishing the Church of Scotland made it difficult for him to support the Liberal leadership.[15]

 Business still seemed to be going well, with William a member of a number of investment and insurance companies. One set back was the decision of the American courts to repudiate the lease of the Oregonian Railway Company, of which Lowson was the managing director, resulting in losses for him and some of his fellow Dundee investors.[15]

He was survived by his wife and two sons and four daughters.[15] The confirmation of his will at Dundee Sheriff Court showed his wealth to be spread over Scotland, England and abroad. The value of his estate was £16,211 3s. 4d.[60]

Sources

  1. Scotland: Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950. Arbroath. Birth: 20 September 1814, baptism: 7 October 1814. FHL Film no. 0993331-0993332. Ancestry website.
  2. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Marriage. 25 December 1851. 282/230 385. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1860. 282/2 873. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1861. 282/2 1465. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Birth/Baptism. 1852. 282/200 97. ScotlandsPeople website.
  6. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Birth/Baptism. 1854. 282/200 143. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1856. 282/2 913. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1856. 282/2 1484. ScotlandsPeople website.
  9. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1861. 282/2 1466. ScotlandsPeople website.
  10. Statutory Register. Second District, Dundee. Birth. 1863. 282/2 234. ScotlandsPeople website.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1837-1847. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Directories, 1850-1857. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1858-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1869-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Leng, John. (1894) Dundee Year Book, 1893. Dundee: John Leng & Co. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Statutory Registers. St. Peter, Dundee. Death. 8 January 1893. 282/1 31. ScotlandsPeople website.
  17. Headstone, Kinfauns Churchyard, Perthshire. Findagrave website.
  18. Dundee Directory, 1842-43. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  19. Dundee Directories, 1850-1854. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1856-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  22. Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directories, 1858-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1861-1879. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1864-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  28. Dundee Directory, 1867-68. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  29. Dundee Directories, 1867-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  30. Dundee Directories, 1871-72 and 1884-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  31. Dundee Directories, 1871-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  32. Dundee Directory, 1874-75. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  33. Dundee Directories, 1874-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  34. Dundee Directories, 1874-1879. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  35. Dundee Directories, 1876-1881. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  36. Dundee Directories, 1876-1879. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  37. Dundee Directories, 1876-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  38. Dundee Directory, 1880-81. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  39. Dundee Directories, 1880-1886. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  40. Dundee Directories, 1884-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  41. Dundee Directories, 1887-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  42. Dundee Directories, 1871-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  43. Dundee Directory, 1892-93. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  44. Dundee Advertiser, 23 December 1863. British Newspaper Archive website and Dundee Directories, 1844-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee..
  45. Dundee Directories, 1850-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  46. Dundee Directories, 1850-1868. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  47. Dundee Directory, 1837-38. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  48. Dundee Directories, 1842-1847. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  49. Dundee Directory, 1869-70. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  50. Dundee Directories, 1871-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  51. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  52. Scotsman, 23 October 1865. British Newspaper Archive website.
  53. Robertson, David and Robertson, Ian. (2018) More Lost Country Houses of Perthshire. Perth: Friends of Perth & Kinross Archive and Dictionary of Scottish Architects website.
  54. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  55. Dundee Directories, 1867-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  56. Dundee Directories, 1876-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  57. Dundee Directories, 1871-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  58. Dundee Directory, 1890-91. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  59. Statutory Registers. Kinnoull. Death. 1872. 369/7. ScotlandsPeople website.
  60. Wills & Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 27 February 1893. SC45/31/45 and probate of will to William Boyack Lowson, Chichester Park, Belfast. 23 December 1893. Non-Scottish Court. SC70/6/52. ScotlandsPeople website and Calendar of Confirmations, 1893. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.

Credits

Staff at Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth..

The information above about William Fullerton Lowson 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.