JAMES S. DIXON was born in Glasgow in 1846, and is a son
of the late Peter Watson Dixon, stockbroker, and Jane Dow, daughter of a writer
in the city. His father went to Hamilton in 1850, and he spent his boyhood
there, and received his schooling in Hamilton Academy. He afterwards attended
the classes of Engineering at Glasgow University under Professor Macquorn
Rankine. The actual business of life he began in 1863 as an apprentice to mining
engineering with the late George Simpson in Glasgow. Six years later he was made
a partner in the firm, and on Mr. Simpson's death in 1871 he succeeded to the
whole business. Next, in 1872, he started the Bent Colliery Company, of which he
is managing director, which now carries on the largest collieries in the
Hamilton district. Later, in 1890, he took over the mining department of the
undertaking of Messrs. James Dunlop & Co. of the Clyde Ironworks. He then gave
up his engineering business, and devoted himself to his two mining concerns,
which at that time had an output of 1,250,000 tons of coal per annum. Eight
years later he gave up the Dunlop connection, the Bent Colliery business having
greatly increased, and he having become interested in other concerns. He is also
Chairman of the Broxburn Oil Company, and a director of the Edinburgh Colliery
Co., Ltd., the Plean Colliery Co., Ltd., and other companies.
Dr. Dixon has been twice President of the Lanarkshire Coalmasters' Association, and became the first President of the Coalmasters' Insurance Association, which came into existence on account of the Workmen's Compensation Act. The Association disburses compensation at the rate of something like £100,000 per annum and the practical effect of the Act has been to add twopence per ton to the price of all coal raised in the district.
Apart from immediate business, Dr. Dixon has been twice President of the Mining Institute of Scotland, and once President of the Institution of Mining Engineers of Great Britain. He was, further, a member of the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies, and drew up for it the report on the coal resources of Scotland.
Impressed by the far-reaching importance of the subject he endowed a Lectureship in Mining Engineering in Glasgow University in 1902, and this having proved its real utility he increased the endowment to found a Chair in 1907. At present he is engaging the help of others interested, to endow a mining laboratory in the same connection. In recognition of his ungrudging services in the cause of education, Glasgow University some years ago conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.
Dr. Dixon lives at Bothwell to be near his collieries. He is Conservative in politics, he has been twice President of North-East Lanarkshire Conservative Association, is a J.P. and Income Tax Commissioner for Lanarkshire, and is a member of the New Club, Glasgow, the Constitutional Club, London, and the Conservative Club, Edinburgh. His pastimes are angling and shooting. In 1883 he married a Castle-Douglas lady, Miss Isabella Douglas, but has no family.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)