James Cox papers

Scope and Content

Legal papers c 1800-1884; Financial papers 1798-1881; Household finances 1858-1886; Correspondence 1835-1912; Personal papers 1817- c 1910; Press Cuttings 1881; Ephemera c 1861-1890.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Cox, senior partner of Cox Brothers and Co., was born in July 1808. As a boy he worked in the office of Mr C Kerr, the Town Clerk of Dundee. He succeeded his father in the family linen manufacturing business, based in Lochee, in 1827. He united with his three brothers in a copartnery in 1841. Shortly after, hand-loom weaving became gradually superseded by power-looms and the firm were quick to adopt the most recent improvements. Cox Brothers also took advantage of the growing importance of jute and, following the construction of Camperdown Works, ultimately became one of the largest jute manufacturing companies in Europe.

James Cox also pursued a municipal career for seven years, and he held the offices of Magistrate, Councillor and Provost in succession. In December 1868 he was elected to the Town Council and at the same time he was elected Fourth Bailie. In 1869 he was made Third Bailie and the following year he was advanced to the position of First Bailie. Having filled the office of Councillor for one year, in November 1872 he was unanimously elected Provost of the burgh. He filled this office until November 1875, when he retired.

In 1867 James Cox was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the North British Railway Company. He was a major figure in the construction of the first Tay railway bridge and one of the most extensive shareholders of the undertaking, being elected Chairman of the Tay Bridge Company during the course of its construction, completed in 1877. The collapse of the bridge two years later deeply affected James Cox and it was mainly due to his determination that the second railway bridge was constructed.

James Cox was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, and in 1866 he inaugurated a movement for increasing the stipends of ministers.

James Cox married Clementina, a daughter of James Carmichael, engineer, in 1834. He had one surviving son, Edward Cox, and four daughters. In 1878 he purchased the estate of Cardean, near Meigle but continued to consider Clement Park in Lochee his true home. He died on 1 December 1885. He was interred in the family burial place, Western Cemetery, Dundee.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by the Cox family in 1996 (AccM/324).

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list and database.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


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Related Material

MS 66/II Sidlaw Industries: Cox Brothers Ltd

Personal Names