Quiggin and Co. Ltd rope makers and timber merchants was founded in 1821 by brothers William Quiggin (1792-1857) and Robert Quiggin (c.1794-1862). Robert’s son Edward Todd Quiggin (c.1831-1899) joined the company in 1850 and eventually inherited the business upon his father’s death in 1862. Robert installed the 120-fathom rope walk which ran through the yard (called Lake Yard) on reclaimed land on the north bank of the River Douglas and into the Nunnery grounds. Quiggin and Co. Ltd was especially famous for their rope making and exported its produce throughout the world. A valuable client was the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo) and Quiggin’s at one point had a subsidiary company in Liverpool selling the manufactured rope. In 1895 Quiggin’s spent £6,000 on four-acres of land from the Nunnery Estate to construct the timber yard and in 1972 it expanded after a further two acres were purchased.
In 1899 Edward Todd Quiggin died. His widow sold the business to John Joseph Taggart (c.1847-1914) and Edward Cannell (c.1861-1922). Taggart had been associated with Quiggin's since 1869 and Edward Cannell was an ex-banking clerk who superintended the financial and official operations of the Company. In June 1910 Cannell and his family emigrated to Canada; thereafter Taggart ran the business until his death in 1914. In 1914 Taggart’s son-in-law George William Dean (c.1872-1956) inherited the business, turning it into a limited company in 1917.
During the First World War Quiggin’s sheds in the timber yard were used to store hay for the war effort. They also provided much of the building materials for the construction of Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp in the western part of the Island. During the Second World War Quiggin’s sheds housed military vehicles and hemp. In 1935 George Dean’s son Reginald (Rex) Dean (1904-1985) joined the business, taking over in 1956. As the 20th century progressed the demand for traditionally made ropes declined: the firm’s biggest client, the IOMSPCo had switched to using man-made fibre ropes by 1956. This development led the Company to concentrate on its other business elements such as the supply of building material - timber, bricks, plaster products, plywood, sheet material, drainage pipes and ironmongery.
Rex Dean ran Quiggin and Co. Ltd right up to his death in 1985, after which two of his sons took over the business, until on 1 August 1995, Quiggin & Co. was acquired by the Douglas Steam Saw Mill & Timber Company Limited.