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British Industrial History

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John Tennant

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John Tennant (1796-1878)

1796 John Tennant was born in September, 1796, son of Charles Tennant.

Educated at Glasgow High School and University

Entered his father's business at St. Rollox at a young age; soon became manager.

1838 On Charles Tennant's death John Tennant moved to the house at 195 West George Street built by his father.

Under his management the works grew substantially to become the largest chemical works in the kingdom.

Later in life he was concerned in many other important commercial undertakings. He was a partner in great chemical works at Jarrow and Newcastle; he was an extensive owner of West Indian sugar estates, and was one of the promoters of the Tharsis Copper Co and of the Steel Company of Scotland.

1864 John Tennant, St. Rollox Chemical Works, Glasgow.[1]

1878 April 17th. Died at home

Succeeded by his son, Sir Charles Tennant, Bart., M.P. for Peeblesshire.

1879 Obituary [2]

JOHN TENNANT was born in the neighbourhood of Glasgow in September 1796, and was a son of Mr. Charles Tennant, who established the chemical works at St. Rollox about the end of last century.

He was educated at the Grammar School and University of Glasgow, and after being for two years in a mercantile situation joined his father at St. Rollox, and at twenty-one years of age was admitted a partner in the firm of Charles Tennant and Co. Even before this time the management had mainly devolved on him, as for several sessions of Parliament from 1814 onwards his father spent a considerable time in London in a successful effort to obtain the repeal of the duty on common salt, which affected injuriously the manufacture of chloride of lime, then the principal article of production at St. Rollox.

Under Mr. John Tennant's management the St. Rollox works were greatly extended, and became one of the largest chemical works in the country.

In 1864, in consequence of fuel and some other materials being cheaper in the Newcastle district than at Glasgow, he in conjunction with his co-partners established chemical works at Hebburn-on-Tyne.

In his later years he retired from the active management of the business, but continued to take a keen interest in it until his death, which took place on 17th April 1878, at the advanced age of eighty-one.

He became an Associate of the Institution in 1864.

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