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British Industrial History

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William Lorimer

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Sir William Lorimer (1844-1922), locomotive engineer and industrialist.

c1876 Birth of son William Lorimer

1922 Obituary[1]

By the death of Sir William Lorimer, not only does the North British Locomotive Company lose a capable and energetic chairman, but social, political and philanthropic circles are deprived of a highly esteemed servant and benefactor. He joined the staff of the Glasgow Locomotive Works, Polmadie, in 1864, and in 1867 was appointed Mr. Henry Dubs's principal assistant. In 1875 he became a partner in the business together with two sons of the founder.

For a long time thereafter the chief share in the management fell to Mr. Lorimer's lot, and under his care the business greatly prospered. In 1903, Neilson Reid, Sharp Stewart, and Dubs and Co were amalgamated into the North British Locomotive Company, and Mr. Lorimer was given the important and responsible post of chairman of the board of directors. For a lengthy period he was a director and ultimately chairman of the Steel Company of Scotland, and a director of the Glasgow and South Western Railway. Outside his industrial activities he took a large interest in educational matters, and was closely associated with the University, the Technical College, and other educational institutions in the city of Glasgow.

In 1910 he was Deacon of the Incorporation of Hammermen - the body which of old refused to permit James Watt in his early days to exercise his craftsmanship - and in 1912 he was made a member of the Dominions Royal Commission appointed by the King to inquire into the national resources and the improvement of the trade of the Empire. In connection with hospital and other charitable work Sir William played a prominent and estimable part, particularly benefiting in this respect the inhabitants of that district of Glasgow in which his earlier business life was largely spent. He died on Sunday in his seventy-eighth year after a period of illness extending over seven or eight weeks.

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