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Andrew Liddell

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Andrew Liddell (1786-1855)


1856 Obituary [1]

Andrew Liddell was born in 1786, at the village of Bainsford, near Falkirk, where he received the elements of his education from his Father, who was originally a schoolmaster, but subsequently obtaining an appointment as clerk in the Carron Iron Works, he employed his son as assistant.

At eighteen years of age young Liddell proceeded to Edinburgh, and obtained a situation in a foundry, and afterwards, at a metal-merchant’s at Leith.

He had, at this time, serious thoughts of becoming a surgeon, and followed, with that view, some of the University classes; his employers kindly permitting him to write up his books at night, in order to afford him time to attend the College during the day.

He, however, relinquished this object, on being offered a partnership in an ironmongery establishment in Glasgow, where he eventually settled in 1814 or 1815. In a few years, his partners retired, and, with an advance of capital from his half-brother, Mr. Robert McLaren, he became the head of the firm of Andrew Liddell and Co, and thus continued till 1844, when he relinquished the business in favour of his nephew.

He carried on the most extensive manufacture in Scotland, of wrought-iron tubes, employing a method of welding, somewhat similar to that introduced by Mr. James Russell, of Wednesbury. On the general introduction of gas, he became engaged in manufacturing gas-pipes and apparatus, which he supplied to many towns in Scotland and Ireland, and extensively exported to Nova Scotia and Canada.

His early scientific education and practical knowledge of mechanics, led him to take great interest in the proceedings of the British Association, and his exertions mainly contributed to determining the Meeting of that body at Glasgow, in 1841.

He again volunteered his services in 1854, and was one of the deputation sent to Liverpool for the purpose of arranging for the Meeting in 1856. He was admitted a Member of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow, in 1819, was frequently elected President, and held, for many years, the office of Treasurer. It was chiefly through his indomitable perseverance, that the Society was at one period of its existence, saved from dissolution: and it is related, that, not infrequently, the meeting consisted but of himself and another member, who, however, duly entered the proceedings in the minutes.

In connection with this Society, he took a leading part in organising the exhibition of the operations and products of the arts and sciences, which took place at Glasgow, at the end of 1846 and beginning of 1847, and which was visited by nearly one hundred thousand persons. He was an authority on all matters connected with patent inventions, and a well-read man in general literature: of his talents as a biographer, he has left a specimen, in the life of David Dale, which he contributed to Messrs. Blackie’s 'Lives of Eminent Scotsmen'.

In 1843, he joined the Institution of Civil Engineers as an Associate, took much interest in its proceedings and welfare, and was a regular attendant whenever he came to London.

As a Magistrate, he has left a well-earned reputation for inflexible impartiality; and, as a philanthropist, for his strenuous exertions in the cause of temperance, and his unwearied efforts in favour of the distressed. The Night Asylum for the Houseless, which he was the means of establishing in Glasgow, will ever remain a monument of his practical benevolence. He was a member of the Scottish Baptist Connexion, and on his retirement from business, became the pastor of a church, in Brown-street, which he had purchased and presented for the use of the congregation.

He died from an attack of bilious fever, on the 15th of November, 1855, at his residence, Bardowie House, aged sixty-nine; having passed the latter years of his life in the society of his attached friends, and the enjoyment of his happy home.



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Sources of Information

  1. 1856 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries