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British Industrial History

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James Lindsay (1783-1869)

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James Lindsay, 7th earl of Balcarres and de jure 24th Earl of Crawford

1783 born on 23 April, son of Alexander, 6th Earl of Balcarres, and his wife Elizabeth.

His father secured his nominal entry to the army at the age of 11

1797 Obtained a company in the 20th Dragoons, who were then stationed in Jamaica.

1801 he was made an extraordinary aide-de-camp to his uncle, Hardwicke, as viceroy of Ireland

1803 he purchased a majority in the 20th. Soon afterwards the question arose of whether he should join the regiment, which was now at home, or give up the majority in order to raise a hundred men for the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His father strongly favoured the former course, pointing out that apart from the expense of the latter, it would bind him to the army for life.

1804 He left Ireland and eventually located his regiment in Dorset. He retired altogether from the army at the end of the year.

1811 Married the Hon. Maria Frances Margaret Pennington; her father, Baron Muncaster, apparently had misgivings about the extent to which the Lindsays’ wealth was dependent on "commercial speculation".

1820 Elected MP

1821 Lindsay, who took a close interest in the Haigh coal mining enterprise, clashed with his father over its financial management, in which he seems to have wanted a greater say. His apparent threat to withhold supplies of coal from Haigh to the iron works was countered with a warning that "a clause has always stood in my will that if you refused to furnish such supply ... my destination of the personal capital goes from you immediately."

1826 Obtained the British peerage, as Baron Wigan.

He devoted most of his energies to the expansion, consolidation and modernisation of the Haigh coal and iron businesses, on which he laid his personal stamp as a practically minded and enterprising owner.

He rebuilt Haigh Hall and acquired a Scottish estate at Dunecht, 12 miles west of Aberdeen

1848 His claim to the Earldom of Crawford was accepted by the Lords

1865 His collieries were producing over 1,000,000 tons of coal a year; he merged his interests with those of other local proprietors in the Wigan Coal and Iron Co.

1869 Died. He was succeeded in the earldom and settled estates by his eldest son Alexander William Crawford Lindsay.

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Sources of Information

  • [1] History of Parliament