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British Industrial History

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Raylton Dixon

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Sir Raylton Dixon (1838-1901), one of the leading shipbuilders in the North-East of England.

1838 July 8th. Born at Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, the second son of Jeremiah Dixon, a bank employee, and his wife, Mary Frank, and brother of John Dixon (1835-1891)

1853 Apprenticed to Coutts and Parkinson, shipbuilders, of Willington Quay, Tyneside.

1856 Moved to Charles Mitchell and Co, iron shipbuilders, at Walker on the Tyne, to complete his apprenticeship.

1859 Dixon then moved to Teesside as manager of the former Rake Kimber shipyard in Middlesbrough, which Richardson, Duck and Co had just taken over.

1862 With Thomas Backhouse, he bought the yard which was operated as the partnership of Backhouse and Dixon.

1863 Dixon married Elizabeth Walker, of Glasgow; they had two sons and six daughters, one of whom married a member of the Bolckow family.

Backhouse and Dixon later added the former Candlish and Fox and David Jays yards to establish the Cleveland Dockyard, which they ran with the help of Dixon's younger brother Waynman Dixon.

1873 Dixon became sole owner of the yard.

1890 After receiving a knighthood, the firm was operated as Sir Raylton Dixon and Co.

He was also a director of Sadler and Co Ltd, chemical manufacturers of Middlesbrough, Robert Stephenson and Co, and the Elder, Dempster Shipping Company, Liverpool.

Served twice on the council of the Institution of Naval Architects.

1888 Mayor of Middlesbrough

1901 Sir Raylton Dixon died on 28 July 1901.


1901 Obituary [1]

Sir RAYLTON DIXON died on July 28, 1901, at his residence, Gunnergate Hall, Marton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire, at the age of sixty-three years, after a long illness. He was the son of Mr. Jeremiah Dixon, of Bulls Wray, Ambleside, and was born at Newcastle. He was head of the firm of Sir Raylton Dixon & Co., shipbuilders, of Cleveland Dockyard, Middlesbrough.

After receiving an education at a private academy, he served an apprenticeship to Messrs. Coutts and Parkinson. In 1856 he went to the Tyne iron shipbuilding firm of Messrs. Charles Mitchell & Co.

In 1859 he was appointed manager of the Cleveland Dockyard, Middlesbrough, then belonging to Messrs. Richardson, Duck, & Co. After a brief engagement in that position he was joined by Mr. Backhouse, and they took over the now world-famed shipyard under the name of Messrs. Backhouse and Dixon. Mr. Backhouse retired from the firm in 1873, and Sir Raylton Dixon from that time until his death carried on the business.

In 1885 he unsuccessfully contested Middlesbrough as a Conservative against the late Mr. Isaac Wilson. He assisted materially in improving and adding to many church buildings in Middlesbrough. At one time he interested himself in Volunteer matters, and was Major in the 1st York Volunteer Artillery. He received the honour of knighthood in 1890. He was a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and a Deputy-Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Yorkshire (North Riding). He was a member of council of the Institution of Naval Architects.

He was an original member of the Iron and Steel Institute.


1901 Obituary.[2]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir Raylton Dixon, by Anne Pimlott Baker ODNB