Thomas Mason

Mason

Thomas Mason (1844–1924) was a stonemason, who was born in Airdrie and followed his father's trade. 1 By the age of 17, he was an apprentice mason in Paisley and had become a sub-contractor in his own right while still a teenager. He spent 13 years in railway construction, and by 1871, employed 32 men. In 1876, he entered partnership with fellow mason John Morrison, forming Morrison & Mason, which became a major civil engineering and building firm. 2 The rapid execution of two large contracts for the Clyde Trustees made the firm’s reputation, and by 1881, they had 356 workers and were building some of Glasgow's most significant buildings and structures, including Glasgow City Chambers, the Clyde Trust Offices, Jamaica Street Bridge, the Cathcart and Paisley Canal branch railways, and the excavation for Craigmaddie Reservoir (waterproofed with clay 14 feet thick). 3 Elsewhere, the firm built 26 miles of aqueducts in and around Manchester and erected Carlisle Citadel Railway Station. 4

Mason held multiple civic offices: at the Merchant’s House; Trades House; as Deputy Lieutenant of Lanarkshire; Lord Dean of Guild; and as a town councillor. 5 He was also chairman of Scottish Union Insurance, the Scottish Tube Company and Sir William Arrol & Co. 6 In 1908, he became Chairman of the commercially-important and powerful Clyde Navigation Trust, which managed the river’s harbours and shipping infrastructure. 7 Mason was knighted in 1909. 8

Windows of Mason's car were smashed by suffragette Annie Greig during the 1912 Glasgow visit of Winston Churchill. 9 In July 1914, Mason hosted the King’s review of ‘the Fleet of the Future ... the mighty super-Dreadnought’. 10

As a child Mason lived in Hallcraig Street, Airdrie. This street name may have inspired the name of his Glasgow villa, Craigie Hall, which he bought in 1892. 11

Notes:

1: Scotsman, 28 April 1924; Glasgow Herald, 28 April 1924, p. 10; Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century, Glasgow: Photo-Biographical Publishing Co., 1901, p. 190; p. 7, with a portrait photograph; George Eyre-Todd, 'Sir Thomas Mason', Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, unpaginated version, Glasgow Digital Library, University of Strathclyde, http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/index.html [accessed 26 October 2012].

2: Robert Hunter, The Water Supply of Glasgow, Glasgow: John Menzies, 1933, p. 50.

3: Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 26 October 2012]; Scotsman, 28 April 1924, p. 7; Glasgow Herald, 28 April 1924, p. 10; George Eyre-Todd, 'Sir Thomas Mason', Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, unpaginated version, Glasgow Digital Library, University of Strathclyde, http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/index.html [accessed 26 October 2012].

4: Scotsman, 28 April 1924, p. 7; Glasgow Herald, 28 April 1924, p. 10; Robert Hunter, The Water Supply of Glasgow, Glasgow: John Menzies, 1933, p. 50.

5: Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century, Glasgow: Photo-Biographical Publishing Co., 1901, p. 190; Scotsman, 28 April 1924, p. 7; ‘Mason, Sir Thomas’, Who Was Who, A. & C. Black, 1920–2008, online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2007, www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whowaswho/U200022 [accessed 7 October 2012].

6: The Times, 5 May 1921, p. 18A; 4 April 1919, p. 21G; Glasgow Herald, 28 April 1924, p. 10.

7: Scotsman, 5 February 1908, p. 12

8: George Eyre-Todd, 'Sir Thomas Mason', Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, unpaginated.

9: The Times, 10 February 1912, p. 9G; 24 February 1912, p. 8A.

10: The Times, 9 July 1914, p. 10A.

11: 1851 census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 26 October 2012].