Thomas A. Mathieson


Thomas Adam Mathieson (1823–99) was the son of Alexander Mathieson, the founder of Saracen Toolworks in the East End of Glasgow. Mathieson served an apprencticeship and worked as a journeyman in his father's business before taking charge of the newly acquired Edinburgh branch of the firm at the age of 23. T. A. Mathieson & Co. was established in 1849 as a result. In the mid 1850s it was absorbed into the Glasgow parent company Alex. Mathieson & Son. 1 After Thomas Mathieson took charge of the company, additional branches were opened in Aberdeen, Dundee and Liverpool. 2

Thomas Mathieson also took an active interest in local politics. From 1866 to 1884 he was elected to Glasgow Town Council, representing the third ward (Calton) and sat on the finance, parks, gas and libraries committees, and the police board. He was a River Bailie in 1869–70 and a Bailie of the Burgh in 1870–2. 3 Such was Mathieson's contribution to the work of the Town Council that special tribute was paid to him at a council meeting shortly after his death in March 1899. 4

Mathieson was also involved in several Glasgow educational institutions: he was a director of Buchanan's Institution, a patron of Hutcheson's Hospital and president of the board of governors of Anderson's College Medical School from its incorporation in 1887 until his death in 1899. 5

The University of Glasgow awards annually the Thomas Adam Mathieson (Anderson College) Prize for the highest marks in a special examination in embryology, on the recommendation of the Regius Professor of Anatomy. The prize was established by Mathieson himself in 1897. 6

Mathieson married a Marion Harper and they had four children: James Harper, Thomas Ogilvie, Alexander Sutherland and Jane Adam Mathieson. The two elder sons took over the running of Saracen Toolworks following the death of their father. Among the bequests of his will, Mathieson left 50 to his coachman, Duncan McDougall, and 500 to the governors of Anderson's College Medical School. The annual income from this sum was to supplement the income of the professor of anatomy of the college or that of another professor as the governors saw fit. 7


1: [accessed 12 April 2011]; Alex. Mathieson & Son appears first in the Glasgow Post Office Directory in 1852–3, p. 233.

2: [accessed 12 April 2011].

3: Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1899, p. 6; 'Thomas Mathieson', [accessed 13 April 2011].

4: Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1899, p. 6.

5: Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1899, p. 6; 'Thomas Mathieson', [accessed 13 April 2011]; Glasgow University Archive Services: Anderson's College Medical School, minute book 1, DC 244/1/4; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1898–9, p. 179.

6: The Glasgow University Story, [accessed 12 April 2011]

7: Glasgow Herald, 22 April 1899, p. 10.