William Oswald

Builder

William Oswald (1850–1901) a builder and contractor in Skelmorlie and Paisley, was born at Gilston House, Fife, where his father was a coachman. 1 By 1871, Oswald had trained as a stonemason, lodging and working in Glasgow. In the early 1880s, he moved to the coastal village of Skelmorlie, Ayrshire, where he advertised property to let, and campaigned for the 'Gladstonian' parliamentary candidate. 2 During the early 1890s, he lived at 'Rowanlea', in Upper Skelmorlie, and his eldest son, James, became an apprentice mason. 3 The stonework of the new Skelmorlie Parish Church (1893–5) 'reflect[ed] the greatest credit on the builder, Mr W. W. Oswald'. 4

Oswald moved to Paisley around 1896, his address initially being '10 Glenview', then 'Walden Cottage', in Stonefield, Colinslee, Paisley. 5 He valued property for a court-mandated sale in 1899, and won a contract for the new Royal Alexandra Infirmary (1900–1). 6 In 1901, his debtors included the proprietor of 'Towerville', Skelmorlie, and Miss Stewart of 'Ashcraig', Skelmorlie (builder of a 'concrete chapel' or mission hall in Meigle in 1876). 7 Oswald's estate was assessed at 1623 9s. 7d. 8

Oswald's builder's plant at Colinslee was sold by auction, although his widow continued to reside there in 1905. 9 His son James, meanwhile, left the building firm to join the Zambesi Industrial Mission in Africa. 10 His second son William Junior (c. 1877–1933), a joiner in Largs, moved to Gourock in the early 1900s and eventually became a clerk of works. 11

Notes:

1: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 July 2013].

2: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 July 2013]; Glasgow Herald, 6 August 1889, p. 2; 25 September 1890, p. 10.

3: 'Largs Parish', Ayrshire Valuation Rolls 1895, (VR90/112/395), www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 21 July 2013]; Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 July 2013].

4: Glasgow Herald, 11 October 1895, p. 10.

5: Paisley Directory 1896–7, Paisley: J. & J. Cook, p. 119; 1899–1900, pp. 125, 193; 1900–01, p. 258; Glasgow Herald, 21 February 1901, p. 1; Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 27 July 2013].

6: Glasgow Herald, 1 November 1899, p. 4; W. W. Oswald Inventory 1901, Paisley Sheriff Court SC58/42/61/380, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 27 July 2013].

7: W. W. Oswald Inventory 1901, Paisley Sheriff Court SC58/42/61/380, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 27 July 2013]; Walter Smart, Skelmorlie: The Story of the Parish, Skelmorlie: Skelmorlie Community Centre, 1968, pp. 34, 38.

8: W. W. Oswald Inventory 1901, Paisley Sheriff Court SC58/42/61/379–81, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 27 July 2013].

9: W. W. Oswald Inventory 1901, Paisley Sheriff Court SC58/42/61/380, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 27 July 2013]; Paisley Directory 1905–6, Paisley: J. & J. Cook, p. 267.

10: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 22 July 2013].

11: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Occupation at Death, Statutory Deaths, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 27 July 2013; Post Office Greenock Directory 1904–5, p. 164; 1910–11, p. 160.