Thomas Brown

Joiner and artificer

Thomas Brown (c. 1838–1905) was a joiner and cabinetmaker, who began his own business in Glasgow in the late 1860s. 1 Brown came from a large agricultural family in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, where his widowed mother and six siblings all worked their 78 acre farm in the 1860s. Brown probably saw better prospects for himself when he joined his brother Gavin, a carpenter, in Glasgow. By 1871, Thomas was a master joiner, employing 19 men and two boys. 2

As a life-long bachelor, Brown lodged with his brother's family, and shared business premises with his brother in North Portland Street until the 1870s. 3 Thomas had moved to nearby 193 Rottenrow by 1875, which allowed him to expand into building, contracting, and valuating. 4 He was evidently successful: in 1881, as a contractor, he employed 'from twenty to sixty men', while Gavin, trading separately, had only ten workers. 5

Thomas retired back to Lesmahagow, where he died. The business was inherited by his sister's son, Robert J. Lamberton (c. 1877–1948), also a joiner in Glasgow. 6 The firm disappears from the local directories after 1909.


1: Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1865–1910; birth from census data, [accessed 22 February 2012]; death date from Wills and Testament Returns, [accessed 22 February 2012].

2: Censuses 1851–1901, [accessed 22 February 2012].

3: Census 1851–1901, [accessed 22 February 2012].

4: Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1865–1910.

5: Census 1851–1901, [accessed 22 February 2012].

6: Census 1851–1901, [accessed 22 February 2012]; Statutory Deaths, [accessed 24 February 2013]; Wills and Testaments Returns, [accessed 23 February 2012]; Edinburgh Gazette, 19 December 1905, p. 1319.