James Maben & Son


James Maben came from Balmaclellan in Kirkcudbrightshire. In 1851, he was an apprentice joiner living with his master in nearby Parton, and ten years later had become a 'house joiner (ironmonger)', in Glasgow. 1 He founded the firm of James Maben & Co. around 1868, in Tradeston, but soon moved to 464 Pollokshaws Road, Govanhill, where in 1871 he employed 25 men and five boys, although fewer in 1881. By the early 1890s, one son, David, was an apprentice joiner, and another, John, was a factor's assistant, while three daughters were working as mantle-makers. 2 By 1910, while John ran the business, David was Property Inspector and Master of Works to the School Board of Glasgow. 3

When Queen Victoria opened Glasgow City Chambers in 1888, James Maben & Co. constructed a triumphal arch costing £180 at St Enoch Square to mark the occasion. 4 A more sombre duty was a series of inspections carried out at Ibrox Park football stadium in 1902 after a stand collapsed, killing 26 people and seriously injuring hundreds more. 5 Maben and other past officials of the Dean of Guild Court (the municipal planning authority) reported on 'the stability of all stands and erections in football and athletic fields' in Glasgow, recommending the replacement of rotten wood and the strengthening of walls with brick. 6


1: Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 June 2012].

2: Glasgow Post Office directories 1865–75; census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 June 2012].

3: Glasgow Post Office directories 1905–11.

4: Glasgow Herald, 15 August 1888, p. 4.

5: Ged O'Brien, Played in Glasgow, London: Malavan Media, 2010, p 101.

6: Scotsman, 11 April 1902, p. 5; 25 April 1902, p. 4.