From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

James Cox, Provost - 4th December 1868.



JAMES COCK or Cox, through whom the late PROVOST COX claimed his freedom, was admitted Burgess on 6th August, 1817. He was the grandson of JAMES COCK, who carried on business as a linen manufacturer at Lochee in the early part of the eighteenth century, and who died in 1741. The eldest son of the latter, DAVID COCK, continued the concern until his death in 1793, when it came into the hands of his younger brother, JAMES, who is described as having been a man of remarkable enterprise, and one of the founders, in conjunction with GEORGE DEMPSTER of Dunnichen (vide page 217), of the banking firm afterwards known as the Dundee Banking Company. He resigned the business in 1810 to his son, JAMES COCK, whose name appears in the above entry, and by him the manufacturing of linen was prosecuted for some time with success. A disastrous fire which occurred at the bleachfield in September, 1816, seriously affected him for several years; but he at length managed to overcome this misfortune, and at his retirement in 1827 he left the business to his son, the late PROVOST. He died in 1848.

JAMES Cox was born in 1807, was educated at the Grammar School of Dundee, and was engaged for a short time in the office of Mr CHRISTOPHER KERR, the late Town Clerk. A few years before his father retired, experiments had been made in the manufacture of jute at the factory, and JAMES Cox, who was thoroughly familiar with the whole process of manufacturing, took up this new industry, and by dint of perseverance ultimately made it profitable. In 1841 he assumed his three brothers, WILLIAM, THOMAS, and GEORGE, as partners, and founded the firm of Cox BROTHERS, which has now attained a world wide celebrity. Power looms were introduced to their factory in 1845, and the works at Lochee have been gradually extended until they now cover over 25 acres of ground. The name given to this extensive factory was the Camperdown Linen Works now Camperdown Jute Works, in compliment to the neighbouring proprietor, the EARL OF CAMPERDOWN.

Mr Cox entered the Town Council at the date of his enrolment as Burgess (1868), and was elected at once to the office of Bailie, which post he held for three years. In 1872 he was chosen Provost, and remained in that position for the usual term, but did not offer himself for re election to the Council in November, 1875. He had ever taken a deep interest in the progress of railway enterprise, and when the proposal to erect a railway bridge across the Tay at Dundee was made, he entered into the scheme enthusiastically, and his firm subscribed £10,000 towards the defraying of the cost of this important structure. The catastrophe by which that bridge was destroyed on 28th December, 1879, though serious in its results to EX PROVOST COX in many ways, did not discourage him; and it was chiefly through his exertions as a Director of the North British Railway Company that the undertaking was again taken up on a more extensive scale. Unfortunately, he did not survive to see the completion of the new Tay Bridge, as he died on 1st December, 1885, in his seventy eighth year. Mr Cox was married to CLEMENTINA, daughter of Mr JAMES CARMICHAEL (vide page 260), who survives him, and left one son and four daughters.