James Merry

1805 - 1877

Industrialist and politician. Born in the parish of New Monkland (North Lanarkshire), Merry was educated at the High School and University in Glasgow. He joined the family mining business taking over the lucrative coal-fields on his father's retirement in 1835. By the 1850s, he had built the business to include twelve collieries and two iron-works and, by 1871, twenty-three collieries and three iron-works employing 4500 men in five counties; Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Fife, Dumbarton and Stirling. However, he is remembered as an autocrat who treated his workers badly.

His political career began in 1857 when he was elected the Member of Parliament for the Falkirk Burghs. He lost the seat a year later, but regained it in 1859, serving until 1874.

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