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Name: David Dale

Born: 1739 in Stewarton, Scotland

Died: 1806 in Glasgow, Scotland

Profession: Merchant

See also:

David Dale’s burial place

Ramshorn Theatre


Ayrshire-born David Dale started out as an apprentice to a Paisley weaver. After completing his apprenticeship, he spent some time as a weaver's agent, delivering yarns and collecting cloth from weavers around the country, before moving to Glasgow. There, he set up a business trading in imported Dutch and French linen yarns.

In 1783, having developed an interest in the cotton industry, he invited Richard Arkwright - inventor of the "spinning frame", a machine for spinning cotton - to visit the city. Dale and Arkwright went into a brief partnership, and together they built the New Lanark Mills on the banks of the Clyde, which opened in 1786. Dale continued on his own and by 1793, following numerous extensions, the mills had become the largest water-powered spinning mills in Britain, with over 1300 employees.

Dale's attitude to his workforce was a revolutionary one. His approach was to provide education and care for his workers - very unusual for the time. These included a number formerly destitute men and women, for whom Dale provided shelter, food, and training, and an additional 400 or so pauper children.

Visitors from all over Europe, Russia and America travelled to visit Dale's model industrial village with its large mills, innovative production techniques and forward-looking attitude to its workforce.

In 1799 Dale sold out to his son-in-law, Welshman Robert Owen, at which time the mills employed between 400-500 pauper children as well as the full workforce.

As well as his mills, Dale was involved in many other activities: When the Royal Infirmary was set up beside the cathedral in 1792, it relied on the support of the city's successful businessmen. Dale was the first to provide financial assistance. In 1783, Dale became the first agent and cashier of the Royal Bank of Scotland's Glasgow branch. He was the director of the city's poorhouse, and of the hospital.

He was also responsible for his own religion! Having broke away from the established church, Dale set up the "Old Scotch Independants". (His church gained the nickname Caun'le Kirk, because it's erection was financed by a candlemaker friend of his.) He acted as preacher for 37 years, teaching himself Greek and Hebrew along the way.

Despite his rather "rounded" figure (comparisons with a Toby Jug were common, and not unreasonable!), he had reached the age of 66 before he died in 1806.

Image: wikipedia.orghttp://www.wikipedia.orgshapeimage_2_link_0

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