Collection MS 6 - Cox Brothers Ltd, Jute Spinners and Manufacturers, and Cox Family Papers

Dundee Advertiser copy extract Letter Framed miniatures Margot Cox awarding a Red Cross medal Production account Employee Return Architect's book of plans for Cardean House JE Cox, with children Edward and David Cox Mr and Mrs William Gillies Margot, Edward and David Cox on the beach Margot Cox in nurse's uniform Guessing competition on fish Diary Diary Edward Cox and 2 men Edward Cox Edward Cox with 2 men Valentine Dundee Burgess ticket Letter

Identity area

Reference code

MS 6


Cox Brothers Ltd, Jute Spinners and Manufacturers, and Cox Family Papers


  • 1798-1981 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

5.28 linear metres

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Cox (originally Cock) family is reported to have been connected with parish of Liff and Benvie since the early 17th century. Their connection with the linen trade in Lochee dates from the beginning of the 18th century when a member of the Cox family was a small manufacturer in Lochee, then an insignificant village. He died in 1741 and was succeeded by his son David, who extended the business until 1793, when his son, James, became its manager. He was a man of considerable enterprise and standing, and was one of the original shareholders and partners of the Dundee Banking Company, instituted in 1777. In 1816 the fourth generation of the Cox family took possession of the works, which had been greatly extended, with bleaching greens covering over 25 acres. Three years afterwards the business suffered a considerable loss when the works, including warehouses filled with finishing cloth, were almost consumed by fire. The buildings, though temporarily repaired in order to run out the lease, were never properly restored, and soon afterwards were razed to the ground. The proprietor then removed to the most populous part of Lochee, and turned his attention to weaving the different fabrics for which the district was famous. On these premises the first broad hessian for the Manchester market was woven in 1815, which, although only 45 inches wide, caused considerable curiosity and excitement . James Cock (subsequently known as Cox), took over the business in 1827. He formed a copartnery with his three brothers, William Cox, Thomas Hunter Cox and George Addison Cox in 1841. A fourth brother, Henry Cox was generally resident in Calcutta to manage business interests there. Hand-loom weaving became gradually superseded by power-looms and the firm were quick to adopt the most recent improvements. Cox Brothers also took advantage of the growing importance of jute and, following the construction of Camperdown Works, begun in 1849, ultimately became one of the largest jute manufacturing companies in Europe. In a short time every operation connected with the manufacture of jute was performed within their premises. The works covered an area of 25 acres and employed about 5,000 workers. One of the most prominent features of the works was the giant chimney stack built from 1,000,001 bricks. A branch railway ran directly into the works from the Caledonian line through Dundee. In the 1880s Edward Cox, James' son, became associated with Camperdown Jute Works, and on his father's death in 1885 he was given a directing hand in its affairs. Following the conversion into a Limited Liability Company, in 1893, he acted as Chairman. In 1899 J Ernest Cox, Edward's son, joined the firm of Messrs Cox Brothers. In 1920 Jute Industries Ltd acquired companies in the city, including Cox Brothers Ltd. From 1920 until 1948 J Ernest Cox was a chairman of Jute Industries Ltd and its subsidiary companies. In 1890 the firm presented a 25 acre public park to Lochee.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Business records 1824-1936; Legal and estate papers c 1800-1953; Accounting and financial records including personal and household finances 1798-1972; Correspondence and letter books 1832-1975; Diaries 1923-1981; Personal papers 1817-1975; Press Cuttings 1868-1939; Photographs c1875-c 1960; Plans 1823-[20th century]; Publications and ephemera 19th and 20th centuries.


Not expected

System of arrangement

Usually chronological within series.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act (2018), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018) and any other relevant legislation or restrictions. Clinical information is closed for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges may be made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply; please check with the Duty Archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The records are on paper and include photographs.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

MS 66/II Sidlaw Industries: Cox Brothers Ltd

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Alternative identifier(s)

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Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

MS 6

Rules and/or conventions used

Description compiled in line with the following standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) General International Standard Archival Description; International Council on Archives, ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997



Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



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