One of the names that keeps on cropping up over and over again in the farming papers of nineteenth century Scotland is William Kirkwood, agricultural implement maker, Lothian Bridge, Dalkeith, Midlothian.
William first appears in the North British agriculturist in 1856 as an implement maker at Duddingston. He moved from there in late 1865 when he adverts record William Kirkwood, implement maker, Lothian Bridge (late Duddingston). He undertook a number of trades: as agricultural implement maker, smith and as smith and implement maker.
William was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show. Although he exhibited in the main show districts including Dumfries, Kelso, Stirling, he most regularly exhibit at Edinburgh. He exhibited at that last location in 1859, 1869, 1877, 1893, 1899, and 1907. At the Show he was an award-winning maker, winning numerous prizes. They included:
1857 – award of 2 sovereigns for best sheep fodder rack
1858 – award of 2 sovereigns for best hand stubble or hay rake
1858 – award of 5 sovereigns for best feeding troughs for sheep
1859 – award of L2 for best hand stubble or hay rake
1859 – award of L1 for best feeding troughs for sheep
RHS 1859 – award of L1 for best wheelbarrow of malleable iron
1860 – award of 1 sovereign for best feeding troughs for sheep
1860 – award of 1 sovereign for best wheelbarrow of malleable iron
1860 – commended, hand stubble or hay rake
1861 – award of 3 sovereigns for best machine for pulverising guano etc
1861 – award of 1 sovereign for best feeding troughs for sheep
1861 – award of 2 sovereigns for best sheep fodder rack
1873 – award of medium silver medal for Norwegian harrow
William died in March 1911. His obituary appeared in the Edinburgh evening news on 1 April 1911. It provides some further information about his business and the man at its helm:
“Mr William H. Kirkwood, agricultural implement maker, Lothian Bridge, died suddenly yesterday, after a few days’ illness, at the age of 63 years. Deceased, who was a native of Edinburgh, began his engineering career in the Singer Sewing Machine Works, in the West of Scotland, and on the death of his father, he acquired the engineering business at Lothian Bridge. Mr Kirkwood was particularly successful in the manufacture of ploughs, and gained various awards from the Highland and Agricultural Society, and other societies, for improvements both ploughs and harrows. He took a lively interest in the affairs of the Newtongrange district, was for several years a member of the Parish Council, and was senior elder and session clerk
for Newbattle Parish Church.
Have you seen any implements and machines made by William H. Kirkwood?