Celebrating 100 years in sackmaking industry
The UK’s oldest sackmaker, based in Rutherglen, is celebrating having 100 years in the bag.
J&HM Dickson Limited was founded a century ago by John and Hugh Dickson.
Originally operating from a shed in Rutherglen Main Street, both directors and a 10-strong workforce moved to a three-storey warehouse previously used as a bleach works in Miller Road, Dalmarnock.
The sewing machinists – who made jute and hessian sandbags for World War I had reserved occupations, so were not required to sign up for military service.
When John died in the early 1940s, Hugh’s son Bill joined the company in 1945 near the end of WWII, by which point the workforce had reached 20.
The firm’s main customers were in the coal industry, and they also supplied to Clyde Shipbuilders and bolt manufacturers.
In the early 1970s, the company introduced a new type of sack made from woven plastic.
Bill’s son, Alan, joined the family business in1980, and Hugh continued to work until the day he died at the age of 82 the following year.
Ambitious Alan worked his way through the ranks as a sewing machine mechanic, truck driver and factory manager.
The firm then moved to modern, more efficient premises at Seath Road on the banks of the Clyde beside the boat yard where the famous paddle steamer Lucy Ashton was built and launched.
The company are now importing cheaper sacks from India and the Far East.
That have also become involved in the brewing industry and recycling, having pioneered the manufacture of kerbside collection sacks.
J& HM Dickson are one of only 10 remaining woven sack machinists in the UK and employ 20 people.
The firm had a celebratory lunch last Friday to mark their centenary and Alan’s mum, Gillean, was the guest of honour. She unveiled a plaque and was presented with flowers by Alex Cameron. Cutter Alex is the company’s longest serving employee and has been with the firm for 39 years.
“The lunch was one of a number of ways we have celebrated our centenary and it was wonderful to get my mum involved,” said third generation MD Alan, who has been with the firm for 36 years.
“We planted a tree at the new park back in March and we also had a celebration at Hamilton Races.”
Alan, who plans further expansion in Glasgow’s south- side, extended his thanks to all employees for their contribution over the years.
Celebrations Staff at sackmaker J&HM Dickson celebrate the firms 100th birthday (above)
100 not out Alex Dickosn, the firm’s MD, and his mum Gillean, prepare to celebrate the milestone