Henry A. Mavor


Henry Alexander Mavor (13 March 1858–16 July 1915) was a successful engineer involved in early electric lighting in Glasgow. He was born a 'son of the manse' in Stranraer. He was educated at Glasgow High School and the University of Glasgow, initially studying medicine, and then trained in electrical engineering at Glasgow College of Science and Arts (later incorporated into the Royal Technical College; today the University of Strathclyde).

In 1881 he founded the electrical engineering company Muir & Mavor, becoming Muir, Mavor & Coulson Ltd in 1888 and finally Mavor & Coulson Ltd in 1897. Mavor's early career was concerned with the practical application of electricity for power and lighting purposes. His achievements included the lighting of Queen Street Station and parts of Glasgow city centre. Glasgow Corporation later took over the public electricity supply. Mavor & Coulson then carried out work for the government and international industrial businesses, introducing electric power to coal-mining in Scotland. Later in life Mavor was concerned with the electric propulsion of ships and won international recognition for his work. As a result he acted as a consultant to an American company which was awarded contracts for electric driving machinery for navy ships.

Mavor was a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Civil Engineers, served as a governor of the Royal Technical College and was chairman of the Joint Committee of the School of Architecture. He was a member of Glasgow Art Club and a friend of several leading Glasgow artists of the early 20th century and their families, including Francis H. ('Fra') Newbery, Robert Macaulay Stevenson and Bessie MacNicol.

Mavor was married to Janet Osborne (1860–1926) and had three sons, one of whom was the doctor and distinguished playwright Osborne Henry Mavor, known as James Bridie. 1


1: Glasgow Herald, 'Death of Mr Henry A. Mavor', 17 July 1915, p. 1; Baillie Obituary Scrapbook, vol. 4, p. 10; George Eyre-Todd, Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gray & Gowans, 1909, pp. 143–4; James Bridie, One Way of Living, London: Constable & Co. Ltd, 1939; Glasgow City Archives Collection: 'The Story of Mavor & Coulson', AGN 529; Helensburgh Heroes, www.helensburghheroes.com/heroes/ [accessed 11 November 2010]; 'Glasgow Enterprise. Engineering Firm's Jubilee. Work for the Winter', Scotsman, 5 September 1931, p. 12.