James Merry (1805-1877) was a coal master and an MP. In 1836 he became sole proprietor of the family’s Glasgow-based coal business and then formed a partnership that became Merry & Cunningham. By the end of the decade the firm was the second largest coal company and the third largest iron company in Scotland.
In 1857 Merry failed to win a parliamentary seat in Glasgow. He became MP for the Falkirk Burghs in the second General Election that year, only to be stripped of the seat after an inquiry into corrupt practices. He was re-elected in 1859 and served in Parliament until 1874.
Merry's great love was horse racing. He owned two Derby winners and in 1873 his horses won the Derby, Oaks and St Leger. Much of his huge fortune was invested in landed estates and in 1858 he made his home at Belladrum near Beauly in Invernesshire.
Reference: Mitchell Library, 920.04BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
coal, coalmasters, corruption, Deby, horse racing, iron, ironmasters, MPs, Oaks, St Leger