Before the 20th Century, Edlington was a tiny farming village. Around 1910 Yorkshire Main Colliery opened, Thomson & Dixon built 200 houses for the miners during the First World war. These most likely included houses which used to be on Thompson Avenue and Dixon Road. Thomson & Dixon eventually split into two separate businesses.
In 1895 Edlington had a population of 128 living in only around 34 houses. Farming was the village’s major business, with 3 of the 5 main farms run by the same family. There was probably only one school and church. Edlington didn’t really grow until Edlington Main Colliery (later Yorkshire main) was opened around 1910. The Staveley Coal & Iron company needed housing for its miners so they hired the building contractors Thomson & Dixon.
Thomson & Dixon’s Founding
Thomson & Dixon was a building contractors named for its joint owners, Arthur Thomson and John Clayton Dixon. Founded in 1904, Arthur supervised work while John was the architect. By 1916 Thomson & Dixon had offices at 6 St George Gate, Doncaster. The workers who fought in the First World War were guaranteed their jobs, and the company helped pay the rent of their wives. Many of the foremen were exempted from duty so long as the company only took up work in the national interest. They also made sure to get an exemption for their plasterer as he owned the local pub, the St James tavern.
Work in the national interest mainly meant work for Staveley Coal & Iron, maintaining the Yorkshire Main and Bullcroft Collieries. Thomson & Dixon also built around 200 of the first houses in New Edlington,
The earliest records of people born or living in New Edlington are military records from 1915, just a year before Thomson & Dixon submitted paperwork on the houses it was building their. So it’s possible Thomson & Dixon had already completed some of the houses and people had moved in. Going by the names, the houses they built were most likely on Thompson avenue and the smaller Dixon Road. Unfortunately there are no longer any houses standing on these roads.
The earliest houses in New Edlington have occasionally come under fire for their design. They have been seen as too square and dense, bucking the then trend of ‘Garden Villages’ with curving roads and open greens.
Thomson & Dixon’s Split
In 1916 Thomson & Dixon’s turnover was £30,000 to £40,000 a year, a huge amount for the time, allowing Arthur to buy a larger house. At the same time John could only afford to board, suggesting he may have been the junior partner.
Thomson and Dixon eventually split in two. In 1939 John was living at 1 Greenfield Lane. By 1957 he was certainly running his own Building Contractors, Dixon, J. Ltd, from his home. Arthur on the other hand didn’t need to run his business from home. It seems he had separate premises for Thomson, A. Ltd. at 1 Chamberlain Avenue in 1957. Arthur passed away the very next year, at the time of his death he was worth about £30,000. His wife passed away less than a month later.
Did you know know Arthur Thomson payed the rent of all his workers’ wives during the war?