William Fraser (1852-1915)

First name:
Second name:
Date of birth:
Date of death:
Home address(es):

Scotston, Pollokshields. Glasgow

Occupation type(s):

Managing Director

Related organisation:


The Late Mr William Fraser

Mr William Fraser, managing director of the Pumpherston Oil Company, died last night at his residence, Scotston, Pollokshields, Glasgow, after a few days' illness. So recently as last Tuesday Mr Fraser was at a meeting of the Board. The following day he became indisposed, and his illness assumed a critical phase on Sunday. He rallied, and hope was entertained of his recovery, but yesterday he relapsed, and he died in the evening. He was in his sixty-third year.

From early life Mr Fraser was associated with the Scottish mineral oil industry, and for the last thirty-five years his name had been prominently identified with it. Beginning in the service of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company, Mr Fraser eventually became general mining and works manager of the late Uphall Oil Company. Severing his connection with that company in 1883, he, in conjunction with his brother, Mr Archibald Fraser, acquired from the late Mr Peter McLagan a lease of the shale in the Pumpherston estate, and formed the Pumpherston Oil Company. During the long period when the Scottish mineral oil trade suffered disastrously from American, Galician, and Russian competition, and a number of companies were forced out of existence, the Pumpherston Company, under Mr Fraser's able and far-seeing management, succeeded in not only surviving, but in greatly improving its position. About fourteen years ago the Tarbrax Company was also formed by Mr Fraser, but the works of that company, as well as the works at Deans, Seafield, and Breich, are now all incorporated in the undertakings of the Pumpherston Company.

Mr Fraser's ripe experience and his tact and judgement made him a valued counsellor on all matters connected with the oil industry, and he was frequently called upon to take a leading part in negotiations affecting the interests of the trade generally. A year or two ago he was largely instrumental in carrying through an important agreement with the British Government respecting the supply of oil fuel for the Navy. In his relations with the workers he was exceedingly happy, and disputes were of rare occurrence. The workers of the Pumpherston Company may be described as living under model conditions.

Mr Fraser also was closely identified with the lead mining industry at Wanlockhead, and he was for a number of years chairman of the local lead mining company. There, too, a somewhat struggling enterprise has been carried to success.

A native of Wanlockhead, Mr Fraser and his brothers, Mr Archibald Fraser, formerly secretary of the Pumpherston Company, and Mr John Fraser, gifted to the upland Lanarkshire village a handsome institute in memory of their father and mother. Through Mr Fraser's instrumentality a similar institute was provided for the workers at Tarbrax, of which company he was then chairman. Mr Fraser was a Justice of the Peace for the county of Linlithgow, but his somewhat indifferent health and constant demand of business upon his time prevented him from taking a prominent part in public affairs. He is survived by Mrs Fraser and a family of four sons and four daughters. Of the sons, Mr William Fraser is assistant managing director of the Pumpherston Oil Company, and two are on war service – one with the Croix Rouge of France and the other with the Scottish Red Cross Society. Of his daughters, Dr Elizabeth (Mrs Butler) has been in France on important bacteriological research work in connection with the war.

The Scotsman Tuesday 15th June 1915