Fred Dowson was the younger brother of Ralph Dowson who was John Taylor's original partner in the company, Dowson, Taylor & Co which was absorbed into the newly formed public company, Mather & Platt Ltd., a little while after Sir William Mather had acquired the world rights (outside North America) to the Grinnell sprinkler.
Fred Dowson joined Dowson, Taylor & Co. in 1893, some six years after the death of his brother, Ralph.
John Taylor/Fred Dowson
For some time after the Electrical Department was moved to Park Works, John Taylor, with the assistance of his able lieutenant, Fred Dowson, accepted responsibility for moulding the business in his own way. He had made himself familiar with the essential facts concerning the department while still at Salford and decided to make certain changes before starting operations at Park Works.
Among other things, he had made up his mind to model the commercial work on lines which had proved successful in his old company, relying for the execution of his plans on young men of sound technical ability who had received their engineering training in the Salford Works.
One of these young men was Herbert Taylor who worked under the direction of Fred Dowson until he was appointed Commercial Manager of the Electrical Department in 1911. He was given full charge of the department in 1914 and was made a special Director in 1918 acting in this capacity until he was given a seat on the board in 1927.
While John Taylor found time to take a great interest in the general engineering side of the business he remained a leader in the realm of sprinkler protection and retained a paternal interest in the progress of his own Fire Engineering Department. The fact that he was able to devote so much of his time and energy to the work of other branches of the Companys business was due to the fact that when he brought the Fire Engineering business to Park Works the administration was in the hands of men on whom he could rely. One such man was Fred Dowson, a younger brother of Ralph Dowson, John Taylors original partner, who died while on a business trip to India.
Fred Dowson was a born organizer. He joined Dowson, Taylor & Co. in 1893 and after service as an outside representative and a branch Manager, he was transferred to Manchester to take charge of the Commercial administration of the Home Section of the Fire Engineering Department.
Under the guidance of John Taylor he assumed similar responsibility for the several commercial departments of Mather & Platt Ltd. in their early years at Park Works, as and when the various sections were brought to the new home. He had a flair for assessing values in commercial enterprise and for separating the essential points from a mass of detail. For the first twenty-five years at Park Works he exercised a great influence on the business life of the company and many men who became senior officials in the concern received their early training at his hands.
In recognition of his outstanding ability Fred Dowson was elected to the Board of Directors in 1924 and retained his seat until his death in 1930. On the death of Fred Dowson, Noël Taylor took charge of the Fire Engineering Department.
Another stalwart of the Dowson Taylor & Co. régime who was destined to play an important part in the history of the first fifty years of the Company was Edward Roberts who for many years carried out the duties of Technical Director in the Fire Engineering Department.
From Percy Hulmston - relative by marriage ...