Charles Cowan

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Charles Cowan (1801–1889) was a Scottish politician and paper-maker.

He was the son of Alexander Cowan, and followed his father into the paper-making industry; he would later write the article on this for the Encyclopaedia Britannica.[1] In May 1819, he was sent to learn the papermaking trade at St Mary Cray, Kent, where he worked at either Lay's or Hall's mill on the River Cray.[2]

In the general election of June 1847, he ran as a Radical free-trade candidate in Edinburgh, defeating the incumbent Whig Thomas Babington Macaulay. His initial election was declared null and void due to his being a party to a government contract, but he was re-elected in a second election that December.[3] He was re-elected in the 1852 election in second place on the ballot, and returned unopposed in the 1857 election. He did not stand in 1859, and retired from politics.


  1. ^ Six generations of Cowans at the Valleyfield Mills, Penicuik Community Arts Association
  2. ^ Rootsweb
  3. ^ Oliver & Boyd's new Edinburgh almanac and national repository for the year 1850 Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1850
  • Ian Machin, 'Cowan, Charles (1801–1889)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Gibson-Craig
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh
With: William Gibson-Craig to 1852
Thomas Babington Macaulay 1852–1856
Adam Black from 1856
Succeeded by
Adam Black
James Moncreiff