Daniel Nicol Dunlop

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Daniel Nicol Dunlop (28 December 1868, Kilmarnock, Scotland — 30 May 1935, London) was a Scottish entrepreneur, founder of the World Power Conference and other associations, and a theosophist-turned-anthroposophist. He was the father of artist Ronald Ossory Dunlop.

Kilmarnock burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland

Kilmarnock is a large burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland, with a population of 46,350, making it the 15th most populated place in Scotland and the second largest town in Ayrshire. The River Irvine runs through its eastern section, and the Kilmarnock Water passes through it, giving rise to the name 'Bank Street'.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

World Energy Council organization

The World Energy Council is a global and inclusive forum for thought-leadership and tangible engagement with headquarters in London. Its mission is 'To promote the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all people'.


Life and work

Childhood, education, marriage and children

Dunlop was born on 28 December 1868 in Kilmarnock as the only child of Alexander Dunlop and Catherine Nicol (1847–1873). His father was an architect and a Quaker preacher. He lost his mother at the age of five and was brought up by his grandfather on the Isle of Arran, where he learnt the trade of fishing. After his grandfather died in turn, he returned to his father in Kilmarnock once again, attending the local school. On completing his schooling, he did an apprenticeship with an engineering company in Ardrossan, Ayrshire in western Scotland.

Isle of Arran the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland

Arran or the Isle of Arran is an island off the coast of Scotland, in the United Kingdom. It is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and the seventh largest Scottish island, at 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi). Historically part of Buteshire, it is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire. In the 2011 census it had a resident population of 4,629. Though culturally and physically similar to the Hebrides, it is separated from them by the Kintyre peninsula. Often referred to as "Scotland in Miniature", the island is divided into highland and lowland areas by the Highland Boundary Fault and has been described as a "geologist's paradise".

Ardrossan town in Scotland

Ardrossan is a town on the North Ayrshire coast in southwestern Scotland. The town has a population of roughly 11,000 and forms part of a conurbation with Saltcoats and Stevenston known as the 'Three Towns'. Ardrossan is located on the east shore of the Firth of Clyde.

Ayrshire Historic county in Scotland

Ayrshire is a historic county and registration county in south-west Scotland, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine and it borders the counties of Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire to the north-east, Dumfriesshire to the south-east, and Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire to the south. Like many other counties of Scotland it currently has no administrative function, instead being sub-divided into the council areas of North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire. It has a population of approximately 366,800.

After some differences of opinion with his father, he left home in 1886, taking a job in a bicycle shop in Glasgow. He moved to Dublin 1889, working for a tea and wine merchant, where he befriended the poets Æ (George William Russell) and William Butler Yeats, and became active in the Irish Theosophical Society. He was also known to James Joyce, who mentioned him in Ulysses .

Glasgow City and council area in Scotland

Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland, and the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, as of the 2017 estimated city population of 621,020. Historically part of Lanarkshire, the city now forms the Glasgow City council area, one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the local authority is Glasgow City Council. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. It is the fifth most visited city in the UK.

George William Russell Irish writer, editor, critic, poet, and artistic painter

George William Russell who wrote with the pseudonym Æ, was an Irish writer, editor, critic, poet, painter and Irish nationalist. He was also a writer on mysticism, and a central figure in the group of devotees of theosophy which met in Dublin for many years.

James Joyce Irish writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, his published letters and occasional journalism.

In 1891 he married Eleanor Fitzpatrick (ca. 1867–1932); becoming the father of three children, Ronald Ossory Dunlop, a well-known painter and daughters Edith and Aileen.

In business

Dunlop moved to America, and in 1896 was employed by the American Westinghouse Electric Company, becoming later assistant manager, and then manager of its European Publicity Department. In 1899 he returned to Britain with his family in this capacity. In 1911, with Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti and others, Dunlop helped to found the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers' Association (BEAMA) in London, which still exists today. While Ferranti became its first chairman (to 1913) Dunlop was at first its secretary and later its director. [1] [2] A year of two after World War I, Dunlop began to organize the World Power Conference, the precursor to the World Energy Council, which met for the first time on 11 July 1924 and of which he was elected chairman. [3] Towards the close of his life he was elected independent chairman of the Electrical Fair Trading Council and chairman of the executive council of the World Power Conference.

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC is a US based nuclear power company formed in 1999 from the nuclear power division of the original Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It offers nuclear products and services to utilities internationally, including nuclear fuel, service and maintenance, instrumentation, control and design of nuclear power plants. Westinghouse's world headquarters are located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Brookfield Business Partners is the majority owner of Westinghouse.

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti British engineer

Sebastian Pietro Innocenzo Adhemar Ziani de Ferranti was a British electrical engineer and inventor.

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, the Seminal Catastrophe, and initially in North America as the European War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

His work for Theosophy

Shortly after leaving home for Glasgow in 1886, Dunlop began to study works on Occultism and Philosophy. This was greatly stimulated by his friendship with Æ and led to their lifelong connection. After moving to Dublin, he became a member of the local lodge of the Theosophical Society. Together with Æ and Yeats he attended meetings of the Hermetic Society and in 1892 founded the magazine "The Irish Theosophist", which he edited until his departure from Dublin in 1897 for the United States. [4]

Philosophy The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theosophical Society Organization advancing theosophical thought

The Theosophical Society was an organization formed in the United States in 1875 by Helena Blavatsky to advance Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments, currently has several successors. Following the death of Blavatsky, competition within the Society between factions emerged, particularly among founding members and the organisation split between the Theosophical Society Adyar (Olcott-Besant) and the Theosophical Society Pasadena (Judge). The former group, headquartered in India, is the most widespread international group holding the name "Theosophical Society" today.

When the Theosophical Society split in 1895, Dunlop became a member of the Theosophical Society in America, where he at intervals functioned as secretary to its president, Katherine Tingley, At the end of 1899 he resigned from the Theosophical Society in America, or was perhaps, expelled, the documentation being unclear on this point, [5] and joined the Theosophical Society Adyar in London. He published many articles in the "Theosophical Review" and "The Vahan". In 1909 he initiated the Summer Schools, regular international meetings with theosophical lecture cycles and events where participants got to know one another more intimately. In 1910 he founded the Blavatsky Institute in Manchester in the same year, together with Charles Lazenby, the magazine "the Path". [6] He also founded his own theosophical lodge under the auspices of the Theosophical Society with the name "Light on the Path" and became its president.

Katherine Tingley American theosophist

Katherine Augusta Westcott Tingley was a social worker and prominent Theosophist. She was the leader, after W. Q. Judge, of the American Section of the Theosophical Society. She founded and led the Theosophical community Lomaland in Point Loma, California.

Theosophical Society Adyar

The Theosophy Society – Adyar is the name of a section of the Theosophical Society founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1882. Its headquarters moved with Blavatsky and president Henry Steel Olcott from New York to Adyar, an area of Chennai, in 1886. The designation 'Adyar' is added to make it clear that this is the Theosophical Society headquartered there, after the American section and some other lodges separated from it in 1895, under William Quan Judge.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 534,982 as of 2018. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.9 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

Meeting with Anthroposophy

Dunlop saw Rudolf Steiner for the first time while the latter was still General Secretary of the German Section of the Theosophical Society. He did not, however, join the Anthroposophical Society until 1920, at which time he called into being the anthroposophical "Human Freedom Group", which he led. Here once again, he introduced the idea of, this time, anthroposophical Summer Schools that were realised in 1923 and again in 1924. After personally meeting with Rudolf Steiner, both of them expressed their intimate spiritual connection and respect for one another. In 1928 he organised the first and only World Conference on Anthroposophy and in 1929 he was elected General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. He was on terms of intimate friendship with Eleanor Merry (1873–1956), who supported his work, especially after the death of his own wife, Eleanor in 1932. As a result of conflicts and power struggles within the General Anthroposophical Society, leading to its splintering in April 1935, Dunlop was expelled together with a number of other leading members. [7] He died shortly afterwards of an appendicitis. Dunlop enlisted the help of fellow anthroposophist Walter Johannes Stein in the hope of founding a World Economic Organisation, but his death prevented this. [8]

Selected published work


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  1. J. F. Wilson, Ferranti and the British Electrical Industry, 1864-1930. Manchester University Press, 1988.
  2. History of BEAMA 1911: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. WEC's History: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Index to The Irish Theosophist 1892–1897: http://www.austheos.org.au/indices/IRISHT.HTM
  5. Index to The Lamp 1894–1900: http://www.austheos.org.au/indices/LAMP__.HTM
  6. Index to The Path 1910–1914: http://www.austheos.org.au/indices/PATHUK.HTM
  7. Rudolf Steiner in Britain by Crispian Villeneuve. Temple Lodge Press 2009 ISBN   978-1-906999-03-2
  8. Wright, Rebecca; Shin, Hiroki; Trentmann, Frank (2013). From World Power Conference to World Energy Council: 90 Years of Energy Cooperation, 1923 - 2013 (PDF). World Energy Council. p. 12. ISBN   978 0 946121 31 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2014. Retrieved March 2014.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)