William W. Dickson was a member of the commission appointed by the government of the Cape Colony to manage the Botanic Gardens in Cape Town, from December 1873 to at least 1886. In the latter year his business address was in the South African Bank Building, St George Street. He may be the same person as William Dickson, of William Dickson & Co., merchants and shipping agents, who plied his trade in Cape Town as early as 1857. He may also be the same person as W. Dickson who offered 200 pounds to the South African College, Cape Town, in 1871 to help finance the building of a new school (Ritchie, 1918, p. 211).
Dickson donated his extensive collection of orchids and other plants to the Botanic Gardens of Cape Town. He was presumably still alive in 1888, as he is not mentioned among the deceased collectors of orchids of the Cape Peninsula by H. Bolus* in that year.