The Albert Institute (now the McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum) was established in 1867 as the first civic museum and art gallery in Dundee. It was funded entirely through public subscription with 261 subscribers pledging £15,770 in 1863. By February 1865 the number of subscribers had increased to 327 and share capital totalled £21,470. Read more...

This project was set up by the McManus 168 Group (Supporters of The McManus) to mark the 150th anniversary of The McManus and to shed new light on Dundee’s history and heritage by discovering more about the men and women that gave so generously.

One of the Original Subscribers

James Irons gave £10 towards the building of The Albert Institute. James Irons, an unmarried gentleman, spent his working life as a jute spinner and manufacturer in Dundee. He operated both Park Mill on Douglas Street and Seafield Factory on Seafield Lane, producing sackings of various descriptions.

Read more about James Irons...

ABOUT

From June 2017 to June 2018, the project brought together all the heritage groups in Dundee supported by an expert project planning team with academics, genealogists, archivists, the library service and Leisure and Culture Dundee, project managers and history enthusiasts.

We recruited 30 expert lead researchers and a further 75 novice researchers, ranging in age from 16 to 84 and from right across Dundee. Together they collected information on the subscribers among which were, manufacturers, nautical instrument makers, grocers, hecklers, waiters, ship’s chandlers, dyers, bleachers, and flax spinners. View in the Subscriber Archive....

Watch interviews with McManus168 researchers and find out more about the project...

This drawing by David Small, 1860, shows the assorted collection of workmen’s yards and photographic studios. shortly before the land was acquired by the Albert Institute Company for the building of what would become the The McManus.

Courtesy of The McManus Collections. Copyright: Dundee City Council (Dundee's Art Galleries and Museums)