Allan Edward Esquire
Allan Edward was a successful flax merchant and shipowner in Dundee. He ultimately became a partner in the flax and jute firm of A & D Edward and Co., of Logie Works, after the deaths of two of his brothers.
Subscription value in 1865:
Relative to inflation up to 2019:
Relative to income compared to 2019:
Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Name of spouse
Allan (1846): Kenrick Alexander (1848): Albert (1849): Ermina (Emma) Victoria Elizabeth Farington (1851): Reginald Watkin (circa 1855):
Age at death:
Place of death:
Farington Hall, Perth Road, Dundee
Date of death:
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Established Church - Allan Edward was a member of the St Mary's, East Church congregation.
Clubs / societies
Subscriber 22 – John Boyd Baxter – brother-in-law of Allan Edward, married to his sister Margaret Edward
Subscriber 72 – James Edward – brother of Allan Edward
Subscriber 120 – R G Kennedy – employee of A & D Edward & Co. before acquiring his own business
Subscriber 254 – Rev Archibald Watson – minister of St Mary’s, East Church.
Career and worklife
Merchant and Shipowner
Place of work
Allan Edward & Co
Career to date:
By 1834, Allan Edward, a young man in his early twenties, was listed as a 'merchant' operating from Dock Street. A few years later, his operations had expanded to include the owning of ships with which to conduct his business interests and those of his brothers - Alexander, David and James. By the 1840s, Allan Edward was in a position to contract for five vessels to be built locally in Dundee - "there was launched this afternoon from the building yard of 'Calman & Martin,' Marine Parade, a brig of 244 tons........this vessel is one of five contracted for by Allan Edward, Esq., merchant, Dundee, the other three being in the course of building in the same yard and the first having been launched about two months ago. The vessel launched this afternoon is named the 'Thomas Wegnelin'." Thus, operating a number of vessels he developed strong connections with some of the leading Russian firms of the day. Some of his vessels also traded directly between Dundee and the East Indies (see 'Comments'). His burgeoning wealth and position within the town was further evidenced in the mid 1850s by the commissioning of an imposing residence - 'Farington Hall.' Allan Edward's success continued both on his own account and also as a beneficiary from the deaths of two of his older brothers - Alexander and David. They were the founders of 'A & D Edward & Co.' merchants and flax spinners of Logie Works. David's death in 1857 was followed shortly thereafter by the death of Alexander in early 1863. Allan then became a partner of the firm, along with his remaining elder brother, James.
Allan Edward was born the youngest surviving son of Alexander Edward and Marjory (May) Low. His father, a tobacconist and candlemaker, operated from premises at the ‘top of Murraygate.’ At the time of Alexander’s death in 1823, (when his son Allan was approximately 12 years of age) he also had shares in a number of vessels and interests in the ‘Union Whale Fishing Company.’ Two vessels belonging to that concern – namely the ‘Thomas’ of Dundee and ‘Three Brothers’ of Dundee, together with another named ‘Mercury’ of Dundee were partially owned by Alexander. His estate amounted to over £3000. So, for Allan and his older brothers, Alexander, David and James, a mercantile life, acquainted with shipping, was perhaps not a first venture but one to which the brothers had already been introduced through their father.
Having embarked on a life spent trading goods in 1834, (at the age of 23 years) Allan Edward was not tardy in gaining a foothold among merchants, agents and manufacturers of the town. An early foray was in becoming one of the original subscribers (along with his older brother Alexander) towards the establishment of the ‘Baltic Coffee House’ – the incarnation of Dundee’s Chamber of Commerce, which materialised in 1835. It was recorded that “…as the Cowgate had become the meeting place of the merchants and manufacturers of the town engaged in the textile trade, and of others with whom they had business connections – such as shipping agents, bankers, etc. – there arose a desire to possess a convenient meeting place of their own, a common roof under which they could gather in inclement weather, and a resort where they might in comfort obtain the latest trade news and might readily be found by enquirers.” It could be said that Allan was becoming a young gun among older campaigners as he added his voice to a number of causes within trading circles (see images).
Allan Edward’s position during the 1840s enabled him to gain further recognition among the merchants and shipping fraternity. He was reputedly one of the first to import jute. Reportedly, “…about the year 1840, the ‘Selma,’ belonging to Dundee owners, arrived from Calcutta with a cargo of jute and other produce, being the first jute which was ever brought from Calcutta to Dundee direct.” Shortly thereafter, Allan Edward, David Martin and Gilroy Brothers also began to import various cargoes directly from India, jute being one their imports.
The 1840s was also a decade of expansion for Allan Edward, witnessed through the commissioning of five major vessels form the Dundee yards of ‘Calman & Martin.’ Having already built an extensive trade in the Baltic, Allan Edward widened his horizons to establish a thorough going trade in the East Indies.
By 1850, Allan Edward owned 10 vessels, totalling 3522 tons, more even than those owned by the ‘Dundee, Perth & and London Co.,’ engaged in the East India trade. His company ‘Allan Edward & Co.’ imported flax and jute of varying grades (not without risks – see images) and, in periods when when trade was slack, he supplemented his imports with timber.
It was during the 1850s too that Allan Edward must have gained recognition and a degree of stature within Dundee’s society, with the building of his west end residence ‘Farington Hall’ (named surely after his mother in law – Mary Isabella Farington). It was here that Allan Edward and his wife Ermin Elizabeth Kenrick raised their family. Coincidentally, Ermin’s older sister Fanny Georgina Catherine Kenrick married Allan’s older brother James Edward.
With the death of Allan’s older brother Alexander in 1863, Allan assumed the role as ‘partner‘ within the long established firm of ‘A & D Edward & Co,’ together with his remaining brother James. The brothers continued to operate the successful works in the Scouringburn. In 1864, “the Logie Works was the second largest in the town, its internal arrangements were excellent and its machinery kept pace with the times.” Allan Edward also became a partner within the company of ‘Daniel Drimmie & Co,’ bleachers at Panmurefield, ensuring an interest in all processes of the trade.
For the following decade, he continued to act as owner and partner in all three companies – his original ‘Allan Edward & Co.’ (merchants and agents); that established by his brothers, ‘A & D Edward & Co.’ (merchants and flax spinners); plus that of ‘Daniel Drimmie & Co’ (bleachers).
And what of Farington Hall? It had been designed by the architects ‘Coe and Goodwin’ and erected between 1853-55. It had the reputation of being the most handsome mansion in the West End. It was, much later, destroyed by fire in 1913, in what was popularly believed to have been an arson attack by suffragettes. The house had lain empty for some years following the death of Mrs Allan Edward in 1907.
At the time of his death in 1874, Allan Edward was described as having been one of the oldest and most respected of ‘Cowgate merchants’ and, for many years, had held a leading position in the trade. Known for his ‘shrewdness and sagacity,’ Allan Edward enjoyed success to the end, having also left estate amounting to over £60,000.
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- Warden, Alexander J. The Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern. (1864). p.65. London. Longman
- Jackson and Kinnear. (1990). The Trade and Shipping of Dundee. Abertay Historical Society.
- Watson, Mark. Jute and Flax Mills in Dundee. (1990). Tayport. Hutton Press Ltd.
- Legal Record. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1875). SC45/ 31/ 26. ScotlandsPeople website.
- National Record of the Historic Environment. Farington Hall. canmore.org.uk website.
- Lenman, Leah. (1991). A Guid Cause. Aberdeen University Press.
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