Return to Subscriber listings and search...

Messrs Charles Chalmers & Co

The flax spinning firm of 'Messrs Charles Chalmers & Co.' operated from the mill in North Tay Street, Dundee, for more than four decades. On the death of his father in 1859, Charles Chalmers Jnr succeeded to their profitable business.

Subscription value in 1863:


Relative to inflation up to 2024:


Relative to income compared to 2024:


Click Image to Enlarge

Details and history

Name of company:

Messrs Charles Chalmers & Co

Company address:

9 Bain Square[1][2]

Tay Street Mill[1]
North Tay Street[2]

Number of employees:

200 workers:[3] 300 hands:[4]

Nature of business:

Merchants and Flaxspinners[2]



Date ceased trading:

circa 1870[1]

Related Subscribers

Subscriber    27 –  Rev Islay Burns – neighbour in Magdalen Green

Subscriber  212 – John Symers – member of ‘Snuff and Twopenny Club’ with Charles Jr (1864)[5]



Tay Street Mill (founded circa 1798-1800)[6] was first operated by yarn spinners, David and Hugh Cathro.[7][6] Their business went into sequestration in 1812.[8] The mill was then advertised to let. Its subsequent operator proved to be Charles Chalmers Snr. although the exact date of takeover is uncertain.

‘Messrs Charles Chalmers & Co.’ became a merchant and flax spinning company from at least 1822, when it was run by Charles Chalmers Snr. It was at one stage, from the late 1820s,[9] titled ‘Chalmers & Hackney’ (Charles’ brother-in-law William).[9]

William Hackney died in 1841[10] and the company was thereafter operated by Charles Chalmers Snr., once more named ‘Charles Chalmers & Co.’ together with his son Charles as a partner. The death of Charles Chalmers Snr. in 1859[11] saw his son Charles becoming his sole beneficiary[2] and subsequent operator of  Tay Street Mill, with Alexander Maxwell as manger.

The company offices were located at 9 Bain Square, with ‘spinning mills, warehouses and ground at North Tay Street.’[2]

Charles Snr. was married to Catherine Hackney on the 8th March 1819[12] and Charles Jnr. was born 15 April 1821.[13] Charles Sr. died in 1859 of bronchitis.[14] Charles Jnr. did not marry and died on 15th July 1868 from paralysis of the legs and disease of the liver.[15]

The company still appeared in the Dundee Directory in 1869-70 although an advertisement was placed in the local press in August 1869, declaring the Tay Street Mill as available to be let once more.[16] The census of 1871 listed the resident of the house belonging to Charles, in Magdalen Yard, as none other than Alexander Maxwell. The census stated he was an employer of 23 men, 103 women and girls, 14 boys, implying that the company did not continue in some other capacity.[17]

Neswpaper articles showed the company took care of employees in that there were regular soirées and trips, paid by the company, for employees. On the occasion of the Prince of Wales’ marriage, as well as a  day off with pay, all female employees received a white wedding favour.

There was also frequent reference to donations from the workers and a legacy from Charles Jnr’s estate of £100 to Dundee Royal Infirmary.[18]


  1. Post Office Dundee Directory, 1822 through to 1867-68. National Library of Scotland website.
  2. Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1860). SC45/ 31/ 15. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Census Records. Dundee. Parish of Liff & Benvie. (1851). 282/85/22. ScotlandsPeople website
  4. Warden, Alexander J. The Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern. (1864). London. Longman. p.356.
  5. Dundee Courier & Argus, April 1864. British Newspaper Archive website
  6. Watson, Mark. Jute and Flax Mills in Dundee. (1990). Tayport. Hutton Press. p228.
  7. Post Office Dundee Directory, 1809. p.4. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  8. Perthshire Courier, 2 January 1812. p.4. Findmypast website.
  9. Post Office Dundee Directory, 1829-30. p18. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  10. Legal Record. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. (1845). SC45/ 31/ 7. ScotlandsPeople website.
  11. Dundee People's Journal, 13 August 1859. p.4. Findmypast website.
  12. Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1819). 282/140 303. p.303 of 316. ScotlandsPeople website.
  13. Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. (1821). 283/150 60. ScotlandsPeople website.
  14. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1859). 282/2 664 ScotlandsPeople website.
  15. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1868). 282/1 238. ScotlandsPeople website.
  16. Northern Warder and General Advertiser, 24 August 1869. p.8. Findmypast website.
  17. Census Records. Dundee. (1871). 282/1 4/6. ScotlandsPeople website.
  18. Northern Warder and General Advertiser, 15 September 1868. British Newspaper Archive website.



The information above about has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.