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Mr David Barrie

A prominent local Writer to the Signet, David Barrie went on to serve as a director of the Albert Institute in 1867. Six years later he was on the path to bankruptcy.

Subscription value in 1863:


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Personal details and history

Full name

David Barrie

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse

1st Louisa Cairns; 2nd Mary Smart


Maria Jane b. 1855; William b. 1857; David Henry b. 1859: Arthur Edward b. 1863; Harry Arthur b. 26/08/1881; James David b. 03/09/1882;

Home address

46 Magdalen Yard

6 Windsor Place

42 Magdalen Yard Road

46 Magdalen Yard Road

48 Magdalen Yard Road

Broughty Ferry[7]

3 West Port

44 Caldrum Street


9 Ellen Street

Age at death:

71 years[10]

Place of death:

9 Ellen Street, Dundee[10]

Date of death:



Not known

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation


Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Hawkhill Bowling Club committee, 1853-54;[11] secretary, Caledonian (254) Masonic Lodge, 1853-54;[12] treasurer and secretary, Dundee Curling Club, 1856-1862;[13] captain, 1st Forfarshire Dundee Rifle Volunteer Corps, 1861-65;[14] secretary, S&T Whist Club, 1864-65;[15] director, Albert Institute, 1867-72.[16]

Public offices

None known

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.   11 – G Ll Alison – fellow rifle volunteer officer

Subscriber no.124 – Messrs C. Kerr & C.W. Kerr – his father, William Barrie, was conjunct town clerk along with Christopher Kerr

Career and worklife


Writer to the Signet, Solicitor and insurance agent[17]



Place of work

Town house, Dundee (near The Pillars at 9 Crichton Street)[18]

Work address

c.1850: Town House

c.1853-72: 61 Reform Street

c.1869-70: 21 Reform Street

Career to date:

David Barrie was born on 4 October 1822,[1] the son of William Barrie, town clerk and Christina Eadie. An older brother, William, also a writer, died aged 26 in 1845.[21] David Barrie first appears among the Dundee writers, procurators and notaries public in 1850 when he is listed at the Town House, where his father, William Barrie, is conjunct town clerk of Dundee along with Christopher Kerr. David Barrie is also an agent for Gresham Insurance Co.[17] By 1851 he was living with his parents and three sisters (Margaret, aged 26; Eliza, aged 23 and Kathrine, aged 21, one boarder and three servants) in 46 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee.[2] His profession was Writer (to the Signet), based at the Town house where his father William was also listed[17]. He briefly appears in partnership with James D Marwick as Barrie & Marwick, writers, 61 Reform Street in 1853. The firm was also an agent for the Edinburgh Life & Fire Insurance Co.[22] He married Louisa Cairns, daughter of John Cairns, writer on 23 July 1854 at 26 Dublin Street, Edinburgh.[23] By 1861, they are living with three children (Maria Jane, William and Henry) and two servants in 6 Windsor Place, Dundee.[3] David Barrie appears alone as a writer at 61 Reform Street, 1856-1872, and is also an agent for the Edinburgh Life Assurance Co.[24] After the death of his father,[25] David takes over as factor for mortifications set up by George Bruce, James Constable and Margaret Petrie.[26] In 1867 he becomes one of the directors of the Albert Institute.[16] Shortly thereafter he opened a second office at 21 Reform Street, although this appears to have been short-lived.[20]

More information

By 1871, David and his family had moved to 48 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee[6] which was next to his home in the 1851 census. A fourth child, Arthur was living with them and their two servants. This move seems to have been short-lived as he is described as living in Broughty Ferry later in 1871[7] and continued as a member of the Faculty of Procurators and Solicitors in Dundee, but with his business address given as Broughty Ferry also.[27]

David´s wife Louisa died on 22 July 1873 of disease of the liver, aged only 31 years in Broughty Ferry[28]. David ceases to appear in the list of members of the Faculty of Procurators and Solicitors in Dundee. His address changes and the parts of Dundee in which he resides suggest a change in circumstances. Indeed, shortly before the death of his first wife a process leading to his bankuptcy is initiated, which is concluded in 1878.[29] At the time of the 1881 census, he is found, living on his own, at 3 West Port, Dundee, as a widowed solicitor[8].

By the time of the 1891 census, he had moved to 44 Caldrum Street, Dundee[9] and is living with a Mary Barrie, who is described as his wife, from Montrose, with their two children, Harry Arthur and James David Alexander. I have not found a marriage certificate for Mary Smart, also going by the name of Margharita (as mentioned on both her sons´ birth certificates).

David Barrie died on 4 August 1894 of a cerebral haemorrhage in Ellen Street, Dundee.[10]


  1. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 4 October 1822. 282/ 150 244. ScotlandsPeople website
  2. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/83/30. ScotlandsPeople website
  3. 1861 Census Scotland. 2nd District, Dundee. 282/2 ED 27 Ancestry website
  4. Dundee Directory, 1864/65. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  5. Dundee Directory, 1867/68. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  6. 1871 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/1 3/12. ScotlandsPeople website
  7. Dundee Directory, 1871/72. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  8. 1881 Census Scotland. St Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED 13 Ancestry website
  9. 1891 Census Scotland. St Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED 14 p. 48 Ancestry website
  10. Statutory Record. Death. Barrie, David. 04 August 1894. 282/4/372. ScotlandsPeople website
  11. Dundee Directory, 1853/54. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  12. Dundee Directory, 1853/54. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1856-1862. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1861-1865. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1864/65. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  16. Dundee Directories, 1867-1872. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  17. Dundee Directory, 1850. p. 73. Dundee City Library, Local Studies
  18. McKean, Charles and Whatley, Patricia with Baxter, Kenneth. (2013) Lost Dundee Dundee´s Lost Architectural Heritage. Malta: Gutenberg Press. [53-56]
  19. Dundee Directories, 1853-1872. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  20. Dundee Directory, 1869/70. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  21. Index of Howff Burials, 1845. William Barrie junior, writer, age 26, Magdalen Yard Road. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  22. Dundee Directory, 1853/54. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  23. Old Parish Record. Edinburgh. Marriages. 23 July 1854. 685/1 710 136. ScotlandsPeople website
  24. Dundee Directories, 1856-1872. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  25. Index of Howff Burials, 1854. William Barrie, conjunct town clerk and writer, age 69, Magdalen Yard Road. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1856-1872. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Dundee City Library, local history section.
  28. 1873 Statutory Record. Death. Barrie, Louisa. 22 July 1873. 310/92 page 31 of 52. ScotlandsPeople website
  29. Concluded Sequestration Process under Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act, 1856. Start date 13 March 1873 - 1878. CS318/21/26. National Records of Scotland.

The information above about David Barrie 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.