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David Reith Esquire

A solicitor, recently appointed as clerk to the Harbour Trustees, who was building up a legal partnership with Alexander L. Lees. Both men died in 1866, so neither of them saw the Albert Institute completed.

Subscription value in 1863:


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Personal details and history

Full name

David Reith

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse

Jane Miller 1851[2][3]


None known

Home address

3 South Tay Street, Dundee, c.1846-1847.[4]
5 Windsor Place, Dundee, c.1850.[5]
4 Windsor Place, c.1853-1854.[6]
5 Windsor Street, Dundee, c.1856-1857.[7]
Lowjee Place, Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee, c.1858-1859.[8]
38 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee, c.1861-1865.[9]

Age at death:


Place of death:


Date of death:




Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Free Church (marriage conducted by Rev A.O. Laird of St. John's Free Church, Small's Wynd, Dundee).

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Clerk, Dundee Gas Light Co., 1856-1865.[10] Reith & Lees, agents, English & Scottish Law Insurance Co., 1861-1865.

Public offices

Clerk, Harbour Trustees[10]

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.124 – Messrs C. Kerr & C.W. Kerr – Reith formerly of C. Kerr & Co.

Subscriber no.129 – Alexander L. Lees – partner in Reith & Lees, writers, Dundee.

Career and worklife




Partner in Reith & Lees[9]

Place of work

Solicitor's office

Work address

26 Castle Street, Dundee, c.1846-1859.[12]
1 Bank Street, Dundee, 1861-1865[9]

Career to date:

David Reith was an advocate while living in Aberdeen in 1841,[13] but moved to Dundee in 1843 to become a partner in the firm of Christopher Kerr & Co. He left this to set up on his own account in 1858, in partnership with Alexander Leighton Lees, who had been confidential clerk to William Kerr. After Kerr's death, the new partners succeeded to his business.[10] He served as clerk to the Dundee Gas-Light Co. and was appointed clerk to Dundee Harbour Trust.[10]

More information

David Reith was the son of Alexander Reith. His contemporaries in Dundee believed him to have been born in Aberdeen,[14] but he was actually born in Dunottar, Kincardineshire. His mother was a toll keeper in Rubislaw and it was from there that he moved to Dundee.[13] He married Jane, only daughter of James Miller Esq. Grange, Inverarity, at Broughty Ferry on 22 October 1851.[3] A promising career was cut short when he died suddenly on 21 February 1866.[14] His partner, Alexander Leighton Lees also died in 1866, so neither of them saw the Albert Institute completed. David had “refrained from mingling with the strife of local parties” and was thus able to maintain a “high toned spirit of independence.”

“Besides enjoying the respect and esteem of a numerous clientele, he had endeared himself to a wide circle of townsmen by his courtesy and pleasant demeanour.”[14]


  1. Old Parish Record. Dunottar. Baptism. 19 February 1814. 255/20 61. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Old Parish Records. Monifieth. Banns. 19 October 1851. 310/60 322. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser, 24 October 1851. British Newspaper Archive website.
  4. Dundee Directory, 1846-47. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  7. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  8. Dundee Directory, 1858-59. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. Dundee Directories, 1861-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Dundee Courier, 23 February 1866. British Newspaper Archive website.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1846-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Directories, 1846-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  13. 1841 Census Scotland. Rubislaw, Old Machar. 168B ED30 p.11. Ancestry website.
  14. Norrie, William. (1873) Dundee Celebrities of the Nineteenth Century. Dundee: W. Norrie. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.

The information above about David Reith 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.