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Francis Whitehurst Esquire

Born in Derby, Francis Whitehurst was a travelling merchant at the time of his first marriage. He then settled in Dundee where he established a successful furniture business. On his retiral, the business continued trading with his son in charge.

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Personal details and history

Full name

Francis Whitehurst

Date of birth


Place of birth

Derby, England[1]



Marital status


Name of spouse

(1)Helen Turner (or Turly):[2] (2) Margaret Grandy:[3]


Francis:[4] Susan:[4]

Home address

30 South Tay Street[5][6]

Age at death:

73 years[7]

Place of death:

South Tay Street, Dundee[7][8]

Date of death:



Western Cemetery, Compartment 5.[9]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Episcopal Church - Married by the Bishop of Brechin:[3]

Political affiliation

Liberal - Francis Whitehurst was noted as having been on the committee listed for the return of Sir John Ogilvie as MP for Dundee[10]

Clubs / societies

The Dundee Soup Kitchens - A subscriber[11]

Public offices

None known

Related subscribers

Career and worklife


Furniture Dealer:[5] Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer:[12]



Place of work

Francis Whitehurst, Furniture Dealer[5]

Work address

28 South Tay Street[12]

Career to date:

In his early twenties, Francis Whitehurst had arrived in Scotland as a 'travelling merchant.'[2] His travels saw him both in Edinburgh[2] and Glasgow, before arriving in Dundee where he founded his business in 1845.[13] By 1846-47, he had established himself as a 'broker' in South Tay Street.[14] During the 1850s, Francis Whitehurst further developed the enterprise to become a furniture dealer of some repute. By the early 1860s, the concern comprised the supply of household furniture, carpets, family bedding etc. from premises at 28 & 30 South Tay Street.[5] He was to continue at the helm until his retiral in 1872 when his son, Francis Whitehurst Jnr., succeeded to the business, together with a partner, Alexander Wallace.

More information

Francis (baptised Frank)[1] Whitehurst was born in Derby, England to Francis Whitehurst (a bricklayer/builder)[7] and his wife Ann Bowler, on 22nd April 1810.[1] He was baptised in St Werburgh’s Church, Derby, where his parents were married 8 years earlier.[15]

In 1832, Francis Whitehurst, a young man in his early twenties, was listed as a ‘Travelling Merchant,’ when he married his first wife Helen Turner (or Turly).[2] Helen’s father Patrick was a shoemaker in Belfast.[2]

Francis Whitehurst began his furniture business in Dundee in 1845.[13]

The 1851 census listed the family in South Tay Street, Dundee together with children, Francis and Susan.[4]. The census stated that their son Francis had been born in Glasgow, while daughter Susan had been born in Monaghan, Ireland.[4] No longer listed as a ‘merchant,’ Francis’ occupation was declared to have been as a ‘broker.’[4]

A blow for this family was felt in 1854 when Francis’ wife, Helen, died of cholera.[16] Four years later, in 1857, Francis, now a furniture dealer, remarried.[3]

Throughout the 1850s, Francis Whitehurst, based at 28 & 30 South Tay Street, developed a growing business, adding the claims of cabinetmaker and upholsterer to the services offered to customers.

At the beginning of 1869, Francis Whitehurst continued to operate from 28 & 30 South Tay Street. However, by the end of the same year, his business had expanded considerably and had moved to larger premises at 48 & 50 South Tay Street. With the move, the calibre of the advertisements for the business had taken on a distinctly ‘upmarket’ tone. Now titled ‘F Whitehurst’s Cabinet & Upholstery Halls,’ the adverts declared that the operation had now assumed ‘enormous dimensions of 15,000 square feet of floorage, and being at present filled with one of the largest and most varied stock of HOUSE & OFFICE FURNITURE in Scotland and well worthy of a visit from those intending to purchase.’[17]  The advert, in its attempts to entice custom stated that ‘they (the customers) will be courteously shown through and advised, without being importuned to buy.’[17]

The same advertisement also indicated that Francis Whitehurst held a workshop and woodyard at nos. 34, 36 & 38 South Tay Street.[17] Some years earlier, ‘F Whitehurst’s Showrooms’ were listed at 28, 30, 34, 36 & 38 South Tay Street,[18] occupying an extensive part of the west side of the street.

Just 3 years after the expansion, in 1872, Francis Whitehurst declared his retiral from the business he founded in 1845 and had built up over 27 years.[13] The operation of ‘Cabinetmakers & Upholsterers’ in South Tay Street was transferred to his son, Francis Whitehurst Jnr. and Alexander Wallace, cabinetmaker, under the title of ‘Messrs Whitehurst & Wallace,’ who hoped to ‘merit an increased share of the public patronage.’[19]

Francis Whitehurst Snr. died on 22 October 1883 at the age of 73 years.[8] He was buried in the Western Cemetery together with his first wife, Helen and their son Francis.[9]


  1. Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812. (1810). Ancestry website.
  2. Old Parish Records. St Cuthberts. Marriages. (1832) 685/2 420 339. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Satatutory Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1857). 282/2 216. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Census Records. Dundee. (1851). 282/ 73/ 24. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1861-62. p.223. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  6. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1864-65. p.270. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  7. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1883). 282/ 1 453. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Dundee Courier & Argus, 23rd  October 1883. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
  9. Inscription on gravestone. Western Cemetery.
  10. The Dundee Courier, March 25th 1857. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  11. Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser, 16 February 1858. p.1. Findmypast website.
  12. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1864-65. p.200. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  13. Dundee Courier, 5 October 1872. p.1. Findmypast website.
  14. Dundee Post Office Directory, 1846-47. p.177. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  15. Derby, England, Marriages, 1538–1973. (1802). Ancestry website.
  16. Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1854). 282/ 290 72. ScotlandsPeople website.
  17. Northern Warder & General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth & Forfarshire, 24 December 1869. p.8. Findmypast website.
  18. Dundee People's Journal, 9 March 1861. p.1. Findmypast website.
  19. Dundee Courier, 2 October 1872. p.1. Findmypast website.

The information above about Francis Whitehurst 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.