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.
Subscription value in 1863:
Relative to inflation up to 2023:
Relative to income compared to 2023:
Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Age at death:
Western Cemetery, Compartment 5.
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Episcopal Church - Married by the Bishop of Brechin:
Liberal - Francis Whitehurst was noted as having been on the committee listed for the return of Sir John Ogilvie as MP for Dundee
Clubs / societies
The Dundee Soup Kitchens - A subscriber
Career and worklife
Place of work
Francis Whitehurst, Furniture Dealer
28 South Tay Street
Career to date:
In his early twenties, Francis Whitehurst had arrived in Scotland as a 'travelling merchant.' His travels saw him both in Edinburgh and Glasgow, before arriving in Dundee where he founded his business in 1845. By 1846-47, he had established himself as a 'broker' in South Tay Street. 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. 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.
Francis (baptised Frank) Whitehurst was born in Derby, England to Francis Whitehurst (a bricklayer/builder) and his wife Ann Bowler, on 22nd April 1810. He was baptised in St Werburgh’s Church, Derby, where his parents were married 8 years earlier.
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). Helen’s father Patrick was a shoemaker in Belfast.
Francis Whitehurst began his furniture business in Dundee in 1845.
The 1851 census listed the family in South Tay Street, Dundee together with children, Francis and Susan.. The census stated that their son Francis had been born in Glasgow, while daughter Susan had been born in Monaghan, Ireland. No longer listed as a ‘merchant,’ Francis’ occupation was declared to have been as a ‘broker.’
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.’ 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.’
The same advertisement also indicated that Francis Whitehurst held a workshop and woodyard at nos. 34, 36 & 38 South Tay Street. Some years earlier, ‘F Whitehurst’s Showrooms’ were listed at 28, 30, 34, 36 & 38 South Tay Street, 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. 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.’
- Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812. (1810). Ancestry website.
- Old Parish Records. St Cuthberts. Marriages. (1832) 685/2 420 339. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Satatutory Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1857). 282/2 216. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Census Records. Dundee. (1851). 282/ 73/ 24. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Post Office Directory, 1861-62. p.223. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Dundee Post Office Directory, 1864-65. p.270. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1883). 282/ 1 453. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Courier & Argus, 23rd October 1883. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Inscription on gravestone. Western Cemetery.
- The Dundee Courier, March 25th 1857. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser, 16 February 1858. p.1. Findmypast website.
- Dundee Post Office Directory, 1864-65. p.200. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Dundee Courier, 5 October 1872. p.1. Findmypast website.
- Dundee Post Office Directory, 1846-47. p.177. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Derby, England, Marriages, 1538–1973. (1802). Ancestry website.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1854). 282/ 290 72. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Northern Warder & General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth & Forfarshire, 24 December 1869. p.8. Findmypast website.
- Dundee People's Journal, 9 March 1861. p.1. Findmypast website.
- Dundee Courier, 2 October 1872. p.1. Findmypast website.
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