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George Burnett Esquire

George became wealthy as a Montrose merchant seaman and shipowner. On moving to Dundee he become a merchant. He took on a partner and then travelled the world. He supported the Mars Training Ship and helped local fisherfolk.

Subscription value in 1865:

£10

Relative to inflation up to 2018:

£1000

Relative to income compared to 2018:

£8000

Personal details and history

Full name

George Burnett

Date of birth

circa 1809[1]

Place of birth

England[2] (possibly North Shields,[3] but locally believed to be a native of Montrose)[1]

Gender

Male

Marital status

Married[1]

Name of spouse

Susan[4]

Children

Jessie[5] (Married Dr William Taylor in 1870)[6]

Home address

Cottage Place, Broughty Ferry, c.1850.[7]
2 Douglas Terrace, Broughty Ferry, c.1851-1859.[8]
Linden Place, Broughty Ferry, c.1861-1862.[9]
Seafield Cottage, Broughty Ferry, c.1864-1885.[10]

Age at death:

76[1]

Place of death:

Trieste[1]

Date of death:

13-03-1885[1]

Buried:

Unknown, but probably in Trieste (no records in Dundee area)

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Unknown

Political affiliation

Unknown

Clubs / societies

Secretary, Broughty Ferry Bowling Club, c.1853-1859.[11] Member of Local Marine Board, appointed by the Board of Trade, c.1853-1885.[12] Vice-consul for Hamburg, c.1853-1870.[13] Committee member, Dundee Trade Report Association, c.1856-1857.[14] Councillor, Panmure Golf Club, c.1856-1857.[15] Patron, Thistle Juvenile Band, Broughty Ferry, c.1856-1857.[16] Vice-consul for Bremen, c.1861-1870.[17] Vice-consul for Lubeck, c.1861-1870.[18] Member of general and executive committees, Mars Training Ship, c.1871-1877.[19] Member of the Hansford Land and Cattle Co. Ltd., 3 India Buildings, Dundee, c.1884-1885.[20] Support to fisherfolk in Broughty Ferry, an area of deprivation on the sea-shore.[1]

Public offices

None

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.18 – Edward Baxter – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.29 – Sir David Baxter – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.62 – George Duncan – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.70 – Allan Edward – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.156 – T. Weston Miln – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.177 – David Pitcairn – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

Subscriber no.238 – Anthony Trail – Committee for opening a sailors’ home.

 

Career and worklife

Occupation

Merchant of flax and linen[21]

Employment

Owner/senior partner[1]

Place of work

George Burnett and Co.

Work address

31 Cowgate, Dundee, c.1850.[22]
7 Cowgate, Dundee, c.1853-1854.[23]
33 Meadowside, Dundee, c.1856-1857.[24]
34 Meadowside, Dundee, 1861-1868.[25]
29 Meadowside, Dundee, c. 1869-1877.[26]
2 India Buildings, Victoria Road, Dundee, 1878-1885.[27]

Career to date:

Burnett entered a lawyer's office in his youth, but not finding this to his liking he then went to sea on a merchant vessel. He prospered at sea and as the youngest commander of the time he is reputed to have brought one of the first cargoes of guano (fertiliser) to London. He was later a shipowner in his home port of Montrose.[28] In 1845 he married Susan, daughter of Major-General Brown, He moved from Montrose and set up as a flax and linen merchant in Dundee, making Broughty Ferry his home. He also owned the 1847-built brig "Bonanza" after moving to Dundee.[29] He was appointed to the Local Marine Board by the Board of Trade,[12] presumably because of his wide experience as a sailor, shipowner and merchant. He was also involved in the improvement of the pilotage of the River Tay.[30] He was one of the distinguished committee appointed to arrange the opening of a sailors' home in Dundee.[31] Burnett took on a partner, Mr Mann, and the business became George Burnett & Co.[32] He started travelling the world, spending a great deal of his later life abroad. He wrote accounts of his travels which appeared in the local press.[1]

More information

George Burnett was one of the main movers in securing the Mars Training Ship for the Tay.[33] He also took an interest in the lives of the fisher families of Broughty Ferry and to help prevent loss of life provided 22 barometers for the deep sea fishing boats to help them anticipate storms. He was undertaking a Mediterranean tour for the sake of his wife’s health when he suffered an accident in Malta Harbour. Initially he appeared unscathed, but beginning to feel unwell he cut short the tour in Trieste where he died. As a mark of respect, when news reached Dundee, the Mars Training Ship lowered its flag to half-mast.[1]

Sources

  1. Obituary Book No.1, 1869-1894. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  2. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED3 p.12 and 1861 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED5 p.8. Ancestry website.
  3. 1871 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED6 p.24. ScotlandsPeople website. (The place name is barely legible).
  4. Old Parish Records. Montrose. Marriage. 30 November 1845. 312/110 374. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED3 p.12. ScotlandsPeople website.
  6. Statutory Register. Monifieth. Marriage. 1870. 310/39. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  8. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED3 p.12. Ancestry website and Dundee Directories, 1853-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. 1861 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED5 p.8. Ancestry website and Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Dundee Directories, 1864-1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1853-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Directories, 1853-1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1853-1870. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directories, 1861-1870. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. Dundee Directories, 1861-1870. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  19. Dundee Directories, 1871-1877. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1850-1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  22. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1861-1868. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1869-1877. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1878-1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  28. Northern Warder, 22 February 1842. British Newspaper Archive.
  29. Dundee Directories, 1850-1857. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  30. Dundee, Perth and Cupar Advertiser, 8 December 1848 and 12 February 1850. British Newspaper Archive.
  31. Dundee Courier, 25 December 1850. British Newspaper Archive.
  32. Dundee Directories, 1858-1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  33. Dundee Evening Telegraph, 14 March 1885. British Newspaper Archive.

The information above about George Burnett 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.