George Jameson Esquire
George Jameson, a London-born flax merchant, became the owner of a substantial fleet of vessels in Dundee. He also owned property in Broughty Ferry. He made a substantial subscription to the building of the Albert Institute.
Subscription value in 1863:
Relative to inflation up to 2020:
Relative to income compared to 2020:
Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Name of spouse
Grace Brown Bell
Florence: Mary Ann Sarah: William:
Age at death:
Place of death:
Seafield House, Broughty Ferry
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Established Church - Rev Dr Charles Adie (then of Greyfriar's, later of St Mary's East Church) officiated at George Jameson's marriage to Grace Brown Bell. George Jameson's body was interred within the grounds of St Aidan's Church in Broughty Ferry.
Clubs / societies
Subscriber 29 – Sir David Baxter was a fellow member of the Local Marine Board elected by owners of foreign-going vessels
Subscriber 30 – Thomas Bell – brother in law to George Jameson
Subscriber 36 – William Bell – brother in law to George Jameson
Subscriber 241 – Rev. Andrew Taylor – husband of George Jameson’s sister in law, Mary Hope Bell
Career and worklife
Flax merchant and ship owner
Place of work
George Jameson, merchant
Career to date:
George Jameson was the son of William Jameson. William came from London to Angus and became Provost of Montrose at times in the 1820s and 1840s. Listed as a merchant at the beginning of the 1840s, George Jameson's business transactions must surely have been lucrative. By 1846, he had acquired the imposing mansion of Seafield House, (where he died in 1886) together with the substantial house of Ida Bank and other property.. In 1848 he acquired, in partnership with his father, his first ship, the barque 'Trident,' built in Montrose by Messrs J. & D. Birnie. He added the barque 'Stork,' also built in Montrose, in 1852; the brig 'Heron,' built in Dundee in 1856; the barque 'Gannet,' built in Dundee in 1857; the barque 'Crane,' built in Arbroath in 1857 and the schooner 'Osprey,' built in Arbroath in 1861. By 1864 he had a fleet of 6 vessels. Of these, the 'Crane' and 'Gannet,' both built in 1857, were designated to voyage to the West Indies, the 'Osprey,' 'Heron' and 'Stork' to the Baltic and the 'Trident' for the longer voyage to Archangel.. Both the 'Crane' and the 'Trident' were lost, along with many other vessels, to the ice in the White Sea in 1867.
George Jameson was born in London to William Jameson and his wife Maria Pritchard. George himself would only have been a boy when the family arrived in Montrose. His father William became a linen merchant in Montrose and also served as Provost (during 1820s and 1840s) and Chief Magistrate of Montrose.
Curiously, one of George’s sisters was named Ann Maberly Jameson. The name ‘Maberly’ was surely indicative of William Jameson’s links with the ‘Broadford Works,’ developed by Sir John Maberly MP, (entrepreneur, speculator and introducer of jute to the UK) in Aberdeen. Broadford Works were then purchased by Messrs Richards & Co in 1834. William managed and invested in the firm of Messrs Richard & Co, although it could be surmised that his connection dated back to the days of Sir John Maberly – hence the naming of his daughter, born before the takeover. ‘Richards & Co’ also had a bleachworks at Rubislaw and ‘the same firm have extensive works in Montrose and neighbourhood, all of which formerly belonged to ‘Maberly & Co’ but were acquired by the present firm after the bankruptcy of their predecessors.’
By 1841, George Jameson, in his mid twenties and doubtless no stranger to the processes within the linen industry, was establishing himself as a merchant in Dundee. Shortly afterwards, in 1843, he married Grace Brown Bell, daughter of Thomas Bell of Belmont and sister of Thomas Bell Jnr., manufacturer.
By far the most recorded of George Jameson’s business interests were those of his ‘avian named’ vessels and the ill-fated ‘Trident.’
In 1848, the handsome, wooden, three-masted barque, ‘Trident’ was ‘launched from the building yard of Messrs J & D Birnie. She is to hail from this port and is, we understand, the property of Provost Jameson of Montrose and George Jameson, Dundee. The day being fine, there was a great crowd upon the beach and the stately vessel glided beautifully into her native element, amid the cheers of the spectators. It is very gratifying from this specimen and others of naval architecture which have lately been turned out at the port (Montrose) that our shipbuilders here are keeping pace with the times and proving that they can match their neighbours, both in beauty of design and excellent workmanship.’
Almost twenty years later however, the fate of the ‘Trident’ was sealed as it succumbed to the pack ice of the White Sea in 1867. At the time, one of George Jameson’s contemporaries and fellow flax merchant, W W Renny, received a letter from his brother Charles, (British Consul at Archangel) recounting the disaster, ‘occasioned by the ice in the White Sea – such ice and so closely packed.’ He wrote on...’we were seven days in the ice, seeing vessels going down and driven ashore daily.’ Charles Renny had supposed that 40-50 vessels were lost and wrecked but some captains said there must have been 100 or more. ‘The ‘Trident’ I saw going down off Pulonga Tower (a shipping guide light tower). She was pushed ashore and then destroyed by the ice, when she sank, her topmast showing above water.’
Fortunately, a telegram was received in Dundee from Captain Smith of the ‘Trident’ stating that he and his crew were at Archangel. They were all in good health and intended to leave for home in ten days.
Between the years of 1865 and 1873, as sailing ships were giving way to steam powered vessels, the‘Heron,’ ‘Osprey,’ ‘Crane’ and ‘Stork’ were sold by ‘private bargain.’
It would appear, by most accounts, that George Jameson ran his business as a sole operative. However, at the end of 1868, an announcement in the local press indicated a ‘Dissolution of Partnership’ between G Jameson and J Stewart. According to the report, ‘Notice is hereby given that the partnership carried on by the undersigned, under the firm of ‘George Jameson & Company, Merchants, Memel, was upon the 21 July 1868 DISSOLVED BY MUTUAL CONSENT.’
Further to that event, the following year saw another notice declaring ‘The copartnery which has for some time past been carried on by the undersigned, under the firm of ‘George Jameson,’ has been dissolved by mutual consent – signed G Jameson: W Young Buchan: The subscriber George Jameson will henceforth carry on the business in his own name and on his own account.’ William Young Buchan appeared in both the 1851 and 1861 census records as a ‘merchant’s clerk’ although, by 1871 his occupation was listed as ‘flax merchant.’
It was reported that his business connections had been principally with the lower Baltic ports where he had conducted extensive operations and had, for many years, partners or managers resident abroad to superintend his transactions in Russia.
George Jameson’s obituary described him as having been ‘the last of the older generation of flax merchants, the most active part of his career having been spent contemporaneously with such men as William Small, William Collier, David Martin, David Pitcairn, W W Renny etc. who have all passed away before him.’ Four of these gentlemen also subscribed to the building of the Albert Institute.
Having forged a successful career as a flax merchant over a number of decades, George Jameson, predeceased by his wife and son, led a retiring life in Broughty Ferry with his daughter Florence. His other daughter Mary survived him only by one year, leaving Florence as his only surviving child. Florence later married her cousin, Thomas Hope Bell (son of her uncle James Henderson Bell) in 1893, he having been 23 years her junior. Having become a woman of means through inheriting her father’s estate, (assessed at over £30,000) Seafield House, the family home for half a century, was sold in 1895.
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- Dundee Courier, 12 July 1895. Findmypast website.
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