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Gershom Gourlay Esquire

A versatile person, being at various times a writer and notary public, an engineer and a shipbuilder. Gourlay Brothers & Co would rise to be the biggest shipbuilding firm in Dundee during his time as a partner.

Subscription value in 1863:

£10

Relative to inflation up to 2020:

£1000

Relative to income compared to 2020:

£8000

Personal details and history

Full name

Gershom Gourlay

Date of birth

00-04-1823[1]

Place of birth

Dundee[1]

Gender

Male

Marital status

Married 1851[2]

Name of spouse

Eleanor Jane Garrett[2]

Children

Henry Garrett (1852),[3] Eleanor Jane (1853)[4] William Frederick (1856),[5] Florence Emily (1857),[6] Charles Gershom (1859),[7] Norvis Alexander (1860),[8] Margaret Eleanor (1861),[9] Alfred Edward (1864),[10] Kenneth McKenzie (1865)[11] and Francis Thornburgh (1867).[12]

Home address

Wellbank, Newport, Fife, c.1853-1854.[13]
Airlie Lodge, Airlie Place, Dundee[14]
Balgay House, Dundee, c.1871-1872.[15]
The Gows, Invergowrie, c.1876-1881.[16]
10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, c.1884-1891.[17][18]
Airlie Lodge, 5 Whitehouse Terrace, Edinburgh, c.1901-1902.[19][20]

Age at death:

Place of death:

Edinburgh[20]

Date of death:

28-01-1902[20]

Buried:

Unknown

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Unknown

Political affiliation

Unknown

Clubs / societies

Littlejohn & Gourlay acted as agents for the Northern Assurance Co.[21] and as secretaries and solicitors for the Forfarshire Permanent Property Investment Co.,[21] of which Alexander Gourlay was a trustee and also acted as agents for the Minerva Insurance Co.[22] Littlejohn & Gourlay also acted as secretaries of the Dundee Mutual Assurance and Endowment Society.[23] Gershom replaced his brother, Alexander, as a trustee of the Forfarshire Permanent Property Investment Co. for a short time[24] and went on to serve on a number of Dundee boards and committees: director, Chamber of Commerce, c.1874-1875;[25] general committee, Mars Training Ship, c.1871-1902;[26] director, Dundee Institute for the Blind, c.1874-1877;[27] director, Texas Land & Cattle Co. Ltd., c.1884-1887.[28]

Public offices

None known

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.89 – Gourlay Brothers – the family firm which he joined in 1864.

Career and worklife

Occupation

Writer,[21] engineer[29][30] and shipbuilder[30]

Employment

Partner in Littlejohn & Gourlay, writers and notaries public[21] and subsequently Gourlay Brothers & Co.[30]

Place of work

Legal Office[21]

Work address

Dundee Foundry, c.1846-1853.[29]
10 Reform Street, Dundee, c.1853-1864.[21]
Dundee Foundry, East Dock Street, c.1864-1886.[30]
Marine Parade, Dundee, c.1864-1872.[31]
Camperdown Shipbuilding Yard, East Camperdown Street, Dundee, c.1874-1886.[32]

Career to date:

The earliest mention of Gershom Gourlay in the local directories was as part of the engineering firm of Gourlay, Mudie & Co., which took over the Dundee Foundry in 1846.[29] His brothers, Alexander and Henry, were also members of the firm and David Mudie was the non-family partner.[29] The partnership was dissolved in 1853 and Gershom went back to his legal career, entering into partnership with D.S. Littlejohn. In the 1853 directory he was listed as both an engineer and a writer.[13] Alexander & Henry continued as engineers and opted to specialise in shipbuilding, making iron steamships with screw propulsion. The engineering works at Dundee Foundry were used to supply the shipbuilding yard which was located at Marine Parade.[33]

More information

Gershom Gourlay was one of the sons of William Gourlay (1776-1843) and Margaret Balfour (1795-1885). William was associated with the East India Service[34] and Margaret was the daughter of a Dundee Provost.[34] The couple married in 1817[35] and had a large family: William (1818),[36] Margaret (1820),[37] Alexander (1821),[38] Gershom (1823),[1] Jane (1824),[39] Janet (1826),[40] Anne (1828),[41] Henry (1830),[42] Euphemia (1831),[43] Frederick (1834),[44] James (1835),[45] Helen (1837)[46] and another William (1839).[47] 

Gershom was someone with an unusual career history. He was an engineer but also a writer and notary public. He had been part of Gourlay, Mudie & Co.[33] but when that partnership was dissolved, he formed a law firm with D.S. Littlejohn, at 10 Reform Street.[13] The directory of 1853-54 had him listed as an engineer, at his home address of Wellbank, Newport, but also as a writer in the list of procurators and solicitors of Dundee.[13] Gershom married Eleanor Jane Garrett from Irvine in 1851[2] and the couple had ten children.

The partnership with Littlejohn ended in 1864 when Gershom joined Gourlay Brothers & Co. on Alexander’s retirement.[48] When Gershom rejoined the family business, he was living at Airlie Lodge, Airlie Place, Dundee, previously occupied by his mother[49] and Alexander[50] and which would remain his home throughout the 1860s.[14] He then moved briefly to Balgay House,[15] before making his home at The Gows, Invergowrie.[16] By 1884, Gershom had moved permanently to Edinburgh, firstly at 10 Drumsheugh Gardens[17] and latterly at Airlie Lodge, Whitehouse Terrace, Edinburgh.[51] The name Airlie Lodge must have had great sentimental meaning, as it was used in various locations by different members of the family.

He withdrew from active participation in Gourlay Brothers & Co. after 1889, but his sons, Henry Garrett Gourlay and Charles Gershom Gourlay, would carry on in the business in his place.[33] Henry Garrett Gourlay joined Gourlay Brothers & Co. about 1885[52] and Charles Gershom Gourlay followed a couple of years later.[53]

Gershom died in 1902, aged 78.[20] On his death, it was stated that “the town’s status in shipbuilding owed more to him than any other individual.”[33] The value of his estate was £103,316 5s. 2d.[54]

Sources

  1. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. April 1823. 282/150 162. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Old Parish Records. Irvine. Banns. 29 June 1851. 595/40 325 and Dundee. Banns. 9 July 1851. 282/230 368. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Old Parish Records. Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie. Baptism. 7 April 1852. 301/40 136. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Old Parish Records. Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie. Baptism. 23 April 1853. 301/40 142. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1856. 282/2 718. ScotlandsPeople website.
  6. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1857. 282/2 1482. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1859. 282/2 526. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1860. 282/2 665. ScotlandsPeople website.
  9. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1861. 282/2 1073. ScotlandsPeople website.
  10. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1864. 282/2 297. ScotlandsPeople website.
  11. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1865. 282/2 960. ScotlandsPeople website.
  12. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1867. 282/2 116. ScotlandsPeople website.
  13. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1858-1870. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Dundee Directories, 1876-1881. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. 1891 Census Scotland. St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh. 685A/2 ED35 p21.
  19. 1901 Census Scotland. Robertson memorial, Newington, Edinburgh. 685/5 ED109 p.6.
  20. Statutory Registers. Newington. Death. 28 January 1902. 685/5 100. ScotlandsPeople website.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1853-1865. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  22. Dundee Directories, 1856-1859. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directory, 1858-59. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Dundee Directory, 1874-75. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1871-1902. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  28. Dundee Directories, 1884-1887. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  29. Dundee Directories, 1846-1850. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  30. Dundee Directories, 1864-1886. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  31. Dundee Directories, 1864-1872. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  32. Dundee Directories, 1874-1886. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  33. Lythe, S.G.E. (1964) Gourlays of Dundee: the rise and fall of a Scottish shipbuilding firm. Dundee: Abertay Historical Society.
  34. Dundee Courier, 24 March 1899. British Newspaper Archive website.
  35. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Marriage. 28 July 1817. 282/140 269. ScotlandsPeople website.
  36. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 24 April 1818. 282/100 271. ScotlandsPeople website.
  37. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 18 January 1820. 282/150 5. ScotlandsPeople website.
  38. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. August 1821. 282/150 75. ScotlandsPeople website.
  39. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. September 1824. 282/150 236. ScotlandsPeople website.
  40. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. June 1826. 282/160 34. ScotlandsPeople website.
  41. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 11 April 1828. 282/160 145. ScotlandsPeople website.
  42. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 3 February 1830. 282/160 265. ScotlandsPeople website.
  43. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 7 August 1831. 282/170 39. ScotlandsPeople website.
  44. Old Parish Records. Leith South. Baptism. 25 May 1834. 692/2 190 133. ScotlandsPeople website.
  45. Old Parish Records. Leith South. Baptism. 12 July 1835. 692/2 190 158. ScotlandsPeople website.
  46. Old Parish Records. Leith South. Baptism. 9 March 1837. 692/2 190 210. ScotlandsPeople website.
  47. Old Parish Records. Leith South. Baptism. 22 October 1839. 692/2 190 264. ScotlandsPeople website.
  48. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  49. Dundee Directories, 1850-1854. Local Studies, Central Library. Dundee.
  50. Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  51. Wills and Testaments. Edinburgh Sheriff Court Wills. 17 April 1902. SC70/4/338. ScotlandsPeople website.
  52. Dundee Directory, 1885-86. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  53. Dundee Directory, 1887-88. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  54. Calendar of Confirmations, 1902. Ancestry website.

The information above about Gershom Gourlay 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.