Hector Turnbull Esquire
Member of a family of bleachers and calenderers who retired at a relatively young age, shortly after subscribing to the Albert Institute. He was of a retiring disposition, taking little part in public affairs.
Subscription value in 1863:
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Relative to income compared to 2023:
Personal details and history
Place of birth
Mains & Strathmartine
Name of spouse
Age at death:
Place of death:
Date of death:
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Church of Scotland - Broughty Ferry Parish Church.
Clubs / societies
Committee, Hawkhill Bowling Club, c.1853-1854.
Career and worklife
Cloth and yarn bleacher, yarn miller and calenderer.
Place of work
Bleachfield and merchant's office
Career to date:
Hector Turnbull followed his father and brother into the family business as cloth and yarn bleachers, calenderers and packers. The Bleachfield was located at Claverhouse with the calender works and office in Dundee. He married shortly before the subscription to the Albert Institute and retired from active participation in the business soon afterwards.
Hector Turnbull was the son of Hector Turnbull and Margaret Jacobina Walker, having been born at Mains & Strathmartine in 1814, although apparently not baptised until 1821. His father would set up the firm of Turnbull & Co., bleachers and calenderers, Cowgate and Claverhouse about the time of the young Hector’s birth. It has been recorded that there had been a Bleachfield at Claverhouse from the end of the 18th century, having been operated at the time by Thomas Collier & Co. By 1814, the firm of Turnbull & Co. was founded by Hector Turnbull, in partnership with William Baxter. Henry Samuel Boase’s arrival in Dundee in 1838 saw him enter into partnership, as managing partner, within the bleaching company of Messrs Tunbull & Co, at Claverhouse. It was reputed to have been the largest Dundee bleachfield of the early 19th century and was fed by a system of lades, ponds and dams.
Hector Turnbull’s son, John, then the managing proprietor of the works, died in 1847. Hector Turnbull junior, the subscriber to the Albert Institute, retired in the early 1860s. In 1865, Turnbull & Co., described as ‘bleachers of Claverhouse, yarn millers at Trottick and calenderers in Dundee,’ was then owned by the co-partnery of Sir David Baxter and Henry Samuel Boase. By December of 1865, the name of the firm changed to ‘Boase & Co,’ with Sir David Baxter owning half the company – the other half was held by Henry Samuel Boase and his 2nd son, Alfred.
Hector Turnbull junior married in 1860 had Ardle Cottage built and named, presumably, in honour of his wife’s Perthshire roots. She was the second daughter of Patrick Small Esq. of Dirnanean. Hector seems to have spent the next forty years in retirement in Broughty Ferry. The couple provided a home for two nieces, Emily and Mary Brown, who had been born in New South Wales, Australia.
His wife pre-deceased him in 1890, aged 60. Their nieces remained with Hector through his old age. He died at Broughty Ferry on 26 July 1901, aged 87, and left an estate valued at £10,523 11s. 3d. He was described as being of “a retiring disposition” and took no part in public affairs. He was a Liberal in politics, being an admirer of Mr. Gladstone. He was also described as “a staunch churchman” who was a member of Broughty Ferry Parish Church.
- Old Parish Records. Mains & Strathmartine. 26 May 1814. FHL Film no.993489. Ancestry website.
- Old Parish Records. Mains & Strathmartine. 24 August 1821. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. Moulin. Marriage. 26 June 1860. 384/2. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Directory, 1846-47. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directory, 1850. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1856-1859. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1861-1901. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Statutory Registers. Monifieth. Death. 26 July 1901. 310/100. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Courier. 27 July 1901. p.6. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1846-1862. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1846-1857. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directories, 1850-1854. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Dundee Directory, 1824-25. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
- Archives Hub. Ref. GB 254. MS 10. (1838-1966). Dundee University Archives.
- Gauldie, Enid E. Scottish Bleachfields 1718-1862. B Phil. Thesis. Dundee University Library. 1966.
- McKean, Charles; Walker, David. Dundee - An Illustrated Architectural Guide. (1984). Royal Incorporation of Architects. p.161.
- Dundee Advertiser. 29 July 1890. p.6. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Cutting from scrapbook of Johan Small. 1860. Members pictures. Ancestry website.
- 1881 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED7 p.31. Ancestry website.
- 1891 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED6 p.7. Ancestry website.
- Statutory Registers. Monifieth. Death. 1890. 310/65. ScotlandsPeople website.
- 1901 Census Scotland. Monifieth. 310 ED8 p.7. Ancestry website.
- Calendar of Confirmations, 1901. Ancestry website.
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