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Mr. James Prain junior

James Prain junior was the son of James Prain, the founder of the firm of James Prain & Sons, Larchfield Works, Walton Street, Dundee. Together with his older brother he ran the firm after his father's death in 1890.

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Personal details and history

Full name

James Prain junior

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse




Home address

31 Park Wynd, Dundee, c.1851-1863.[3][4]
Cherryfield Cottage, Blackness Road, Dundee, c.1864-1870.[5]
5 Dudhope Terrace, Dundee, c.1871-1929.[6]

Age at death:


Place of death:


Date of death:




Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Congregationalist, Ward Chapel, Dundee.[2]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Captain, Panmure and Dalhousie Golf Clubs.[2]

Public offices

None known

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.184 – James Prain – his father.

Career and worklife





Place of work

Textile Works and merchants office

Work address

Park Wynd, Dundee, c.1863.[4]
Larchfield Works, Walton Street, Dundee, c.1864-1900.[8]
Office, 24 Cowgate (aka 24 St Andrews Place), Dundee, c.1869-1889.[9]

Career to date:

At the time of the subscription to the Albert Institute James Prain junior was identified as a manufacturer along with his father, James Prain senior.[4] By 1864 the Prains had taken over the Larch Street Factory, Dundee, which had one engine of 8 hp, 40 power looms and employed 100 hands.[10][11] They then created the Larchfield Works, Walton Street, Dundee.[12] This new mill was three storeys high and gave work to a large number of operatives.[13] The firm became James Prain & Sons, spinners and manufacturers,[14] with James Prain junior and his older brother, John Easton Prain,[15] joining their father as his partners.

More information

James Prain was the son of James Prain the founder of the firm of James Prain & Sons, spinners and manufacturers, Larchfield Works, Walton St, Dundee and Barbara Sutherland.

Barbara Prain, mother of James Prain junior died on 14 December 1854 at 31 Park Wynd, aged 48, of “disease of heart”.[16] John did not marry and moved house with his father, first to Cherryfield Cottage, Blackness Road, Dundee[5] and then to 5 Dudhope Terrace, Dundee. This remained his home for the rest of his life.[17] In 1871 the Larchfield Works employed 200 women, 35 men and 30 boys. James Prain senior and his two sons, John E.,32 and James Prain, 30, were all described as jute spinners and manufacturers in the census of that year.[18] James and his father were also described as merchants in the local directory.[19] The household also included three daughters, Elizabeth Easton, 37; Agnes, 33 and Margaret B., 19 and two female servants.[18] John Easton Prain married Catherine Curror soon after[20] and moved out of his father’s house to set up home at 8 Springfield[19] before moving to 13 Albany Terrace,[21] a little further up the slopes of Dundee Law from Dudhope Terrace. He eventually moved his family to Blackness House, Seymour Street, Dundee.[22]

From his early days James Prain junior was an enthusiastic golfer, chess and bridge player.[2] He was a Congregationalist and a member of the Ward Chapel, of which he was a generous supporter and “took a great interest in its affairs.”[2] He was deeply interested in his home city. He was said to be “intimately acquainted with all its famous haunts, and his knowledge of its history, antiquities, and traditions was extensive and intensive.”[23]

James Prain senior died in 1890[24] and James Prain junior ran Larchfield Works with his brother, John Easton Prain until his retirement about 1900.[25] Thereafter the business was run by John and his son, James,[26] with his younger son, John Curror Prain, joining the firm just before the Great War.[27] After retiring he shared his home with his sister, Agnes, and his Irish-born niece, Bessie P. Lowson.[28]

John Easton Prain died in 1914, aged 75,[29] and his sons continued as the third generation in the business.[30] Their uncle died in 1929, aged 88.[7] James Prain left annuities of £80 to two of his faithful servants, but remarkably his housekeeper, Isabella Stewart, died the day after her employer.[31] In 1928 it is known that the “Company of James Prain & Sons has been wound up and reinstated as James Prain & Sons Ltd.” This move would have been common at the time following the Companies Consolidation Act 1908.[32]


  1. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 282/180 360. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Obituary book no.2. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  3. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED23 p.41. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Dundee Advertiser, 23 December 1863. British Newspaper Archive website.
  5. Dundee Directories, 1864-1870. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. Dundee Directories, 1871-1929. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  7. Statutory Registers. St. Clement, Dundee. Death. 23 January 1929. 282/2 83. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Dundee Directories, 1867-1902. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. Dundee Directories, 1869-1889. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Warden, Alex. J. (1867) The Linen Trade Ancient and Modern. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green.
  11. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Watson, Mark. (1990) Jute and Flax Mills in Dundee. Tayport: Hutton Press.
  13. Dundee Courier, Saturday, 12 October 1867. Entitled "Starting a new Factory". British Newspaper Archive website.
  14. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 11 January 1839. 282/180 229. ScotlandsPeople website.
  16. Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions in Angus Vol. 4. Dundee and Broughty Ferry. Constitution Road Cemetery. No. 28. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directories, 1871-1929. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED24 p.34. ScotlandsPeople website.
  19. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Statutory Registers. Beath, Fife. Marriage. 1871. 410/18. ScotlandsPeople website.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1878-1893. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  22. Dundee Directories, 1893-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Courier, 24 January 1929. British Newspaper Archive website.
  24. Statutory Registers. St. Mary, Dundee. Death. 1890. 282/2 250. ScotlandsPeople website.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1891-1901. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1902-1914. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directory, 1913-14. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  28. 1901 Census Scotland. St. Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED7 p.57. Ancestry website.
  29. Statutory Registers. St. Peter, Dundee. Death. 1914. 282/1 309. ScotlandsPeople website.
  30. Dundee Directories, 1915-1923. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  31. Dundee Courier, 9 March 1929. British Newspaper Archive website.
  32. Dundee Evening Telegraph, 27 January 1928. British Newspaper Archive website.

The information above about James Prain junior 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.