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James Cay Esquire

Originally from Aberdeen he came to Dundee as a young man and became a shipowner, shipping and insurance agent. He died relatively young shortly after the Albert Institute opened.

Subscription value in 1863:


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Personal details and history

Full name

James Cay

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse

Jane Pickard[3]


None known

Home address

76 Dock Street, Dundee, c.1844-1845.[4]
37 Union Street, Dundee, c.1846-1859.[5]
Westfield House, King Street, Broughty Ferry, c.1861-1868.[6]

Age at death:


Place of death:

Broughty Ferry[7]

Date of death:




Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation


Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Director, Watt Institution, c.1844-1845. Trustee, Merchant Seamen's Fund, c.1850. Committee, Mutual Marine Insurance Association, c.1850 and 1858-1859. Committee, Seamen's Friends' Society, c.1853-1854. Commissioner, Union Association of Underwriters, c.1856-1865. Trustee, Forfarshire Permanent Property Investment Society, c.1856-1868. Director, Dundee Public Baths, c.1856-1857.[8]

Public offices

None known

Related subscribers

Career and worklife


Ship Agent[6]


Partner in Gray & Cay, ship agents[9]

Place of work

Shipping Agency

Work address

16 Dock Street, Dundee, c.1846-1847.[10]
19 Dock Street, Dundee, c.1850-1865.[11]

Career to date:

James Cay first appears in the local directories as a clerk in 1844, but soon enters into partnership with G.M. Gray as shipping and insurance agents at 16 Dock Street, Dundee.[10] The firm is thereafter to be found at 19 Dock Street, Dundee.[11] Gray & Cay were also shipowners having: Esperance (built 1835), c.1850; Ganges (built 1842), c.1850-1859; Lady Sale (built 1842), c.1850-1857; Lima (built 1846), c.1850-1862; Agnes (built 1855), c.1856-1857 and Mazurka (built 1847), c.1856-1865.[11] James Cay was also individually the owner of Camoena (built 1843), c.1850. Gray & Cay also acted as agents for sheathing copper[12] and for the Dundee Line who rn an Australian packet service.[12] The firms insurance agencies included the Minerva Insurance Co. and the Phoenix Marine Insurance Co.[12] The firm were also managers of the Dundee & Newcastle Steam Shipping Co., which operated the SS Dalhousie.[13] At the time of the 1861 census James employed three clerks in the business.[14]

More information

James Cay married the English-born Jane Pickard in Dundee in 1846.[3] The couple do not appear to have had any children, but had a Dundee-born nephew, James Aird, clerk, staying with them in 1851.[2]


  1. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Death. 1868. 282/4 86. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED21 p.11. Ancestry website.
  3. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Marriage. 27 April 1846. 282/230 191. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Dundee Directory, 1844-45. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Dundee Directories, 1846-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. Dundee Directories, 1861-1868. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  7. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 10 April 1868 and 23 February 1869. SC45/31/21. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Dundee Directories, 1844-1868. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. Dundee Directories, 1846-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Dundee Directory, 1846-47. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1850-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1861-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/1 ED35 p.7. Ancestry website.

The information above about James Cay 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.