James Edward Esquire
James Edward became the surviving partner of Messrs A & D Edward & Co., flax spinners and manufacturers. The business, established in 1828, was located at Logie Works on Scouringburn. On his death, the business folded together with the major loss of 1600 jobs.
Subscription value in 1863:
Relative to inflation up to 2023:
Relative to income compared to 2023:
Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Name of spouse
Mary Isabella (1847): Fanny Jemima (1848): Georgina Sophia (1850): Caroline Frances (1851): Augusta May (1857): James Kenrick (1859):
Age at death:
Place of death:
Balruddery House, Benvie
Date of death:
Family Vault, Liff Churchyard - James Edward's coffin was reinterred, after his funeral, from a temporary site to the vault
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Clubs / societies
Chamber of Commerce - a Member: Guildry - a Member and Office Bearer:
Subscriber 22 – John Boyd Baxter – brother in law of James Edward, married to his sister, Margaret Edward
Subscriber 70 – Allan Edward – brother of James Edward
Subscriber 120 – Robert Kennedy – was employed by A. & D. Edward & Co. before acquiring his own business
Subscriber 222 – Shiell & Small – David Small became the father in law of James Edward’s daughter, Caroline
Career and worklife
Partner and owner
Career to date:
As a young man in his 20s, James Edward began his working life as a merchant. Having entered into business as a merchant in the 1830s, James Edward became a partner of the firm of A & D Edward & Co., merchants and flaxspinners. The firm's operations were located at Logie Works in Scouringburn. Founded by his older brother, David Edward, Logie Works, through expansion, became one of the largest in the town. James Edward was eventually the sole partner of 'A & D Edward & Co.' at the time of his death in 1876.
James Edward was one of the four surviving sons of Alexander Edward and Marjory (May) Low.
His father, a tobacconist and candlemaker had premises at the ‘top of Murraygate.’ At the time of his father’s death in 1823, (when James was approximately 15 years old) Alexander (senior), held a small interest in the ‘Union Whale Fishing Company’ and in two vessels belonging to that company (plus another).
For James and his brothers Alexander, David and Allan, a mercantile life and a nodding acquaintance with shipping, was perhaps a life to which they had been introduced through their father’s business interests.
James’ oldest brother Alexander (junior), continued operating their father’s business and by 1829, his continuation in that field was listed (operating from 112 Murraygate), while living with his widowed mother at Greenfield Place. It was just before this time (in 1828) that James’ brother David set up business as a flax spinner at Scouringburn. His enterprise was the foundation of ‘A & D Edward & Co.’ merchants and flax spinners of Logie Works. He was joined in the venture by Alexander and also by James. By 1834, all four brothers were cited in the local directory – Alexander (shipowner), David (flax spinner), James (merchant) and Allan (also merchant). While at some points both Alexander and Allan featured in interests as well as and other than Logie Works, it may be inferred from local Directory entries that David and his younger brother, James, were ever associated with ‘A & D Edward & Co.’
Logie Works, belonging to ‘A & D Edward & Co,‘ situated at the west end of Scouringburn (now named Brook Street), were begun in 1828, the first steam engine being of 30 horse-power. In 1833, the works was enlarged and, subsequently, several additions were made. Latterly, it was described as follows:
‘The mill, fronting the Scouringburn, is about 300 feet long, and is of four storeys and attics in height. Though not quite so lofty as one or two of the more modern structures, it was spacious for its day, being then the largest building in town, and it is still a most imposing and handsome erection. This mill forms one side of a large open quadrangular court; the buildings on the opposite sides, which are high and extensive, are used as heckling and preparing rooms, and the whole are fireproof throughout.’
According to Warden, 40 power looms were put in operation in the range of buildings forming part of the north side of the mill court. Following that, a large, fire-proof power loom factory was erected in 1851, on the nursery grounds immediately to the south and west of the spinning mill. This may have consumed the ground on which stood Nursery Cottage, Scouringburn – the former home of David Edward. It was around this time that he (David) relocated to Windsor Place.
David Edward’s death came in 1857. Not many years later, Alexander Edward died in 1863, leaving James and Allan (he was by then assumed into the firm after Alexander’s death) as the remaining operators of the brothers’ business.
By 1864, ‘the machinery now in operation consists of 17,000 spindles and 600 power-looms, with the necessary preparing, calendaring, mangling and packing machines, employing altogether about 2,500 hands. the works are driven by 5 engines of 260 horse-power.’
Eventually, James Edward was predeceased by his brother, Allan in 1874, leaving him as the sole proprietor of the works. Then in his 60s, James Edward and Logie Works, an establishment almost 50 years in operation, came to an abrupt end, with James’ death in 1876. A report in the local press read:
‘We understand that Logie Works, belonging to the late firm of Messrs A & D Edward & Co. are to be closed in the course of a few days. This step has been resolved upon because of the firm having come to an end on the death of the only partner, Mr James Edward, and the very depressed and unremunerative state of the staple trade. About 1,600 hands now employed at the works will therefore be thrown idle.‘
The firm had carried on the manufacture of both linen and jute goods and had large connections abroad, its foreign business being very extensive.
Thereafter, for a number of years, the noise, bustle and clatter which would previously have emitted from that end of Scouringburn must have been pronounced in its absence.
The trustees for James Edward’s estate placed the different elements of Logie Works up for sale in 1879 – a complete and entire spinning and manufacturing enterprise split into pieces.
James Edward’s remains were placed within 3 coffins – ‘the inner of wood, the 2nd of lead and the outer of polished oak, handsomely mounted with brass.’ A procession of 40-50 carriages made its way from his estate at Balruddery, a residence which was previously owned by his brother David.
By all accounts, James Edward, from a young man, had devoted his whole time and energies to the interests of his business.
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. (1808). 282/ 90 338. ScotlandsPeople website
- Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1846). 282/ 230 192. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Memorial Stone Text. Liff Parish Churchyard.
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1861-62. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Dundee Postal Directory, 1864-65. p.119. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Statutory Registers. Liff and Benvie. Deaths. (1876). 310/ 12. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Courier. 7 August 1876. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser. 22 June 1849. p.2. Findmypast website.
- Dundee Courier. 2 February 1861. p.2. Findmypast website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1867-68. p. 123. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1834. p.16. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1837-38. p.26. National Library of Scotland website.
- Warden, Alexander J. The Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern. (1864). London. Longman. pp623-4.
- Dundee Courier. 2 August 1876. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Forfar Sheriff Court. (1824). SC47/ 40/ 1. ScotlandsPeople website.
- The Dundee Register and Directory. 1824-25. p.119. National Library of Scotland website.
- Dundee Directory, 1829-30. p.23. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1829-30. p.23. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1850. p.99. National Library of Scotland website.
- Aberdeen Press & Journal. 8 April 1863. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 17 June 1874. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 9 August 1876. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 1 March 1879. p.1 British Newspaper Archive website.
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