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Mr Joseph Johnstone Barrie

Relatively young, but experienced, he was setting out in business as partner in a new firm of merchants and commission agents. By the time of his death he was considered an authority on all matters pertaining to the jute industry.

Subscription value in 1865:

£10

Relative to inflation up to 2018:

£1000

Relative to income compared to 2018:

£8000

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Personal details and history

Full name

Joseph Johnstone Barrie

Date of birth

10-04-1836[1]

Place of birth

Dundee[1]

Gender

Male

Marital status

Single[2]

Name of spouse

None

Children

None

Home address

Coldside/Caldside, Dundee[3]
126 Strathmartine Rd, Dundee[4]
The Vine, 43 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee[5]

Age at death:

58 years[6]

Place of death:

The Vine, Magdalen Road, Dundee[6]

Date of death:

26-07-1894[6]

Buried:

Eastern Necropolis, Dundee on 30-07-1894[7]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Church of Scotland - East Parish Church, Dundee[8]

Political affiliation

Liberal until 1886 (became an honorary vice-president of the Dundee & District Liberal Unionist Association in 1891).[9]

Clubs / societies

None

Public offices

None

Related subscribers

Subscriber no.4 – George Armitstead was his former employer.

Subscriber no.97 – David Halley was his partner in Halley & Barrie.

Subscriber no.130 – James Luke – both men were involved with the Samnuggur Jute works in Calcutta.

Career and worklife

Occupation

Merchant & commission agent[10]

Employment

Partner[11]

Place of work

Halley & Barrie[11]

Work address

1 Royal Exchange Place, Dundee, c.1863-1868[12]
8 Panmure Street, Dundee, c.1869-1875[13]
45 Albert Square/Meadowside, c.1876-1879[14]
10 Panmure Street, Dundee, c.1880-1894[15]

Career to date:

Joseph Johnstone Barrie (appears as Joseph Johnston Barry in the Old Parish Records)[1] was third child to Charles Barrie, a builder, and Barbara Couper, in Coldside Dundee. He had five siblings: Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, Charles and George.[16] In his fourteenth year he entered the offices of Messrs H & T Peters, Bain Square, Dundee before moving to Messrs D & J Thomson, Seafield Works, Dundee. His next move was to work as a salesman for George Armitstead & Co. This post involved regular travel to England and the continent. He was involved in the firm's mixed business interests of jute, flax, timber etc and he was also involved in the introduction of jute carpeting to the market. About the same time as the subscription for the Albert Institute he entered into partnership with David Halley as jute and general merchants.[17] Until 1862 he had been described as a clerk in the local directories,[18] but on the original subscription list he is described as a merchant.[19] The new firm also acted as commission agents and were agents for the Insurance Company of Scotland (Fire & Life). At this time Joseph was still living at the family home at Coldside. His father was now described as a grocer and spirit dealer.[20] The firm of Halley & Barrie took an influential place in the market at a time when manufacturers did not import jute directly, but acquired their raw material from merchants like these two young men. Joseph had built up contacts through his years working for other Dundee merchants and Halley was seen as an astute businessman, who in later life became a stockbroker.[21]

More information

Joseph Johnstone Barrie remained a partner of Halley & Barrie for five years and then carried on business on his own as a merchant and commission agent.[22] He also continued to act as an agent for the Insurance Company of Scotland, 1869-1894.[23] He became a director of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce and a committee member of the Dundee Trade Report Association in 1871.[24] He was made an honorary member of the Dundee Choral Society/Union.[25] He was also a long-term member of the Eastern Club in Albert Square, which opened in 1868.[26]

He is variously described as living at Coldside and 124 Strathmartine Road in the directory of 1874-75, but this latter address, close to Paterson Street, would fall under the Coldside area. His mother was in the same directory as a grocer at 126 Strathmartine Road and appeared to be carrying on her husband’s business. The following year Joseph and his mother are both listed at 126 Strathmartine Road.[27]

In 1875 Joseph became involved in the jute industry of India as part of the Samnuggur Jute Factory Co (Ltd), jute manufacturers[28] and was secretary of its Dundee office.[29] Located near Calcutta, this was the largest mill and factory in India. Joseph was later described as one of the pioneers of the jute industry of the east.[30]  The Samnuggar Jute Factory which  was particularly successful at a time (c.1875) when other Calcutta mills languished or failed, proved the ability of the Calcutta mills to compete with Dundee for the American and Australian markets.[31]

In 1876 Joseph acted as one of the governors of Morgan Hospital, representing the Nine Trades of Dundee, and was on the Dundee Harbour Trust, representing the Guildry Incorporation.[32]

Joseph purchased The Vine, 43 Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee from the trustees of the late George Duncan, MP, and set up home there with his sister, Elizabeth.[33] Adding to his business interests, he also became manager of the Craigie Yard Warehouse Company in 1878[34] and a director of the Northern Marine Insurance Co., 67 Reform Street, Dundee in 1884.[35] He also became an assessor of the Guildry Incorporation,[36] a director of the Dundee Mission to the Out-Door Blind[37] and a member of the council, and subsequently vice-president and then president of the S and T Whist Club, 104 Nethergate, Dundee.[38]

In 1886 he wa,s vice-president of Dundee Chamber of Commerce before serving the following year as its president.[39] The custom was for the outgoing president to provide a stained-glass window at the chamber and Joseph gave one on the theme of history.[40] He subsequently acted as the Chamber of Commerce representative on the Dundee & District Association for the Promotion of Technical and Commercial Education.[41]

Having been a loyal supporter of the Liberal Party, Barrie became a Liberal Unionist in 1886, when the party split over the issue of Irish Home Rule.[42]

Joseph took on a further insurance agency for the Alliance Assurance Company in 1888.[43] About the same time the firm became Joseph J. Barrie & Co, merchants, commission and insurance agents and agents for the Insurance Company of Scotland, with his nephew, Charles Barrie Ovenstone, brought into the business.[44] In the  1891  census Joseph is described as an East India Merchant. The business was much more extensive than this, but this is perhaps how Joseph saw himself.By this time Joseph and his sister have two live-in servants at The Vine.[45]

In his last few years Joseph became a committee member and then a director of Dundee Royal Infirmary,[46] an honorary vice-president of the Dundee & District Liberal Unionist Association,[47] a life governor of University College, Dundee[48] and a Justice of the Peace connected with the Dundee district.[49]

Joseph’s younger brother, Charles, was a ship and insurance broker,who had worked his way up the marine ranks before leaving the sea in 1881 to establish his own fleet of sailing ships for the jute trade. He also became Lord Provost  of Dundee in the early 20th century.[50] Joseph was also said to have had a wide connection to the shipping of the port of Dundee and was at one time a director of the Dundee Polar Fishing Company.

After suffering badly from gout, but apparently somewhat recovered, Joseph died of angina pectoris at his home, The Vine, Dundee on 26 July 1894. His funeral procession consisted of sixty carriages:

A very large number of gentlemen, including a particularly representative concourse of merchants and manufacturers, turned out to take part in the obsequies. The Exchange seemed all but deserted as the funeral train passed; but in Nethergate, Reform Street, Panmure Street, King Street, Princes Street, and Arbroath Road the thoroughfares were lined with spectators.[51]

His death was viewed as “a fresh disaster to the trading interests of this city.” In his obituary he was described as “quiet and unassuming” with “no more popular man in the jute market than he.” He was generous in his support of benevolent and charitable institutions, but averse to publicity and “many persons in indigent circumstances have also profited by his philanthropic actions.” He was “destitute of pride” and his genial nature “made his company much sought after.” He was also warmly attached to the Church of Scotland and was for many years associated with East Parish Church.[52]

The inventory of his estate in Scotland, England and Ireland was  valued at £125,428.[53] An additional inventory of his personal effects was registered the following year which showed dividends through his directorship of several companies. The Samnuggur Jute Factory Co, The Titaghur Jute factory and  Thomas Duff & Co Ltd, some of the oldest companies in Scotland.[54]

 

 

 

Sources

  1. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Baptism. 9 May 1836. 282/180 32. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  3. 1841 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED79 p.10. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-151. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland) and 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED46 p.34. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-217. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  4. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Clement, Dundee. 282/3 ED31A p.24. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-191. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  5. 1881 Census Scotland. St. Peter, Dundee. 282/1 ED4 p.27. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-338. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland) and 1891 Census Scotland. St. Peter, Dundee, Liff and Benvie. 282/1 ED12 p.31. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-409. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  6. Statutory Records. Death. Dundee. 282/1 334. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Dundee Courier, 31 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  8. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  9. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website and Dundee Directory, 1891-92. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  10. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1864-1868. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Advertiser, 23 December 1863. British Newspaper Archive website and Dundee Directories, 1864-1868. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1869-1875. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1876-1879. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directories, 1880-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  16. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED46 p.34. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-217. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  17. Dundee Directory, 1858-59. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee  and Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  18. Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  19. Dundee Advertiser, 23 December 1863. British Newspaper Archive website.
  20. Dundee Directories, 1858-1865. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  21. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  22. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website and Dundee Directories, 1869-1889. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directories, 1869-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Honorary Members of Dundee Choral Society 1871. Friends of Dundee City Archive website.
  26. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  28. Dundee Directory, 1876-77. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  29. Dundee Directory, 1880-81. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  30. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  31. Administrative history, Samnuggur Jute Factory Co. Ltd. MS86/1. University of Dundee Archive Services.
  32. Dundee Directory, 1876-77. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  33. Dundee Directory, 1878-79. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee; Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website and 1891 Census Scotland. St. Peter, Dundee, Liff and Benvie. 282/1 ED12 p.31. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-409. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  34. Dundee Directories, 1878-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  35. Dundee Directories, 1884-1892. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  36. Dundee Directories, 1884-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  37. Dundee Directories, 1884-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  38. Dundee Directories, 1884-1887. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  39. Dundee Directories, 1886-1889. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  40. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  41. Dundee Directory, 1890-91. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  42. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  43. Dundee Directories, 1888-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  44. Dundee Directories, 1890-1895. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee and Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  45. 1891 Census Scotland. St. Peter, Dundee, Liff and Benvie. 282/1 ED12 p.31. Ancestry.com. (Reels 1-409. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland).
  46. Dundee Directories, 1890-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  47. Dundee Directories, 1891-1894. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  48. Dundee Directories, 1893-1895. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  49. Dundee Directory, 1893-94. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  50. Charles Barrie by Douglas MacKenzie (2002). Tayside A Maritime History website.
  51. Dundee Courier, 31 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  52. Dundee Courier, 27 July 1894. British Newspaper Archive website.
  53. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 24 September 1894. SC45/31/46 501. ScotlandsPeople website.
  54. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 12 June 1895. SC45/31/47 785. ScotlandsPeople website.

Credits

Thanks to the staff at Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and the University of Dundee Archives. Special thanks to Susie Cathro for tracking down Barrie's obituary.

The information above about Joseph Johnstone Barrie 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.