Return to Subscriber listings and search...

Messrs Malcolm, Ogilvie & Company

A company run by a triumvirate of young men, which from modest beginnings turned into one of the most important jute concerns in Scotland. Its name lives on within the city even though it no longer spins or manufactures textiles.

Subscription value in 1863:

£150

Relative to inflation up to 2019:

£15000

Relative to income compared to 2019:

£120000

Click Image to Enlarge

Details and history

Name of company:

Messrs Malcolm, Ogilvie & Company

Company address:

Office:
32 St. Andrews Street, Dundee, c.1850.[1]
11 Cowgate, Dundee, c.1853-1854.[2]
31 Meadowside, Dundee, c.1856-1859.[3]
1/2 Royal Exchange Place, Dundee, c.1861-1970.[4][5]
Works:
Constable Mill/Works, Dura Street, Dundee, c.1850-1970[6]
Wallace Works, Dens Road, Dundee, c.1890-1970[7][5]
Constable Works (Old Dundee Linen Works), Constitution Street, Dundee, c.1970-2000[5][8]

Number of employees:

1000[9]

Nature of business:

Spinners and manufacturers[10]

Turnover:

Unknown

Date ceased trading:

Continues to trade today as a holding company with interests in manufacturing bronze alloys, insulating glass, optical lenses and steel catering equipment.[5]

Related Subscribers

Subscriber no.164 – William Nairn – neighbouring office at 2 Royal Exchange Place.

Subscriber no.64 – Rev James Ewing – James Cunningham’s minister.

Subscriber no.244 – George Worrall – early adopters of Worrall’s wooden breaker cylinder cover invention.

Comments

The firm of Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co. was formed by George Malcolm and David Ogilvie about 1850.[1] James Cunningham joined the firm shortly afterwards.[11] He and David Ogilvie had both worked for Peter Kinmond & Son in Dundee.[12] All three men lived at various addresses in the Forebank area of Dundee before, and in the early years, of their partnership: George at 12 Cotton Road,[1] 8 William Street,[13] 3 Wellington Street;[14] David at 16 Wellington Street,[15] 11 Nelson Street,[2] 7 Bonnybank Road[11] and 2 Nelson Terrace[16] and James at Anderson Place,[15] Nelson Street[11] and 1 Nelson Terrace.[16] James Malcolm, George’s father, was manager at the Wallace Mills, Constable Street, where Ogilvie and Cunningham worked thus providing a connection between the three young men who would set up in business together.[15]

Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co. was launched with “the brightest of prospects” with the three partners specialising in different aspects of the business. George Malcolm attended chiefly to the works, David Ogilvie handled the commercial department and James Cunningham dealt with the finances and correspondence. All three were recognised as capable businessmen.[17] Their Constable Mill in Dura Street was a relatively short distance away from their Forebank homes. It began on a fairly modest basis, having previously been the Dens Mill, but was extended into “one of the most modern jute manufactories of modern times.”[12] By 1864 the firm had 220 looms and 4000 spindles, employing 1000 hands at the much-enlarged Constable Works.[17] The acquisition of the Wallace Works at the beginning of the 1890s[7] from W.R. Morison’s trustees[17] allowed the firm to develop finishing, mangling etc of its own goods on a scale not previously attempted.[12] Business more than trebled between 1864 and 1894.[12] The firm had a reputation for uprightness and integrity which stood them in good stead during the hard times for the jute trade.[17]

As with many of the other Dundee textile firms the description of the business varied over time. In the beginning they were described as “Flaxspinners” (1850),[1] “Flaxspinners and Manufacturers (1856),[11] followed by the more generic “Spinners and Manufacturers” (1861),[10] a more specific “Spinners and Linen Manufacturers” (1869)[18] and later as “Jute Spinners and Manufacturers” (1874).[19] Similarly the description of the partners in the census and wills and testaments varies. George Malcolm: “Flaxspinner” (1851),[20] “Flaxspinner employing 700 hands” (1861),[21] “Jute Cloth and Yarn Manufacturer employing 1000 workers” (1871)[22] and “Manufacturer of Jute Cloth and Yarns employing 1200 people” (1881),[23] in 1891 George was in London and just described as a “Manufacturer”,[24] but back home his wife, Helen, was described as a “Jute Manufacturer’s Wife”;[25] “Spinner and Manufacturer” (1898).[26] David Ogilvie: “Flaxspinner” (1861)[27] and “Merchant and Flaxspinner” (1869).[28] James Cunningham: “Flax Spinner” (1851),[29] “Jute Spinner” (1871),[30] “JP and Millspinner” (1881),[31] “Jute Manufacturer” (1891)[32] and “Millspinner” (1894).[33]

The company was incorporated in 1894.[34]

George Malcolm (1821-1897)

George Malcolm was born in Dundee on 1 January 1821[35] the son of James Malcolm,[36] a well-known spinner of his day,[17] and Grace Davidson.[36] He grew up familiar with the main trade of Dundee and had a strong mechanical bent from an early age.[17] On leaving school he entered an engine shop and acquired a thorough training as an engineer. He left Dundee for Blairgowrie taking up the position of sole manager of John Adamson’s Erichtside Works. While there he married Helen Rattray in 1846,[37] second daughter of David Rattray of Bramblebank.[17] Their first child, Helen, was born in Rattray, c.1847.[21] George’s father, James, was manager at the Wallace Mills where David Ogilvie and James Cunningham worked and perhaps put them in touch with his son about a possible venture together.[15] George returned to Dundee and formed Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co. with David Ogilvie. They were soon joined by James Cunningham, David’s erstwhile colleague at Peter Kinmond & Son. The firm were early adopters of the wooden breaker cylinder cover invented by George Worrall in 1853. George Malcolm’s technical expertise let him judge the value of many of the improvements in jute machinery. It was said that in technical knowledge of preparing jute and administering a large works Malcolm had few equals, with his reputation on a par with those of Peter Carmichael and George Cox.[17]

George and Helen Malcolm had a large family. After coming back to Dundee with eldest child, Helen (c.1847),[21] they had: Alexander (1849),[38] David Rattray(1851),[39] Adelina Perchard (1854),[40] George (1857),[41] Leonora Elizabeth (1859),[42] William Aberdein (1861),[43] Frances Jane (1862),[44] Alfred Ernest (1865),[45] Lilian Margaret (1867)[46] and Beatrice Mary (1872).[47]

The family moved to Inverlaw, Douglas Terrace, Dudhope, Dundee in the late 1860s and this would remain George’s home for the rest of his life.[48] George was the last survivor of the three original partners, but was joined in the business by the younger generation in due course.[17] George held the following positions: Gas Commissioner, c.1871-1872;[49] director, Dundee Chamber of Commerce, c.1864-1865 and c.1874-1875;[17][50] committee member, Model Lodging-House Association, c.1874-1881;[51] director, Scottish Provident Institution (Life), c.1878-1897;[52] director, Dundee High School, c.1880-1897[53] and the William Harris Institution, c.1886-1889;[54] director, Albany Shipping Company, c.1884-1897;[55] committee member, Dundee & District Association for the Promotion of Technical and Commercial Education, c.1890-1893[56] and member of the Board of Studies, Technical Institute, c.1892-1897.[57] He was also appointed a Justice of the Peace for the Dundee District of the County of Forfar, c.1893[58] and for the County of the City of Dundee, c.1895.[59]

George Malcolm was an adherent of the Catholic Apostolic Church and was known for giving courses of lectures to its members during the winter.[17] At the time of the 1891 census he was staying at a house in Guildford, Surrey, along with a number of Catholic Apostolic ministers, some of whom were from Germany.[24] In politics he was a Liberal until the split over Irish policy in 1886.[17]

Although the younger generation had taken a share of the business it was said that he never lost touch with the works. He had devoted himself to “inside work” throughout his career and left his partners to do the other elements of the business.[17] He died, aged 76, on 26 November 1897.[36] He left an estate valued at £14,315 16s. 5d.[60]

David Ogilvie (1821-1869)

David Ogilvie was born in Dundee in 1821, the son of William Ogilvie and Catherine Brown.[61] William Ogilvie was a brewer.[62] David gained experience of the linen trade at Peter Kinmond & Son before joining George Malcolm in the partnership of Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co. His colleague at Peter Kinmond & Son, James Cunningham, joined shortly afterwards. George Malcolm’s father, James, was the manager at Wallace Mills, Constable Street, where Ogilvie and Cunningham worked and was presumably the person responsible for bringing the three young men together, either by accident or design.[15] At the time the partnership was formed Ogilvie had moved out of the Forebank area briefly and was living at 7 Dock Street, Dundee.[15] David’s forte was the commercial side of the business, which  would have entailed his presence in the markets centred in the Cowgate and latterly at the Royal Exchange.

David Ogilvie and Catherine Swan were married at Tealing in 1851,[63] shortly after he had embarked on his new business. The couple had the following children: James Swan (1852),[64] Catherine Brown (1853)[65] and Divina Roger (1855).[66] The family moved to Tay Lodge, Broughty Ferry by 1867.[67] He also became a director of the Chamber of Commerce at this time[67] and a member of Dundee Parochial Board shortly after.[18]

Unfortunately David’s life was cut short after an accident at the works. He had been testing a machine invented by one of his partners, presumably George Malcolm, and the cover slipped as he was operating it and his sleeve was caught. Although he was quickly rescued by his workers he sustained injuries to his arm and scalp.[68] He died at Tay Lodge ten days later on 10 June 1869.[62] He was buried in the Eastern Necropolis.[69] Dundee had thus lost “a worthy citizen.”[69]

James Cunningham (1821-1893)

James Cunningham was born in the parish of Mains and Strathmartine, near Dundee, on 15 January 1821, the son of Charles Cunningham and Betty Roger. His early career was as a clerk at the Wallace Works of Peter Kinmond & Son, where he probably met David Ogilvie, who was also a clerk there.[15] James Malcolm, George’s father was the mill manager[15] and it is likely that this is how the three young men knew each other. It would appear that, after the closure of Kinmonds, Cunningham set up as a flaxspinner in his own right at 11 Cowgate[2] and subsequently joined the other two a little after their partnership was formed.[11] This may explain why his name did not feature above the door. He was, however, an important part of the business, taking responsibility for the finances and the correspondence.[17] There may also have been a family connection, as James Cunningham had married a Catherine Ogilvie in Dundee in 1847.[70] The couple had the following children: William Ogilvie (1849),[71] James (1850)[72] and George (1852).[73]

In the 1860s James and his family moved to West Ferry, making their home at Douglas House. This remained his home for the rest of his life.[74] After the death of David Ogilvie in 1869, as a result of an accident at the works, James had to take a more active role in the market and became much more familiar at the Exchange.[12] He was known for his strict integrity both in manufacture and dealings in the commercial world.[12]

James served on a number of committees and boards, giving freely of his time to benevolent causes: Dundee Parochial Board, c.1858-1862;[16] director, Chamber of Commerce, c.1858-1859;[75] committee member, c.1861-1862 and c.1874-1875 and ordinary director, Dundee Royal Infirmary, c.1878-1879;[76] director, Eye Institution, c.1861-1868 and 1874-1893;[77] Police Commissioner, Broughty Ferry, c.1869-1873;[18][12] Chief Magistrate, Broughty Ferry, c.1870-1873;[49][12] Dundee Gas Commissioner, c.1871-1872;[49] Justice of the Peace for the Dundee District of the County of Forfar, c.1871-1893;[78] committee member, Broughty Ferry Curling Club, c.1871-1872;[49] ordinary director, Royal Lunatic Asylum, c.1874-1877;[79] board member, Anglo-Indian Christian Union, c.1874-1891;[80] committee member, Dundee Association for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, c.1874-1877;[79] general committee member, Mars Training Ship, c.1874-1893;[81] Dundee Orphan Institution, c.1880-1885;[82] trustee, Armitstead Trust Lectures, c.1884-1885;[83] elected member, Broughty Ferry School Board, c.1884-1885;[83] Dundee Mission to the Outdoor Blind, c. 1884-1893;[84] Deaf and Dumb Institute, c.1885-1893;[85] trustee, Armitstead Trust, c.1886-1893;[86] committee member, Waldensian Missions Aid Society, c.1892-1893.[87], but after removing to

During his time as the Broughty Ferry Chief Magistrate he was instrumental in the erection of the Fort Street Bridge, opening up a convenient route over the railway line. He also found an area for a skating pond for the burgh.

In religion he was “an ardent supporter” of the Free Church of Scotland and from about 1850 was an office bearer for many years.[12] He worshipped at Free St. Andrew’s when Rev James Ewing was minister, but after removing to Broughty Ferry he went initially to the Free West Church  and then to the newly-formed East Free Church.[12] He was then one of the prime movers in starting St. Luke’s Free Church, which utilised an iron church for a number of years before erecting “one of the finest specimens of church architecture.”[12] As an elder for many years he was regularly sent as a representative to the Free Church General Assembly.[12] In politics he was a “keen Liberal” and unlike several of his fellow Albert Institute subscribers did not desert Gladstone after the split over Irish Home Rule.[12]

James Cunningham died on 27 December 1893, aged 72.[88] He left an estate valued at £50,900 1s. 0d.[89]

One more of the few remaining merchants and manufacturers of a former generation, who, by industry, ability, and perseverance, have not only raised themselves from a comparatively humble position to one of affluence, but who have helped greatly the progress and growth of the city and district during their time.[12]

Recent History

Various family members joined the business over time, including George’s sons, David R. Malcolm, c.1876[90] and George Malcolm junior, c.1884[91] and James’s sons, William O. Cunningham, c.1878[92] and James Cunningham junior, c.1884.[93]

In 1969 there was a serious fire at one of the company’s buildings[94] and in 1970 the firm moved to the old Dundee Linen Works, Constitution Street, which were renamed Constable Works.[5] The firm was one of the last to engage in jute spinning in Dundee, but in more recent times the company has moved into other areas of business.[5] The works in Constitution Street were converted into housing in the early 21st century.[8] The company now operates from Tom Johnston Road, West Pitkerro Industrial Estate, Dundee.[34]

 

 

 

 

Sources

  1. Dundee Directory, 1850. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  2. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  3. Dundee Directories, 1856-1859. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  4. Dundee Directories, 1861-1896. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  5. Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co Ltd. MS338. Dundee University Archive Services online catalogue.
  6. Dundee Directories, 1850-1899. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  7. Dundee Directories, 1890-1899. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  8. Planning Application, 2003. Dundee City Council website.
  9. Warden, Alexander J. (1864) The Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern. London. Longman, p.657.
  10. Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  11. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  12. Leng, John, & Co. (1894) Dundee Year Book, 1893. Dundee: John Leng & Co.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1853-1857. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1858-1865. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1846-47. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  16. Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  17. Leng, John, & Co. (1898) Dundee Year Book, 1897. Dundee: John Leng & Co.
  18. Dundee Directory, 1869-70. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  19. Dundee Directory, 1874-75. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  20. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED55 p.33. Ancestry website.
  21. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee First District. 282/1 ED24 p.21. Ancestry website.
  22. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED7 p.38. Ancestry website.
  23. 1881 Census Scotland. St. Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED9A p.38. Ancestry website.
  24. 1891 Census England & Wales. Weston Dene, Albury, Guildford, Surrey. Ancestry website.
  25. 1891 Census Scotland. St. Mary, Dundee. 282/2 ED9 p.39. Ancestry website.
  26. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 24 February 1898. ScotlandsPeople website.
  27. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee First District. 282/1 ED23 p.19. Ancestry website.
  28. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 10 August 1869 and 4 February 1870. SC45/31/22. ScotlandsPeople website.
  29. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED54 p.39. Ancestry website.
  30. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED1A p.23. Ancestry website.
  31. 1881 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED41 p.26. Ancestry website.
  32. 1891 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED48 p.27. Ancestry website.
  33. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 6 February 1894. SC45/31/46. ScotlandsPeople website.
  34. Companies House website.
  35. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 1 January 1821. FHL Film no.993492. Ancestry website.
  36. Statutory Registers. St. Mary, Dundee. Death. 26 November 1897. 282/2 710. ScotlandsPeople website.
  37. Old Parish Records. Rattray. Marriage. 8 August 1846. 389/50 126. ScotlandsPeople website.
  38. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 18 June 1849. 282/190 368. ScotlandsPeople website.
  39. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 10 June 1851. 282/200 55. ScotlandsPeople website.
  40. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 18 December 1854. 282/200 183. ScotlandsPeople website.
  41. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1857. 282/1 442. ScotlandsPeople website.
  42. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1859. 282/1 472. ScotlandsPeople website.
  43. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1861. 282/1 63. ScotlandsPeople website.
  44. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1862. 282/1 1635. ScotlandsPeople website.
  45. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1865. 282/1 831. ScotlandsPeople website.
  46. Statutory Registers. Dundee Second District. Birth. 1867. 282/2 932. ScotlandsPeople website.
  47. Statutory Registers. St. Mary, Dundee. Birth. 1872. 282/2 517. ScotlandsPeople website.
  48. Dundee Directories, 1867-1897. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  49. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  50. Dundee Directories, 1864-65 and 1874-75. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  51. Dundee Directories, 1874-1881. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  52. Dundee Directories, 1878-1897. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  53. Dundee Directories, 1880-1897. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  54. Dundee Directories, 1886-1889. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  55. Dundee Directories, 1884-1897. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  56. Dundee Directories, 1890-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  57. Dundee Directories, 1892-1897. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  58. Dundee Directory, 1893-94. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  59. Dundee Directory, 1895-96. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  60. Calendar of Confirmations, 1898. Ancestry website.
  61. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 27 March 1821. 282/150 58. ScotlandsPeople website.
  62. Statutory Registers. St. Andrews, Dundee. Death. 10 June 1869. 282/4 484. ScotlandsPeople website.
  63. Old Parish Record. Tealing. Banns. 28 January 1851. FHL Film no. 993509. Ancestry website.
  64. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 29 February 1852. 282/200 74. ScotlandsPeople website.
  65. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 14 October 1853. 282/200 174. ScotlandsPeople website.
  66. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 24 July 1855. ScotlandsPeople website.
  67. Dundee Directory, 1867-68. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  68. Glasgow Daily Herald, 12 June 1869. British Newspaper Archive website.
  69. Dundee Courier and Argus, 16 June 1869. British Newspaper Archive website.
  70. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Banns. 8 December 1847. 282/230 235. ScotlandsPeople website.
  71. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 6 May 1849. 282/190 358. ScotlandsPeople website.
  72. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 11 August 1850. 282/200 22. ScotlandsPeople website.
  73. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 25 March 1852. 282/200 80. ScotlandsPeople website.
  74. Dundee Directories, 1864-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  75. Dundee Directory, 1858-59. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  76. Dundee Directories, 1861-62, 1874-75 and 1878-79. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  77. Dundee Directories, 1861-1868 and 1874-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  78. Dundee Directories, 1871-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  79. Dundee Directories, 1874-1877. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  80. Dundee Directories, 1874-1891. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  81. Dundee Directories, 1874-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  82. Dundee Directories, 1880-1885. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  83. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  84. Dundee Directories, 1884-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  85. Dundee Directories, 1885-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  86. Dundee Directories, 1886-1893. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  87. Dundee Directories, 1892-1894. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  88. Statutory Registers. St. Mary, Dundee. Death. 27 December 1893. 282/4 1251. ScotlandsPeople website.
  89. Calendar of Confirmations, 1894. Ancestry website.
  90. Dundee Directory, 1876-77. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  91. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  92. Dundee Directory, 1878-79. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  93. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  94. Jute Works information. Dundee Historical Environment Trust website.

The information above about 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.