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Robert Gibb Stephen Esquire

Robert Gibb Stephen, continued the successful ironmongery business his father, George Stephen, had established in 1814. Their premises in Castle Street, Dundee, continued to be a feature within the City centre well into the 20th century.

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Personal details and history

Full name

Robert Gibb Stephen

Date of birth


Place of birth




Marital status


Name of spouse




Home address

1 Somerville Place[3][4]

Age at death:

54 years[2]

Place of death:

1 Somerville Place, Dundee[2]

Date of death:



Western Cemetery, Perth Road, Dundee[5]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Free Church - a member of Free St Paul's, Nethergate[6] - an office bearer for many years[6]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

The Guildry - a prominent member:[7]

Public offices

Dundee Tramway Company - a leading shareholder[7] and a Director:[7][6]

Related subscribers

Subscriber 102 – Messrs H Henderson & Sons – James Henderson was Robert Gibb Stephen’s brother in law, married to his sister Anne

Subscriber 105 – William Halley & Sons – brother in law’s sister, Ann Henderson, married George Halley

Subscriber 154 – Robert McGavin – was a cousin of James Henderson, Robert Gibb Stephen’s brother in law

Subscriber 209 – George Stephen – father of Robert Gibb Stephen

Career and worklife


Ironmonger[8] / Iron Merchant[4]



Place of work

George Stephen & Son[8][4]

Work address

29 Castle Street[8][4]

Career to date:

Robert Gibb Stephen entered into business life as an ironmonger at the age of 18 years. In 1847, he began his working life under the direction of his father, George Stephen, who had established his business in 1814.[6] By 1854, Robert has been assumed as a partner within the firm, which was then titled, 'George Stephen & Son.'[10][11] He remained a co-partner with his father for a further 7 years, until 1861.[9] That year, their co-partnery was dissolved.[9] Robert G Stephen continued the business, located at 29 Castle Street, Dundee.[4]

More information

Robert Gibb Stephen was born in 1829 to George Stephen, iron merchant, and his wife, Ann Gibb.[1] Robert became a third generation to become a metal worker, his grandfather, David Stephen, having been a ‘hammerman’ or blacksmith.[12]

By 1846, his father, George Stephen had not only survived the sequestration of his business but had managed to re-establish a favourable and successful position.[13]

The following year, his son, Robert Gibb Stephen, became an assistant in his father’s ironmonger’s business, at approximately 18 years of age.[10] He was to remain in this role for a further 7 years, before being made a co-partner in 1854.[10] Father and son worked in tandem until 1861, when their co-partnery was dissolved.[9] Robert Gibb Stephen remained, becoming head of the long established firm.[4]

Another employee within the firm, Alexander Stewart Rae, was assumed as a partner, together with Robert Stephen, around 1871.[14] He had been connected with the firm from the early 1850s[6] before becoming a partner. In turn, his sons, Alexander Stewart Rae and George Stephen Rae, were to follow in their father’s footsteps.[14]

Robert Gibb Stephen took an active hand in the establishment of the Dundee Tramway Company and was reported as having ‘devoted a large amount of time and labour to the management and working of the tramway system.’[15]

Reknowned for having been an active and successful businessman, Robert Stephen was highly respected too for his amiable qualities.[6]



In 1936, the Dundee Chamber of Commerce listed ‘George Stephen & Son’ as one of the few businesses in Dundee to be over a century old.[16]

Ten years later, in 1946, the firm of ‘George Stephen & Son,’ 29 Castle Street, Dundee, was purchased by ‘Messrs Brown & Tawse,’ the same firm which acquired the neighbouring firm of iron merchants, ‘D & W Robertson,’ in 1881.[17]



  1. Old Parish Registers. Dundee. (1829). 282/ 160 213. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Deaths. (1883). 282/2 282. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Census Returns. Dundee. (1861). 282/ 1 19/ 1. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. p.189. National Library of Scotland website.
  5. Western Cemetery Burial Lair Records. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
  6. Dundee Courier. 10 April 1883. p.6. British Newspaper Archive website.
  7. Dundee Advertiser. 7 April 1883.p.5. British Newspaper Archive website.
  8. Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-62. National Library of Scotland website.
  9. Dundee Courier. 9 August 1861. p.1. British Newspaper Archive website.
  10. Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser. 20 October 1854. p.1/ British Newspaper Archive website.
  11. Montrose, Arbroath & Brechin Review. 10 November 1854. p.4. British Newspaper Archive
  12. Old Parish Registers. Dundee. Births. (1793). 282/ 70 543. ScotlandsPeople website.
  13. Morning Post. 12 September 1846. p.8. British Newspaper Archive website.
  14. Dundee Courier. 1 April 1940. British Newspaper Archive website.
  15. Dundee Courier. 7 April 1883. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  16. Nine Trades of Dundee website.
  17. History of Brown & Tase website.

The information above about Robert Gibb Stephen 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.