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Shiell & Small

Shiell and Small were a very old and much respected Dundee firm of solicitors, known as 'writers,' in the 19th century. Several of the other subscribers to the Albert Institute were related to the Small family.

Subscription value in 1863:

£100

Relative to inflation up to 2019:

£10000

Relative to income compared to 2019:

£80000

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Details and history

Name of company:

Shiell & Small

Company address:

New Inn Entry[1]
Dundee

10 Reform Street[2]
Dundee

3 Bank Street[3]
Dundee

5 Bank Street[4]
Dundee

Number of employees:

Unknown

Nature of business:

Writers, solicitors and notaries public

Turnover:

Unknown

Date ceased trading:

1990[5]

Related Subscribers

Subscriber no.18 – Edward Baxter  – cousin of David Small.

Subscriber no.23 – Miss Baxter of Balgaviescousin of David Small.

Subscriber no.24 – Miss M.A. Baxter – cousin of David Small.

Subscriber no.29 – Sir David Baxter – cousin of David Small.

Subscriber no.57 – William Collier – married to David Small’s sister, Margaret.

Subscriber no.230 – Robert Small – brother of David Small.

Subscriber no.231 – William Smallbrother of David Small.

Subscriber no.55 – Peter Carmichael – next door neighbour of David Small, who lived at his house, Springhill, for a time.

Subscriber no.260 – Lord Kinnaird – Shiell & Small were factors for his Rossie Priory Estate.

 

A cousin, a daughter of Edward Baxter, was married to George Armitstead

John Shiell married Alexandrine Wilhelmina Ursula Korn, and her maternal uncle was Ivan Herman Mollwo, who married Jane or Jean Crichton, daughter of John Crighton MD and his wife, Elizabeth Baxter. Elizabeth Baxter was the elder sister of William Collier’s mother, Isabella Baxter, and Robert, William and David Small’s mother, Charlotte Baxter.

Comments

The firm of Shiell and Small, solicitors and writers, is usually recorded as having begun as a legal practice in 1832.[5] The business was first started by John Shiell and David Small[6] who were still the senior partners at the time of the Albert Institute subscription.[7]

David Small was a son of William Small, town clerk of Dundee, who died when David was thirteen. David was apprenticed to Christopher Kerr, his father’s successor as town clerk, before moving to  a legal firm in Edinburgh and studying law at the university there.[8] David Small graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1832.[9] He returned to Dundee to set up in partnership with John Shiell.[8]

John Shiell was a native of Kelso and was educated there at the grammar school before being articled to an Edinburgh writer. He also studied law at Edinburgh University,[10] which is probably where he first met his future business partner. In 1829 he took a position as managing clerk at Messrs. Ogilvie in Dundee.[10]

The new firm first had offices in New Inn Entry,[1] were briefly in the new Reform Street,[2] before moving to larger premises in brand new Bank Street[3] in the 1840s, where they remained, moving from number 3 to number 5.[11] The partners had their “commodious offices” next to the Dundee Advertiser, built about 1860.[8]

The new firm became agents for the West of Scotland Fire & Life Assurance Co. for a short period and John Shiell served briefly on the committee of the Public Library, St. Clement’s Lane.[12] The firm also became clerks to the Dundee & Arbroath Railway Co.[13] before becoming the law agents and secretaries of the Dundee and Perth and Aberdeen Railway Junction Co.[14] The firm became secretaries/solicitors of the Dundee New Gas Light Co.[15] and the Dundee Water Co.,[16] with Shiell acting as one of the former’s directors for a period.[17] For many years Shiell & Small acted as one of the Dundee agents for the Standard Life Assurance Co.[18] Walter T. Currie was a solicitor also associated with the firm from about 1858.[19]

John Shiell acted as distributor and collector for the Inland Revenue (stamps and taxes) from his Bank Street offices[20] and David Small was clerk deputy and deputy keeper of the register of sasines before becoming clerk and keeper in his own right.[21] Both partners became justices of the peace for the county of Forfar, connected with the Dundee district about 1861.

David Small lived in the family home at Edenbank, Ferry Road, Dundee;[22][23] Springhill, Ferry Road, Dundee;[24] Blackness House;[25] 5 Airlie Place, Dundee,[26] before moving for the rest of his life to Gray House at Liff.[27] David married Mary Miln in 1843[28] and the couple had William James (1844),[29] Mary (1845),[30] David (1846),[31] Robert (1848),[32] Charlotte (1849)[33] and James Miln (1851).[34] His wife was the daughter of Mr. Miln of Murie. She pre-deceased her husband in 1853.[8]

John Shiell lived at 21 King Street, Dundee;[35] 3 Roseangle, Dundee;[36] Magdalen Yard Road, Dundee;[37] St. Mary’s House, Baldovan;[17] Craigie House, Dundee[11] and then Kelly Castle, near Arbroath.[38] John married Alexandrine Wilhelmina Ursula Korn[39] from Hanover[40] in 1841, “an accomplished and beautiful German lady,”[10] and the couple had Anthony George (1842),[41] John (1843),[42] George Louis (1844),[43] Gertrude Minna (1846),[44] William (1848)[45] and Edith Alexandrine (1861).[46] They also had a child who died after a few days in 1849[47] and possibly another child in 1859.[48] Alexandrine pre-deceased John by a number of years, dying suddenly and unexpectedly while he was on business in London.[10]

John Shiell senior, was proprietor of the Smithfield Estate[10] and was notable as the restorer of Kelly Castle, Arbirlot (known as ‘Kellie’ in the 20th and 21st centuries).[38] The medieval tower house was the subject of a complete, yet sympathetic restoration and rebuild at almost the same time as the Albert Institute subscription, the work being undertaken by Dundee architect, James Maclaren, who was also architect to Panmure estates.[49] Shiell needed a Dundee base as well and occupied King Street House, 8 King Street, Dundee.[50] John was encouraged to undertake the restoration by one of the firm’s principle clients, the Earl of Dalhousie.[10] John was an “earnest supporter of the established church” and served as an elder at the parish church of Mains before holding the same office at the parish church of Arbirlot. He gave support to the poor of Arbirlot and also gave two silver flagons to the church.[10]

About a year before his death John was injured in a coaching accident at Dalmally and never completely recovered his health.  After his death in 1875[51] his son, John Shiell junior, and David Small’s son, Walter James Small, who had both joined the firm about 1871,[52] carried on the business with David Small and Walter T. Currie. John Shiell junior was educated at both the University of Glasgow and of Edinburgh.[6] John Shiell senior’s funeral procession from King Street House to the Western Cemetery was marked by the flags on the Old Steeple and the Chamber of Commerce being “drooped” and the bells of the Old Steeple muffled for the occasion, ringing “a mournful peel.”[53] Shiell left an estate worth more than £80,000 and his executors were David Small and William James Small, solicitors; John Sharp, merchant and Walter Thomson Currie, solicitor, all Dundee and Captain Charles Whyte, his son-in-law.[54]

Shiell and Small were secretaries to University College, Dundee[55] and the Dundee Technical Institute and also served as clerks for the Baxter Park Trust and factors for the Dalhousie, Rossie Priory and Baldovan estates.[5] At the time of David Small’s death in 1885,[56] the progress of the firm was described:

“The firm, through the ability and energy displayed by the partners, rose into eminence, and speedily gained the confidence of the public, having, before long, an extensive business. In addition to carrying a large legal business, the firm also acted factors for the principal families of the district—namely, the Earls of Dalhousie, Lord Kinnaird, Sir John Ogilvy, Sir David Baxter, &c. Small was cousin of the late Sir David Baxter, and through the relationship was closely connected with the handing over to the town of the Baxter Park, and more recently with the organisation and starting of University College. He was the oldest member of the Faculty of Procurators in Dundee.”[9]

David Small was a vestryman of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dundee. At his death he was the oldest member of the Dundee Faculty of Procurators, having served as its preses in 1855-1856 and 1883-1885.[8] David left an estate valued at £84,160 17s. 5d. and his sons William James Small, solicitor, Dundee; Robert Small, St. Andrews and James Miln Small, London were his executors.[57]

Shiell and Small ceased trading in 1990 and documents from the firm are now with the University of Dundee Archive Services.[5]

Sources

  1. Dundee Directories, 1834-1838. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.l
  2. Dundee Directories, 1842-1845. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  3. Dundee Directories, 1846-1859. National Library of Scotland website.
  4. Dundee Directories, 1861-1887. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  5. Shiell and Small, Solicitors, Dundee, University of Dundee Archive. MS105. Archives Hub website.
  6. Dundee Courier, Thursday, 5 September 1895, p.3. British Newspaper Archive website.
  7. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  8. Dundee Obituary Book no.1, p.107-108. 8 July 1885. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  9. Dundee Evening Telegraph, Thursday, 9 July 1885, p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  10. Dundee Courier, 6 July 1875. British Newspaper Archive website.
  11. Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  12. Dundee Directory, 1834. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  13. Dundee Directories, 1842-1847. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1850-1865. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  15. Dundee Directories, 1844-1868. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  16. Dundee Directories, 1844-1870. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  17. Dundee Directories, 1853-1857. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  18. Dundee Directories, 1850-1887. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  19. Dundee Directory, 1858-59. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  20. Dundee Directories, 1856-1875. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  21. Dundee Directories, 1858-1862. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  22. 1841 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED4 p.1. Ancestry website.
  23. Dundee Directories, 1834-1843. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  24. Dundee Directories, 1844-1847. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1850-1854, p.156. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1856-1862. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  27. Dundee Directories, 1864-1885. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  28. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Marriage. 30 September 1843. FHL Film no.993404. Ancestry website.
  29. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 23 July 1844. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  30. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Baptism. 12 October 1845. 282/200 180. ScotlandsPeople website.
  31. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 4 December 1846. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  32. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 7 August 1848. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  33. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 1 December 1849. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  34. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 24 June 1851. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  35. Dundee Directory, 1842-43. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  36. Dundee Directories, 1844-1850. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  37. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED22 p.13. Ancestry website.
  38. Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review and Forfar and Kincardineshire Advertiser, Friday, 27 September 1861, p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
  39. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Marriage. 14 September 1841. FHL Film no.993404. Ancestry website.
  40. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED22 p.13. Ancestry website.
  41. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 28 July 1842. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  42. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 10 June 1843. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  43. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 6 September 1844. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  44. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 12 May 1846. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  45. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 29 November 1848. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  46. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 23 August 1861. FHL Film no.6035516. Ancestry website.
  47. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth/Death. May 1849. FHL Film no.0993405, 0993408, 993403, 993408. Ancestry website.
  48. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 21 December 1859. FHL Film no.6035516. Ancestry website.
  49. Architectural commissions of James Maclaren, Dundee. Dictionary of Scottish Architects website.
  50. Dundee Directories, 1867-1875. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  51. Statutory Register. Arbirlot. Death. 5 July 1875. 271/7. ScotlandsPeople website.
  52. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  53. Dundee Courier, 10 July 1875. British Newspaper Archive website.
  54. Wills and Testaments. Dundee Sheriff Court. 1875. SC45/31/26. ScotlandsPeople website and Calendar of Confirmations. First Eik, 1876 and Second Eik, 1877. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  55. Dundee Directories, 1884-1887. Local History Centre, Dundee Central Library.
  56. Statutory Registers. Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie. Death. 8 July 1885. 301/36. ScotlandsPeople website.
  57. Calendar of Confirmations. 1885. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.

Credits

With thanks to the University of Dundee Archive; Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.

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.