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William Halley & Sons

Family firm founded by William Halley in the 1820s with his sons becoming partners in the 1860s and succeeding generations running the firm into the late 20th century.

Subscription value in 1863:

£60

Relative to inflation up to 2020:

£6000

Relative to income compared to 2020:

£48000

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Details and history

Name of company:

William Halley & Sons

Company address:

Wallace Craigie Works, 1 and 2 Wallace Street and 2 Ferry Road, Dundee, c.1835-2004.[1]
Office, 7 Wellgate, Dundee, c.1834-1838.[2]
Office, 18 Wellgate, Dundee, c.1842-1847.[3]
Office, 21 Cowgate, Dundee, c.1850-1857.[4]
Office, 24 St Andrew's Place/24 Cowgate, Dundee. c.1858-1872.[5]

Number of employees:

c.400[6]

Nature of business:

Flax and jute spinners, manufacturers and merchants[7]

Turnover:

Not known

Date ceased trading:

Firm continues as JWT (Scotland) Ltd.[8]

Related Subscribers

Subscriber no.11 – G. Ll. Alison – a fellow officer in the First Forfarshire (Dundee) Rifle Volunteers.

Subscriber no.102 – Messrs H. Henderson & Sons – Henry Henderson senior was George Halley’s father-in-law and James, Henry junior and Frank Henderson his brothers-in-law.

Subscriber no.116 – George Maxwell Kidd – married to John Smith Halley’s sister-in-law, Maria Easson.

Subscriber no.154 – Robert McGavin – a cousin of George Halley’s wife, Ann Lindsay Henderson.

Subscriber no.179 – Charles Parker – Provost while William Halley was a bailie on Dundee Town Council.

Subscriber no.209 – George Stephen – father-in-law of James Henderson, George Halley’s brother-in-law.

Subscriber no.224 – Strachan, Kinmond & Co. – Thomas Kidd Kinmond was John Smith Halley’s step-brother and George Halley’s half-brother.

Subscriber no.258 – James Yeaman – fellow bailie of William Halley on Dundee Town Council.

 

 

 

Comments

William Halley was born in 1794, son of John Hally and Elisabeth Reid.[9] John was a Perthshire flaxdresser, who had moved to Dundee on his marriage in 1782. William was admitted to the Guildry of Dundee in 1822 and was at that time a manufacturer, having a handloom factory in Forebank, near to his home.[7] He first appeared in the local directories in the 1820s as a manufacturer in the Wellgate[10] and then Chapelshade,[11] but by the 1830s, he is described as merchant and shipowner[12] and then as a merchant and flaxspinner, with a house at Bellevue Place, Forebank.[13] He entered into partnership with Robert Brough and James Gilroy to feu ground from the Brown Constable Estate in 1832 for the construction of the Wallace Craigie Works. By 1837 the works were entirely in the hands of William Halley & Co.[7]

William owned the brigs Thomas, purchased in 1834, Isla in 1846 and Abana in 1853 which plied between Dundee and the Baltic ports,[7] presumably bringing flax for his works and perhaps supplying other spinners as well. These vessels were all disposed of by 1861, the firm having turned its activities towards the spinning and manufacture of jute.[7]

William’s home was at 1 Wellington Street through the 1840s and 1850s,[14] then briefly at 145 Princes Street,[15] still close to the works, before moving to Panbride, near Carnoustie.[16] Despite the distance, he attended the works every day, coming in by coach and pair and returning by train in the evening.[7] William’s last entry in the local directory identified his residence as Seaforth Cottage, Carnoustie.[17]

William Halley married twice. His first wife was Eliza/Elisabeth Smith in 1821[18] and she was the mother of his son, John Smith Halley. Elisabeth died aged 26 in 1826 and was buried in the Howff, Dundee along with two infant children, Elisabeth and Alexander.[19] His second wife was Jean Kidd, who had married Andrew Kinmond in 1821.[20] They had a son, Thomas Kidd Kinmond,[21] and a daughter, Ann Kidd Kinmond.[22] Andrew Kinmond died in 1830 and his infant son, also Andrew, died the following year. William and Jean married in 1834 and had a son, George Halley, around 1837. George and his parents and three half siblings, John, Thomas and Ann were all part of the Wellington Street household in 1841. Jean Kidd died, aged 65 in 1859 and was buried with her first husband and son at St. Andrew’s Church, Dundee.[23]

In the 1850s William Halley was appointed one of the assessors to the Guildry Incorporation[24] and in 1859 became a Dundee town councillor and hospital master, before going on to serve as one of the bailies in 1860, 1861 and 1863.[25] He represented the council on the harbour trust and as a director of Dundee High School.[26] He also found time to serve as a director of the Town & County Fire Insurance Company.[16] His move to Carnoustie brought an end to his town council involvement.

William Halley must have taken his sons, John and George, into partnership about the time of the scheme to create the Albert Institute because William Halley & Sons, merchants, Cowgate is the name under which the handsome £60 subscription was made.[27] For the next few years John Smith Halley and George Halley appear in the directories, along with their father, as being of William Halley & Sons.[28]

John Smith Halley, flaxspinner, was to be found staying with his grandmother, Betsy Smith, in 1851,[29] a few months before he married the London-born,[30] Isabella Easson.[31] The couple made their home in Myrtle Cottage, Albert Street[32] before moving back to the old family address at 1 Wellington Street with their children: Mary (b.c.1853),[30] Elizabeth (b.c.1855),[30] William William (b.1856),[33] Isabella Margaret (b.1858),[34] Helen S. (b.1860)[35] and Annie Henderson (b.1863).[36] John shared an office address at 21 Cowgate with his father but is described variously as a shipowner in 1853,[37] merchant in 1856[38] and flaxspinner in 1861,[39] before becoming a partner in William Halley & Sons.[40] John also served as secretary and then president of Dundee Bowling Club.[41]

George Halley, a Dundee High School pupil, stayed in the family home in Wellington Street with his mother and father and half brother and half sister in 1851,[42] but by 1861 it is just himself and his father at a house at 138 Princes Street, sharing the same occupations of flaxspinner and jute manufacturer.[43] Along with his half-brother, John, he became a partner in his father’s firm in the early 1860s. George Halley married Annie Henderson in 1863[44] and they had Henry William (b.1864),[45] Jane Mary (b.1865),[46] George (b.1867),[47] James Henderson (b.1868),[48] Francis Charles (b.1871),[49] Anna Christina (b.1873)[50] and Alexander Campbell (b.1875).[51] After his marriage George resided at 145 Princes Street[40] but soon moved to 12 Douglas Terrace, Broughty Ferry,[52] where he stayed until having Broomhall built in West Ferry about 1880,[53] a house reputed to have cost £10,000 to construct.[7] By this time George had become the sole proprietor of William Halley & Sons, as his half-brother, John, had died at 1 Wellington Street on 5 December 1873, a few months before their father.[54] William died at Newton of Panbride on 22 May 1874.[55] He was described as a “much respected” figure and as “one of our oldest merchants, having carried on business as a manufacturer for nearly half a century.”[56]

George joined the First Forfarshire (Dundee) Rifle Volunteers, rising to the rank of captain. He was reputed to be an excellent shot, being one of the “Scottish Twenty” to compete in a rifle shooting competition at Wimbledon.[57] He also involved himself in civic affairs, becoming chief magistrate of Broughty Ferry, 1878-1881,[57] acting as an assessor to the Guildry of Dundee,[58] as well as becoming a director of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce.[59] As chief magistrate of Broughty Ferry he served on the Dundee Water Commission,[60] on behalf of the Guildry he was a harbour trustee[60] and he represented the Chamber of Commerce on the Dundee Gas Commission.[60] He went on to become president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1880.[61] About the same time he was made a justice of the peace.[60] His sporting interests included curling and golf. He was “an enthusiastic curler” who took part in the matches at Stobsmuir.[57] He belonged to Dundee Curling Club and was vice-president in 1878,[62] president in 1880[63] and served on its committee in the 1890s.[64] He was an “ardent lover” of the game of golf, being a member of the Panmure and Dalhousie clubs. He held the position of captain of the former at his death.[57] On the philanthropic side he was an honorary vice-president of the Dundee Boys and Girls Religious Association, 1884-1896, a body in which his nephew, William W. Halley, also held office.[65] George also sat on the general and executive committees of the Mars Training Ship, becoming a trustee in about 1890.[66] In the mid-1880s he also became an elected member of the Local Marine Board and from about 1900 a Board of Trade appointee to that body.[66] He also served as a director of Dundee Royal Infirmary at the same time as his son, George, was on the medical staff.[67] His other business interests included being a director of the Dundee Investment Co. Ltd.[68] and the Matador Land and Cattle Co. Ltd.[69] He also served as a director and, from about 1891, as chairman of the Western & Hawaiian Investment Co.[70] When Dundee was created a county of city in 1894 he was appointed as one of its justices of the peace.[71]

George died on 22 February 1904[72] and was survived by his wife, three sons and two married daughters.[73] His sons, James Henderson Halley and Alexander Campbell Halley became partners in the firm. Henry (Harry) William Halley had also been a part of the business, but pre-deceased his father in 1892.[7] Another son, George, was a noted local medical man.[74] The value of George’s estate was £79,059 7s. 9d., but a further £273 1s. 9d. was added as an eik to the original confirmation in 1906.[75]

The firm was floated as a public limited company in 1921 when Alexander Campbell Halley retired. James Henderson Halley continued as chairman and managing director and on his death in 1925 was succeeded by his son, J. R. L. Halley, who in 1948 produced a fascinating film about the manufacture of jute products based on the Wallace Craigie Works. This film won a prize at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival the following year.[76] J.R.L. Halley’s son, Colin Garforth Halley, carried on the family connection on the board.[7] Wallace Craigie Works were used until 2004 but had lain empty since the company moved to Wester Gourdie. Despite plans to convert the landmark building, it was demolished very suddenly in 2018.[77]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

  1. Dundee Directories, 1856-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Halley, J.R.L., edited by (1980) A History of Halley's Mill 1822-1980. Dundee: William Halley & Sons Ltd. MS139. University of Dundee Archive Services.
  2. Dundee Directories, 1834-1838. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  3. Dundee Directories, 1842-1847. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  4. Dundee Directories, 1850-1857. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  5. Dundee Directories, 1858-1872. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  6. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED1L p.2. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Halley, J.R.L., edited by (1980) A History of Halley's Mill 1822-1980. Dundee: William Halley & Sons Ltd. MS139. University of Dundee Archive Services.
  8. Administrative history, William Halley & Sons Ltd. MS139. University of Dundee Archive Services website.
  9. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Birth. 18 November 1794. FHL Film Number 993424. Ancestry website.
  10. Dundee Directory, 1824-25. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  11. Dundee Directory, 1829-30. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  12. Dundee Directory, 1834. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  13. Dundee Directory, 1837-38. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  14. Dundee Directories, 1842-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  16. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directory, 1871-72. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Marriage. 8 November 1821. 282/210 38. ScotlandsPeople website.
  19. Cramer, Sydney and Dunn, Michael and Mitchell, Alison and Tudor-Hart, Adam. Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions in Angus Volume Four: Dundee and Broughty Ferry. The Howff 2/643. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Marriage. 23 July 1821. 282/210 33. ScotlandsPeople website.
  21. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Baptism. 3 August 1822. 282/150 125. ScotlandsPeople website.
  22. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Baptism. 8 August 1827. 282/160 97. ScotlandsPeople website.
  23. Cramer, Sydney and Dunn, Michael and Mitchell, Alison and Tudor-Hart, Adam. Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions in Angus Volume Four: Dundee and Broughty Ferry. St. Andrew's Church, Dundee.4/55. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directories, 1853-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Lamb, A.C. and Millar, A.H. (1892) List of the Magistrates and Town Council of Dundee, 1587-1886. Typescript. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1861-1864. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Advertiser, 23 December 1863. British Newspaper Archive website.
  28. Dundee Directories, 1864-1872. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  29. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED6 p.1. Ancestry website.
  30. 1871 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/4 ED21 p.42. Ancestry website.
  31. Old Parish Record. Dundee. Marriage. 23 December 1851. FHL Film Number 993404. Ancestry website.
  32. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/1 ED29 p.10. Ancestry website.
  33. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1856. 282/1 1027. ScotlandsPeople website.
  34. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1858. 282/1 885. ScotlandsPeople website.
  35. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1860. 282/1 1444. ScotlandsPeople website.
  36. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1863. 282/1 1184. ScotlandsPeople website.
  37. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  38. Dundee Directory, 1856-57. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  39. Dundee Directory, 1861-62. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  40. Dundee Directory, 1864-65. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  41. Dundee Directories, 1853-1865. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  42. Leng, John, & Co. (1905) Dundee Year Book, 1904. Dundee: John Leng & Co. and 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED55 p.3. ScotlandsPeople website.
  43. 1861 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282/1 ED26 p.25. Ancestry website.
  44. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Marriage. 1863. 282/1 102. ScotlandsPeople website.
  45. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1864. 282/1 1809. ScotlandsPeople website.
  46. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1865. 282/1x 151. ScotlandsPeople website.
  47. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1867. 282/1 931. ScotlandsPeople website.
  48. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Birth. 1868. 282/4x 11. ScotlandsPeople website.
  49. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Birth. 1871. 282/4 143. ScotlandsPeople website.
  50. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Birth. 1873. 282/4 40. ScotlandsPeople website.
  51. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Birth. 1875. 282/4 542. ScotlandsPeople website.
  52. Dundee Directories, 1867-1879. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  53. Dundee Directory, 1880-81. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  54. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Death. 5 December 1873. 282/4 969. ScotlandsPeople website.
  55. Statutory Registers. Panbride. Death. 22 May 1874. 316 18. ScotlandsPeople website and Dundee Courier, Saturday, 23rd May 1874, Page 2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  56. Dundee Courier, Saturday, 23rd May 1874, Page 2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  57. Leng, John, & Co. (1905) Dundee Year Book, 1904. Dundee: John Leng & Co.
  58. Dundee Directories, 1878-1881. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  59. Dundee Directory, 1876-77. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  60. Dundee Directory, 1878-79. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  61. Dundee Chamber of Commerce Centenary, 1836-1936. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  62. Dundee Directory, 1878-79. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  63. Dundee Directory, 1880-81. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  64. Dundee Directories, 1891-1897. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  65. Dundee Directories, 1884-1896. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  66. Dundee Directories, 1884-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  67. Dundee Directories, 1894-1896. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  68. Dundee Directory, 1884-85. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  69. Dundee Directories, 1884-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  70. Dundee Directories, 1885-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  71. Dundee Directories, 1895-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  72. Statutory Registers. St. Andrew, Dundee. Death. 22 February 1904. 282/4 259. ScotlandsPeople website.
  73. Dundee Courier, 23 February 1904. British Newspaper Archive website.
  74. Dundee Directories, 1887-1904. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Halley, J.R.L., edited by (1980) A History of Halley's Mill 1822-1980. Dundee: William Halley & Sons Ltd. MS139. University of Dundee Archive Services.
  75. Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories, 1904 and 1906. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.
  76. William Halley & Sons -"Progress of a Dundee Jute Mill", ref. no. 1860 (film 0185). National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive website.
  77. Administrative History of William Halley & Sons. MS139. Dundee University Archives Services website.

Credits

The ever-helpful staffs of Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee; the University of Dundee Archive Services and Archives, Family & Local 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.