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William Ogilvy Dalgleish Esquire

William Ogilvy Dalgleish was a very prominent and well regarded business man and philanthropist. He was a principle benefactor to the University of Dundee Medical School and the Dundee Technical College, as well as many other civic institutions.

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Personal details and history

Full name

William Ogilvy Dalgleish

Date of birth


Place of birth

Ferryport on Craig, (Tayport) Fife[1]



Marital status


Name of spouse

Elizabeth Frances Molison[2]



Home address

12 Westfield Place[3]

Mayfield House[4]
Ferry Road

1885 onwards
Errol Park[5]

Age at death:

81 years[6]

Place of death:

Errol Park, Errol, Perthshire[6]

Date of death:



Errol Churchyard[7]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Established Church: Church of Scotland[8]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

President of the Association in Dundee for Teaching the Blind to Read. 1863:[10] President of the Dundee Institution of the Blind. 1897:[11] President of Dundee Chamber of Commerce. 1870.[12] President of Mars Training Ship:[13] President of Sailors Home1881:[14] President of Seamans Friends Society:[13] Chairman Royal Infirmary Board 1890:[15]

Public offices

County Councillor, Perthshire: Justice of the Peace in Dundee and Forfarshire: Deputy Lieutenant in Fife and Perthshire:[16]

Related subscribers

Subscriber      4 – George Armitstead – husband of wife’s cousin, Jane Elizabeth Baxter

Subscriber    18 – Edward Baxter of Kincaldrum – brother of W O Dalgleish’s mother in law, Elizabeth (Eliza) Baxter

Subscriber    23 – Eleanor Baxter – sister of W O Dalgleish’s mother in law, Elizabeth (Eliza) Baxter

Subscriber    24 – Mary Ann Baxter – sister of W O Dalgleish’s mother in law, Elizabeth (Eliza) Baxter

Subscriber    29 – David Baxter – brother of W O Dalgleish’s mother in law, Elizabeth (Eliza) Baxter and co-partner of Baxter Bros & Co

Subscriber    35 – William Edward Baxter – cousin of W O Dalgleish’s wife

Subscriber   55 – Peter Carmichael – fellow partner in Baxter Brothers & Co

Subscriber   69 – David Ogilvy Dalgleish – younger brother of William Ogilvy Dalgleish

Subscriber 265 – James Ogilvy Dalgleish – father of William Ogilvy Dalgleish



Career and worklife


Flax and Jute Merchant / Linen Manufacturer[17]


Partner of Baxter Brothers - 1856-1892: Chair of Baxter Brothers - 1892-1904:[13]

Place of work

Messrs Baxter Brothers & Co - Merchants, Flaxspinners and Power Loom Manufacturers[18]

Work address

11[19] King Street[18]

Career to date:

On completion of his education at the University of Edinburgh, William Ogilvy Dalgleish entered the Liverpool office of Messrs David Martin and Co., owned by his maternal grandfather.[16] On his return to Dundee he commenced work with Baxter Brothers, becoming a partner in 1856 and Chairman of the company in 1892[9]

More information

Sir William Ogilvy Dalgleish was born in Ferryport On Craig in 1832, the son of Captain James Ogilvy Dalgleish and Isobella Marshall Martin.[1]

In the 1851 Scotland census, W. O. Dalgleish, aged 19, was listed as a ‘clerk to a flax merchant’ and was boarding at Westfield Place in Dundee.[3] Two pieces of information would assume the ‘flax merchant’ to have been that of Baxter Brothers & Co.

In 1872, from the letters of the only non-family partner of the firm, Peter Carmichael, it was declared that ‘After the death of Sir David Baxter (1872), the burden and responsibility of upholding this great manufacturing business rested almost entirely on Mr Carmichael and Mr Dalgleish. They had by this time been associated as partners for nearly 20 years (1852) and had got on very well together. Their business relations had always been characterised by mutual respect and perfect confidence and each deferred to the judgement of the other.’[20]

Further to that, the Dundee Directory for 1858-59 (published 1858) recorded the first entry for W O Dalgleish, merchant, listing his workplace as 11 King Street, Dundee, the location of Baxter Brothers’ office.[21] By 1862, it had been recorded that the business of the firm had already become very prosperous and its revenue ‘exceeding large.’ Again, an extract from Carmichael’s observations, ‘This result was likewise in great measure due to the business capacity, the personal influence and the wise arrangements of Mr David Baxter the senior partner and Mr William Ogilvy Dalgleish who had for some years been associated with him on the conduct of the commercial department of the large concern.’[22]

On 25 April 1860, William married Elizabeth Frances Molison, the only daughter of Mrs Molison of Errol Park, the sister of Sir David Baxter.[2] In the 1861 and 1871 census, William and Elizabeth were resident in Mayfield House[4] although, by the 1891 census, they had moved to Errol Park,[5] the former residence of Elizabeth’s mother, Mrs Francis Molison. The mansion house was built in 1874, ‘in the best Victorian style, to take the place of the old building which had been totally destroyed by fire.’[23] On her mother’s death in 1883, Elizabeth and her husband took up residence in the family home.[24] A photograph of Errol House and portraits of Sir William and Lady Dalgleish are published in ‘Errol: Its legends lands and people.’[25]

Both William and his wife were generous and important philanthropists and benefactors to many institutions in Dundee, being associated with at least twenty eight voluntary bodies throughout the city, many with an emphasis on education and medical provision. Among them, the Royal Infirmary; Dundee University Medical School; Dundee Free Dental Dispensary; Dundee Eye Institution; the Mars Training Ship; Dundee Art and Technical College; Industrial Schools; the Young Mens and Womens Christian Association; Sailors’ Home; Seamans Friends Society and the Blind Institution.[26][16] In 1895, William was listed as having donated £3000 to the Royal Infirmary[27]. In the 1909 ‘Dundee Yearbook’ his generous contribution of £11,000 for the completion of the new Art School and Technical Institute is noted[28].

Both Sir William and Lady Dalgleish were generous supporters to the Dundee Institution for the Blind, as were Lady Dalgleish’s parents. The 1897 report for the Institution contains portraits of Sir William and Lady Dalgleish alongside portraits of Mr and Mrs Francis Molison, the parents of Lady Dalgleish.[11] The Molisons gifted the Institution a property, Dallfield House, in 1865 [29]and a further property in Magdalen Green, which was opened in 1885, with William Ogilivy Dalgleish  as President.[30]

With respect to the Albert Institute, Sir William, aside from his initial generous subscription of £300, donated a further £1,000 for the installation of electric lighting[31] and donated artworks to the permanent collection of the Gallery.[31]

Aside from the Chairmanship of Baxter Bros & Co., Sir William had many different business interests and was Director of Dundee Northern Assurance Co; Dundee Perth and London Shipping Co; Scottish American Investment Trust; Northern American Investment Trust; Highland Railway Co.[13]

In 1896 William Ogilvy Dalgleish was given the title of Baronet[32] and in 1902 he had the ‘Freedom of the City’ conferred upon him.[33] Sir William was highly regarded in the city and beyond and in the extensive description of the Freedom of the City ceremony, published in the Courier,[34] he was described as having been one of the city’s “merchant princes.

The golden wedding anniversary of Sir William and Lady Ogilvy Dalgleish was noted with an article, together with photographs of them both, in the Dundee Year book of 1910.[35] The inhabitants of Errol presented them with a gold loving cup as a measure of their esteem. The citizens of Errol were indebted to the Dalgleishes for several improvements to the village, among them the provision of a clean water supply, improvements to the village streets, sanitation and housing.[8]

Sir William Ogilvy Dalgleish died, aged 81, on the 21 December 1913.[6] He was survived by his wife and a brother, James Ogilvy Dalgleish. He was interred at Errol Churchyard on 24 December 1913.[7] The Dundee Courier published an comprehensive description of his funeral service, including an extensive list of the mourners, many representing the civic institutions and charities that Sir William had supported.[36]

Sir William Ogilvy Dalgleish became an extremely wealthy gentleman, leaving his widow his fortune of £706,023 15s 4d.[37]


  1. Old Parish Registers. Ferryport on Craig. Births. (1832). 429/ 30 65. Scotlandspeople website.
  2. Statutory Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1860). 282/1 107. Scotlandspeople website.
  3. Census Returns. Dundee. (1851). 282/23 7. ED 23 Line 5. Ancestry website.
  4. Census Returns. Dundee. (1861). 282/1 32 31. Scotlandspeople website.
  5. Census Returns. Errol. (1891). 351/ 7 118. Scotlandspeople website.
  6. Statutory Registers. Errol. Deaths. (1913). 351/ 25. Scotlandspeople website.
  7. Dundee Evening Telegraph. 24 December 1913. p.3. Findmypast website.
  8. Melville. Lawrence. Errol: Its legends lands and people.(1935). p.92-93
  9. Dundee Courier and Argus. 4 July 1892. p.3. General Election Scottish Candidates. Findmypast website.
  10. First Report of the Directors of the Association in Dundee for Teaching the Blind to Read. Accessed in Lamb Collection, Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  11. The Dundee Institution of the Blind Report 1897. p6.
  12. Notes on Past Presidents of Dundee Chamber of Commerce.
  13. University of Dundee Archives. UR-SF/32/9/4. Enid Gauldie Papers.
  14. Dundee Weekly News. 17 December 1881. p.5. Accessed via British Newspaper Archive website.
  15. Ninety First Annual Report. Dundee Royal Infirmary. Accessed in Lamb Collection. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  16. Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Vol.1. The Staple Industries. pp.350-353.
  17. Census Returns. Dundee. (1871). 282/ 4 30 43. Scotlandspeople website.
  18. Dundee Postal Directory, 1861-62. p114. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  19. Dundee Postal Directory, 1864-65. p.95. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  20. Gauldie, Enid. (ed.) The Dundee Textile Industry 1790-1885. From the Papers of Peter Carmichael. Edinburgh. (1969).T & A Constable Ltd. p.210.
  21. Dundee Postal Directory, 1858-59. p.121. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  22. Gauldie, Enid. (ed.) The Dundee Textile Industry 1790-1885. From the Papers of Peter Carmichael. Edinburgh. (1969).T & A Constable Ltd. p.175.
  23. Melville, Lawrence. The Fair Land of Gowrie. (1939). Coupar Angus. William Culross & Son Ltd. p.68.
  24. Melville, Lawrence. The Fair Land of Gowrie. (1939). Coupar Angus. William Culross & Son Ltd. p.65.
  25. Melville. Lawrence. Errol: Its legends lands and people.(1935). pp.92-93. and 156.
  26. Dundee Courier. 20 May 1986. p.6. Findmypast website.
  27. Dundee Year Book. 1895. p.13. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  28. Dundee Year Book. 1909. p.62. and pp.110-111. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  29. Dundee Institution of the Blind. Accessed in Lamb Collection, Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  30. Dundee Institution of the Blind. Opening of the New Institution Magdalen Green, Dundee, 15 January 1885. Accessed in Lamb Collection, Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  31. Millar, Alexander Hastie. Jubilee of the Albert Institute 1867-1917. A Record of the Work of Fifty Years. p.51. p.69.
  32. Dundee Year Book. 1896. p.8. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  33. Dundee Year Book. 1902. p.7. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  34. Dundee Courier. 3 July 1902. p.6. Findmypast website.
  35. Dundee Year Book. 1910. p.95. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
  36. Dundee Courier. 25 December 1913. p.5. Accessed via British Newspaper Archive website.
  37. Scotland National Probate Index Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories. Accessed via Ancestry website.

The information above about William Ogilvy Dalgleish 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.