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Broughty Ferry, 1853-4 (part 1)

(Taken from the Dundee Directory of the same year)


  1. Brief Historical Note
  2. Places of Worship
  3. Religious Tract Society
  4. Temperance Society
  5. Gas-Light Company
  6. Bowling Club
  7. Post Office Receiving House
  8. Principal Hotel
  9. Bathing House, Beach
  10. Names, Professions and Addresses of the Principal Inhabitants


The great object of historical reminiscence at Broughty Ferry is the venerable ruin of the ancient Castle. Proudly situated on a projecting eminence overlooking the Tay, it has a picturesque appearance, and invests the scenery around with an air of antiquity and martial grandeur. In its palmy days, it was doubtless a place of some strength and importance, and its possession an object of serious contest. Even yet, dismantled and bereft of its former glory, it seems to look down with disdain on the lesser modern buildings within its view. At what period or by whom it was erected is uncertain. In the middle of the sixteenth century it fell into the hands of the English, when Henry VII., thwarted in his design of uniting the two kingdoms under one crown by the marriage of his son, Edward Prince of Wales, with our infant Queen, Mary Stuart, sent an invading army to resent the refusal. Elated with the victory of Pinkie, on 5th September 1547, the English Commander (the Duke of Somerset) despatched Sir Andrew Dudley with a strong detachment to secure Dundee and the surrounding country. As a preliminary he took possession of Broughty, which, from its position, commanded the entrance of the Tay. Repeated attempts were made to dislodge the garrison by the Earl of Argyle and by the Regent, Earl of Arran, but which proved ineffectual. Dudley next year took possession of the Hill of Balgillo, on which he built a strong and beautiful fortress, at great labour and cost. With a force of sixteen to seventeen hundred lancers, infantry and cavalry, from both forts, he next marched on Dundee, which he enterred unopposed. M. d'Esse having arrived in Scotland at the head of six thousand French and German auxiliaries, despatched two companies of the latter and one of the former to the aid of the town. The English on learning of their approach, after only eight days' occupancy, set the town on fire, and safely retired to their fortresses. They occupied themselves in plundering the whole district around, which they also extended across the Tay to Fife.. M. d'Estaoges, a French officer, appointed Governor of Dundee, having ventured with a reconmoitering party too close to Balgillo Castle, they were surrounded and taken prisoners. Meantime vigorous preperations were made by raising forces at Dundee, aided by the county gentlemen; and M. Paul de Thermes, having assumed command of the foreign auxiliaries, a strong army invested the two fortresses; and the advances were pressed with such vigour, that the garrison, neglected by their countrymen, were compelled to surrender on 20th February 1550. Broughty was at this time dismantled, and perhaps also terminated its military services. Balgillo was also dismantled, but only in 1816 completely demolished.

The modern village is quite a recent erection. Fifty years ago, it consisted of only a few houses and fishers' huts along the beach west from the Castle. Now it has four or five spacious streets running parallel from each other from east to west, besides as many crossing north and south. The houses are mostly of some size, and on the rising ground to the very top of Forthill are numerous villas, and not a few splendid mansions. It is now quite a suburb of Dundee, only three miles distant, travelled by rail in ten minutes, - a large number of its merchants residing here, besides those who have their summer residences, and the other visitors who resort hither in the bathing season. During the summer months the place is full of visitors, and presents a gay and lively appearance. There are twelve trains to and from Dundee daily. There is little trade carrie on except what is necessary for the wants of the population. The Arbroath Railway Company have an engineering establishment at their Station here, at which a number of men are employed. There is no proper police authority here, hence the sanitary condition is far from good; and the streets, from the soft nature of the soil, are in a wretched state of repair, to remedy which, however, measures are now in progress. A spacious and commodious was built a few years ago, at considerable cost, by the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway Company, for the accomodation of their two steamers, which ply between this and Tayport in connection with their line, - one for passengers, a smart little craft, which crosses the river in five minutes, and another for goods traffic, a large powerful vessel, built by Robert Napier of Glasgow, with doulbe rails on deck for taking on board loaded trucks. The only other quay is a small wooden jetty, beloging to the Pert Steam-Packet Company. Coals and other merchandize, by sailing vessels, are landed by the primitive mode of beaching the craft at full tide, and running carts alongside when the water has ebbed. Fishing of all kinds is vigorously pursued. The population, by the census of March 1851, including West Ferry, Seafield, and environs, was 2800. It is now over 3000.



Established Church-Chapel of Ease,
Parish of Monifieth
Rev. John Wood, LL.D.
Free Church Rev. John Lyon
United Presbyterian Church Dun. Ogilvie, M.A.
Scottish Episcopal Church Albert Loinsworth




George Smith Andrew Spence, jun. Dr. Gordon
Dr. Scott William Stewart Dr. Dick
William Webster John Dick Charles Smith
G. Lindsay P. Watson
John Methven Dr. Ramsay

William Stewart, Treasurer and Secretary



Rev. D. Ogilvie, A.M., . . President

Andrew Bell, Treasurer Thomas E. Methven, Secretary


Henry Elliot George Strachan William Coupar
John M'Nab Peter Gilruth Samuel Watt
Andrew Bell




Dr. Ramsay John Methven James Scott
James Patullo Sam. C. Thomson Thos. Dick, jun.
William Low, manager



Arch. Crichton, President P. Duncan, Vice-President
K. W. Henderson, Treasurer George Burnett, Secretary


Anthony Trail Edmund Baxter Charles Norrie




Mrs. Mary Barclay, Receiver
John Mellis and John Mathew, Letter Carriers

Box Closes - 1st Despatch 2.55 P.M.
Box Closes - 2nd Despatch 8.50 P.M.



Victoria Hotel, Gray Street, John Denholm.



Hot, Cold, and Shower Salt Water Baths.

Patrick Reilly, Keeper.


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