Further Footsteps

Airlie, Rt Hon Mabell, Countess – Burgess

(obituary 7/4/56 in City archive, portrait in Victoria Art Gallery) was made Dundee’s third lady Burgess in 1902 in recognition of her enlightened interest in the welfare of the people of Dundee and her husband’s generosity in funding Auchterhouse Sanatorium… read more

Allan, Agnes – Red Cross Volunteer; Committee Woman

Agnes was born in Glasgow, the only child of a wealthy, widowed, retired auctioneer and property-owner who then married Agnes’ governess and had five more children. Aged 8 or 9, she went to live with a childless aunt in Dundee…. read more

Annan, Helena – Magazine Editor

Helena joined DC Thomson as a typist in 1913, but soon moved on to the staff of The Weekly Companion. In 1915 she left for war work, but returned in 1919 to John Leng & Co’s magazine department. She worked… read more

Auld, Joan – Archivist

Joan was initially a primary school teacher who as a mature student took a degree in Scottish history and moved into archive work, including the important surveys of records belonging to the Duke of Atholl and the Earls of Strathmore… read more

Baxter, Jessie – Journalist

Born in Aberdeen, she moved with her family to Dundee in 1929, where she joined the staff of the Telegraph as a copy writer, later moving to Features, She reported for The Courier for almost 46 years. “Decades later she… read more

Baxter, Nell – Artist

Nell, who lived in Tayport, was trained in Edinburgh by John Duncan, a leading figure of the Celtic Revival. Nellie was a painter, but more particularly a textile designer and book illustrator. She exhibited at the Dundee (Graphic) Art Society… read more

Bayne, Margaret – Architect

Born of Dundee parents in Abadan, Iran, Margaret was apprenticed for five years to McLaren, Soutar and Salmond, and was elected RIBA in 1940. Later she was admitted as a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and… read more

Bell, Gelda née Leslie – Singer

Edith Leslie, her mother, was a noted performer with Broughty Ferry Amateur Operatic Society and introduced Gelda to a range of music, from light opera to Wagner. Gelda won the 1954 Leng Gold Medallist in Dundee High School, studied art… read more

Blackadder, Agnes F – Dermatologist

The daughter of Robert, a Dundee architect, Agnes was educated at Dundee High School, where she won the Harris Gold Medal. In 1895 she was awarded the first MA degree awarded by St Andrews to a woman. Shortly before graduating,… read more

Boase, Aimée G C – ‘Social Worker’

The second daughter of Lindsay Boase, in the jute trade, she gave much of her time to furthering the work of Dundee Infant Hospital, The Lodge, Broughty Ferry. This establishment became a VAD hospital during WW 1. She also supported… read more

Bradshaw, Angela – Artist and Designer

Angela was a leading light in the design department of Dundee College of Art, which became Duncan of Jordanstone College, from 1932 – 1950, before moving to Yorkshire in the 1950s. She endowed a student prize, the Angela Bradshaw Award… read more

Brannen, Jan – Hospital Matron

After attending Morgan Academy, Jan went in 1932 to work in Perth City Fever Hospital, where she became a staff nurse. She then worked in Aberdeen, in Ashludie, and in Maryfield Hospital where she was matron from 1948 to 1969,… read more

Brougham, Janet Muir née Ogilvie – Weaver and Councillor

Born in Dunfermline, she attended Queen Anne High School then started work as a linen weaver (her father was an active trade unionist in the linen industry). When he was blacklisted, the family moved to Northern England, then later returned… read more

Bryson, Dr Elizabeth née Macdonald – Academic, Doctor and Author

Born the fourth of nine children in a very poor Dundee family, she lived in a two-room house. Her mother was a music teacher. At the age of ten she gained a bursary to Harris Academy. In 1892 universities opened… read more

Campbell, Elizabeth – Poet

Elizabeth was born at Tannadice on 11/2/04, the daughter of a ploughman on Findowry estate. Her father John was widowed in 1808 and his children had from early on to become self-reliant. The fifth of six daughters and two sons,… read more

Charlotte Augusta princess, heir presumptive to the throne

The only legitimate child of George, Prince of Wales, and Queen Caroline, Charlotte grew to be 5’8” tall, with auburn hair piled high, generally thought beautiful and loved by the populace. She was good at languages and music. She had… read more

Curr, Mrs – Philanthropist

This lady about whom little is known founded the night shelter in Bell Street. She was married to a rich merchant who was Dean of Guild 1846-49. ‘Mr Curr was the maker of money and Mrs Curr the charitable disposer… read more

Dodge, Anna née Thompson – Millionaire

Born into a family of modest circumstances in 1871 Anna was taken from Dundee to the US by her widowed mother when she was a little girl. She was musically talented, and when she grew up she supported them both… read more

Drillien, Cecil Mary – Paediatrician

Born in Taunton, Somerset, Cecil Mary was motivated to study medicine by a spell in hospital in her teenage years. Graduating from Bristol University in 1942, she was then called up to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps, where… read more

Duncan, Helen – Medium

Helen was born in Callander, the fourth of eight children of a cabinetmaker. She was small and unhealthy. Aged sixteen and pregnant, she came to Dundee and worked in a jute mill, then as an auxiliary in Dundee Royal Infirmary…. read more

Elder or Smith, Mary – ‘wife of Denside’

Mary is famous for having ‘poisoned her maid to keep up her pride.’ Margaret Warden, a farm servant at Denside, became pregnant, probably by George Smith, son of the farmer, and died at the farm, possibly as a result of… read more

Faulkner, Margaret née Dove – Social Activist

Born Margaret Dove, in London, daughter of a banker, she had had poor health since the 1919 ‘flu epidemic. At the City of London School for Girls she became Head Girl and went on to take Honours English at Westfield… read more

Findlay, Janet – Hawker

Janet lived at the foot of the Hawkhill and hawked small wares. At the age of 88 she married ‘a youth of 25 with whom she occasionally resided till the day of her death’.

Fox, Alice – Scottish Country Dance Teacher

Alice was one of triplets. She began to dance from an early age, 5 or 6. From the age of 18 she taught ballroom, Highland and Scottish country dance, and was popular though very strict. She raised large sums of… read more

Frankland, Grace née Toynbee – Chemist, Activist

Grace Coleridge Toynbee was the wife of Percy Faraday Frankland, professor of chemistry at Dundee University, who worked in the city from 1888 -1894. With her husband she co-authored Micro-Organisms in Water (1894) and Pasteur (1898), and under her sole… read more

Gall, ‘Ma’ Sarah Jane – Missionary

Known as ‘Ma’ or ‘Jean’, she was blind from her youth. Born at 64 Hilltown, she was the daughter of James Gall, shipyard labourer, and Mary Whitton, jute spinner, who married in 1894 in the Gilfillan Memorial Church. At the… read more

Gow, Mag – Fish Seller, Drunk

Fish-seller Mag Gow was an infamous drunken Dundee woman, who appeared in court on over 200 occasions over the course of 30 years. Dundee Courier 26 July 1861. Mag Gow’s 99th court appearance. Dundee Courier 18 Sept 1861. Margaret Gow,… read more

Graham, Clementina Stirling of Duntrune – Essayist, Society belle

Clementina was the indirect heir of John Graham of Claverhouse, and was born in the Seagate at a time when the garden reached the foreshore. As a young woman she was a favourite member of the social circles in which… read more

Grant, Mary Pollock – Suffragette

May was the eldest daughter of the Rev Dr C M Grant, (who made his congregation ‘ a centre of religious and social influence’) and was educated at Dundee High School. In 1905 she went to India for six years… read more

Halley, Mary – Suffragette

Mary was born in Alyth, the daughter of Anne Teavendale and William Allen, an iron moulder who had trouble getting work because of his Trade Union activities. She married David Halley, a draper, director of Dundee United, and later the… read more

Harris, Margaret – Benefactor

Margaret Harris was born in Dundee on 22nd March 1814, the sixth of seven children. She was the daughter of Helen Gibson and William Harris, who was a baker, one of several bakers at that time named Harris. Her elder brother William… read more

Imandt, Franziska Maria (‘Marie’) Isabella – Journalist

A short word about Marie’s father:- Peter Imandt was a Prussian. Nick-named ‘Red Wolf’ as a young man, he was a member of the Communist League, a founding father of the German Social Democratic Party and friends with Karl Marx…. read more

Irwin, Margaret – Trade Union and Suffrage Activist

Born at sea, the only daughter of James, a ship’s captain, Margaret was brought up in Broughty Ferry, gaining a degree in languages at St Andrews University. She went on to study at Queen Margaret College Glasgow & Glasgow College… read more

Johnson, Ellen – Vernacular Poet

Ellen was another protegée of Rev Gilfillan, but a very different person from Elizabeth Campbell. Bold, ever ready to stand up and speak out, she cast herself as the heroine of her own life story and the victim of injustice…. read more

Johnston, Etta J. – Artist, Scientist and Social Activist

Nothing is known of Etta’s life and work after around 1900, save that she continued to live at the family home in Newport until her death, though it is known that she maintained an interest for some years in Newport… read more

Jessie Jordon

Jordan, Jessie – Spy

She was born Jessie Wallace, in Glasgow, to an unmarried housemaid. Her first four years were spent with her granny until her mother married. Her parents were brutal, and at age 16 she left home and went as a housemaid… read more

Keddie, Joan P. – Singer

Joan was best known under her surname ‘ Keddie’, although eight years before her death she married Captain James Taylor, M.C., of Edinburgh. Born and brought up in Newport where her singing soon attracted admiration, she was for a long… read more

Kerr, Mary Elizabeth Grainger – Singer and Pianist

Meg,’ as her friends knew her, was a musician and soloist with Dundee origins. Her father was a Scottish solicitor, her mother English, and the family lived in a big house in Nethergate. After a home/private education she settled in… read more

King or Lowy Henrietta (Henny) Anna – Journalist, Events Organiser

“Can you organise the liveliest 800-year-old in Scotland?” “You bet I can!” replied Henny. And that’s how she came to Dundee in 1990. She stayed for the rest of her life. An exuberant, flamboyant woman, she will be long remembered… read more

King, Jessie ‘Marguerite’ – Journalist

In her time, around 1890, Jessie King was the best known woman journalist in Scotland. She was well travelled, and a great supporter of the suffragettes, whose meetings she reported. Reporting in the Dundee Advertiser on the formation of Dundee… read more

Kinnear, Catherine – Orthoptist and Philatelist

This lady spent her lifetime in an immense variety of services for Dundee. After graduating from St Andrews University in the thirties, she was momentarily at a loss. But her father and grandfather had been doctors, and a family friend… read more

Laird, Elizabeth Matthew – Doctor

Elizabeth was the daughter of A.B. Anderson, chemist. She studied medicine at St Andrews but graduated in Edinburgh because St Andrews didn’t take women for other subjects: the professor ruled that it was “positively indecent to lecture to a woman… read more

Lorimer, Elizabeth Hilda Lockhart – Classical Scholar

Hilda was the oldest daughter, third of eight children of Rev Robert, minister of the Free Church of Mains & Strathmartine, Angus. She was never known as Elizabeth – in fact her family called her “Hiddo”. Every day the young… read more

Lyon, Mrs Agnes – Song Writer

Agnes was born in Dundee, the eldest daughter of John Ramsay L’Amy. Bonny, blue-eyed, fair and slender, she had many suitors; at 24 she married Rev James, the minister of Glamis and had ten children by him. A cultured woman… read more

Macarthur, Mary – Trade Unionist

This woman was not a Dundonian, but perhaps deserves a mention. A Glaswegian, in 1906 she became founder and secretary of the National Federation of Women Workers. She came to Dundee in ‘the snowstorms of March 1906′ to support a… read more

Mackenzie, Alison – Printmaker; MacKenzie, Winifred – Painter, Printmaker

The half-sisters were always known as a pair. Their father was from the West of Scotland and studied painting and architecture at Glasgow College of Art, where he met Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with whom he planned to go into partnership…. read more

Mackinnon, Doris Livingston – Academic, Naturalist

A native of Aberdeen, Doris graduated BSc there in 1906, and went on to study abroad. Two years later she came to teach at University College Dundee, working closely with Professor D’Arcy Thomson. She gained a reputation as a brilliant… read more

Martin, Mrs/Lady Isobel Carlaw – Educationalist

Isobel spent her life between Edinburgh and Dundee, and in both cities she held a prominent place for over forty years among women engaging in public work in Scotland, her main interest being education. She lived in one of the… read more

Mary, Queen of Scots – gifted the Howff

The Queen of Scots’ most remembered link with Dundee is that in 1564 she gave The Howff to the citizens. This piece of land had been the garden of Greyfriars Monastery, which was destroyed in 1548. It was used as… read more

Maxwell, Bessie – Journalist

Bessie was born in Dundee, one of four children. Their great-grandfather was the first editor of The Peoples’ Friend, and their father had been an editor too – evidently the family had printer’s ink in their bloodstream. Bessie attended Dundee… read more

McLean, Grace – work with pensioners

Grace was born in Inverbervie. She married Charles, an engineer, and went with him to Africa in 1948. After her husband’s death in 1958 Grace settled in the Stobswell area of Dundee and worked as a personnel officer for the… read more

Meechie, Helen – Brigadier

Helen was born in Dundee and educated at Morgan Academy and St Andrews University. She got an MA in modern languages and a teaching diploma, but then she decided she’d like to join the army. So at 22 she was… read more

Miller, Mrs Lily Binnie – First Woman Town Councillor

Although other women before her served on the Parish Council, Lily was Dundee’s first female town councillor. She lived in Kenmore Terrace and worked as manageress of a biscuit factory. In 1923 she was elected to the Parish Council for… read more

Morgan, Eleanor – Citizen of the Year 1963

Eleanor was born in Broughty Ferry, and studied at both Grove and Harris Academies. She joined the WVS as an ambulance driver at its inception before World War II, and in 1948 was appointed Central Organiser of WVS. Her efforts… read more

Mudie, Eliza Balfour or Moncur – Philanthropist

The daughter of Mary Ann Balfour and Rev James Mudie, United. Presbyterian Church, Mrs Moncur was born in Stronsay, Orkney. She moved to Blairgowrie, and in 1861 she married a manufacturer, Mr Alexander Hay Moncur, who became Provost 1881-84.

Neville, Ursula – Charity Worker

Born in Berlin, Ursula fled to Scotland from the Nazi regime when she was eighteen. Before the war began she became a Guider in a central Glasgow company – but then the children were evacuated. After working in an army… read more

Nicol, Helen – Citizen of the Year 1966

“Nell” was a super-active member of St Andrews Parish Church; she was secretary of  the Women’s Guild, drama and social groups and choir, she played piano for the Boys Brigade, and she taught Sunday School for 65 years From 1952… read more

Ogilvie, Anna Belle – Home Help Pioneer

Anna was born c.1902 and educated at Grove Academy. At 45 she married Captain James Ogilvie of Broughty Ferry. They lived in Singapore until he died in 1948, when she was asked to return to help form a pilot scheme… read more

Ogilvy Dalgleish, Lady Elizabeth – Philanthropist

Born Elizabeth Frances Molison, she was the grand-daughter of William Baxter and an heiress. In 1860 she married William (later Sir William) Ogilvy. He became a partner, and then, in 1872, chairman of Baxters, the biggest textile firm in Dundee…. read more

Ogilvy, Lady Jane – Philanthropist

Lady Jane was born in July 1809, the third daughter of the Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire. She married Sir John Ogilvy of Baldovan MP.  In 1884 she started the Home for Lapsed Women, and, a few years later, Baldovan… read more

Ogilvy, Marion – Ghost!

Marion was the daughter of the first Lord Airlie and lover of Cardinal Beaton, who built her Melgund Castle near Brechin. She was an able and literate woman who managed her own affairs, and left £3,000 in her will. The… read more

Parker, Fanny – Suffragette

Fanny was born and brought up in New Zealand. She was the future Lord Kitchener’s niece, a connection useful to her in that he paid for her to come and study at Cambridge and later his influence helped her out… read more

Petrie, Mrs Mary – Tutor to the Romanovs

Miss Petrie was born in Russia c.1881 where her father was a flax inspector. She became tutor to the Romanovs. She and her sister were still in Russia at the time of the Revolution; they went to Sweden with the… read more

Pettersen, Miss Ingeborg Resch – Musician

Born in Norway, she was the sister of Yngmar, a shipbroker and Dundee’s Vice-Consul for Norway, Sweden and Portugal. She is first listed in the 1889 Street Directory at 21 Tay St, the following year at 75 Nethergate; then the… read more

Porter, Jessie – Nursery School Pioneer

Jessie was born in Stirling. In 1917 she went to London as a student of Margaret McMillan. She returned to Dundee three years later, to Dundee’s first nursery school – a private school, which later became Bellfield Nursery. Jessie was… read more

Pringle, Jean – Dance Teacher

Jean was born near Meigle in 1920. She was said to be very light on her feet from the beginning. She started dancing classes at eight, and when the family moved to King St she attended Morgan Academy, entering many… read more

Robertson, Anne S.W. – Singer, Conductor

Anne inherited her love of literature from her father, chief Courier reporter and a tenor, and her music from her mother, a skilled pianist. She was their only surviving child. A Leng Gold Medallist in 1934, Anne was a fine… read more

Robertson, Marion – Stables manager

Marion was a married woman with two sons and at least two daughters. In about 1850 her husband opened  the Perth Road & Royal Stables. In 1875 he died and Marion became the proprietrix of the stables for the next… read more

Scotland, Elizabeth “Lizzie” - Politician

A bright and breezy little woman with boundless energy and unfailing good humour, Elizabeth had many friends. She was an earnest Methodist, acting as Sunday School teacher and class leader, and was also organiser of the municipal department of the… read more

Scott, Anne or Anna – Duchess of Monmouth

Her house, which stood on the corner of High St and Overgate until the 1960s, is perhaps better known than this rich, aristocratic lady. Anne was born in this house in February 1651, Countess of Buccleugh, daughter of Francis, Earl… read more

Semple, Kirsty – Doctor

Kirsty was born and brought up in Edinburgh, graduating at Surgeon’s Hall. She then went to Harrogate, then came next to Dundee in 1951, where she ran a G.P. practice in Strathmartine Rd until retiring in 1981 on medical advice…. read more

Shelley, Mary – Writer

Mary’s link with Dundee is tenuous, but she does have a plaque here, in South Baffin Street. She was the daughter William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, two of London’s most famous radical writers. Her mother died in childbirth and her… read more

Soutar, Elizabeth – Blind poet

Elizabeth was said to be one of Dundee’s earliest woman writers, a learned woman, a friend of Mrs Lindsay, a headmaster’s wife. Although her poems were published there appears to be no extant copy of her works, the only example… read more

Stenhouse, Elizabeth – Therapeutic radiographer

Liz was born on 3rd April 1932. Brought up initially in Africa, where her father was an agricultural advisor, she later returned to her native Aberdeenshire. She qualified as a therapeutic radiographer when she was 22, and in 1974 became… read more

Stewart, Mary – Road and track cyclist

Mary was a member of Heatherbell Ladies’ Cycling Club, the first ladies’ club in Scotland.  The club had between 40 and 50 members and they wore green tops with purple and yellow bands ‘to look like heather’. Club members were… read more

Stewart, Maureen – Bookmaker

Maureen was born in Lilybank and educated at Lawside Academy. She first worked in Gellatly St Auctioneers, then became a bus conductress with Alexanders, where she met her future husband Jack.  During the ‘60s she left the buses to work… read more

Symers, Miss Helen Halyburton - 3rd Woman Burgess

Miss Symers, of St Helen’s, Dundee was born in about 1831, the last of a long line dating back to the 16th century. Her father was an agent of the British Linen Company Bank.  A member of St Paul’s United… read more

Thompson, Jean Napier – Medium

Born in about 1897, Jean became a medium and prophetess with a wide following in Dundee and abroad. She gave talks & demonstrations in USA, Canada, Scandinavia & the Albert Hall, London, and was respected as a prophetess because of… read more

Thomson, Gertie – Red Cross

Born in Cupar, Gertie and her younger sister Trixie were daughters of the wellknown Dundee City architect and engineer, James Thomson. She was educated at Seymour Lodge. Her concern for the sick dates from when, as a young girl during… read more

Thomson, Helen – Mission worker, Wardress

Helen was born in Dundee, the daughter of Mary, a power loom weaver, and John, a cloth lapper. She grew up in the Hilltown, and after she left school she worked in the Overgate Mission, where the minister saw her… read more

Wallace, Martha – Street Musician

Martha was born blind in about 1876. She lived for many years in St Mary’s Street, off Lochee Road. Known as ‘Blind Mattie’, she played popular songs (e.g. My Ain Folk) on her melodeon in the city centre and the… read more

Watson, Elizabeth Sophia (aka Deas Cromarty) – Authoress

An Englishwoman, she was the daughter of Rev John Fletcher, a Weslyan minister.  At 24 she came to Dundee and married Rev Dr R.A. Watson of Butterburn United Presbyterian Church & Abercraig, West Newport.  She wrote for the British Weekly… read more

Watt, Mary Elizabeth – Painter

Mary’s grandfather was a linen weaver and her grandfather a factory overseer in the jute mills. Mary’s father Alexander Thomson Watt was a master butcher with two shops in Dundee.   The family were members and (ordained)* being checked for meaning… read more

Weatherstone, Maureen Margaret – Librarian and Activist

Though proud to have been born in N. Ireland, Maureen spent most of her early life in Edinburgh, attending Edinburgh Ladies College and then Dollar Academy. She came from a military background, with many relatives in the armed forces, and… read more

Wiedeman or Browning, Sarah – poet’s mother

Sarah Wiedeman was born on the corner of Seagate and Trades Lane, and is one of the few women who was already commemorated with a plaque when Dundee Women’s Trail was set up.  She was the daughter of the first… read more

Wilkie, Annot (Robinson) – Socialist, Suffragette Wilkie, Helen – Socialist, Suffragette

These sisters were born in Montrose, daughters of Catherine Jane Erskine, teacher, and John Wilkie, draper. It was a poor family.  Annot went to Montrose Academy where she worked as a pupil teacher, then attended teacher training college before taking… read more

Winter, Annie Doig – Musician

Born in Dundee, the last of the Winter printing family, Miss Winter was a relation of J.M. Barrie. She attended Dundee High School, then went to London to study piano & violin. After teaching music in Dundee, she went to… read more

Wood Soutar or Allen, Janet (Jenny) – cyclist, marathon runner

Jenny was born in Brown Constable Street, Dundee, later living in the Blackness area. One of six children, she won a scholarship to Harris Academy, but family circumstances forced her to leave school at 14. All her life she wished… read more

Young, Ruth – Doctor

Ruth was born in Dundee, the daughter of William B. Wilson, a flax merchant. She attended Dundee High School, then  went to University College (St Andrews University) where she gained a BSc and  to Advanced Medical School Dundee, graduating MB… read more