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Flax spinning Montrose and Arbroath

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  • dave.gordon@rianova.co.uk
    The extract below from Industry in Montrose refers to the flax mills of Aberdein and Gordon in Montrose, can anyone help me in seeking out further
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2001
      The extract below from "Industry in Montrose" refers to the flax
      mills of Aberdein and Gordon in Montrose, can anyone help me in
      seeking out further information about the activities of this company
      and also that of Alexander Gordon who was a flax spinner in Arbroath
      in the second half of the nineteenth century. Evidence of trading
      links with Gothenberg would be of particular interest.

      Dave Gordon
      Bristol, England

      "A firm renowned for its foreign and continental trade was known as
      Aberdein and Gordon's of Union Street Mills, and latterly known as
      Foote's Mill, but now closed. The family of Aberdein settled in
      Montrose towards the end of the 18th century when, in December 1786,
      William Aberdein purchased his freedom and was admitted a burgess at
      a cost of 120 merks: his having been designated as "Esquire" is
      suggestive that he possessed some land estate at this date. In
      September 1787 he joined the Council, and passing through the various
      sittings, he was elected Second Bailie in 1798. In 1797 his two sons
      John and Francis Aberdein were made burgesses and on that date their
      father is described as "merchant". Records suggest that he was at
      this time in business in the flax trade. At the same entry there is
      noted the admission of Andrew Lyall, son of Bailie James Lyall,
      merchant, a firm under the title of Messrs. Aberdein and Lyall being
      in business about this period. The firm of Aberdein and Gordon, Union
      Street, however, was later in starting, although this was most likely
      the beginning of the firm under the title of Messrs. Lyall, Aberdein
      and Co.. They applied to the Government in February 1791 for a
      quicker despatch of the "Great South Mail" from London. This arrived
      in Edinburgh before six in the morning, the west country or Glasgow
      Mail arriving there about an hour later, but the letters brought by
      these mails were not delivered to Montrose until half past eight in
      the evening. This memorandum was made by over twenty firms and
      addressed to the Post Master for Scotland.

      It is interesting also to note that this family included a
      centenarian, as on 15th September 1820 died Thomas Aberdein aged
      105, "who enjoyed an uninterrupted series of good health until a few
      days before his death". Another centenarian, although not the same
      name, is recorded when on the 14th February 1771, Jean Stevenson
      passed away in Montrose, in her 107th year, and "her neighbours say
      that she had not washed her face for thirty or forty years before her
      death". Another two centenarians in Montrose, but not recorded by
      Royalty, were Anne Middleton, who died 4th December 1775. She was the
      spouse of William Napier, Pier Wynd, and being born in 1673, had
      lasted for 102 years. It is said that she was the first person who
      brought to Montrose the news of Prince Charlie at Culloden. Another
      old lady, although a native of Fordoun, was Mrs. Alex Mime who came
      to Montrose in 1829 and died there aged 103.

      Union Street Mills also had a family connection with Brechin and
      Fettercairn, having been known as Foote's Mill through one of the
      partners Mr. Archibald, a son of Rev. Robert Foote, minister of
      Fettercairn and the other son, Rev Alex Foote, minister of the
      Secession Church, Brechin. Another partner was William Gordon, Master
      of the Hospital in 1827 and Town Treasurer in 1833-35. He passed away
      on 23rd April 1838 and lived in that house on the south-east corner
      of John Street."
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