Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monifieth’s Connection with the Marquis of Montrose

By Mhairi Pyott

James Graham, who became the first Marquis of Montrose, was born at the family home at Old Montrose, in 1612. This is where he spent much of his boyhood also with some time at Kincardine Castle. Montrose was hanged at the Mercat Cross on 21st May 1650 , to the last protesting he was a true Covenanter and a loyal subject.

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Collated Information on James F Low Ironfounders Monifieth

James F Low Foundry from the air

James F Low Foundry
from the air

From : Frank Walker who was an employee.

There were two poplar trees, within the foundry grounds, quite near to the houses. In the Spring, every year there was a colony of rooks settled and attempted to build their nests.  The noise and mess they generated cause problems.  Finally the Fire Brigade, led by Firemaster Fenton, dislodged the nests with high pressure, water jets.

From : Donald Scott : Ex Management Employee.

I can recall being in the office when I was told that production had ceased. Everyone had `downed tools`. Believing some industrial problem had caused an `all out strike`, I rushed down to the factory floor.

To my amazement the reason for the `withdrawal of labour`, being my pet rabbits had escaped from their pen in the garden of my home adjoining the foundry premises. The workmen feared for their safety, running loose through the machinery, therefore everything ground to a halt


There was no equipment for breaking down large pieces of metal. This was overcome by hoisting a very large weight, by a rope over one of the highest branches of a tree within the foundry grounds. The large pieces of unwanted metal were stacked below the tree, then the force of the weight released from the branch was sufficient to smash most of the metal. One day it was noted that the tree was swaying badly. Close inspection showed the trunk of the tree to be hollow. Legend had predicted if the tree `came down` , then so would the Foundry.      The tree was felled. !!!

From : Mrs Cook,  Monifieth Resident.

Told to me by my late father.

In early 1914 with the outbreak of War in August, the manufacture of Textile Machinery was forbidden, in favour of munitions of war.

My father gave much praise to a Mr Robertson, uncle of Mary Christie, the sweet shop owner, who allowed him to work from 6 a.m. / 8 a.m. in the `pattern shop`, then as relief in the `tool room`, also from 6 a.m. / 8 a.m., in order that I would master the practical side of J.F. Low (Ironfounders).

At this time my father was Chief Draughtsman and all this practical experience led to him being made Works Manager in 1915, with a five years agreement.

The factory employed around 1000 people, operating a continuous shift system from 6p.m. on Sunday , until noon on Saturdays. Mr David McGraw was head of the office during those years. This was his `War Service`, since he had been

No 1, of Steel Bros of  Rangoon. My father described him as one of the shrewdest and ablest  man he ever knew.

Between them they `fought` the Ministry and mostly won.

Mr McGraw was later taken to London to Ministry Headquarters and kept in touch.

In 1917 `Headquarters` decided to double J. F Low`s capability, due to their increased efficiency, but apparently due to the War coming to an end, this did not appear to happen.

Charles T Gordon was managing Director, at this time.

After the War, J.F Low opened a works to produce Textile Machinery in India, but this venture failed with the loss of £88,000 mainly by Mr William Low.

John Knox and Monifieth

John Knox was the first to devise a system of education and his aim was to provide in every parish a place of education where even the poorest might be educated. The expense of education to be borne by the Church.

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