Tag Archives: James Low

Monifieth in 1918

Monifieth in 1918,   by Mhairi Pyott


As one with an interest in local history, and generated by the rapid changes taking place in what by choice is my home town of Monifieth, my search for information produced some fascinating details of life in the Angus burgh in 1918.


Businesses on the High Street flourished, with a Bank ,Confectioner & Fancy Goods, Bakers. Butchers , Post Office and Circulating Library.


Alexander Troup. Chemist.



The Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society, ( Monifieth Branch) at 7 High Street, advertising “ “Nothing but the Highest Quality of Goods kept in stock” Members Dividend 3/2d in the £.

Membership cost 1/3d”

Eastern Coop


At 51 High Street, W.K. Nicoll . Fancy  Draper, offered a vast selection of Ladies , Gents and children`s wear.  Also an agent for Pullars of Perth, Cleaning and dyeing services.


At the corner of Union Street and Maule Street,

The West End Drapery Store, where Mrs Walker always had on hand a first class selection of Drapery Goods. Ladies, and Gents underclothing made to order. Children`s garments a speciality.

Machine made stockings and socks, any size; Paton`s wool only used.

Babies shawls, Jackets, Bootees, Hoods and hats, all hand made. Best quality guaranteed.


H K Sinclair, High Street, General Ironmonger.

Electro-plated goods, and cutler. Agent for Anglo American Petroleum Oil, Garden seeds etc.


Over fiftyone shops listed . Giving employment to over 160 people.


The Royal Hotel, offered Comfortable and Airy bedrooms, for moderate charges.

The owner George Stewart wished to inform the public that he has on hand a large stock of Fine Old Whiskies, well matured.

Parties wishing a glass of cool beer can always rely on getting it in Sparkling Condition at the “Royal”.


The participants could have used the popular transport services of   Monifieth to Dundee Tram Co., which operated throughout the day from 8am, between Dundee High Street and the terminus beside the Royal Hotel.

Monifieth, Dundee Tram Company

Established in 1905, had later due to popularity and public demand extended the line further to a terminus at the High Street Tay Street junction.

Including car drivers, conductors and others engaged at the offices and power station at Milton, there were over forty people employed in carrying on the service, the majority of whom resided in Monifieth,

Mr Daniel Fisher was the Manager.


Many residents of the time who worked out with the town, favoured travelling by the excellent rail service, which created a busy scene at the Monifieth Station, with a ticket/ booking hall, and up and down line platforms, waiting rooms etc. The  Station master John Gilles in charge,  was described as being ever alert, happy and with the knack of inspiring his staff with a like spirit.

Nine people employed on station duty, where “from early morn there is a scene of busy industry.”


Many employees of the Monifieth “Foundry by the Sea” ( JF Low & Co.), and Low & Duff Brassfounders , Albert Works,  were not residents of the town and were regular users of these modes of transport.


With the majority of local men `away to war` the women of the area became the foundry workers, along with the running of other various essential services.

Perhaps residents with a little time to spare, made a visit to the Cinema, which also served as a location for local drama group performances..

Despite the war still on going there was social interaction between the residents who were members of leisure and sporting organisations.

The Gerard Hall was used as a temporary Military Hospital, which meant that many activities took place in the other Church Halls.


The Ministers being :

Monifieth Parish Church, Rev D D McLaren.

Monifieth United Free Church ,Rev Crawford Smith

Panmure United Free Church, Rev Harry Law

Scottish Episcopal Church.

Services listed as the same time as other churches, with times for Holy Communion.

Secretary : Charles Nicholson, 9 Durham Gardens.

St Brides, R. C Church , Brook Street. Sunday Service 10am,

Guild meeting and evening service once a month.


Among the various groups and organisations are listed;

The Rifle Club.

In 1912 an indoor Rifle Range was fully equipped and “under the careful guidance of Major Vair, and other enthusiasts continue to do good work”


The Literary Society. “An excellent service in cultivating the intellectual and social facilities of the  members.”


Monifieth Liberal Association : “The Unionist Club, comfortably quartered, work quietly to propagate the principles for which it is established.”



Various Golf Clubs, Bowling, Tennis, Aquatic, Football, Cricket, Quoiting, and other outdoor sports “Recreations have increased in number, tending to improve the health and social environment of their members.”


Musical Society ( ? Singers)

Monifieth Musical Association,

Monifieth Orchestra performed in the South UF Hall


Panmure Lodge Loyal Order Ancient Shepherds, William Low.


Secretary Monifieth Golf Links Committee : James Young, Etona, Durham Street.


Masonic Lodge Grange






Monifieth School Board


Chairman Rev Crawford Smith; Members, Rev D D McLaren, David Low, George Galloway, J M Wilson, Alexander S Troup, William M Bell, Clerk; David Gowans. Treasurer James Fenton. Headmaster John Malcolm. FSA (Scot.) .

Headmaster Mattocks School; Alexander Inglis.



Monifieth Public School

Provided education for local children from 5years until the official school leaving age.

Provision of further education was not available within the Burgh and meant travelling to Grove Academy in Broughty  Ferry, or alternatively Arbroath or Dundee.

Public School Monifieth


Monifieth Town Council

Chief Magistrate , Provost Maiden; Senior Bailie, T Hannigan; Senior Bailie , David Band;

Councillors : J k Doig; J.M. Rattray; Wm Crooks; Wm Robb; Town Clerk , James Fenton;

Town Chamberlain, David Gowans; Burgh Surveyor, Charles A McKenzie;

Procurator- Fiscal, A Burns Petrie.


Medical Practitioner, Dr Richardson, Hillbank.


Gerard Cottage Hospital : Matron Miss McIntosh.

Monifieth Police Station.

Police Sergeant Brown & Constable Riddoch.


Gas Works Manager Jas. D Luck.


The estimated population approximately 4000.



David McRae, local journalist and publisher wrote ;


“ The year of peace is passing into the limbo of the long calendar of our history.

Up to July it was a period of anxiety for our Army, which has for months been opposed by overwhelming odds.

Even since then it has been a time of sorrow for many households in all parts of the British Empire.

Though we felt the surge of triumph in our blood, there was up to the last moment continued solicitude

for our brave lads who were facing the unscrupulous foe.

When the joy bells rang they had also peal of pathos.

There were so many with sad hearts on 11th November, for the brave lads who had fallen.


It has been rightly said that we have been fighting not merely in redemption of promises, nor to bring

to the ordeal of battle, but to preserve the well being of the civilised world from monstrous evil.


Monifieth did uphold the men at the front, and to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded.

No place of its size could have done more.

Our efforts to raise funds for the various organisations have invariably been successful.

In all that has been done our women have played a noble part; they have worked with

a will day in and day out.

We have reason to be proud of how they have all carried on so successfully.


There have been many flag days and other means to raise funds by different societies and clubs, in the

Burgh, but the garden fete and free gift sale at Tighnagarh, the residence of Mr & Mrs John Nicoll,

was the crowning effort of the year, and resulted in a sum received far beyond expectations.


No triumph however great will compensate us for the brave lads who have fallen


So be it, God will reward them and us for the Calvary through which we have passed, and their

country will surely engrave their names on a scroll of honour as a lasting memorial of their devotion

and sacrifice.”



Monifieth still remembers them.


The passing of one hundred years has brought many changes to Monifieth,

Whether those changes are for the better or worse I cannot judge.

We can learn from the past.

Monifieth`s Heritage is certainly worth preserving for the future generations



I can understand why those similar to myself choose to make it their `home town, creating what can only be described as a population explosion.


There is still a village atmosphere, where people are friendly, and a vibrant community spirit still exists.


What will be written about Monifieth 2018, in 2118 ?


























































Monifieth (in days long gone) Calendar for 2016

Please feel free to copy this calendar for your own personal needs.






























100 Years Ago in Monifieth

Similar to other Scottish towns the changes over the years have been dramatic, to my personal knowledge the last 40 years have been unbelievable in what the `village` is today as to what is was in the 1970`s. What was it like in 1915 ?.

Research information from various sources, Burgh Council Minutes, Monifieth Almanacs etc., revealed the following information.

Monifieth Town Council

Chief Magistrate, Provost Fenton; Senior Bailie James Nicoll; Junior Bailie, D.W White; Councillors: John B. Crichton, J.M Rattray, Alex Maiden, J.K Doig, M.T. Hannigan, and David ; Burgh Surveyor, Chas A McKenzie; Medical Officer Dr. Gorrie, Procurator- Fiscal, A BurnsPetrie, Conveners of the various committees – Works, J K Doig, Parks & Recreation, David Band, Sanitary, J B Crichton. Gas & Lighting, M T Hannigan. Finance Alex Maiden.

Monifieth Town Council meeting : Provost Fenton and the Council unanimously agreed that: “The Town Council requests that the government

(1) a minimum pension of £1 per week to the widow of every soldier killed in the present war.

(2)a similar pension to the dependent mother of a soldier killed.

(3) £1 per week to the wife of every soldier killed in the fighting line: and

(4) a pension of £1 per week to every soldier `maimed` in the war. `soldier` to include , sailors, territorials. And all other units of His Majesty`s Forces.

Submitted to the Secretary for Scotland, requesting that the same be submitted to His Majesty`s Government.

Monifieth Almanac.

“MonifiethTown Council, the Churches, the Town Improvement Association, and many other organisations set about collecting funds, clothing etc. to provide for the comfort and preserve the health of our men , at the front. The ladies in Monifieth, of every class and degree set to work to knit garments that were necessary and useful. These were produced in abundance, and money collected in the Burgh spoke volumes for the goodness of heart and the patriotism of the people. Everyone gave according to their means.

Monifieth Foundry contributed freely in men and money during wartime. It`s industrial resources also being exploited to help the country in it`s hour of  peril. The old established firm of JF Low & Co. has for several months been largely employed in manufacturing munitions of war. Under the present 1915 management. it is one of the most up to date Foundries in the district. Never in it`s long history has it been called on to fulfil duties such are being carried on within it`s walls. Hitherto it`s products have been made for peace and industry, and these have been carried to many lands. Hopefully in the near future it will again resound with machinery not meant for destruction, but for promoting the comfort, progress and the prosperity of nations.”

JFL World War 1

JFL World War 1

Monifieth Council May 1915

Special Report: Public Convenience Report submitted by the Burgh Surveyor giving alternative estimates for the erection of the proposed Public Convenience. (1) In wood and corrugated iron.: (2) Cast Iron: (3) Brick.

After discussion it was agreed to erect a brick built convenience on the ground. 9 inch thick brickwork, rough cast, hurled on the outside, and lined with enamelled brick inside, for a height of 4 feet 6 inches. The walls above the enamelled work and ceiling to be cement plastered, and the roof slated.

Nursing Staff at Red Cross Military Hospital

Nursing Staff at Red Cross Military Hospital

July 1915: Permission has been formally requested and granted to the Monifieth Red Cross Society, for the erection of a Pavilion at the Red Cross Hospital (Gerard Hall)

Letter to Council: From Burgh Surveyor, to the Recreation Committee:

Gentlemen, I submit letter received fro OC, the 3/5th Black Watch , Forfar, regarding camping facilities for a company of 120 men who are marching through the shire on a recruitment tour. As a matter of urgency I consulted the Convener, with the result that permission was granted for the use of the West End Links for one night. I trust this meets with your approval. I have to report that serious damage has been done to three bathing screens on the foreshore, especially the ones at the East End. In all about ten square yards of lining have been ruthlessly stripped off beside the posts and rails. Instruction given for repair and reported to the Police.”

Letter to Council: An application of 17th July 1915 from James Gibson, Panmure Street, Monifieth, for a licence to ply for hire within the Burgh , and a radius of five miles from the Post Office , in said Burgh, a brake constructed to carry twenty two passengers, has been submitted. The Magistrates granted the licence subject to the provisions of the Burgh Polce (Scotland ) Act 1892, and al Bye Laws, Rules and Regulations , made or to be made, by the Magistrates; allotted as a stance, for said brake, on the south side of the High Street, opposite Taybank, and near the Tramway Car Terminus, the exact site to be pointed out by the Sergeant of Police, at Monifieth: the registered number of the said brake being number one; colour blue and red underneath; and the number of passengers not to exceed twenty two; the licence to endure from this date until 31stMay 1916; and hours and route within the Burgh by which the said brake must run to be from time to time be prescribed by the Magistrates.

Inspector `s Report 1915

I have inspected the milch cows in the Burgh for the quarter ending 30th ultimate, and have to report that I have found them all being in a satisfactory state of health, the number being 37. The dairies, and cow sheds were found to be clean and tidy at the time of my visit.

Account received by the Clerk to the Council:

For maintenance of a patient in Noranside Sanatorium from Monifieth , and now deceased.: Maintenance from 14th December 1914 to 5th May 1915, 145 days at 4/4 = £31-8-4. Hire of Ambulance removing patient from Monifieth to Noranside Sanatorium £1-15-0.. The meeting authorised payment and instructed the Clerk to enquire as to the portion,  if any,  recoverable.

Refreshment Rooms- Bye Laws Leave for internal communication

Application by Antonio Mortali, tenant of shop registered at 62 High Street, for communication between the shop and a room at the back thereof, used as a store and was submitted and read. After discussion the privilege asked for was refused

Taylor the Grocer            Located on the south side of the High Street c1915

Taylor the Grocer
Located on the south side of the High Street c1915

Letter of date 13th March 1915, from Chief Constable Birnie, re making Police Staion of Monifieth suitable as a place of detention, for short sentence prisoners under the Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914.

Police Station High Street 1915

Police Station High Street 1915


Gas Works Manager`s Report

Letters received from R.M Mathers, W.P.Laird & Sinclair, Steven & Dron. Submitted that they would require about 52 tons, 70 tons and 104 tons respectively of coke during the current year. The price for coke that would be charged would be under consideration.

Permission was granted for the laying of extra stone setts around the water trough at the top of Well Street.

Tartan Day with the Monifieth History Society

Friday April 10th saw the Monifieth History Society put on a display featuring the Foundries of Monifieth under the title……… Monifieth’s Famous Historic Foundries:

James F Low Foundry from the air

James F Low Foundry
from the air

A display of photographs, memorabilia and research information relative to the part played locally and internationally by firms such as J F Low and Low & Duff.




On a bright sunny day the visitors came in to see the exhibition .

One of the visitors Mr. Jack Scott of Montrose had just celebrated  his 100th birthday.

Mr Scott conferring with a fellow visitor

Mr Scott conferring with a fellow visitor

Mr Scott having a tea break

Mr Scott having a tea break

Model of a sweet wrapping machine

Model of a sweet wrapping machine

avoiding the camera

avoiding the camera

a happy day out

a happy day out

Refreshments a great hit!

Refreshments a great hit!

One more tea

One more tea

Monifieth Tales – Fact or Fiction

By Mhairi Pyott

Over many years I have read or been told of incidents and happenings associated with people from the Monifieth area.

You may judge for yourself as to the accuracy of such tales and events written in this recorded version.

Certainly some articles are factually correct, others, well you are left to make your own decision.

Hopefully you will be entertained by reading Monifieth Tales, Fact or Fiction


Continue reading

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.

Burgh of Monifieth 1952 – 2002


by Local Historian Mhairi Pyott

With families reunited after what had been a long War, the residents of Monifieth were similar to all other communities in the United Kingdom, looking forward to peaceful change and ` better things to come.`
Continue reading

Low and Duff Brassfounders – The Little Foundry

Low and Duff from the air

Low and Duff from the air


To understand why the `little foundry`, as it was known to generations of Monifieth people, as opposed to the `big foundry` we must go back in time to the mid nineteen hundreds.

Continue reading

J F Low Ironfounders – the Foundry by the sea

By Mhairi Pyott

In 1794 there was recorded in Monifieth 38 weavers of coarse linen, Osnaburg cloth, the name derived from Osnaburg in Germany, where the brown coloured linen cloth was first produced. Those weavers worked from home on a part time basis as they also farmed land.
At the start of the nineteenth century a partnership was formed by Robert Baxter & Robert Fairweather, establishing a spinning mill, driven by the Dighty water at what was then to be known as Milton of Monifieth.
Continue reading

Monifieth – A Brief History

Ardestie Souterrain

Ardestie Souterrain

In prehistoric times it is said the only collection of human dwellings, in what we know today as Scotland was to be found at Ardestie Monifieth, Angus. Evidence of these `homes` can still be seen today.

Continue reading