George Duncan M.P. for Dundee.

George Duncan was born on the 13th March 1791 and died on the 6th January 1878. Born in Dundee of humble origins, his father, William Duncan being a ‘Maltman’ in the Nethergate, his mother was Amelia Guthrie. The family grave (No 265) in the Howff give the following details of his family – George Duncan MP

" Hora Ruit.”
[The Hour hastens.]
Erected by George Duncan, merchant in Dundee, and
dedicated to the memory of his father, William Duncan,
who was born in 1741, and died in 1799; of his
brother, David, who was born in 1781, and died in 1802
and of his mother, Amelia Guthrie, who was born in 1754,
and died in 1817."

He was educated at the Dundee Academy, (now the High School), became apprenticed to a Draper in Edinburgh, he returned to Dundee and began business in 1813 as a haberdasher, in company with Mr JOHNSTONE, the firm being called JOHNSTONE & DUNCAN. He married Hester Eliza Wheller on the 18th November 1832, she was 11 years younger than him. They had no children, Hester died on the 27th May 1834, aged 32.

When he was 45 he retired from the Drapery business and became a Director in a number of Companies including the Dundee, Perth and London Shipping Company, and the Forfarshire and Perthshire Fire Insurance Company.

He donated many works of Art to the Town of Dundee, these are now housed in the Albert Institute and Victoria Galleries (for some strange political reason, now called the McManus).
In Sept 1844 he had the honour of presenting the Provost of Dundee and the other local dignitaries to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when she landed at Dundee Harbour and passed through the ornate temporary wooden Arch that had been erected at the harbour.

He took a lively interest in Burgh affairs, and started his public life in 1825 when he became a Merchant Councillor on the Dundee Town Council. Three years afterwards he was elected Councillor of the Guild, and held the office of Dean of Guild from 1833 till 1836. The Vine

He was active in the reform of the Scottish Prisons, both with the internal structure and their maintenance and became active with the passage of a ‘Prisons Bill’, which involved frequent visits to London, this at a time when such a journeys were both expensive and dangerous, his dedication was acknowledged by the Town Council when on the 5th July, 1839, he received a vote of thanks from the Town Council for ‘his exertions in this matter’.

He was created a Burgess in 1812 (having paid his £10 in full for his Freedom). On the 16th April, 1841 was elected as a Bailie of Dundee and when the sitting M.P. for Dundee, SIR HENRY PARNELL retired in 1841, George Duncan became the Liberal Member of Parliament for Dundee, a position he held for sixteen years, retiring in 1857.

He built himself a large mansion down at Magdalene Green (bottom of Roseangle) called 'THE VINE’. The building is still there, now being used by a Computing Firm.

He donated many works of Art to the Town of Dundee, these are now housed in the Albert Institute and Victoria Galleries (for some strange political reason, now called the McManus). Memorial

In Sept 1844 he had the honour of presenting the Provost of Dundee and the other local dignitaries to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when she landed at Dundee Harbour and passed through the ornate temporary wooden Arch that had been erected at the harbour.

He was buried in the Howff - An impressive Obelisk marks his grave - See the inscription above.

©Research by Iain D. McIntosh, 2014

 

 

 

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