Thursday, 23 January 2014

Andrew Dudgeon moves to Glasgow (3)

Post 3

It may never be  known why Andrew and Janet left with their family to move to Glasgow. They left with their four children, Thomas b. 6th January 1805, William b.6th April, 1806, Helen b.6th November. 1807, and Andrew b.29th October, 1809.

Sometime between 1810 and 1812, the Dudgeon family made the decision to move. Why would Andrew and Janet leave the security and safety of employment at Bannachra Estate to move to Glasgow? What is for certain is that it was a time of great change in Scotland and particularly Glasgow.  Given that the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, employment for the general population was promoted as more attractive in the cities.  Consequently, the population of the Luss and Arden areas was in constant decline from 1801 and for many decades to come. Conversely, Glasgow's population increased from 77,000 to 275,000 in the period 1801-1841.

Throughout Britain had grave concerns following the Napoleonic Wars and the need to prevent such occurrences happening at home is well documented.. However, Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo in June 1815 and this allowed authorities to concentrate on domestic issues such as public health and trade. The Highland clearances were in full swing , trade routes were opening up with the Americas, and cities such as Glasgow became centres of trade, manufacturing and shipping. It can be suggested that Andrew and Janet followed the mass migration to Glasgow, in search of a better financial existence. Andrew may have also been kept in employment with the Buchanans of Bannachra as a gardener, and transferred to work at one of the mansion houses built by the Buchanans in Glasgow.

Educational opportunities for the children may have been their first priority prompting the relocation of the family. With employment opportunities being scarce in the country, Thomas would have needed to be apprenticed to a Master trades person to pursue his passion for art. Scotland was renowned even back then for its focus on education, with the "church run education" system responsible for the establishment of many schools, even though education wasn't compulsory.  There is no evidence to suggest that until a much later date the children of Bannachra would have had access to a formal education at a recognized school.  The old Muirlands School at Arden, and the closest to Bannachra,  was built in 1869 by the Laird of Luss and used as a school, Sunday school, and a church. Unfortunately, this was too late for Andrew and Janet's children. At Luss, there has been a school on the site of the primary school since 1794, too far for the children to travel to from Bannachra.

Official records such as Births, Deaths and Marriages and Census Records, suggest that Andrew and Janet had family already located in Glasgow, and that may have been a contributing factor in them leaving Bannachra knowing there was family support in Glasgow.

The earliest known address in Glasgow for Andrew Dudgeon and his family is Burrell's Lane where he is mentioned as a tenant in the Property Advertisements, Glasgow Herald, dated July 19, 1830. "To be sold. West side of and fronting Burrell's Lane, lending from Duke St. to High St. consisting of Three Square Stories, occupied by Andrew Dudgeon and others."

This is further confirmed because a painting called  "The itinerant knife-grinder" exhibited by  Thomas Dudgeon in 1830, at the Dilettante Society, also lists his address as Burrells Lane. 
View across Burrells Lane towards the rear of 23 Duke.
The partly obsured building on the right is in High Street.
Photo taken 2009
Photo (c) Copyright 2009 Neil McNee.

In 1832, the Index to the Cholera Rates Book lists Andrew as a gardener living at 220 High Street, Glasgow.  It therefore appears that from the time Andrew Dudgeon and his family left Bannachra in approx. 1810, he was employed as a gardener until 1832. Sometime between 1832 and 1837, his employment as a gardener discontinued and he started dealing in spirits. Spirit dealing was  a very popular form of employment in Glasgow, and Andrew may well have been able to draw on his experience at Timtyourie. There is a tenuous connection with Andrew being involved in making whiskey. Gardeners on estates were often involved as they had ready access to vegetable and food scraps.

Andrew is recorded as being a Spirit Dealer in the Spirit License Books at the following Glasgow addresses:

                         23 Duke Street 25/4/1837
                         23 Duke Street 24/4/1838 
                         23 Duke Street 30/4/1839
                         23 Duke Street 28/4/1840
                         3 Castle Street 27/4/1841
                         3 Castle Street 20/4/1842
                         3 Castle Street 25/4/1843
                         3 Castle Street 30/4/1844
                         3 Castle Street 29/4/1845

23 Duke Street, Glasgow.
Photo (c) Copyright 2009 Neil McNee.

Did Andrew and Janet fall on hard times?  An occupation as a gardener at the time was highly regarded, especially if you were attached to one of the merchant properties. For Andrew it may well have been an easy transition to spirit dealing, but it would not have had the esteemed reputation in the community that he was used to.

Typical poster stressing the need to keep
the Lanes, Closes and Wynds free of filth
in 1840.
The recorded addresses of  the Dudgeon family at Burrells Lane, 23 Duke Street, and 220 High Street were all located within the same small section on the corner of High Street and Duke Street. It is possible that they are all located in the same building and with different entrances.  Whatever the case the area in the 1830's was extremely over populated and public health was a major concern.  An 1832 Cholera poster intended to alert the public about infected areas lists 225 High Street as one of the properties with cholera.

It was 1828, and Thomas at the age of 23,  had successfully completed his apprenticeship, and was exhibiting at the Dilettante Society, Glasgow. His first painting to be exhibited, "Packmen in a farm house" was listed as follows:
1828 - Packmen in a farm house (No 170), no price listed as not for sale

He continued to exhibit the following for the Dilettante Society and the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy):

Exhibits for the Dilettante Society:
1829 - The dairymaid going to market (No 211), 5 pounds. Address - Mrs. Craigs, 95 Candleriggs, Glasgow.
1830 - The itinerant knife-grinder (No 70), Artists price with frame, 4 pounds - Address: No 70, Burrells Lane, Glasgow (Alternate name for Duke St., Glasgow)
            Auld acquaintance (No 149), Artists price with frame, 3 pounds 10 shillings.
1833 - Going to Market (No 102), Artists price with frame, 5 pounds 5 shillings - Address: Glasgow.
1834 - Portrait of John Ure Esq. (No 269), no price listed. Address: Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street, Glasgow.

He exhibited two paintings at the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) annual exhibition in 1831 and 1832:

1831    183      The itinerant knifegrinder - Address: 33 Duke Street, Edinburgh.
1833    292       Going to market  - Address: Glasgow
(Information from a letter received from Joanna Soden, Assistant Librarian, The Royal Scottish Academy, dated 31 May, 1989).)

It is worth noting that the 1834 painting listed above, was a portrait of  prominent Glasgow identity John Ure. John Ure was a business man in Glasgow and controlled the flour milling industry within the city.  His son, also named John Ure, became Lord Provost of Glasgow in 1881. It is assumed that the painting was of John Ure Senior.

Thomas was now taking commissions to paint private portraits and therefore would have been regarded as an artist of some note.
Photo of John Ure
Lord Provost of Glasgow

In 2005, Neil and I visited the Mitchell Library, in Glasgow, at least three times, and of course searched for any mention of Thomas Dudgeon the artist. The following quotation is taken from the Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, by Peter J. M. McEwan (1994):

Edinburgh artist of genre and topographical subjects. Exhibited  for the RSA in 1831 and 1833.
"The Clyde from Denottar Hill" is in Glasgow Art Gallery.
Bibl: Halsley 256
RSA - Royal Scottish Academy
(He was included in the book because he was (A) Scottish by birth, and because (B) he exhibited in a major public institution, and executed at least one well known work of repute.)

Thomas Dudgeon's obituary in the Era newspaper (Nov. 7th, 1880), said that "Thomas commenced his career as a scenic artist while a very young man with the late John Henry Alexander, and continued in his service for upwards of thirty years in the Theatre in Dunlop Street. He also assisted Messrs Bayne, Sparrow, and Cochrane under the same management in the Theatres at Carlisle and Dumfries."

A prolific artist at the time and still at the beginning of his career, he also found time to marry Agnes Wales on 19th August, 1832 whilst residing in Glasgow.

Thankyou for reading



  1. Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture [by] Peter J. M. McEwan. Woodbridge, Suffolk, Antique Collectors Club,1994. 1851491341
  2.  The Era (London, England), Sunday, November 7, 1880, issue 2198.
  3. Glasgow Herald, Property Advertisements, July 19th, 1830.

This article is Copyright (c) 2014 by Hope Pauline McNee, All rights Reserved.

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