Man scalded to death

This awful incident took place on Walton Street, at the Larchfield Jute Works, the building is now demolished and has been replaced with new housing.

Dundee Courier, Monday 18th May 1896


man scalded to death.


Yesterday morning a shocking discovery was made at Walton Street Jute Works. Dundee (Messrs John N. Kyd & Co.), when the body of a middle-aged man, named James Mathieson, was found in the mill pond. Mathieson was employed as a warehouseman at the works, but occasionally did duty as a watchman. At two o’clock Saturday afternoon he was left in charge, and, according to arrangement, he should have been relieved at six o’clock by William Gallacher. When Gallacher called at the hour referred to, he could not find Mathieson. He reported the circumstances to William Dundas, foreman mechanic, who resides at 8 Abercrombie Place, and the latter proceeded to the work. Together the men made a thorough search of the establishment but without any trace of Mathieson. Yesterday morning there was still no sign of him, and Gallacher again communicated with Dundas. Along with a man named Peter Collins, Dundas and Gallacher made a survey of the establishment, and when the pond was examined the body of Mathieson was found floating in the water.

The party had the body removed from the water, and the police having been communicated with it was transferred to the mortuary. Sometime later a ladder was also found in the pond, and this circumstance would seem to indicate that Mathieson had dropped from the ladder into the water. This theory is strengthened by the fact that on Saturday forenoon Mathieson, in a conversation with Alfred Abbot, Park Terrace, clerk employed at Walton Street Works, stated that he proposed to clean some of the windows of the gable which adjoins the fringe of the water. The circumstances seemed to show that Mathieson had persisted in his intention, as two windows of the gable facing the pond were found to have been cleaned on the outside, and several dusters were got lying upon the windowsill.

When the discovery was made the temperature of the water was found to be 98 degs. F. As a matter of course the temperature must have been much higher when the work was closed on Saturday afternoon, and it is supposed that Mathieson met his death prior to the call of Gallacher on Saturday evening. In connection with the death of Mathieson, a singular statement has been given to the police by James Gourlay, collector, Paton’s Lane. Gourlay knew Mathieson, and according to the statement he has vouch-safed to the authorities he was proceeding up Union Street about 7.45 on Saturday evening when he met the deceased going down that thoroughfare. He states that in passing, Mathieson, who seemed to be under the influence of liquor, nodded to him. Should this statement prove correct, it would go to show that Mathieson who was found to have the keys of the works in his possession when the body was recovered, had returned to the establishment, and fallen into the pond. Mathieson, who was 42 years of age and a widower, lodged at 39 Paton’s Lane. He belonged to Arbroath, his brother being David Mathieson, mill foreman, Bridge Street. His friends have been communicated with.

– DD Tours operates walking tours in Dundee city, covering dark local history such as wars, battles, murders, diseases, riots, disasters and executions. Walk with us for an unforgettable storytelling experience.


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