Nestled away in a copy of The Evening Telegraph and Post from late July 1905 is a dark tale of a violent ex-soldier.  There aren’t many words, as the railway disaster in Liverpool which claimed 20 lives takes up the vast majority of the page, but what it does say paints a vivid picture of an angry, domineering man who was not opposed to using violence on members of the fairer sex in his family.

The article tells the succinct story of Robert Logan, who, upon serving his time in the Army, returned to Dundee to stay at his mother’s home in Victoria Road.  A brief marriage to a local woman was described by the newspaper at the time as ‘unpleasant’ and lasted no more than 3 months before Robert Logan found himself back at his mother’s once again.  He was said to be a very overbearing presence in the house and somewhat of a bully.

Robert Logan ordered his mother and sister around as though they were his personal assistants, so it’s not really hard to see why his wife had thrown him out after only a few months of marriage.  On 29th July 1905, Robert returned from the pub to his mother’s house, where he proceeded to verbally abuse his mother.  As things between the two got more heated, Robert lashed out and slapped his mother on the face.  Dundee women are known for being feisty, so it’s highly unlikely she just stood there and took this assault.

With his mother fighting back, Robert pushed her back and held her over the coal bunker as he struck her face once more, undoubtedly shouting and screaming over the clatter and din. Alerted by the racket, Robert’s sister came rushing into the room to see what was going on and found her brother attacking her mother as she struggled to free herself from his drunken grip.

Still fuelled by rage, Robert turned his attack on his sister.  Grabbing her and threatening to cut her throat if she continued to intervene, Robert continued his assault.  Thankfully, the two women were able to overpower him and run to the Police station for help.  Police arrested Robert for assault and took him to be detained until his Court appearance the following morning where Baillie Quirk sentenced him to 40 days imprisonment.

Whether it was enough to quell his temper, we may never know.  He doesn’t appear to have been arrested since, so perhaps it did…or perhaps he just moved away and found someone else to take his anger out on.

In 1734 a new Town-House was completed on the former site of St Clement’s Church, which we know today as City Square.  The building was a fairly grand structure, as was indicative of its multiple uses, with beautiful arched piazzas which looked out onto what is now Reform Street.  It was locally referred to as ‘the pillars’.  Markets were held under the safety of the piazzas in bad weather, and it was a place of general hustle and bustle.  Atop the already-impressive building sat a spire which housed a bell, used for calling meetings or tolling proclamations.  A fire in 1773 occurred on the roof of the building – the source of which was never determined – and it caused the frames holding the bell to crash into the rooms below it, causing considerable damage.

Shops took up the majority of the ground floor of the building, with the exception of one room for town officers to stay in, if they needed to. On the first floor were the offices of the Dundee Banking Company, who remained in the building for over 50 years, as well as an apothecary which was also said to have been well established and often-visited.  Above all of this, on the second floor sat the Town Council’s Hall, described to be spacious and elegant, and also another hall (not as nice as the Town Council’s Hall) for the use of the Guildry for meetings and also for the Sheriff and Justices of the Peace to hold courts.

In 1788, a gang robbed the Dundee Banking Company by breaking into the Guildry Hall and ripping up the floor, allowing them access to the bank via its roof.  Dropping into the bank from above, the gang made off with their loot in a daring night time robbery.  Six people went to trial over the incident, and, despite only circumstantial evidence and the testimony of a man who was later sent to Botany Bay for forgery and subsequently hanged aboard the ship for trying to start a mutiny, 3 men were sentenced to death for the robbery.  The guilt of those accused was something of a contentious issue at the time, with many people unconvinced.  As robberies go, it was a fairly gutsy move by those involved – even more so because the Town Hall also housed the jail!

The main jail was on the third floor and was divided into 5 spacious rooms 24 foot long, 12 foot wide and 8 foot high. 2 rooms were kept for debtors, who were expected to provide their own bedding, candles and coal, as well as pay fourpence a day for running fees.  The jail was said to be of a very high standard of cleanliness throughout.  The ‘Iron House’, or jailer’s storeroom separated these 2 rooms at the front of the building from the 2 rooms at the back, which were for criminals.  These rooms were strengthened, with the outer walls being fortified with iron netting, double sets of bars on the windows, and the doors braced with iron rods.  Criminals were dealt with differently to those in debt, being allowed only a straw mattress and two rugs to sleep on. Above this part of the jail, in the attic space, a further 6 jail rooms were situated to account for overflow of prisoners, but by the 1800’s, it was used as the women’s prison.  As with the male jails below, these were also kept to a very high standard.

Whilst hangings were uncommon, they still did occur from time to time.  Murder and rape topped the list of offences, with 5 of the 6 recorded hangings listing this as the crime.  The first hanging recorded was for housebreaking and theft, with the perpetrator being hung to make an example of him.  Our list of hangings is here if you want to take a quick look.  During the time of the Town Hall, hangings took place outside one of the east windows of the Guildry Hall, looking onto the High Street. John Watt, David Balfour and Mark Devlin all hung from the east side of the Town Hall.  By the time the new police station was built at Ward Road/Lochee Road, executions were held there.  Arthur Woods, Thomas Leith and William Bury all met their fate at the hangman’s noose, with Bury being the last man hung in Dundee.

Whilst the Town House jail was said to be fairly secure, it had been noted that the attic cells were slightly easier to break out of, hence it was offered up as the female jail.  For anyone needing a bit of a special time-out, there was a frightfully dank and dark space in the basement for them, aptly named the “Thief’s Hole”.  It wasn’t just people who were flung in there – sometimes property was held there…and once, even a tree!

For almost 200 years, the Town House sat in its prominent position before it was torn down to make way for City Square in the 1930’s.  Attempts to save it, and even provide a new location for its re-erection proved to be fruitless, and it became yet another building Dundee lost to time.

References:

‘Dundee Delineated’, Printed by A Colville for self and Alex M Sandeman, 1822, pp 109 – 112

‘Undiscovered Dundee’, B King, Black & White Publishing, 2011, pp 1 – 5

‘Historical description of the town of Dundee’, C Mackie, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1836 pp 66 – 67

Canmore Town House entry

Image of Town-House flagstone by Jim Glover

 

When the Scottish Reform Act was finally passed into law in 1832, none were more jubilant than the folk of Dundee.  Known as a ‘radical toon’, Dundee is said to have been of significant help to the cause of Reform.  Once the news had hit the town, it quickly spread to the Radicals, who prepared to celebrate with an ‘illumination’.  An illumination was the preferred way to celebrate events, and involved lighting up pubs and homes until they were as bright as they could be.  Usually, gunpowder would be ignited in the streets to add further illumination and excitement.

The Reform Act sought to change the way the landscape of politics and voting was to be decided, so, as you could imagine, many of the self-appointed burgh officials weren’t particularly keen on the new legislative changes.  This being said, there was no “official” celebration of the Act – the illumination celebration was very much a public affair.  The weekend proceeding the news of the Act’s passing was one of excitement, happiness and a great deal of fun.  It was the end of June, and a perfect time for an outdoor celebration.  Pubs and Inns took part, helping to light up areas of the centre as people partied into the early hours.

Despite all the revelry, some believed that this party was not quite up to the standard of such a prominent event, and preparations were soon under way for a party on Monday night, much bigger and brighter than the first.  Arguments against allowing this new party to go ahead were heard by the Town Council, but it was decided to allow the celebrations to continue without interruption unless things got out of control.  Perhaps, already sensing their loosening grip on the city, the Town Council agreed purely to avoid a rebellious riot.  Whatever they were thinking, nobody could have foretold the events that soon unfolded.

Monday certainly lived up to its hype.  The hills of Fife burned with celebratory fire as Dundee’s harbour was festooned with sailing vessels covered in flags, illuminated by a multitude of buildings and fires all the way into the centre of town.  Still in need of more illumination, a tar barrel was placed inside and old boat and the barrel set alight.  From there, the burning boat was hauled up Union Street to the corner of Nethergate as people whooped and cheered, shooting pistols into the air.  Whilst it all seems a bit crazy to us, this was just how our ancestors partied!

The atmosphere was said to have been one of happiness and relative peace as the fire was topped up and the boat pulled in a circle through the Nethergate, Tay Street, Overgate and then High Street, nearby where the Town House stood at this time.  As the party roared into the latter part of the evening, people began to disperse – it was Monday night, after all, and many would have had work in the morning.  As late evening turned to night, things took an unexpected turn that had disastrous consequences.

The Police Force, alongside Special Constables, commandeered the fire, pouring water on it to extinguish not only the flames, but the party, too.  By this point, it is estimated that there were still around 200 people enjoying the party, which had, by all accounts, been fairly incident-free.  As people tried to prevent their fun from being stopped, it is alleged officers handled the revellers somewhat roughly.

This did not go down well with the people of Dundee, and they turned from party animals into an angry mob, pelting the Police with sticks and stones, forcing them away from the fire.  The sudden disruption saw approximately 40 people arrested and put into the cells overnight; the party now well and truly over.  In the morning, almost everyone was let away by the Justices, with the exception of three men whom the Justices were confident had assaulted Police Officers the night before.

Many people took objection to this, and, as news spread of the three men’s detainments, crowds began to gather outside the Town House.  It did not take long for things to get as rowdy as they had the previous evening; crowds threw rocks, stones and threats at the doors of the Town House, but the Justices refused to budge on their position.  In scenes that echoed those of less than 24 hours before, a flaming boat was heaved from the harbour once again and placed against the doors of the Town House.  Here, the story seems to take an unlikely turn which was instrumental in what was to become total chaos.  It is said that when one of the Justices went to the Police Offices to release the men and quell any more tension, the key to the cells could not be found.

The already-mad crowd became as inflamed as the fires they had set and tore along to the Police Offices filled with rage.  Grabbing a thick plank of wood, they relentlessly battered at the locked doors of the Police Office until they finally yielded.  As the doors flew open, anyone who wasn’t a prisoner fled through the back doors, fearing for their lives.  The mob, by now completely uncontrollable, released the prisoners and began tearing the place apart.  The office itself was completely destroyed, with everything that could possibly be removed taken into the street and set alight.

Meanwhile, some of the men had broken into the Superintendent’s house, smashing all his windows, destroying his belongings and throwing things out into the street before attempting to set the house on fire.  Thankfully they didn’t succeed, but destroyed a grocery owned by another Police Officer on their way back into the centre.  In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Dundee was still at the hands of the rioters.  With not enough officers to suppress the mobbing men, Police presence was non-existent and reinforcements had been called in from Perth in the form of the 78th Highland Regiment.

The Lord-Lieutenant of the County at the time, the Earl of Airlie arrived on Wednesday morning, a few hours before the arrival of the 78th Highland Regiment, in an attempt to try and bring about some peace and order.  Amidst the burnt rubble and wreckage of what used to be the Police Office, he stood talking to the angry mob as they continued to shout at him and throw things at him from the charred, cooling remains of the fire.

Surprisingly, things took an unexpected turn, and the mob seemed to eventually warm to the Earl and began to settle down.  The 78th Highland Regiment made their presence very well known that day and night, just in case it all got a bit rowdy again, but it seemed that a 2 day riot was enough for any one person, and the streets fell quiet.  Although many people, including Police Officers were hurt, there appears to be no mention of any deaths as a result of the riot, which is unusual considering how out of hand it got.

7 men were eventually singled out and tried for the outbreak; the three original prisoners who had been detained for the first attack on Police Officers, and 4 others who had been identified as being involved in the jail-break and destruction of the Police Office.  The first 3 were lucky; Thomas Kettle, James Barnet and John Jolly were sentenced to 6 months in Dundee Jail after pleading guilty to rioting, but the other 4 pleaded not guilty, but were found guilty anyway.  James Findlay and John Tomlinson were sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay for 14 years.  17-year old George Haggart was sentenced to transportation for 7 years.

In returning their guilty verdict, the jury had recommended mercy for the 4th accused, watchmaker James Findlay.  It was unclear his level of involvement, and his alibi was more credible than the others, but they were still certain he had something to do with it, however minor.  He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in Bridewell Prison.

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If you’ve seen any really old maps of Dundee, you might notice that there’s no mention of the Overgate as we know it, or indeed, the Nethergate.  Known back then as Argyllsgait (Argyllgait) and Flukergait respectively, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 1500’s that the new names came into play, not long after the time period set on our map.  Originally no more than a few wooden houses, Argyllgait slowly grew over the centuries, slowly spreading towards the lower Flukergait and beyond.

Such was the attraction of Argyllgait, that the Mercat Cross was uprooted from its position in the Seagate and moved in the mid 1400’s to a new position where High Street met Argyllgait.  Trade and commerce swiftly followed, making it a hive of activity.  Many rich and wealthy people began moving to Argyllgait, making it a very desirable place to live.  The Seagate ceased to be the main centre of trade whilst still retaining its unique character and vantage point near the river.  The Mercat Cross remained there until the late 1700’s.

The naming of Argyllgait is claimed to be either down to the occupants of the area at that time, who came to stay in Dundee from the Highlands, or from a wealthy family – the Campbell’s of Argyll – who were alleged to have resided in the area.  By the turn of the 16th century, Argyllgait was almost beyond what we can imagine by looking at the area today.  A very good place to live, it boasted not only the majestic City Churches, but an array of well-built, stone houses, in which dwelled the rich and the noble.

However, as its popularity rose, those who sought to steer clear of the ‘common’ folk soon began to move to larger estates on the outskirts of the town.  The houses at Argyllgait had lovely gardens, so it wasn’t like people were living on top of one another at that point, but the allure of the outskirts of town, with even larger expanses of land were too appealing to the rich, and they soon abandoned their homes in the heart of the town.  Losing the nobility didn’t do anything to dent the character of the Overgate, as it soon became known.  In fact, if anything, the heart of the town only beat harder.

As more and more working class people moved into the Overgate, they set up shops, stalls and workshops in the free space around the buildings.  Some even built their own housing on the land, and by the 17th century, the era of Argyllgait was well and truly over; nothing more than a passing memory making way for the ever-expanding Overgate.  Many notable people from Dundee’s history, both famous and infamous have lived in the Overgate, such as Grissell Jaffray, David Balfour, the Duke of Monmouth and Mary Brooksbank, to name but only a few.  It’s also fair safe to assume that, considering its longevity, anyone notable throughout Dundee’s entire history will have stood on these grounds somewhere, from royalty and robbers to warriors and murderers.

When the Earl of Huntingdon landed upon Dundee’s shores following a storm in 1190, he had the Church of St Mary built over a period of many years as thanks for his safe landing. Throughout the ages, endless attacks by English armies forced us to fortify our walls and solidify our defences, to the point where we held the majority of the wealth of the Earls and nobility of Scotland within our confines.  Unfortunately, this ended tragically for us during the siege of 1st September 1651, when Monck’s troops stormed the town after Governor Robert Lumsden repeatedly refused the city’s surrender.

The word “gait” means to walk, or, more specifically, the pattern of movement of the limbs during locomotion.  We learned on Lost Dundee that the word “gate” is derivative from the Norse word ‘gata’ meaning road or street.  As Overgate was the higher of the two thoroughfares running alongside Dundee’s City Churches, thus it was named.  Flukergait, being the lower of the two, was renamed Nethergate.  Our Lady Warkstairs was a timber-fronted building, reported to have been built sometime in the 15th century and connected to the Church of St Mary, perhaps as an almshouse.  It was situated where Primark sits now, looking down Crichton Street. At the time of the building’s construction, however, this street would not have been there.

On the other side of Primark, which faces towards the corner of Reform Street sat the Duke of Monmouth’s house – a substantial building, constructed around the same time as Our Lady Warkstairs.  This property was famous for a few reasons.  This was the house in which General Monck set up his Headquarters whilst in Dundee during the siege of 1651 which we touched upon earlier.  During this period, the Duke’s daughter was born in the home; Anna, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth.  It was also used as the Town House for a while, earning it the nickname “The New Tolbooth”.  Its stature, position in the centre, and a handy wee turret made it a very attractive property indeed – and it certainly saw more than its fair share of action.

Whereas nowadays, the Overgate area is fairly open and easy to navigate, it was not always this way.  Streets and pends ran all up and down this area, like a warren of narrow paths, crammed with overpopulated housing.  With the boom of the textile industry in the 19th century, the population of Dundee also grew considerable, with many of them living in and around this area.  So dense was the population, that it was reported there were around 400 people per acre in the Overgate, compared to a city average of 36.  Thorter Row, Tally Street, Barrack Street, Lindsay Street, Tay Street, Long Wynd, Church Lane, Mid Kirk Style are only a few of the myriad pends and streets which formed part of the Overgate’s impressive portfolio, including closes such as St Salvador’s Close, Argyll Close, Mint Close, Methodist Close and the legendary Beefcan Close (not it’s official name).

Whilst this added a whole lot of hustle and bustle to the area, it also meant that they were never short of a drama in the Overgate.  Described as a bit of a circus, the area was literally heaving with people, shops, pubs, flea-markets, entertainers and religious preachers.  Fights would often break out – and not just between the men – and alcohol, gambling and women of ill repute were never far out of reach.  Despite its reputation swiftly gaining notoriety, the Overgate was the only place to go to be guaranteed a good time; so much so that the area has been coined in many a local phrase and song.

With some of what was claimed to be the worst housing in Dundee, the Overgate also had five properties which were used as common sleeping places for the homeless, where (mostly drunk) people slept in hospital-style beds in a dormitory fashion, sleeping on their possessions to avoid robbery.  Outside toilets were used by dozens of people, and conditions were far from sanitary.  Having so many people crammed into such a small space made it very easy for diseases to spread.  In 1832 and in 1849, Cholera struck Dundee.  Cholera is spread mainly by water and food products that have been contaminated with human faeces containing the disease.  In 1845, piped water first became available in Dundee.  Shortly after, the 1848 Public Health Act was the first step in the right direction to improving what was said to be squalid conditions.

 

In 1910, plans were developed to completely change the way the Overgate looked, in an attempt to reinvigorate it and clean up its image both in terms of image and reputation.  Unfortunately, both World Wars put a halt to regeneration attempts and funding until the 1960’s, when a concrete monolith was erected in place of the dilapidated housing.  It wasn’t the nicest looking thing in the world, but it was beginning to change the way people looked at the Overgate and the surrounding area.  During the demolition, everything was destroyed with exception of St Mary’s Tower and the City Churches.

Overgate2

Despite its best intentions, and boasting a hotel as well as a decent range of shops, the Overgate began to lose favour to the new Wellgate Centre, which was constructed in the late 1970’s.  Fortunes turned for the Overgate as shopkeepers could not afford the rents and moved out, damaging its reputation once again.  As the years progressed, the Overgate became a ghost of its former lively self until the question of redevelopment became a talking point.  By the late 1990’s, work was underway to change the face and the reputation of the Overgate.  A multi-level shopping mall was built, housing many well-known retailers, and brought positive attention (and, more importantly, revenue) back into the area.

Whilst many things have changed over the centuries with regards to what we now know as the Overgate, what has never changed is the resilience of the city – no matter what happens, we always bounce back fighting.  Whilst we don’t profess to know what will happen to the Overgate of the future, we’re pretty certain that she won’t be going anywhere any time soon!  The next time you’re wandering about the Overgate, just have a wee think of all the things that have happened there over the history of the town…and all the dead bodies that lie right under your feet!

Images courtesy of City Archives, Wikimedia and Lost Dundee.

George Mealmaker was a Dundonian, born in 1768 from a humble background, but gained some affluence as a hand-loom weaver. He was most famous for his radical activity in forming the ‘Friends of Liberty’ in the 1780s, a group formed in support of the ideals of the French revolution. Mealmaker was an active and extreme member of this group, producing writing containing radical and revolutionary ideas, as well as holding regular meetings and speeches, decrying the current political agenda.

In 1793 Mealmaker wrote Dundee address to the Friends of Liberty, in which he criticisted the ‘despotism and tyranny’ of the British Government. Despite admitting that it was he who wrote it, his friend and fellow founder of the Friends of Liberty Thomas Palmer was arrested and found guilty of preparing the text for publication and circulating it. The authorities claimed that the pamphlet was “calculated to produce a spirit of discontent in the minds of the people against the present happy constitution and government of this country, and to rouse them up to acts of outrage and violence”. For this, Palmer was sentenced to fourteen years penal transportation to Australia.

Mealmaker continued to be outspoken and published several writings on revolutionary ideas, and after being made secretary of the Dundee friends, he spread propaganda urging the militia not to fight against France. Although he was brought before the magistrates for this, no charge was laid against him. Others across Scotland in groups such as the Friends of Liberty including Thomas Muir, William Skirving, Maurice Margarot and Joseph Gerrald all met the same fate and were transported to Australia, and were collectively known as the Scottish Martyrs to Liberty. After this period of several outspoken radicals being deported to Australia, radical activity quietened in the next few years, no doubt the desired effect of the deportations!

Mealmaker did not remain quiet however, and continued to be outspoken. He delivered sermons in London and continued to produce writing, and was quick to join the ‘United Scotsmen’ in 1796 who began to organise in imitation of their Irish namesakes. Mealmaker himself wrote the group’s constitution which asserted its whole aim to be ‘to secure Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage’ – a very radical aim in the eyes of the current political elite. He also published The Moral and Political Catechism of Man in 1797, his most famous and influential work, which promoted such radicalism at length. The powers that be reacted, and in January 1798, Mealmaker himself was tried for sedition and administering unlawful oaths. After a very prejudiced hearing, at which the two charges were not distinguished, he was sentenced to transportation to Australia for fourteen years.

You can read the full text of his trial here, and also the trials of the Scottish Martyrs to Liberty Here. This quote from Mealmakers address to the court after his sentence has been passed is telling enough:

“He said he thought his sentence hard, considering it had only been proved against him that he had published Catechism, which he solemnly declared was merely intended as simple or abstract political propositions, and with no view to injure the country. He said, however, he saw that he was to be another victim to the pursuit of a parliamentary reform; but he could easily submit, and go to that distant country, where others had gone before him. He did not fear it. His wife and children would still be provided for, as they had been before; and the young Mealmaker would be fed by that God who feeds the ravens – As to the Court, he had nothing to say, but, he thought the Jury had acted very hastily, for if he was rightly informed, they had only taken half an hour to consider the whole of his case. They knew best whether their conscience said they had done him justice; but there was a day coming, when they would be brought before a Jury where there was no partial government, and where the secrets of the heart were known. – He begged now to take his leave of them all.”

When Mealmaker first arrived in Australia at Sydney in 1800, he upheld his political interests. There were rumours of convict rebellion, but he claimed not to be involved. He was no doubt looking forward to being with the other members of the Friends of Liberty who had been transported earlier. However, only Maurice Margarot of the original five Scottish Martyrs was still in captivity. William Skirving, Joseph Gerrald and Thomas Muir were dead and Thomas Palmer had finished his sentence and was just about to travel back to Britain.

It was his weaving trade, and not his political beliefs which shaped his new life. Mealmaker made a success of the weaving industry there, and received a conditional pardon for his work there. Unfortunately, Mealmaker’s life did not have a happy ending. In December 1807 the weaving factory where Mealmaker was supervisor was destroyed by fire. On 30th March 1808, Mealmaker, destitute and apparently a drunkard, died from alcoholic suffocation.

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On May 20th 1980, the press made a plea to the ‘underworld’ to help solve the murder of Dr and Mrs Woods.

Reported in the Glasgow Herald, Detective Chief Superintendent James Cameron appealed to thieves and housebreakers in the area as the motive for the murders was thought to be theft. He hoped that local thieves would also abhor the terrible violence of the murders and be willing to give over information that would help them solve the crime.

We now know it was indeed a man, Henry Gallacher, with a history of burglary and theft, but it wasn’t information provided by other local thieves that got him caught, read about his story on the murder pages.(link to murder page)

See the full article below.

plea_to_underworld

Dundee is no stranger to a brawl – a reputation that has preceded the city for generations.  Petty crime in Dundee, Scotland in the 1920’s was unsurprisingly, not much different to as it is now. The men, and, perhaps more importantly, the women, have proven to be a fearsome populace, and continue to fight and support their city and their ideals to this day.  Some of the older generation may say “they never did anything like that in my day”, when they hear about some drunken escapade involving a fight or a lone space-hopper…but don’t let them fool you, because we’ve dug up some of the records from the 1920’s, and it makes for very interesting reading indeed. Trust us when we say this is a mere snippet of the wealth of information in the city archives, available to anyone who wishes to know more.  For now, however, let this whet your appetite.

Buckle your seatbelts, wrinklies – your secrets are out!

One of our favourites, which is still a pastime of some of our drunks today, was the crime of public pissing.  Yes, that’s how it’s recorded.  “Pissing.”  Apparently, we loved a good outdoor pee back in the day, especially when drunk.  Various records allude to the following:

“…drunkenness…committing a nuisance, mainly by pissing.”

“…worse for liquor, pissing in close at foot of tenement stairs.”

“…pissing on footway in full view of pedestrians in Brown Street.”

“…pissing in pend in view of people passing from Seagate to Murraygate.”

“…worse of liquor, pissing on footway in view of passersby in Meadow Entry.”

“…pissing in close at 27 Westport.”

“…saw pissing on footway in full view of passersby while drunk.”

“…committing a nuisance at 174 Overgate…being drunk and urinating in front of passers-by”

“…worse for liquor, pissing on footway at door of Gas Treasurer’s Office.”

We could go on, but we think you get the idea. Unsurprisingly, alcohol related assaults were many, but there were many instances of wife-beating too, which contradicts what we know about the strong, independent Dundee woman.  Never to be outdone, however, women still managed to rack up a few assault charges of their own.

Robert Bremner (64), Machine fitter – assault of wife by striking with several blows on the body with his fists, and seizing hold of 2nd witness by the neck and dragging her about in the house occupied by the accused.

Josephine Lamb or Ross (56) – assaulting Elizabeth Wood by striking her one blow on the left cheek with her fist at the door of the house at…Overgate at 11:15am.

James Doyle (40) – remanded in custody and bail set at 20/ for assaulting his wife and five children, aged from 12 to 7…seizing her by the neck and bumping her head twice against the wall, seizxing her by the left arm, dragging her out of bed on to the floor, kicking her several times on the right side with his booted foot, seizing her by the shoulder and pushing her down a flight of steps in the house at…Lochee, at 8:45am.

Hugh Boyle (42) and William Simpson (32) – breach of peace in Lochee at 10pm while at the centre of a large crowd engaging in a stand up fight, both equally willing – 7 shillings or 5 days in jail each – both paid.

Charles Fitchett (26), Labourer – assaulting wife by throwing a piece of bread at her head which would have struck her if she had not ducked, he then seized her legs pulling her to the floor and dragging her around the floor for some time – 5 days in jail.

Henry Ferrie (45), Labourer – assaulted wife by striking her several times on the face with his fists and drawing blood – assaulted his daughter by striking on her back with his fists – 3 witnesses – 38th appearance in court – trial continues to 24th December 1928 – admonished.

Peter Robertson (43) – assaulted wife by grabbing her coat and pushing her down on the bed then striking her several blows to the body with his fists at…Church Street – 4 witnesses – probation granted.

Robert Robertson (51) – assaulted son by blow of an axe which would have taken affect if witness had not prevented by seizing his arm and holding it on the stairs leading to the house at…Hunter Street at 10.50pm – 4 witnesses – 20 days in jail.

Isiah Mitchell (24), Labourer – striking his wife on the face with his hand…assaulting a witness by striking with his fist at the same address and at the same time – assaulting witness by knocking down and seizing throat, restricting breathing and striking on face with fists at the same time and address – 5th appearance in court – 30 shillings or 15 days in jail – paid 1 shilling and spent 8 days in jail.

James Guthrie (20), Labourer – indecently assaulting Isabella Thomson (16) by seizing her by the right shoulder and placing his hand under her clothes and struggling with her causing her to fall to the ground, placing his hand over her mouth to prevent her shouting for help and attempting to pull down her knickers and forcing her legs apart causing the elastic on her stockings to break on footpath between Clepington Road and Harefield Road known as King’s Cross Road at 12.05am – 5 witnesses – 20 shillings or 10 days in jail – 1 shilling paid and 8 days in jail.

Jessie Cassells, a 54 year old spinner from Polepark was given a 10/ fine or 7 days in jail for striking 62 year old Michael Gallacher, a local peddler, on the left ear with an “earthenware jar, to the effusion of blood at her home in Polepark Road”.

Even in the poorhouse, there was no reprieve.  George Burke (25), a labourer of no fixed abode was charged with assaulting 21 year old William Buchanan (21) by “striking him two blows on the face with his fist, knocking him down, seizing him by the lapel of his jacket and striking him a blow on the nose with his fist, causing his nose to bleed in the Day Hall in connection with the Dundee Combination, Eastern Poorhouse, Mains Loan, of which Charles Gow is Governor, about 1:30pm, Wednesday 21st December…”

Not only were we partial to a wee fight after a few too many, we liked a good old-fashioned breach of the peace, too.  49 year old Margaret Gould was charged with shouting and swearing at two women on the footway in Hunter Street.  Cautioned by the attending office, Margaret refused to stop, and said she “did not give a c**t for the jail”.  She was fined 21/ or was given the option to spend 14 days in jail.

Arthur Nicoll (39), a builder from Letham was charged with breach of the peace and resisting arrest after a large crowd had gathered round him in the town centre as he shouted, swore and challenged people around him to fight.  A caution did not deter him, and when he was eventually arrested, he refused to walk.  The attending officers “had great difficulty in taking him to the Police Office.”

64 year old John Clark was charged with a breach of the peace in Dundee’s Westport.  His charge reads “…in centre of large crowd, cursing and screaming and challenging others to fight…Cautioned by continued…much the worse for liquor.”

Some other charges include:

Georgina Gibson or Jones (48), no job or abode – drunk in Howff at 2.50pm on 18th December 1928 – 1 witness – 48th appearance in court – fine imposed but not paid – jailed for 5 days.

John Robbins (43), no job or abode – drunk in Lower Pleasance at 11am on 18th December 1928 – 1 witness – 64th appearance in court – 20 days in jail.

Jessie Melville or Forbes (48) and Jane Gerrie (43) – theft of three pairs of stockings at…Princes Street – admonished.

Betsy Dewar or MacDonald, (30), charged with “…contravention of the Howff Burying Ground Byelaws, dated 5th September 1912, by lounging or lying upon a monument in Howff Burying Ground, Meadowside, about 2:25pm on Friday 15th July.  Her co-accused included James Coventry, John Ellis, and Peter Shields.  In this instance, a verbal warning was enough.

Lucy McLean or Tanner, (34) pled guilty to a contravention of Article 1 of The Dog (Wearing of Collars) Order, 1911.  The dog was found in the Hilltown by Police, who described the dog as “suffering to be at large, an unmuzzled, ferocious dog.”  She was fined 10/6.

Alexandria Campbell (26) of Aberdeen was accused of deserting her child in Dundee and was let off with a warning.  No more information was available as to the exact specifics of this case.

Many Dundee folk were caught fiddling their gas meters, or allowing their chimneys to become blocked to the point they caught fire (in contempt of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1928).  Some shopkeepers were charged with possession of unstamped, incorrect or unjust weights, and a bunch of schoolboys were admonished for “maliciously uprooting and destroying ten growing turnips in a field on the farm at Lawton, situated on the South side of Byron Street, Lochee…”

So, as you can see, we’re just as feisty and rowdy back then as we are now…the only difference is that you have to go digging for dirt like this from the past.  These days, social media and technological advances mean that there’s no safe places left to hide…so your skeletons don’t stay buried for long.

The following is a collection of extracts of Dundee Crime Statistics from the Dundee criminal returns of 1898 to 1902 inclusive, read, in part, by us on one of our forays in the archives. A very informative and insightful glimpse into the lives and crimes of this era, it’s also hard sometimes to see where things have changed greatly in the last century. See for yourself what the criminal element of Dundee were up to back in the day.

“Chief constables office, Dundee 31st January 1899

My lord and gentlemen,

I have the honour to present for your information the annual police and statistical returns for the year ending 31st December 1898

There were 4751 persons apprehended and 849 persons cited for crimes and offences making a total of 5600 against 5170 during the previous year being an increase of 430. Of that number 5291 persons were brought before the magistrates and 309 were discharged on account of the evidence against them being insufficient to warrant their being brought to trial.

The state of crime thus shews a slight increase. The increase is principally in the number of persons dealt with for contraventions of police acts, bye laws etc. the increase under this heading being 332 males. This may be accounted for by the climatic conditions, which were such in 1898 as to cause out door workers to have very little broken time; to the fact that trade in Dundee was in a prosperous condition; and to the circumstance that on 3rd march 1898 numerous sections of “the burgh police (Scotland) act 1892” were adopted, which considerably extended the powers and duties of the police and resulted in numerous prosecutions for minor police offences which could not previously be dealt with.

Serious crime
During the year there were no serious acts of crime omitted within the city and no sitting of the High Court of Justiciary took place.

Insane and destitute persons
In addition to the number of apprehensions before referred to, there were 42 insane and destitute persons taken charge of by, and removed at the instance of the police to lunatic asylums or the poor houses by the inspector of poor, or given up to guardians or relatives to be cared for without being brought before court. 25 of these, consisting of 11 males and 14 females were insane. 13 of them were removed to lunatic asylums, which the remaining 12 were taken charge of by the Paris council authorities. The other 17, found destitute were removed to poorhouses, while 9 were handed over to parents or relatives. These persons are not included in the criminal returns. There were 382 persons remitted to the sheriff during the year from the police court charged with various crimes and offenses against 547 in the previous year, shewing a decrease of 165. 144 of those so remitted were committed by the sheriff, till liberated in due course of law. This number is an increase of 16 on the total so committee during 1897.

Wife-beating
261 persons were charged with wife-beating, being a decrease of 2 when compared with the previous year; of that number 245 were convicted, 3 were acquitted against 1 the charge was withdrawn, against 10 the charges were departed from, which the charges against the other 2 were undisposed of at the end of the year. Of the number convicted, 221 were tried in the police court and 28 in the sheriff court, 139 were sentenced to imprisonment, 85 were given the option of a fine, 6 were ordered to find caution for their good behaviour, while the remaining 15 were admonished.

There were 419 persons under 16 years of age brought before the magistrates, being an increase of 164 when compared with the previous year; 18 were found destitute, 160 were accused of theft and 241 of other crimes and offences. 102 of the total number were admonished, 128 were sentenced to pay small fines or to suffer short periods of imprisonment, 6 were dismissed, the charges having been found not proven, 8 were sent to the reformatories, 53 were remitted to the sheriff or reported to the procurator fiscal, 11 were remitted to other jurisdictions; 69 were dismissed, the charges against them having been departed from, and 42 were sent to industrial schools, the charges against them having been withdrawn. The increase in juvenile offenders may be accounted for by the large numbers of boys brought before the court charged with playing at football and other games to the annoyance of the lieges on the streets and other public places. The class of offence was not dealt with before the adoption of the burgh police act.

The number of prisoners who were apprehended and taken to each of the five police stations were as follows:

Central – 2679
Eastern – 413
Lochee – 424
Northern – 427
Western – 808

715 individuals have been more than once before the police court during the year. The frequent appearance of these persons before the police court largely increases the number of apprehensions chronicled in the returns, as on each re-apprehension during the year they are recorded. If the 715 persons who have been more than once before the court during the year and who are included in the above table had only been credited with one appearance each the number of persons apprehended or cited during 1898 would have been stated at 4361, instead of 5600 being 1239 less.

These offenders are for the most part habitual drunkards, and 283 of the 715 have been convicted of crimes of offences in Dundee from 20 to 170 times, as shown by the following table:

No of Convictions M     F
20 to 30                   84     58
30 to 40                   42     24
40 to 50                   17     11
50 to 60                    6      13
60 to 70                    2        3
70 to 80                    1      10
80 to 90                    1        1
100 – 110                           3
110 – 120                  1       3
120 – 130
130 – 140                           1
140 – 150
150 – 160                           1
160 – 170                            1

85 intimations of theft by housebreaking were lodged with the police during the year, shewing a decrease of 24 when compared with the previous year. With few exceptions the acts were of a trifling description.

The detective staff both by day and night as well as the district officers and constables give unoccupied furnished houses their special attention, and particularly those whose occupants have notified their absence to the police.

There were 804 intimations lodged of theft (simple) shewing a decrease of 179. 454 persons were apprehended in connection with these cases. In more than one half of the intimations, the properly stolen was considerably under 5/- value. By a portion of the burgh police act, which has been adopted, shopkeepers are prohibited from exposing goods outside their premises. This provision has been the means of causing shop door thefts to almost disappear, hence the great reduction in the number of simple thefts reported this year compared with the previous year.

The estimated value of property stolen, embezzled, or obtained by fraud during 1898 was £575. 8s, 1d, and the amount recovered was £320 16s 4d, thus leaving the estimated value of the unrecovered at £254 11s 9d.

There were 8 persons licenced as hotel keepers, 215 as publicans and 207 as grocers. 3 persons licenced to retail table beer. During the year 4 publicans were tried for breach of certificate in each case the charge being that of supplying liquor to persons in a state of intoxication, 3 of whom were convicted, and 1 acquitted.

Shebeens, there were 24 persons brought before the police court for selling excisable liquors without a certificate throughout the year, of that number 17 were convicted, 2 were acquitted. The fines and expenses imposed upon those convicted amounted to £213 9s 6d, of which only £24 1s 0d was recorded.

There were 994 strayed children brought to the several police stations during the year, and temporarily cared for by the female warders, being a decrease of 15 from the previous year

There were 99 fires during the year, to which members of the fire brigade turned out against 72 the previous year

There were 186 members of the police force of all ranks, this number includes two members of the sanitary staff, for whom the government grant is got, but excludes all other members of the sanitary staff, as also 1 inspector who do duty at the harbour. This strength of §86 gives a population of 884 to each constable, the population of the city according to the registrar general last estimate being 164,575

Unfortunately during the year 9 persons of 8 men and 1 women lost their lives drowning in the docs and river. 4 dead bodies were found in the river and 5 in the docks. During the same period 34 persons who fell into the docks or river were rescued from drowning.

5 fatal accidents occurred to workmen while engaged at the harbour and 96 accidents involving injury to the person, 43 of these being serious. In 56 of the cases the police on harbour duty, who have been trained in ambulance work dressed the wounds. 9 fires occurred at the harbour during the year, in neither of which was serious damage done.

D. Dewar
Chief Constable and Procurator-Fiscal

Dundee Crime Statistics

Crimes and offences

Number of crimes made known to the police

Class I, crimes against the person
Culpable homicide – 2
Assaults – 21
Assaults on etc officers of law – 70
Assaults by husbands on wives – 260
Culpable neglect of duty – 1
Cruel and unnatural treatment of children – 66
Incest – 1
Rape – 5
Assault with intent to ravish – 2
Indecent assault – 1
Lewd and libidinous practices – 3
Bigamy – 3
Culpable and reckless driving – 1

Class II – crimes against property with violence
Theft by housebreaking – 85
Theft by opening lockfast places – 4
Housebreaking with intend to steal – 5
Robbery and assaults with intent – 10
Sending menacing letters – 1

Class 3 – crimes against property without violence
Theft – 804
Reset – 9
Breach of trust and embezzlement – 5
Falsehood, fraud and willful imposition – 21

Class IV – malicious injuries to property
Willful fire raising – 2
Malicious mischief – 159

Class V – forgery and crimes against currency
Forgery and uttering – 1

Class VI – other crimes not included above
Perjury and subornation – 3
Indecent exposure – 11

Class VII – miscellaneous offences
Betting, gaming and lotteries – 1
Breach of the peace – 1545
Brokers (licenced) offences by – 5
Brothel keeping – 5
Cruelty to animals – 13
Drunkenness and drunk and incapable not under intoxicating liquor laws – 1511
Elementary education acts, offences against – 28
Explosives, offences in relation to – 4
Furious and reckless driving – 14
Industrial schools acts, offences against – 10
Drunk or drinking in a shebeen – 5
Disorderly conduct in licenced houses – 1
Refusing to leave a licenced house – 1
Breaches of certificate – 4
Trafficking without a licence – 19
Other contraventions – 4
Factory acts – 11
Offences against army, deserters – 53
Other offences – 1
Nave deserters – 2
Peddlers act, offences against – 1
Penal servitude and prevention of crimes act – 1
Police acts, bye-laws and regulations, offences against – 366
Poor laws, neglecting to maintain family – 1
Prostitution – 124
Reformatory school act, offences against – 1
Stage and hackney carriage regulations, offences against – 23
Vaccination act, offences against – 5
Vagrancy and trespass act
Begging – 36
Sleeping out – 4

Sentences and fines

1 day and under – 2
3 days and over 1 day – 2
7 days and over 3 days – 59
14 days and over 7 days – 100
1 month and over 14 days – 252
60 days and over one month – 160
Above 60 days – 7

5/- and under – 579
5 tp 10/- – 472
10 – 20 – 1292
20 – 40 – 399
40 – £5 – 21
Over £5 – 18

Number paid before imprisonment – 1033
Paid during – 318
Sentence undergone in default – 1427
Neither paid nor sent to prison – 3

Results of proceedings

Proceedings dropped – 309
Pledges forfeited – 621
Otherwise discharged – 75
Charge withdrawn – 101
Acquitted – 87
Sent to industrial school – 43
Sentenced to imprisonment – 582
Fine – 2781
Reformatory school – 8
Whipping
Caution with or without sureties – 23
Placed under probation of first offenders act – 6
Admonished – 802

Sex and age of persons convicted
Under 12
m – 22
f – 0

12 – 16
m – 212
f – 10

16 – 21
M 506
F 161

21 – 30
M 774
F 462

30 – 40
M 654
F 412

40 – 50
M 356
F 244

50 – 60
M 145
F 120

Over 60
M 81
F 43

Sent to Dundee industrial schools
Sent to Glasgow R.C. Do.
Sent to reformatories
Sent to Perth industrial schools
Sent to Aberdeen industrial school for RC girls
Sent to Stirling industrial school
Sent to Tranent industrial school for boys
Sent to Leith industrial school

Return of strayed children (number, not actually returned to anyone)
Central – 303
Eastern – 183
Lochee – 48
Northern – 246
Western – 214
Total – 994

Fatal casualties –
Children found dead in bed
M 35
F 37

Deaths by burning m4 f5
Being crushed by turning lath – m1
Mill machinery – m2
Waggon m2
Cart falling on – m1
Crane striking – m1
Drowning m8, f1
Falling down stairs – m2 f 5
Falling from house m1 f1
Falling from ladder m1
Falling from steamer in course of construction m3
Tier of jute m4
Heap of wood m1
Being run over by railway train m4
Run over by vehicle m4

Sudden deaths m45 f39
Suicide by hanging m4 f 1
Jumping over bridge m1
Poisoning f1
Shooting m2

1900, there were 4987 persons apprehended and 734 persons cited for crimes and offences during 1899 making a total of 5721 against 5600 the previous year. Of that number, 5445 were brought before the magistrates and 276 were discharged on account of the evidence against them being insufficient to warrant their being brought to trial.

The state of crime this shews a slight increase which may be accounted for by the prosperity of trade. During the year there were three serious cases, two involving charges of murder and one of culpable homicide in which four persons were accused one of the cases of murder was that of a man accused of striking her on the head with a meat cleaver, he was tried before the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh and the case was found not proven. The other case of murder were a man was charged with causing his wife’s death remained undisposed of at the end of the year. In the case of culpable homicide two men were accused of assaulting a butcher, in consequence o which he died. They were tried before the sheriff and a jury and found not guilty.

People were also sentenced to penal servitude occasionally, one man for five years in 1898 – Donald Ross for assault and robbery, trial was 16th Sep 1898

For 1900

There were 6048 persons apprehended and 903 persons cited for crimes and offences during 1900, making a total of 6951 against 5721 during the previous year, being an increase of 1230. Of that number 5514 persons were brought before court, and 437 were discharged

It is difficult to account for such a large increase but as contributing to the same it may be mentioned that trade in general has been prosperous while the climatic conditions throughout the year have been favourable for outdoor work. There has been a large in as in the number of labourers attracted to the city during the year on account of converting the existing tramway lines to make them suitable for electric traction and the opening up of new tramway routes. The military camp at Barry has been more fully taken advantage of by large bodies of troops being quartered there for a considerable portion of the year, and the militia regiments have been called up for lengthened periods because of the south African war. This has resulted in a large increase of the number of deserters and absentees dealt with by the police and recorded in the returns. Another factor in connection with the increase is, in my opinion owing to the greater leniency which has of late been shewn by the magistrates to persons convicted of being drunk and incapable and to those convicted of having committed breaches of the peace and acts of disorderly conduct while in a state of intoxication. This leniency has, in my opinion, led to a considerable in case in the number of individuals who have made more than one appearance before the police court during the year, the number for 1899 being 686 and for 1900, 848.

In 1902, one serious case occurred in the city during the year. A man attempted to murder his paramour by stabbing her repeatedly all over the body which a pocket knife, and seriously assaulted another woman by stabbing her. He was tried before the high court of Justiciary, found guilty of the charges and sentenced to penal servitude for life. Daniel Hughes, trial 17th Nov 1902.”

In Dundee, body snatchers, graverobbers, or “Resurrection Men” turned over a considerable amount of business.  When Cholera struck in 1832, the memories of Burke and Hare’s atrocities were still very much at the forefront of people’s minds. Even though Burke had been executed in 1829 (whilst Hare spent the rest of his years in relative seclusion, having been granted his freedom in exchange for Burke’s conviction), there were still real and valid concerns over secret pacts between the Sextons of Scotland and the medical profession. People were in a high state of alarm over the frequent exhumations made in their churchyards and it was shrewdly suspected that this was done for the purpose of supplying the Edinburgh doctors with viable dissection subjects.

The churchyard of Dundee, then popularly known as the Howff was laid under heavy contribution to the cause of science.  In an effort to deter would-be grave robbers, watches were set, but, often aided by whisky to deter the cold, their vigils were often unsuccessful.  The Resurrection Men were too sharp for them, for it was almost a matter of certainly that the body of anyone who died of a peculiar disease would disappear within a few days after it had been interred.  However, there are records of a gun fight between the tombstones, people falling into open graves in the night during their watch, and a grave robber who couldn’t get away fast enough, and ended up with the sharp point of a bayonet stuck up his bum!  So, whilst they were sometimes unsuccessful, the graveyard watchers still had their fair share of excitement from time to time.

The Logie Cemetery was another frequent location for Resurrectionists, as well as a host of drunks, highwaymen and many others of ill-repute.  The cemetery was so overcrowded that graves were dug in the pathways and onto the roads.  On 13th May 1824, The Dundee Advertiser ran a story about two graveyard watchers who had been assaulted by a pair of body snatchers during their shift.  They managed to fend off the attack and the offending duo ran off, but a second attempt to steal from the grave was carried out the following evening.  Thankfully, this attempt was also foiled, and the Resurrection men fled empty handed once more.

The most notorious of local Resurrectionists was Geordie Mill.  He was the Sexton of Dundee, and was believed to have had dealings with doctors and professors in Edinburgh.  His neighbour, Donald M’Nab, suspected Geordie of graverobbing, but, unable to catch him in the act, he is believed to have penned the following song:

” THE ROOND-MOO’ED SPADE.”

Geordie Mill, wi’ his roond-moo’ed spade,
Is wishin’ aye for mair fouk deid
For the sake o’ the donnal an’ the bit short-bread
When he gans wi’ the spaiks i’ the mornin’.
An’ if the tale that’s tauld be true,
A greater gain he has in view,
Which mak’s his fryin’-pan richt foo
To skirl baith nicht and mornin’.
A porter cam’ to Geordie’s door,
A hairy trunk on his back he bore,
Which the Quentin Durward frae Leith shore
Brocht roond that very mornin’.
This trunk, I’m tauld, contained a line
Wi’ sovereigns to the amount o’ nine.
The price o’ a well-fed, sonsie quine
They had sent to Monro ae mornin’.
But Geordie, to conceal their plan,
A story tauld as fause as lang,
Sayin’ the trunk belanged to a travellin’ man
That wad call for it next mornin’.
Noo Geordie doon to Robbie goes.
The doctor’s line to him he shows,
Which wished frae them a double doze
By the coach on Wednesday mornin’.
Says Robbie, ” Is the box come back ? ”
“Oh, yes,” says Geordie, giein’ the purse a shak’,
“An’ we maun gae an’ no’ be slack
To flirt again ere mornin’.”
Quo’ Robbie’s wife, ” Oh, sirs, tak’ tent,
sure a warnin’ I’ve been sent,
Which tells me ye will yet repent,
Yer conduct on some mornin’.”
” Ye fule,” quo’ Robbie, ” Hush yer fears,
While I’ve the keys fat deil can steer’s ?
We’ve been weel paid for’t ten past years,
Think o’ auchteen pounds i’ the mornin’.”
Sae aff they set to Tarn an’ Jock,
The lads that used the spade an’ pock,
An’ wi’ Glenarf their throats did soak
To keep them brisk till mornin’.
The hour grew late, the tryst was lain
Amang these Resurrection men,
When each his glass did freely drain,
Sayin’, ” Here’s success to the mornin’.”
But Robbie noo does sair repent
His slightin’ o’ the warnin’ sent,
For the noise o’ a second coffin’s rent
Caused in Dundee a deil o’ a mornin’.

Such was the popularity of the song, it sparked outrage and M’Nab was brought before local Magistrates to be examined and questioned on his alleged ditty.  As nothing could be proved, he was released without any charge.  Geordie Mill himself, was suspended from his duties, but was never prosecuted.

It is the party season, and while family gatherings can be joyous occasions, sometimes we don’t get on with our family. Things can quickly take a turn for the worse when alcohol is involved, and on this day in 1974 Daniel Flanagan was sentenced for the culpable homicide of his brother, and assault for stabbing his nephew following a family party.

The article below is from the Glasgow Herald, 7th December 1974:

1974 homicide brother