Broughty Ferry

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Broughty Ferry, a watering-place and little seaport of Forfarshire, partly in Dundee parish, but chiefly in that of Monifieth. On the northern shore of the Firth of Tay, 5½ miles W of Buddon Ness, it is 3½ miles E of Dundee, 13¼ WSW of Arbroath, and 17¼ S by W of Forfar, by rail; whilst by water it lies 7 furlongs N of Tayport, this being 45½ miles NNE of Edinburgh. It takes its name from the Castle of Broughty or Burgh Tay, which, built on a rocky peninsula by Andrew, third Lord Gray, in 1498, consists of a massive square keep, enclosed by a wall with two round flanking towers. For 2½ years after the battle of Pinkie, this key of the Tay was held by an English garrison, nearly 2000 strong, who further fortified the neighbouring hill of Balgillo; but, after twice being vainly besieged by the Regent Arran and the Earl of Argyll, it was stormed by the Scots and Frenchmen under De Thermes, on 20 Feb. 1550 (Hill Burton's Hist., iii. 278, ed. 1876). In 1855 the ruin was purchased for £1500 by Government, who spent £7000 more on its restoration (1860-61); and it is mounted now by 9 heavy guns, and manned by a few artillery veterans. Save for the castle, the place is wholly modern, and consisted a century back of only a few poor fishers' huts. But the pleasant site, fine air, and -good sea-bathing had marked it out for 'Dundee's country house; ' and, since the railway was opened in 1839, its sloping links have year by year become more thickly studded with the beautiful villas of merchant-princes of that jute metropolis. A police burgh since 1864, it is governed by 3 magistrates and 8 commissioners; is well supplied with both gas and water; and has a post office under Dundee, with money order, savings' bank, and insurance departments, a railway telegraph office, branches of the Royal and North of Scotland Banks, a local savings' bank, 2 chief hotels, a library, a masonic lodge, a volunteer hall, a lifeboat, and several clubs. The principal buildings are the Public Hall (1869), the Young Men's Christian Association (1874), the British Workman's Public House (1873), the Good Templar Hall (1874), and, near the Cemetery, the Dundee Convalescent Home (1876), an imposing pile with lofty central tower, erected for 50 inmates by the late Sir David Baxter and his friends. The Castle Links and Reres Hill are pleasant recreation grounds, 3 and 6 acres in extent; the latter was given by the tenth Earl of Dalhousie. Fishing, employing fully 100 decked boats of 20 tons each on an average, is the only extensive industry; and not more than 40 small vessels annually enter the harbour, which, opened in August 1872, has a stone pier 30 feet wide and nearly 200 long, with a wooden platform and slip.

In the presbytery of Dundee and synod of Angus and Mearns, Broughty Ferry is apportioned into two quoad sacra parishes, the first erected in 1834, and the second or St Stephen's in 1875. Brook Street Established church (1826-75) has a fine organ, as also has St Stephen's (1871-80), a cruciform Gothic edifice, with a spire 112 feet high; and, in the graveyard of the first-named church, a granite obelisk (1860) marks the tomb of the author of the Christian Philosopher, Thomas Dick, LL.D. (1774-1857), who spent his last 20 years at Broughty Ferry. There are also 3 Free churches--West (1844), East (1865), a good Second Pointed structure, and St Luke's or West Ferry iron church (1878); 2 U.P. churches-Fort Street (1847) and Queen Street (1876), geometrical Gothic in style, with organ and spire; a Congregational church (1864); a Baptist chapel (1876); and St Mary's Episcopal church (1859-70), which, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in Early English style, is rich in painted glass by London, Munich, and Belgian artists. Besides the Collegiate boys' school and 4 young ladies' seminaries, there are 3 public schools-Eastern, Southern, and Western-which, with respective accommodation for 300,357, and 184 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 411,229, and 171, and grants of £294,4s. 6d., £165,9s., and £115,8s. Valuation (1864) £14,100, (1879) £36,818. Pop. (1792) 230, (1841) 1980, (1851) 2772, (1861) 3513, (1871) 5817, of whom 5037 belonged to Monifieth, (1881) 7407.—Ord. Sur., sh. 49, 1865. See Norrie's Handbook to Broughty Ferry (Dundee, 1875).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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