TAMH: History


Linen: The Baxter Family

One of Dundee's linen dynasties began with John and William Baxter two of the city's earliest dealers in Baltic flax. First they sold it to spinners and then, in 1818, William Baxter bought Glamis Mill and was able to spin his own yarn.

Using steam power, David Baxter set up a powerloom weaving factory in 1836. Between 1840 and 1890 the company grew to be the world's largest linen manufacturers, employing 5000 in 1871. Much of this is due to the engineer-manager Peter Carmichael who singlemindedly pursued increased efficency of machines and workers.

Their architectural legacy is the Dens Mill complex shown in the photograph. The bellcote in the foreground is on the Bell Mill, Lower Dens and is modelled on Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. The smaller bellcote is on Upper Dens, extended by Carmichael in 1850, and now converted into flats.


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© Douglas MacKenzie
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