Just over fifty years ago this year, James Gray Low, a renowned historian in Montrose, Scotland, died aged 89 years. He was a prolific writer about the history of the town, and at the time of his death left several unpublished books. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his death in 1944, his great-grand niece, A. J. Gough decided to publish one of these books, "Industry in Montrose".
Written in 1943, during World War II, when he was 88, the original manuscript was written on an array of scrap paper and envelopes, as paper was in short supply due to war-time restrictions. Transcribing from the original proved a rather daunting task, partly because the handwriting itself was somewhat illegible and partly because there were gaps in the text which the author obviously intended to complete later. His death prevented him from completing the book or filling in the missing gaps. An attempt has been made to fill such gaps, such as historical dates, but this has not been possible in every instance.
It is obvious from the original manuscript that James Low had intended to write more chapters, including one on the timber trade. Unfortunately, no such manuscripts have ever been found, and were probably never written. Although the book is not as complete as James Low would have intended, it is still a fascinating document.
The original chapter headings of the book, listed below, fail to describe the rich picture that the author paints of life in Montrose in bye-gone days, including some his personal recollections. That the book was written over fifty years ago, by a local historical expert, aged in his late eighties, is a wonderful glimpse into times gone by.
Published with the permission of the Montrose Society, this book has already proved to be of great interest to those wishing to find out more about Montrose's industrial past and others generally interested in the works of James G. Low.
Chapter headings -
The Old Seal of Montrose
purchase arrangements of this book, and of other publications, appear on the Tay
Valley Family History Society website.
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