From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

Alexander Kay, Grocer & Spirit Merchant (Provost) - 21st August 1828

 

ALEXANDER KAY, GROCER AND SPIRIT DEALER IN DUNDEE, WAS ADMITTED BURGESS FOR HAVING PAID TO THE TOWN TREASURER DURING THE YEAR FROM MARTINMAS, 1805, TO MARTINMAS, 1806, THE SUM OF £2 15s. 61/2d. FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF TRADING WITHIN THE BURGH DURING HIS LIFETIME, AND FOR HAVING NOW PAID £10 STG. TO PATRICK HUNTER THOMS, TOWN CHAMBERLAIN, DUNDEE.

This entry has a very special interest, since it gave rise to the litigation which ultimately resulted in the disfranchisement of the Burgh of Dundee. In 1827, two parties, ALEXANDER KAY and WILLIAM LINDSAY, were proposed for the office of Dean of Guild. On examination of the votes it was found that a large majority had voted for KAY, but the post was claimed for LINDSAY on the ground that his opponent was not a Burgess of the First Class, as he had only paid the dues for his lifetime, and was not therefore eligible for the office of Dean. The Town Council on this representation accepted LINDSAY. A protest was lodged by KAY, and the case was finally carried to the Court of Session, where a judgment was given in favour of KAY on 30th March, 1830, by which it was declared that the Burgh was disfranchised in consequence of his illegal exclusion from the Council. The Council was superseded by managers appointed by the Court of Session to attend to municipal affairs, but the matter was not adjusted until the issue of an Order in Council (May, 1831), whereby the election was settled according to law. Both Mr KAY and Mr LINDSAY were elected to serve on the first Council appointed after this date, and both at a later time filled the Provost's chair.

ALEXANDER KAY was born at Meigle on 12th May, 1779, and came to Dundee in 1806, where he began business as a spirit merchant in the Overgait. His place was at the corner of Tally Street. The old building which he acquired was removed by him in opening up the street, and he built the Albion Hotel on the site. He was elected as Merchant Councillor under the Poll Warrant of 1831, and was continued in the following year. In 1833 he was chosen Provost; and was re elected and held office until 1839. He was returned as Common Councillor at the election in 1839, and when PROVOST JOHNSTONE resigned his office in September, 1841, Mr KAY was again appointed to act as Provost until the November election of that year. When the Water Scheme was under discussion, PROVOST KAY proposed a general assessment as the best means of defraying its cost, but this method was not adopted for more than thirty years after this proposal. Mr KAY died on 7th August, 1861, in the eighty third year of his age.

 

Iain D. McIntosh, Friends of Dundee City Archives