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

William Brownlee, Builder, Provost - 9th November 1866.



WILLIAM BROWNLEE, Provost of Dundee, is the son of Mr JAMES BROWNLEE, proprietor of the lands of Headlesscross and Headlesscross Mains, parish of Cambusnethan, and County of Lanark. He was born at Headlesscross on the 12th March, 1836, and came to Dundee in 1859, where he commenced business in the following year as a builder. Having early taken an interest in public questions and municipal affairs, he was in 1866 elected a member of the Town Council, and continued to serve the burgh as Councillor, Bailie, and Provost for a period of fifteen years. In 1878 he was elected Provost, as successor to PROVOST WILLIAM ROBERTSON, which office he filled till his retirement in 1881.

During his public career PROVOST BROWNLEE has been Chairman of almost every important Committee in connection with the numerous departments of the Corporation service, and his extensive knowledge of works and his administrative ability were in constant requisition in the consideration, designing, and carrying out of the many large undertakings in which the town was concerned during his term of office.

His assistance and advice were specially valuable in connection with such works as the construction of the present Esplanade; the Improvement Scheme for the opening up of new streets through the over crowded and unsanitary parts of the town; the transfer of the Gas and Water supplies from the Companies to the Corporation, and their improvement and extension; the negotiation and completion of the Tramway agreements, and the execution of the Tramway system; the Public Baths, Markets and Slaughter Houses, erected from designs prepared under his personal supervision. As a sanitarian, PROVOST BROWNLEE had many changes and improvements introduced in the drainage and cleansing of Dundee and Lochee, which have tended much to the amelioration of the health of the community.

Appointed by Miss BAXTER a Governor of University College, he acted as Chairman of the Committee having direction of the alterations upon the buildings acquired for that institution, and in the erection of the new laboratories and class rooms connected therewith. The Baxter Technical Institute, now in course of erection, is arranged on a plan designed under his supervision, after visiting many of the most important technical schools in England and elsewhere. The Albert Institute was also acquired by the town during his term of office; and when QUEEN VICTORIA passed along the Tay Bridge on 20th June, 1879, PROVOST BROWNLEE met HER MAJESTY at the station and presented an address of welcome on behalf of the town.