Basic Biographical Details

Name: Peter Carmichael
Born: 2 March 1809
Died: 6 May 1891
Bio Notes: Peter Carmichael was a textile mill engineer rather than architect but was responsible for some very impressive plain classical industrial buildings. He was born at Kirkland, Fife on 2 March 1809, the son of James Carmichael, manager and mill engineer at Archibald Neilson's Kirkland mills who had studied at Anderson's University in Glasgow and had previous experience at the Ballindalloch and Balfron mills in Stirlingshire. From Kirkland the family moved to Balgonie Mills managed by James's brother-in-law William Drummond, but in 1812 an attractive offer induced the family to move to Charles Turner & Co's mills in Limehouse. When Limehouse closed in the recession of 1816 the family moved again to Dundee where James took a lease of a small mill at Upper Dens. William Baxter & Sons, of which Peter was to become partner, re-established itself immediately adjacent at Lower Dens in 1822, having previously been based at Glamis.

From Dens Peter attended Dundee Grammar School and from there he was articled to William Low's foundry at Monifieth, gaining further experience with the Dundee Foundry Company and, from July 1830, with Seward's Canal Iron Works in London. In 1832 Peter made his way to Manchester where he gained further experience with Sir William Fairbairn and was seconded to his brother Peter Fairbairn in Leeds. While at Leeds he was interviewed by William Baxter for the building of a large new mill at Lower Dens, but no offer was made at the time and at his father's request Peter returned to his father's works at Upper Dens in August 1833.

An offer was however made later that year and Peter Carmichael took charge of the engineering side of Baxter Brothers, relocating his father to Harestone bleachfield in 1837 in order to facilitate the expansion of the works. He quickly became manager as well as engineer and made annual study tours of the latest structural and mechanical developments, usually to London but embracing an extended tour to Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds in February and March 1842. He became a partner in 1852, senior partner in 1872 and landed gentleman when he bought the estate of Arthurstone in 1869. Despite extensive southern experience, stylistically Carmichael's mill buildings were developed from Umpherston and Kerr's designs of the 1820s with cast iron trusses in the attics. Carmichael had considerable influence on the layout of Cox Brothers' Camperdown Works, begun in 1850 to the designs of George A Cox, where similar trusses were adopted. From 1846 he also gave advice on Cohin et Cie's mills at Ailly-sur-Somme, where his brother James was engineer and Baxter Brothers part owners and died 6 May 1891, leaving moveable estate of 516,000.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Dundee, ScotlandBusiness   

Buildings and Designs

This was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 191834Upper Dens Works, lodge and offices  DundeeScotland 
Item 2 of 191836Upper Dens Works, power loom factory  DundeeScotland 
Item 3 of 191836Upper Dens Works, wet spinning mill  DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 191840First half-time school, Dens Brae  DundeeScotland 
Item 5 of 191841Lower Dens Works, office and stables  DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 191841Upper Dens Works, 'Old ' Calender  DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 191844Upper Dens Works, weaving shed, dressing mill, boiler house  DundeeScotland 
Item 8 of 191850Dens Works  DundeeScotlandEnlargement with Randolph Elliot & Co of Glasgow
Item 9 of 191850Three warehouses, Brown Constable Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 10 of 191855North Factory and Foundry  DundeeScotland 
Item 11 of 191857Camperdown Works, The High Mill (or Sliver Mill)  DundeeScotlandAssisted George A Cox
Item 12 of 191858New half-time school  DundeeScotland 
Item 13 of 191864New Foundry  DundeeScotland 
Item 14 of 191865Dens Street Mill, Lower Dens  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 191866Bell Mill, Lower Dens  DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 191866Dens Works  DundeeScotlandPlans for Calender
Item 17 of 191872Warehouses, Seagate and Cowgate  DundeeScotlandWith Alexander Johnston
Item 18 of 191873Victoria Bridge with tunnels to foundry  DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 191875Tow-house and clock tower, Lower Dens  DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2Gauldie, Enid (ed)1969The Dundee Textile Industry 1790-1885: from the papers of Peter Carmichael of Arthurstone Edinburgh: Scottish History Society 
Item 2 of 2Watson, Mark1990Jute and Flax mills in Dundee Tayport: Hutton Press Ltd 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Dundee University ArchivesPeter Carmichael's memoirs