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Robert Douglas





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Wayside marker is the term used to describe the ten cast-iron indicators of four types confined to road junctions in the St Andrews District of the Fife Turnpikes. The cast-iron plates are fastened to their stone backing with iron clips, with one free-standing plate supported from behind by an iron bracket sunk in stone.

Two markers exist as Type I, at NO 524153 and NO 608083, headed respectively 'St. Andrews' and 'Grail'. Both are 3 ft. high, 1 ft. 11 in. across and 4 in. in depth. They stand at junctions and the left and right sides give the names of farms, villages and towns along each road in order. In PI. 21c the places on or near the A918 appear on the left panel and those accessible from A959 on the right. 'Robert Douglas, Engineer, Cupar' is the legend along the top. Douglas was born at the Manse, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, in 1822 and set up business in Cupar in 1846 or 1847. Douglas moved to Kirkcaldy in 1855; beginning by manufacturing shot and shell during the Crimean War, he branched into the construction of paper-mill machinery, steam engines and, by the early 'sixties, Corliss engines.

A visit to Calcutta by Douglas led to the development of rice-milling machinery. A partnership with Lewis Grant was formed in 1873 and under the name of Lewis C. Grant Ltd., the enterprise founded by Douglas continues to manufacture rice-milling machinery and grain dryers, giving employment to some eighty men.


Parents: Rev Robert Douglas and Jane Monteath


He married Frances Cumming and had a number of children, including:





The following documents are held in the University of Dundee archives (amongst others):

  • There is a contract of copartnery between Messrs Robert Douglas and Lewis Grant under the name of Douglas and Grant, engineers and ironfounders. Dunnikier Foundry Works, Kirkcaldy
  • Jackson & Douglas [John Jackson and Robert Douglas], Cupar Mills
  • Dissolution of partnership and assignation of lease, Jackson & Douglas, 1851
  • Agreement between Robert Douglas, engineer, Kirkcaldy, and William Inglis, engineer, Edinburgh, regarding manufacture and sale of Corliss Steam Engines and patent circulating boilers, 1864
  • Robert Douglas in petition for exoneration and discharge as trustee on sequestered estates of Messrs Key & Sons and George Andrew Key and Alexander Key. Edinburgh. December 1880
  • Memorandum by Robert Douglas, engineer, Kirkcaldy, with reference to proposed amalgamation of the firms John Key & Sons, shipbuilders and engineers, Whytebank and Kinghorn, and Douglas & Grant, engineers, Dunnikier Foundry, Kirkcaldy. 1884
  • Agreement, with subsequent alterations, between Messrs Douglas & Grant, Dunnikier Foundry, Kirkcaldy, and Mark Wadia, Manchester and Bombay, appointing him agent throughout the district of Bombay 1886
  • Draft heads of agreement for co-partnership in the firm of Douglas & Grant, the partners being Lewis Grant, engineer, Kirkcaldy, David Bonar, engineer, London, and David Landale, engineer, Leith 1893
  • Memorandum in relation to proposal to form a company to take over from Douglas & Grant Ltd the business of their eastern agencies March 1915
    • This may be the Robert Douglas of Robert Douglas table waters. However, that may be the Robert Douglas who married Mary Beveridge as her first husband.


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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024