The Mercantile, Commercial Street, Dundee. According to a plaque next to this bar (just visible on the left here), the Mercantile sector was the scene of "a thriving collaboration between the merchants of the city and the ships' owners, largely between 1780-1850." As trade flourished and the population increased, the street was enlarged and the terrace "was enhanced as a result of the 1871 City improvement Act by the Scottish architect William Mackison (1833-1906), the appointed Burgh Engineer of Dundee" (see also Gifford 128). Elsewhere it is pointed out that although he "prescribed the elevations" for this part of the street, the upper part was redesigned after consulting with the older architect, John Lessels (1809-1883) — and that the Commercial Street elevations in general were inspired by Hausmann's work in Paris ("William Mackison"). At any rate, again according to the plaque, the terrace is now a Category A listed building. It is thought to have been connected with the Mercantile banking sector in its Far East operations, which seems more than likely: numbers 18-32 Commercial Street are called Calcutta Buildings.

Photograph, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Gifford, John. Dundee and Angus. The Buildings of Scotland series. New York and London: Yale University Press, 2012.

"John Lessels." Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Web. 2 December 2016.

"William Mackison." Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Web. 2 December 2016.

Created 2 December 2016