Did your ancestor die in the Tay Bridge disaster?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Tay Bridge Disaster
From the Illustrated Police News for 10 January 1880

On Sunday 28 December 1879, a 1,060 yard stretch of the Tay Bridge, the longest railway bridge in the world, collapsed killing 75 men, women and children.

The UK TV series Find My Past featured a programme about the disaster which prompted me to dust off this research which I carried out several years ago and post it here together with a short series of posts telling the story of the disaster.

Sixty victims were identified but only 45 victims’ bodies were recovered.  The known victims are listed below – where no town is given in the address then the victim lived in Dundee.

Name   Occupation Address
Anderson, Joseph 21 Compositor 13 South Ellen Street
Annan, Thomas 20 Iron turner 48 Princes Street
Bain, Archibald 26 Farmer Mains of Balgay
Bain, Jessie 22 Sister of the above Mains of Balgay
Benyon William + 1 Photographer Cheltenham
Brown, Lizzie 14 Tobacco spinner 28 Arbroath Road
Cheap, Mrs 51 Domestic servant 121 High Street, Lochee
Crichton, James Ploughman Mains of Fintry
Cruickshank, Annie 54 Domestic servant Moray Place, Edinburgh
Culross, Robert Carpenter Newport
Cunningham, David 21 Mason 23 Pitalpin Street, Lochee
Davidson, Thomas 28 Farm servant Linlathen
Easton, Mrs Widow
Fowlis, Robert 21 Mason 23 Pitalpin Street, Lochee
Graham, David 37 Teacher Stirling
Hamilton, John 32 Grocer 16 North Ellen Street
Henderson, James 22 Labourer 3 Church Street
Hendry, Elizabeth 62 Prior Road, Forfar
Jobson, David 39 Oil & colour merchant 3 Airlie Place
Johnston, David 24 Railway guard Edinburgh
Johnston, George 25 Mechanic
Jack, William Grocer 57 Mains Road
Kinnear, Margaret 17 Domestic servant 6 Shore Terrace
Leslie, James 22 Clerk Boffin Street
Lawson, John 25 Plasterer 39 Lilybank Road
McBeath, David 44 Railway guard 46 Castle Street
Mackdonald, William 41 Sawmiller 70 Blackness Road
Mackdonald, David 11 Schoolboy 70 Blackness Road
Mitchell, David 37 Engine driver 89 Peddie Street
Marshall, John 24 Stoker 18 Hunter Street
Murray, Donald 49 Mail guard 13 South Ellen Street
Milne, Elisabeth Dressmaker
Murdoch, James 21 Engineer 1 Thistle Street
Millar, James Flax dresser Dysart
McIntosh, George 43 Goods guard 25 Hawkhill
Neish, David 37 Teacher & registrar 51 Couper Street, Lochee
Neish, Bella 5 Daughter of the above 51 Couper Street, Lochee
Ness, Walter 24 Saddler 4 Bain Square, Wellgate
Ness, George
Neilson, William 31 53 Monk Street, Gateshead
Nicoll, Mrs Elisabeth 24 46 Bell Street
Paton, James 42 Mechanic Edinburgh
Peebles, William 30-40
Peebles, James 15 Apprentice grocer Newport
Robertson, William 21 Labourer 100 Foundry Lane
Robertson, Alexander 23 Labourer 100 Foundry Lane
Salmond, Peter 43 Blacksmith 50 Princes Street
Scott, David 26 Goods guard 7 Yeaman Shore
Scott, John 30 Pipe maker
Sharp, John 35 Joiner 76 Commercial Street
Smart, Eliza 22 Domestic servant Union Mount, Perth Road
Spence, Annie 21 Weaver 62 Kemback Street
Syme, David 22 Clerk Royal Hotel, Nethergate
Taylor, George 25 Mason 56 Union Street
Threlfell, William 18 Confectioner 9 Union Street
Veitch, William 18 Cabinet maker 39 Church Street
Watson, David Commission agent Newport
Watson, Robert 34 Moulder 12 Lawrence Street
Watson, David 9 Son of the above 12 Lawrence Street
Watson, Robert 6 Son of R Watson 12 Lawrence Stree




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19 thoughts on “Did your ancestor die in the Tay Bridge disaster?”

  1. Only just accessed this site (March 2014). My Mother (b 1908 ) often spoke to us of a relative who was killed in this disaster. On my Mother’s side, my Great Grandfather was James Hamilton and, my Great Grandmother was Eliza, they lived in Scotland. I think the relative must have been the John Hamilton (Grocer) mentioned in this listing.

  2. Just found your site.
    My g. grandmother told a story to my uncle that one of their relatives, was on the train but got off the station before the bridge to relieve himself and the train went off and left him. Can’t find any stories of lucky escapes but there was a George Johnston who got on the train the stop before, maybe my uncle got it mixed up but I can’t find any connection. Her husband’s family lived in Dundee.

  3. Charles Stewart father to great grandmother died when bridge collapsed He was married to Lady Garraway and lived in Seafield House Seafield Road Dundee. Would welcome any information about his life.

  4. This is going to sound strange but I think I died on that train. I have had over 30 years of vivid dreams about this crash, I new I was 5 and my name was Isabella, when I found the list of names I found Bella (above). Obviously I can’t be sure but there you go.

    1. My great.great Grandfather was killed when Tay. Bridge collapsed. His
      surname was Stewart. His daughter was Mary married to Andrew Wallace. My great great Grandfather was married to a Lady Garawy but I have no further info. Can you help

    2. Hi there my mum believes she died on the train and that she sitting there and next minute she hears screaming for help and children crying and then next she gasping for breath and she see the water and it’s getting darker she doesn’t know what her name is and age but we’re looking
      And my mum doesn’t like going on trains or over bridges and she hate water and drowning

      1. Holly – I can honestly believe what your Mum is saying. Have researched a lot about such investigations into past lives, especially from children. I always keep an open mind, as I feel a connection to the accident myself, although I’m not sure exactly how. Just ignore rude comments from people like Amy. They’re only showing their own ignorance with their use of foul language, rather than evidence to the contrary x

    1. My great great grandfather surname a stewart died on Tay bridge disaster. He lived in Dundee with his wife Lady Garraway in Seafield House. His mother was Mary Wallace nee Stewart.More info would be welcome

    1. ,my great great grandfather surname Stewart was killed when bridge collapsed. Married to Lady Garraway lived in Seafield House Dundee. His daughter Mary Wallace nee Stewart

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