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David and Helen Philp.....Part two


The housing situation clearly was not fully settled before they were married. The surviving single page of a letter referring to the house, Atholl Bank, in Perth that David gave as his address on his wedding certificate and signed 'Your Husband' has been archived. The missing page, being written by David, would have had the address and date on it. We can assume, however that David is in Perth and the phrase 'kindest regards to your Aunt' suggests that Helen is in Pitt Terrace, Stirling with Aunt Hill.

David writes:

"I am glad to say that Mr Horn and I are quite on good terms--he is leaving several things at Atholl Bank because I am going up which he might otherwise destroy and take away which is a great comfort.

I will be very busy this week packing up my own things and taking off the articles at Atholl Bank which will be an immense deal of work however it cannot be helped How i wish you were here to assist but by another time we------will have the benefit of your sound judgement and advice. I hope that our Aunt is well--- I have no doubt but she is anxious that everything should be quite correct----she is very particular indeed and quite right too--- I am glad that she approves of my having taken Atholl Bank "


Seven months later in March 1857 David made what must, retrospectively, have been considered a major life changing step. That month he left the employ of the Bank of Scotland after 21 years of service and was appointed as agent, or branch manager, of the Edinburgh and Glasgow's newly opened Callander branch. This move is announced in an advertisement in the Stirling Journal and Advertiser for Friday March 6th 1857;

Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank The Directors beg to intimate that a branch of this Bank will be opened at Callander on Tuesday 3rd Day of March next under the charge of David Philp Esq. sometime of Callander.

By order of the Directors

Chas. Jas. Kerr, Manager Edinburgh 25th February 1857

(Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh Almanac, 1858 also list David Philp as agent for this branch) The phrase, sometime of Callander clearly refers to the time 1842 to 1847 when he was Teller in the Bank of Scotland in Callander.

Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank.

This was the time of rapid expansion and development of the banking system and in 1846 it was resolved to give large advances in railway shares. In the event 1 year later came the serious collapse of speculation and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank found itself caught up in difficulties from which, although it struggled to survive for the next ten years, it never really recovered its original position.

In 1853 an arrangement was reached between the Clydesdale Bank and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank. This would have given a measure of security to the beleaguered Edinburgh and Glasgow, but it came to nought as further losses were uncovered in Edinburgh.

Between 1853 and 1857 the Edinburgh and Glasgow attempted to link with other Banks including the City of Glasgow and the Western but no links were forged and by 1857 the Bank's 1,000,000 capital had been reduced to half that amount. One of the Edinburgh and Glasgow's particular difficulties lay with money that they had advanced to the Bank of Australia.

The depression of 1857 in Britain and America caused such financial strain that many banks had to close and suspension of the Bank Act became necessary.


The Edinburgh and Glasgow, by this time was in such bad condition that by the end of 1857 they showed a loss of 350,000.

Shares fluctuated and deposits dwindled from over 1,000,000 in January to 845,000 in June. On the 10th May 1858 provisional agreement was reached with the Clydesdale Bank to take over business on the 21st June. In the final analysis the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank showed a deficit and the Clydesdale Bank simply relieved the Edinburgh and Glasgow of its liabilities. The Clydesdale Bank's action thus averted a course of action that was most certainly heading for failure. They did not however suffer in any way by making this takeover as Reid explains " The general soundness of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank's business--apart from its unlucky inheritance from the years 1845--47 is indicated by the fact that of its 27 offices (including thetwo head offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh) the Clydesdale was able to take over 19. (J.M.Reid, The History of the Clydesdale Bank, Blackie and Son 1938 p 110)

David and Helen must have had very mixed emotions during 1858. Caught up in the bank crash, their hopes for their new life shattered, Helen must also have found out about May 1858, at age 35, she was pregnant because Margaret Elizabeth, called for both her Grandparents, Margaret Bowie and Elizabeth Philp, was born on the 28th January 1859. It is probable that the Callander branch, being newly established, was not considered to be a viable business proposition and it therefore was closed in the re-organisation. After the Edinburgh and Glasgow Bank crash and the couple move to Glasgow, David seems to have stayed with the Clydesdale Bank until 1860 as the following entry, where he is still listed as being with the Clydesdale Bank, appears in the Glasgow Post Office DirectoryDirectory for 1860-61;

1860 Philp David , Clydesdale Bank, House at 6 Walmer Crescent, Paisley Road, Glasgow


Whether his banking career simply ended or he thought that there was more prospect in business we will probably never know as, at the present time of writing, the Clydesdale Bank's archived material is not organised. It does appear, however, that David went into partnership in the business of shawl manufacture. This is apparent from the Glasgow Directory for 1861-62, no similar entries being found in earlier directories ;

Glasgow Post Office Directory 1861-62 Philp David of Hutton Philp & Co, House at 6 Walmer Crescent, Paisley Road, Glasgow.

1861-62 Hutton, Philp & Co. Merchants and Manufacturers, 1 Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, Glasgow.


PHOTOGRAPH In the 'links section' on this page there is a link to two photographs of Walmer Crescent.

Margaret's birth in 1859 was at 6 Walmer Crescent, Govan, in these days being a village on the south of the river Clyde with a fair amount of countryside all around (See map) and, for David' business purposes, close to the City of Glasgow for daily commuting by train. The house, one of eighteen in a neo-classical styled crescent which must have given Helen familiar reminiscent feelings of her father's accomplishments in Stirling, was recently built and designed by the famous Scottish Architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson (1817--1875). Thomson, born in Balfron lived and spent his adult life in Glasgow and is remembered for the dignity and grandeur that he brought to buildings such as Moray Place, Great Western Terrace, and the United Presbyterian Church in St. Vincent Place and, of course Walmer Crescent. Most texts on Thomson suggest that comparison with the, world famous, Charles Rennie Macintosh are not amiss.

Historic Scotland, when they listed the buildings of Walmer Crescent on the 6th of July 1960 gave it the top 'A' listing recorded details of the architecture as follows;

Alexander Thomson, the firm of A. and G. Thomson, 1857-62. Greek Thomsonesque. Complete Terrace, curved on plan, with terminal blocks. Three storeys over basement; ashlar, channelled at ground, banded at first, pilastered windows at second floor, deep main entablature, intermittent projecting bays a storey lower, parapetted and pilastered first floor windows. Sash windows, stacks and slate roofs. Detailing continued on terminal blocks and on return elevations, recessed and curved corner bay at south east., subway entrance set behind. Doorways have mostly recessed architrave with disc detail; cast- iron railings with arcaded detailing

On the 7th October 1860 at No. 6 Walmer Crescent, James Alexander Philp was born and being a firstborn male child was called after his two Grandfathers, Alexander Bowie and James Philp. The composition of the family, at that time, can be judged from the detail preserved in the 1861 census return taken on the 8th of April. It reads ;

1861 Census, Govan, Glasgow 6 Walmer Crescent David Philp Head M 39 Shawl Manufacturer St Andrews Helen Philp Wife M 37 Stirling Margaret E Dau 2 Govan James A. Son 6 mths Govan Mary Walters Serv U 26 Wet Nurse Govan Isabella Diamaid Serv U 25 Dom Serv

From the foregoing information we can deduce that Helen and David were enjoying a fairly comfortable lifestyle with their large house plus servants and, like many 'well to do' mothers of the time, was employing someone else to feed her baby.


All, however, does not seem to have been well with the Shawl manufacturing business because, in the Sasines of 1861, the Trustees under David and Helen's marriage contract, possibly ensuring against failure as David started his business venture, got an Instrument of Notorisation in respect of the Dumbarton Road property left to Helen by the terms of Alexander Bowie's will and passed to her, in 1846, 'in her own right' by the Trustees of the will. The property would appear therefore to have been taken out of David's hands should he be liable for debts and transferred back to Trustees to safeguard it. As we will see later in the Philp story it was 1874 before this was finally resolved.

In any event it is clear that the Hutton and Philp venture failed although there is no record of any sequestration. The failure can be judged from the lack of a Directory entry in 1863 and subsequent years and the momentous life decision taken by Helen and David around that time.

Their third child, Andrew Bell Philp, was born on the 13th July 1862, and, whatever David's security in the employment situation was at that time, we can be fairly certain in assuming that, during Helen's pregnancy in 1862 given the catastrophies that had befallen them since their marriage, discussion must have been under way, about how to improve their lot and make a completely new start.


In 1863 we read in the local Stirling paper that they are emigrating to Shortland in New Zealand.

In many ways it was not surprising that the Philp's took such a bold decision. Apart from the fact that their lives, since they married, had been fraught with difficulties the push towards emigration was generally strong in Scotland. The Highland Clearances and poor living conditions and prospects acting, on the one hand, as a stick and the discovery of gold with the subsequent Gold rushes of the Western seaboard of America followed by Australia and New Zealand acting as a carrot.

The British press constantly carried stories about how well emigrants were doing in the colonies. An example of this being the Stirling Journal and Advertiser for January 23rd 1863, only four months before the Philps sailed, reporting as follows ;

"Otago. By the last mail letters dated 17th November have been received from this Colony announcing the arrival of the 'Sevilla' on the 11th November. The unmarried females who had arrived by the previous ships, had been readily engaged at wages of 30--35. The gold digging both at the former and newly discovered fields were yeilding a high return to the diligence of the miners."

The pressures to up-root and go where greater opportunity apparently lay must have been very strong.

In some way they appear to have knowledge that their destination was definitely to be the North Island that hence their decision to sail to Auckland. There were regular sailings every month from the Clyde to Otago in the South Island of New Zealand by the famous 'Paddy Henderson' line and Liverpool was a major port of embarkation for emigrants but the Philps chose to sail from Gravesend near London.


That the spirits of the family were at a low ebb, before sailing, can be deduced from a letter that survives and was sent by Helen's life long friend and cousin Bella Forrester, Mrs George Philip, from London to David just two weeks before they sailed for New Zealand. There is an air of sadness and a sense of finality that they would not ever meet again. These are feelings that must have pervaded much of their leave taking. To appreciate this feeling this letter is quoted in full although it is impossible to decipher all the words. It is one of the letters, common at the time, that have been written across the page at right angles to the original writing.

PHOTOGRAPH--- The photograph link to this letter, plus a picture of Bella, Is available on this page.

The text is sectioned into paragraphs for ease of reading they did not exist in the original.

Bella Philip writes ;

13 Deane Street 18th April 1863

My Dear Helen and David

I have to acknowledge receipt of both of your last letters and these have remained longer unanswered than seemed possible but the truth is I waited from day to day till the accompanying letter arrived wishing if possible to get it before writing the ......... that it will be a document of considerable value to you on your arrival in Auckland. My good husband has been most assiduous in the getting of this letter which I am sending with our love and best wishes for your prosperity. It is ...... ...... ...... indeed I may say I am told the best house in the place and it was thorough a---and influential gentleman partner of Mr Power it was obtained. I deferred until I could really throw a ray of sunshine with my letters as or along with it. My husband had such a nice letter today from your clergyman's wife Mrs G. P. of Glasgow I was so pleased it spoke so kindly and so fully of you both and especially of David which of course was a good thing coming just at this time when he had been getting the accompanying letter because of course it was better to get David characterised by an impartial judge one who had known him pretty well in the ..... too.

I fancy you may be at Stirling this Saturday till Monday I picture you all I almost wish I could spirit myself among you to join once more in the old cracks. I am sorry your sailing point is not L'pool instead of London we would have been too glad to have seen you here but I suppose it is a fixed matter and I will not be in London at the time you are there. George may be as he has to go down again So I must say Goodbye to you Dear Helen in a letter as we cannot, it seems, meet now but cheer up " there's a good time coming" I hope we meet in that "better Land" where have many " Gone before" and where no clouds shall mar the brightness.

I hear Maggie is growing so nicely and much improved it is a great matter the children are all so well. Your nurse will be a great comfort to you especially during the voyage. May God bless you all and prosper your laudable sacrifice and ..... is my sincere wish You are starting at a delightful time of the year when you are likely to have a famous passage and you of course have much to think on and much to do as your time is speeding on but I hope to have a goodbye note from you before you are off. Tomorrow will be our sacrament Sunday here but these matters are considered very differently here from in the Scotch. I miss not being of the established of the country. George joins me in ------ and ---- and kindest love ---- ---- all if you and ---- believe me Dearest Helen

Your very affectionate Cousin

Bella H. Phillips


Comment on this letter. Bella as a friend----the nurse---the house--- the reference. Finish off as a lead into the voyage chapter.

This letter written on Saturday the 18th April would possibly have reached Glasgow on Monday the 20th the day that an advertisement appeared in the Glasgow Daily Herald

At 6 Walmer Crescent, Paisley Road, on Thursday, April 23rd. Public Sale of Superior House Furniture

Note--- Still to be added. Enter advert for sale of household goods here

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Helen, David and the Children Emigrate

Commercial Bank 1827

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Helen and David Part One

Commercial Bank 1827

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Commercial Bank 1827