Person Sheet

Name Margaret KINNEAR
Birth 8 Apr 1862, Craige, Leuchars, Fife, Scotland
Death 28 Dec 1879, The Tay bridge disaster Age: 17
Burial Leuchars, Fife, Scotland - with her parents
Father Peter KINNEAR (1841->1912)
Mother Janet (Syme) WOOD (1839->1912)
Notes for Margaret KINNEAR

Lived as a domestic servant at 6 Shore Terrace, “The Vault”, Dundee

In the 19th and early 20th centuries an overcrowded warren of closes and tenements known as the Vault occupied the area of Dundee City Centre now taken up by the Caird Hall, Council Chambers and City Square. In medieval times the site was occupied by St. Clement’s Church and graveyard.  Sir James Caird, who amassed a fortune through the jute trade in Dundee, donated up to 100,000 for the building of a new City Hall and Council Chamber.   The whole area of the Vault and the Greenmarket had to be demolished including Dundee’s architecturally significant 18th centre Town House.

Great Aunt Jenny Wood Allen recounted the story of her aunt, Margaret Kinnear, who was only 17 when she died in the Tay Bridge  disaster. 

Margaret was described as being 5 feet 2 inches tall, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, sharp features. On the night of the disaster she was wearing a stripped peticoat, dark green dress, black jacket trimmed with dark fur, black straw hat, black lace and feather and elastic sided boots.

The Tay Bridge Disaster

At approximately 7:15 p.m.on the stormy night of 28 December 1879, the central navigation spans of the Tay bridge collapsed into the Firth of Tay at Dundee, taking with them a train, 6 carriages and 75 souls to their fate. At the time, a gale estimated at force 10 to 11 was blowing down the Tay estuary at right angles to the bridge. The collapse of the bridge, only opened 19 months and passed safe by the Board of Trade, sent shock waves through the Victorian engineering profession and general public.

 Margaret's black straw hat with blue and mauve feather was found at Broughty Ferry on January 17.

Broughty Ferry lies four miles to the east of Dundee city centre. Known as "the jewel in Dundee's crown", its fine seafront esplanade and sweeping sands provide the perfect place for a relaxing stroll or a quiet picnic.

             It was not until April 14 that her body was recovered by Captain Menzies of the Abertay Lightship.

 On 15 October 1877 the first Abertay Lightship was placed on station at the Abertray Sands.  The Abertay Sands stretch eastwards into the North Sea for nearly 8 miles (13 km) from the mouth of the River Tay at Tayport in Fife. The Tentsmuir Sands extend southwards towards the mouth of the River Eden. The Arbroath-built Abertay light vessel was placed on station at the eastern end of Abertay Sands in 1877 and was for ten years the only manned lightship in Scottish waters. A campaign for an ‘Imperial Floating Lightship’ had been running for several years and only intensified after the near disasters in 1876. Built by James Roney at Arbroath, the new lightship was 90’x19’7” and exhibited a single white flash every tem seconds which was visible for up to eight miles.

            Margarets body was identified by Robert Lee, who lived at the same address, 6 Shore Terrace, Dundee.

Tay Bridge Disaster

The Tay Bridge disaster Information Links

Forensic Engineering Tay Bridge disaster

McGonagall Poem Tay Bridge

DisasterDundee Central Library – Tay Bridge Disaster

Railway trip over the Tay Bridge (Silent, 1897) film

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Last Modified 9 Jul 2014 Created 7 Jul 2004 by EasyTree for Windows95

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