A POTTED HISTORY OF PRIMROSE & GORDON
Primrose & Gordon, Writers, Solicitors are the oldest established Firm of Solicitors in the Southwest, and perhaps one of the most venerable in all of Scotland. An 18th Century Firm, founded during the reign of King George III, the ‘founding father’ Robert Gordon Esq. is recorded as a ‘Procurator’ in the Dumfries Sheriff Court Books on 6th February, 1782. His brothers – William Gordon and John Gordon were also ‘Writers’ (as Solicitors were then known as their function was ‘to write’). His sister Margaret married Samuel Primrose, identified in the Dumfries Burgh Records as a ‘Shoemaker in Dumfries’ who at that time resided in what is now Market Square. In turn their two sons Peter and William Primrose (perhaps encouraged by Margaret) also became Writers in the Burgh of Dumfries. The three Gordon brothers Robert, William and John and their two nephews Peter and William Primrose are understood to have practised together successively in the Firm from the 1780’s. William Gordon, described in some records as ‘William Gordon of Brockloch and Bardarroch’ became the first Procurator Fiscal of Dumfries in 1810 when that Office was revived. Given the predominance of Gordons our Firm was (perhaps unsurprisingly) originally known as ‘Gordon & Primrose’ and operated originally from Chambers in the Georgian Terrace which ran from the top of Friars Vennel to what would later become Buccleuch Street in Dumfries. Thereafter the Firm operated from premises at 30 Bank Street then 92 Irish Street until relocating to 1 Newall Terrace at Easter, 2011. The firms name was reversed to ‘Primrose & Gordon’ in 1829.
Primrose and Gordon moved to 1 Newall Terrace in April 2011. The premises were constructed in 1878 and were built as the personal residence of the Architect, Alan Burgess Crombie. His intertwined initials; A-B-C can be seen set in a diamond on the gable of the building (facing the driveway). Although the building looks as though it is detached it actually forms part of a (linked) L-shaped building with the other leg comprising the former Loreburn Bridge Club at 24 Lovers Walk. Curiously 24 Lovers Walk (which has many architectural features and motifs in common with our building) was built for and originally occupied by Alan Crombie’s brother (James) who was also an Architect. Alan Burgess Crombie spent most of his professional life in Dumfries & Galloway (unlike his brother James who travelled to the USA to make his name). Alan Burgess Crombie’s various fine buildings are to be found throughout Dumfries and County. Notable amongst these in Dumfries are the Ewart Library in Catherine Street (built in neo-baroque style) Maxwelltown Court House in Terregles Street, Dumfries (built in neo-jacobean style) and the impressive façade of Rosefield Mills on the banks of the Nith opposite the Dock Park. Our Office Building is Category B listed and is set over four floor levels with the upper (attic) floor cantilevered to full height. One of the listed features is the ornate carved wooden entrance porch and with impressive detailed cornicing having been preserved internally. Number 1 Newall Terrace is the tallest former private residence in Newall Terrace. The property was used as a family home for many years before being occupied by the Trading Standards Department and the Dumfries and Galloway Council in latter years, prior to Primrose and Gordon moving in.
A Timeline surrounding the founding of ‘Primrose & Gordon’ Writers
1745 – Second Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland (Bonnie Prince Charlie)
1746 – Defeat of Jacobites at Battle of Culloden. Passing of ‘The Dress Act’ forbidding the wearing of Tartan in Scotland
1776 – American Declaration of Independence.
1776 – ‘The Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith, (economist) published.
1782 – Founding of Primrose & Gordon’ (originally ‘Gordon & Primrose’)
1782 – Repeal of ‘The Dress Act’ of 1746.
1782 – Marriage of W.A Mozart, composer.
1783 – ‘Glasgow Herald’ Newspaper first published.
1786 – ‘Kilmarnock edition’ of Robert Burns’ Poetry published.
1789 – Storming of the Bastille, Paris (French Revolution commences).
1793 – Guillotining of Louise XVI and Marie-Antoinette of France.
1793 – Robert Owen (Socialist and Philanthropist) purchases New Lanark Mills (social experiment).