Peter Carmichael (1809-1891) is one of Dundee’s quiet heroes. Largely unknown today, his impact on the textile industry and local community was impressive.
Credited with several inventions which enhanced productivity, Carmichael began his career as an engineering apprentice, rising to be manager, then senior partner, of Baxter Brothers by the 1870s. Carmichael’s success was marked by his purchase of the Arthurstone Estate in Perthshire which he renovated and improved.
Carmichael’s contribution to the textile industry and consequent prosperity of Dundee is little known, even though he was described as the ‘great motive power in the development of textile manufacturing in Dundee’ Equally, his philanthropic efforts are also often overlooked. Quietly generous, Carmichael claimed no credit for his frequent and bountiful donations to various churches, Dundee Royal Infirmary and the Mars Training Ship. He was actively involved in his local parish; building a church and manse in Ardler village, which bordered his estate and heavily involved in the local school board. Carmichael frequently emphasised the importance of education, crediting it for his success as an inventor and mill manager.
UoD Archive volunteers Kate and Sarah celebrate this remarkable man at https://sites.dundee.ac.uk/dundees-inventor/