Wikipedia lists Downfield in Dundee as:

A residential area located in the north of Dundee, Scotland, centred on the stretch of the Strathmartine Road between the Kingsway and the northern boundary of Dundee. The area is bordered by St Marys and Ardler to the west, Kirkton to the east and Fairmuir to the south. Downfield is sometimes considered to be part of the neighbouring areas, although Downfield is retained in the name of the local parish “Downfield South”, and by the bus route which services the area. It also had a local railway station “Downfield Railway Station”.

What few people probably realise is that the area was named by John Wishart (WIS0086),  a successful feather merchant from Glasgow who was born about 1800 and married to an Agnes Bain from Falkirk.  John and Agnes had five recorded children between 1822 and 1830, however by 1849 all had died (mostly from consumption) including John’s wife herself in 1837.  John remarried shortly afterwards to an Amelia Findlay from Leuchars, and had two children with her, but tragedy struck again and by 1840 both Amelia and the children (a son and daughter) had also died of consumption.  John himself died a year later from the same cause, and the business passed to his second son John (his eldest had become an engineer.)  John Jnr. continued trading as a feather merchant until his own death (again from consumption) in 1849, and with his elder brother Andrew having died in 1846, this particular Wishart line ended with him.

On 19 January 1928 the Dundee Courier published the following article about Downfield and the Wisharts:

From A Correspondant

How many Downfield people know the origin of the suburb’s name? The chronicling of the origin of the name which has grown familiar with use has not been entirely neglected.

Both the founding and naming of Dundee’s northern suburb has been credited to John Wishart, a dealer in feathers in the town, by J. M. Beatts in “Dundee Reminiscences” in the 19th century.

In 1835 this feather dealer had accumulated a considerable sum of money, and had noticed that the new Dundee-Newtyle railway isolated a triangular piece of land between the line of the new railroad and Baldovan Road on the property of Dr Gourlay of Baikie.

It occurred to the observant John that this piece of land would prove eminently suitable as a site for a small village, and after having acquired the ground he sought to attract sub-feuars.

This problem was duly tackled and eventually a plan of the proposed village was drawn up with plots marked off ready for builders. At the apex of the triangle was the site of a proposed public house.

Even such an inducement John did not consider sufficient and he actually built the public house close to the site of Baldovan Station, where the building stills stands.

Mr Beatts was a law clerk in the office of James Cumming, New Inn Entry, where in preparing the conveyance in Wishart’s favour he frequently met him.


John Wishart wished to have the name of the place mentioned in the deed, but had not quite decided the designation of the embryo village. It was suggested that as Mr Wishart did not care to perpetuate his own name he might fix on a name that would indicate the calling followed by the founder.

As “Wishartfield” did not satisfy him, “Featherfield” and “Downfield” were suggested to the founder.

The last named seemed to strike his fancy, and, after his wife had been consulted, “Downfield” was entered in the deed.

Before his death John Wishart succeeded in feeing a considerable portion of the building lots, and since then additional land on each side of his property had to be obtained to meet the huge demand for lots and residences in this quarter.