Dalbeattie Town History - Index

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Dalbeattie Town
General History

Industrial Mills on
Dalbeattie Burn

Granite Quarries
of the Urr Valley

The Port of

Murdoch of
the 'Titanic'
Dalbeattie Businesses Kippford History Palnackie History

Introduction :

Dalbeattie is a modest town of about 6,000 people sited in the sheltered valley of the River Urr, about 15 miles southwest of Dumfries. It is a comparatively recent town, having been founded in the 1790s as a planned town beside the water-power of the Dalbeattie Burn. There had been earlier settlements and farms beside the site of the town, but the main town is just over 200 years old.

The town's success depended on three main factors:-

  1. A long-established position beside a small local port, - the Dub o' Hass,
  2. The water power from the Dalbeattie Burn where is descends into the Urr valley.
  3. Outcrops of an excellent local granite.

During subsequent years, railway connections, a large wartime military ammunition factory, forestry and tourism, have all contributed to the town's progress. Centralisation of industrial production and the 'rationalisation' of the rail network, together removed major industries, but the town is still the largest and most important industrial town in the former county of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

The tourist industry is an important seasonal source of income, as is the development of forest-based industry, but the town's granite is still very important. The remarkable landscape is a draw for many retired couples, and also for information technology businesses.

Although Dalbeattie is a subdivision of the ancient Parish of Urr, its hinterland includes parts of the neighbouring Parishes of Buittle and Kippford-with-Southwick. The town dominates the southern part of the Urr valley, but there were important coastal ports at Palnackie, Kippford, Rockcliffe and Auchencairn.

This short history, - based on a prize-winning essay, - is the writer's contribution to the town's heritage.

Murdoch of the 'Titanic'

The town's best known historical figure and hero, Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch, Royal Naval Reserve, was the First Officer of the White Star super-liner 'RMS Titanic'. The events surrounding the life of this remarkable seaman have proven so important, that he has been given his own major historical site at :-


Designed and managed for pleasure and profit by
Richard Edkins.
Site commenced 29th December 1997,
last updated 7thJanuary 1999.