Streetwise: Soapwork Lane

Name Plate

Soapwork Lane and Candle Lane. – Though Edinburgh had a candle–maker Craft so early as 1517, no such trade seems to have established in Dundee. Soap-making and Candle-making were occupations akin, and the name survive in Soap-work Lane and Candle Lane, where the two workshops carried on for many years by Joseph Sanderson.

He was born in Dundee in 1746, and started business about 1780 as a “tobacconist and candle-maker”. Before 1804 he had established a lucrative business, having many customers among the neighbouring gentry. His death took place in 1809, and a tombstone marks his grave in the Howff. The business was continued by his widow, Elizabeth Smith, till her death in 1823, when she was buried beside her husband. Two sons, John and James Sanderson, took up the work until 1844, when John, the elder son, died, and the business disappeared. By that time the introduction of gas as an illuminant had largely discounted the business of candle-making.

Source: ‘Glimpses of Old and New Dundee’ – A.H. Millar, January 1925