Streetwise: Michelson’s Close

Name Plate

Michelson’s Close was cleared away, together with Whitehall Close, so as to form Whitehall Street. At the time of its removal in 1883 it was known as “Scott’s Close;” but in documents dated 1529 it is described as “Michelson's Close,” and that name continued to be used for nearly two centuries afterwards. It was one of the earliest Closes in the quarter which led directly from the Market-gait (High Street) to the river, and was the first to be built continuously on the east side at a very early date. This is proved by the fact that in 1450 it was described as “a finished close,” meaning that there were houses on both sides, or nearly so, save for intervening gardens. Alexander Michelson, from whom the close took its name, was a merchant, and in 1529 was admitted burgess of Dundee.

His descendents held the property till the middle of the seventeenth century (1650), after which the houses were gradually acquired by George Crockatt, merchant, Bailie, and Treasurer, and in 1690 the name was changed to “Crockatt’s Close”. Thomas Crockatt, grandson of George, removed to London, and sold the property in 1744 to Thomas Scott, Deacon of the Hammermen, when the name was again altered to “Scott’s Close,” which designation was retained until its demolition.

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

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