The Three United Trades
The Three United Trades of Dundee consists of a collective group bringing together the three construction related Trades - the Masons, the Wrights and the Slaters.
The Individual Trades
In Dundee, the building trades organised themselves into Trade Associations from the early seventeenth century. A lack of historical records, often blamed on the burning of much historical archive material during General Monk’s sacking of the city of Dundee, mean exact dates cannot be set.
However, these Trade associations existed from the early 1600’s. They were recognised as pendicles of the Guildry, with Dean of Guild being the ultimate judge on any matters requiring appeal beyond the Trade Association’s own machinery.
The Trade Association bodies were organised under elected officials.
The chairman of the trade was called a Deacon- who was responsible for ensuring the quality of workmanship and also behaviour of his tradesmen within the City.
In order to keep tabs on the finances, he was joined by a treasurer, called a boxmaster- so called because the Trade owned a box within which all its records and administration was kept. Thereafter, there was also employed a Clerk to the trade, who was usually a lawyer, who wrote down the minutes of meetings and kept the records in a large Minute book- called the Lockit Book- which was kept locked and bound.
In addition, there would be an Officer or Messenger of the Trade. His duties included advising members of meetings, and funerals, and help with meal deliveries to members as well. This was a paid position, albeit, the amount varied with the financial health of the Trade.