The History of the Trust

The Sir James Caird Traveling Scholarships Trust (The Caird Trust) was set up in 1927 in memory of Dundee industrialist and philanthropist, Sir James Key Caird (1837-1916), by his sister Mrs Marryat.


Sir James was born in Dundee on 7th January 1837, son of Edward Caird and his first wife, Mary Key of Arbirlot. He married Sophia Margaret Gray in 1873, but her death in 1882 was followed by the death of their only daughter, Beatrix Ada, at the age of 13.


James, as he was still, had taken over the Ashton Works in Dundee when his father, Edward Caird, retired to Finnart and the business flourished and expanded under his management to become a model jute mill and factory. The firm, which had grown to include the Craigie Works, employed over two thousand employees by the time Sir James died in 1916.


Knighted in 1913, he had been a widower for over thirty years and had made benefactions totalling more than a quarter of a million pounds to a wide range of worthy causes over the preceding two decades. Sir James’s generosity provided the City of Dundee with a new Town Hall, since renamed the Caird Hall. Less visible perhaps, but no less significant, was his support of Dundee Royal Infirmary, of scientific and charitable causes in general, and of Antarctic exploration – most notably of the Shackleton expedition of 1914-16. Link to for a fuller biography of Sir James Caird.


With Sir James’s death, the family fortune passed to his half-sister, Mrs Marryat, nee Emma Grace Caird, the youngest daughter of Edward Caird. Throughout their lives, she and her half-brother had been close friends and shared many common interests, in their youth travelling extensively together around the world. She continued her brother’s tradition of generosity to Dundee through charitable donations, as well as creating a Trust fund in his name.


The initial proposal was included in the fourth purpose of Mrs Marryat’s will, dated 10th December 1919, endowing ‘the sum of Two hundred thousand pounds in trust for the formation of Travelling Scholarships to be known as “Sir James Caird Traveling Scholarships” in … Music, to be eligible to Natives of Scotland only…’


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The Caird Trust Website was setup in 2009,

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