People of Angus
Peter Reid - Forfar's Grand Old Man (1803-1897)
Peter Reid was born in 1803 and lived to the grand age of 94. His father was a wheel-right from Inverarity but he moved to Forfar where he set up a grocer shop in Castle Street. In time Peter took over the business and he started to specialize in a particular kind of confectionery, which he made in the back shop. It was to become world famous as ‘Peter Reid Rock’ or ‘Forfar Rock’ and it earned him a fortune. The recipe for Forfar Rock has since been lost but has been likened to Edinburgh Rock. Young children would visit the shop and ask for a ‘Bawbee’s worth O’ Peter Reid’ to which he would reply ‘Which bit O’ him dae yi want?’
Reid spent £25,000 of his fortune on the town of Forfar. It does not seem like much now but 100 years ago that was a small fortune. Among the gifts he gave to the town and its people were the Reid Hall opened 1871, seats for public use at the Myre, 8 cast iron urinals and a convalescent ward at Forfar Infirmary.
His final gift to the town was the presentation of a public park for the community. It is still known as the Reid Park in his honour and opened on the 27th June 1896. The park measures over 16.5 acres, and was built on a green field site. A 6ft wall surrounds it. It lies on the northern slopes of Balmashanner Hill and enjoys a good view of the town, the Grampian hills and the valley of Strathmore. 10, 000 trees and shrubs were planted using over 60 different varieties. A drinking fountain was erected bearing the Forfar coat of arms on either side and can still be seen today.
Forfar’s Grand Old Man died in 1897 and is buried with his family at Newmonthill Cemetery. He had spent so much of his fortune on others that he died a poor man.
© Angus Council 1998 - 2012