Williams' obituary was published in the Glasgow
Sentinel and the following is a transcription:-
From the Sentinel Dated December 2nd 1902, Glasgow, Scotland.
''Death of Mr. William Dumbreck, Stirling, maker of the famous Model of Jerusalem.
The death occurred on Thursday last, as the result of an accident, of William Dumbreck, 1 Viewfield Street, Stirling, the maker of the famous model of Jerusalem. He was in the act of ascending a stair leading to an attic in his dwelling house which he used as a workshop, when it is supposed he overbalanced himself and fell backwards upon the floor, death ensuing in a few minutes from a fracture of the skull.
Mr. Dumbreck, who was in his 83rd year, was in many respects a remarkable man. He was the eldest son of the late Captain Dumbreck, R.N. a Trafalgar hero, and was for many years, chief surveyor in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine for the Government.
Mr. Wm. Dumbreck had the misfortune, when still an infant, to lose his mother, who, along with many other passengers, was lost in a Leith packet which was wrecked off the coast of Fife, Mrs. Dumbreck being at the time on her way to Aberdeen to join her husband. Her infant child was the only survivor of the wreck, having been washed ashore on the crest of the waves and rescued by the hospitable fish-folks of
From his earliest years, Mr. Dumbreck was exceedingly fond of cutting models in wood and he constructed several ingenious machines with his knife which gave promise of considerable mechanical genius. When he was about 9 years old, his father retired from active service and removed his son to Campsie, where he pursued his studies at school with great assiduity and much success.
The retired R.N. officer had a great desire to see his son a minister of the gospel and in order that he might be able to attend the training college, they moved to Glasgow. The young mechanic studied hard for 5 years and made considerable progress, more especially in the study of Oriental languages, but his heart never seemed altogether to lie to the ministry as his life work and on the eve of his being ordained, he took an utter dislike to the profession and commenced studies as a physician.
For another period of years, he set to hard study and rose step by step with honours till he reached his final examination. Then the same unaccountable thing happened as in his study of theology. His constructive genius seemed to bar the way and for a second time, his father's hopes were annulled. Finding that a mechanical occupation was the one best suited to his mind, he commenced a regular apprenticeship as a joiner and pattern-maker in one of the shipbuilding and engineering establishments on the Clyde.
Shortly after his 'time' was finished, he was raised to the position of foreman and afterwards to that of under-manager. While acting in this capacity, he was led to take an active part in counteracting the evils of city life.
His father took a great interest in temperance work and in the neglected city Arabs and along with others, he established a Sunday School with his son as teacher.
Young Dumbreck took up his work enthusiastically and set himself heartily to devise means whereby he might excite the interest of the rising generation in the story of the Saviour of Mankind and fix it indelibly in their minds. He quickly discerned that words, mere talk, had little effect on children and that coloured pictures of Bible Scenes only added slightly to the interest of the lesson.
Accordingly, he set to construct models of places famous in Holy Scriptures by the important events of which they were the theatre and here his father's surveying experiences were of much service. Among his first efforts was a miniature of Bethlehem, in which was seen a representation of a stable, with manger, and a small doll robed as the infant Christ.
Mr. Dumbreck found that this had a most magnetic effect on the children and resolved to contrive on all future Sabbath mornings, to have a model, no matter how crude with which to illustrate the daily lesson. It was in this way that he was led to make his first model of the ancient city known to be in existence.
It represents Jerusalem as it stood in all its splendour at the time of Christ. The work was commenced in 1846 and concluded in 1871, taking a period of 25 years of leisure hours to complete. In doing so, Mr. Dumbreck had often to change the scene of his operations.
Sometimes he worked in a cellar, often in a shed, once in a stable and at last, finished in a garret. The model weighed upwards of a ton, came asunder in ten sections and consisted of about a million pieces of wood all neatly fitted, dovetailed and mortised together by Mr. Dumbreck's own hands. It was 12 feet square and consequently comprised an area of 144 square feet.
It was constructed from the learned Jew Raphael's plan, 5/8 of an inch to 12 feet for the buildings and 5/16 of an inch to 12 feet for the hills and valleys, taking in a radius of 15 miles. One of its most striking characteristics was its marvellous accuracy and the amount of thought it must have required to master the minute detail before the practical work was begun, must have been enormous.
Mr. Dumbreck commenced to exhibit his model on the 3rd of April 1871, in the Wellington Hall, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, where it proved a great success. Subsequently, he visited almost all the towns in Scotland and North of England and never failed to please his audience, who uniformly expressed themselves much gratified and instructed by an examination of the model.
Mr. Dumbreck was highly esteemed by a wide circle of friends, whose sympathy goes out to the widow and family in their bereavement.
The funeral took place at Ballengeich Cemetery on Monday.''