Colonel John Macfarlane (1846-1910)

Figure 1. Reynolds, Warwick; Colonel John Macfarlane (1846-1910); Glasgow Museums;© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

In 1933 Gertrude Elizabeth Macfarlane gifted a portrait of her father Colonel John MacFarlane to Glasgow Museums. The painting, titled Portrait of Colonel John MacFarlane M.V.O., V.D., D.L., J.P., of The 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers was completed by Warwick Reynolds in 1907, who was  better known as a painter of animals, but he had an interest in depicting regimental figures. The portrait was exhibited at The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art in 1909.(1)

Figure 2. Reynolds; Warwick, Poster – Recruits Wanted for the Scottish Regiments: Permission of Imperial War Museum, Accession IWM PST 13490

In 1919 Reynolds designed a poster entitled Recruits Wanted for the Scottish Regiments, a copy of which is in The Imperial War Museum.(2)

Gertrude was born in Glasgow on 6 January 1877 to John Macfarlane, a grain merchant, and Marion Buchanan McCallum from Lanarkshire.(3) John was born at Gartmore, Perthshire on 19 June 1846 and his parents were John MacFarlane, farmer and portioner (inheritor of a small piece of land), and Janet Sands.(4)

John junior, the subject of our story, attended Dalmary School in Gartmore, and when the family moved to Glasgow he was educated at St Enoch’s Public School followed by Andersons College. (5) At age 16 he started in business in Helensburgh with his brother Robert. Six years later he was working in a grain store in Glasgow, and in 1869 he set up business with another brother Malcolm. (6) Number 14 Kent Road, Charing Cross, Glasgow was the business address of Robert S MacFarlane, grain merchant, from 1865 to 1868, followed by Malcolm MacFarlane, grain merchant from 1868 to 1870. The same address was then occupied by the firm of M & J Macfarlane from 1870 to1879, (7) so this appears to be Johns place of work for this period and his progression to a senior level within the business. The business expanded and a branch was opened in Coleraine in Ireland followed by several agencies in Africa. (8)

John married Marion on second of February 1872 at 15 Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow. (9) In 1881 they were living at 11 Camphill Quadrant adjacent to Queens Park in Glasgow, with their family, John, William, Robert, Gertrude (our donor) and Marion aged from five months to eight years.  They employed three servants. (10)

Figure 3. 20 Berkeley Street, Glasgow 1968. Permission of J R Hume https://canmore.org.uk/collection/685598

John then became senior partner with Messrs M and J MacFarlane, grain merchants, and eventually sole partner with Macfarlane Brothers, Job Masters, hiring out horse drawn carriages in Berkley Street. (11) The arched entrance gave access to two levels for horses and carriages. The premises were demolished in 2000 to make way for a large block of flats and shops.

In 1907-08 John and Marion were living at 15 Dundonald Road in the West End with their son William (12)  who was employed in both of these businesses.

During his lifetime John contributed much to public duty, beginning as a reforming member of The Barony Parochial Board. In 1884 he entered the Town Council as a representative of the fourteenth ward and was a Magistrate of the city from 1889 to 1903. He became Convenor of The Statute Labour Committee from 1894 to 1902, with responsibility for looking after the public streets of Glasgow, and laying the foundation stones of three Glasgow bridges; Millbrae Bridge over the River Cart, Rutherglen Bridge over the River Clyde and Kirklee bridge over the River Kelvin. (13)

Among his many prominent roles he was preceptor (chairman) of Hutchieson’s Hospital from 1905 to 1908 and a Justice of The Peace and President of Central Division Liberal Association, Glasgow. He was Deputy Lieutenant of the County of the City of Glasgow and was on the board of many charitable institutions. (14)

One of his overriding interests was in The 1st Lanarkshire Volunteers, where he passed through all the grades to command the battalion as Colonel Commandment. John’s services were recognised by being awarded The Volunteer Decoration, and in 1905 he was enrolled as a member of The Royal Victorian Order by King Edward V11 when on a visit to Edinburgh. (15)

During a Royal Visit to Glasgow in 1907 Colonel John MacFarlane’s skills were employed in organising the royal processions. (16) John also originated the ‘Marches Out’, and these included the then famous midnight march to Lenzie and the three day march to Gartmore and around Loch Katrine. Johns’ favourite pastimes were riding and shooting and he also made time to join The Royal Clyde Yacht Club.(17)

John died on 19 December 1910 of pneumonia at his home at 15 Dundonald Road.(18)

DS

References…

  1. Mitchell Library, Royal Glasgow Institute record of exhibitions
  2. https://www.vads.ac.uk/digital/collection/IWMPC/id/4526/rec/1
  3. (births 644/090118) 1877, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
  4. https://www.clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info/genealogy/TNGWebsite/getperson.php?personID=I8257&tree=CC
  5. Mitchell Library, Glasgow Contemporaries at The Dawn of the xxth Century, John M’Farlane p.82
  6. Mitchell Library, Index of Glasgow men 1909, Colonel John MacFarlane
  7. http://www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/Kent_Road/14_Kent_Road.htm
  8. Mitchell Library, Index of Glasgow men 1909, Colonel John MacFarlane
  9. (Marriages 64/060062),1872, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
  10. (Census, 560/00006/00044) 1881 https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
  11. Mitchell Library, Gaskell, Ernest, Lanarkshire Leaders Social and Political, Col. John MacFarlane, D.L., M.V.O,  V.D., J.P.
  12. Mitchell Library, Post Office Directories 1907-08
  13. Mitchell Library, Index of Glasgow men (1909) http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho1212.htm
  14. Mitchell Library, Gaskell, Ernest, Lanarkshire Leaders Social and Political, Col. John MacFarlane, D.L., M.V.O,  V.D., J.P.
  15. Mitchell Library, Index of Glasgow men (1909) http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho1212.htm
  16. Mitchell Library, Gaskell, Ernest, Lanarkshire Leaders Social and Political, Col. John MacFarlane, D.L., M.V.O,  V.D., J.P.
  17. Mitchell Library, Index of Glasgow men (1909) http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho1212.htm
  18. (Deaths 644/120946) 1910 https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

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