Margaret Helen Garroway

(1860-1947)

Our donor Margaret Helen Garroway was the daughter of Robert Garraway, a well-known nineteenth century Scottish industrialist, and Agnes Garraway, formerly Agnes McWilliam. She was born on 24 August 1860 in Rosemount, Cumbernauld Road, Shettleston, Glasgow. [1] Her father Robert Garroway, a surgeon by training, graduated from Glasgow University and later became a manufacturing chemist [2]. He set up business with his brother James Garraway at 694 Duke Street, Glasgow, which became known as R&J Garroway, Netherfield Chemical Works [3]. Robert Garraway’s brother, James, died in 1877 and left quite a big fortune in his will to be distributed among his family and some of the workers in the factory. The total sum of his fortune was recorded as £52,218-6s-09d. [4]

The Garroway Family prospered during the Industrial Revolution which, as well as changing the world, brought great fortunes to those who were able to invest in the inventions andother developments. In Glasgow, most of the industrialists spent some of their fortunes on grand houses and objets d’art to decorate them. The Garroways were one of these families. Our donor’s uncle, James had a house in Helensburgh and father Robert had a house called ‘Thorndale’ in Skelmorlie in Ayrshire which is now a B-listed house. [5]

The Garroways were manufacturing chemists by profession. The factory that they founded was one of the notable firms engaged in the exemplification of Glasgow’s great chemical industry in the nineteenth century [6]. Their factory ‘Netherfield Works’ occupied over eight acres. The factory manufactured a variety of chemicals as well as chemical fertilisers for the home and export markets. They were awarded the gold medal at the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886 for excellence of manufacture.

Glasgow was a major centre for chemical manufacture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Garraway’s company survived until 1970. Since then, fertiliser manufacture has been abandoned, but the works were still producing sulphuric acid in 2002 [7].

It may be appropriate at this juncture to mention that the Garroway family was also very active in their civic duties. Between 1890 and 1893 a general reordering of the choir of Glasgow Cathedral was carried out. [8] The Garroway Family was one of the prominent donors of this major architectural renovation. In particular, the older brothers of our donor, John and James Garroway, made significant contributions to the City of Glasgow. In 1880, John Garroway donated a ‘new bell’ and James Garroway donated the ‘communion table’ to the Cathedral. It must be mentioned that, because of their contributions during the general reordering of the choir of Glasgow Cathedral, between 1890 and 1893, the father, surgeon Robert Garroway and brother, Major John Garraway, of our donor, were both buried at the Glasgow Cathedral. Also their names were carved on a memorial stone in the cathedral’s gardens.

However, our donor, Margaret Helen Garroway has been very elusive during this search, though she appears on every census since 1861. There are no records of a marriage.  There is also no indication that she held any position in the company that was run by her father and her brothers. Her occupation was described as ‘living on her own means’  on the census recordings. There is no mention of her name in any of the local or national press. However, there is one public announcement that she made and that was through her solicitors. That was the bequest she made to the Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Gallery, just before her demise. This was recorded in the Minutes of the Council of City of Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums held on 11 March 1947 in Paragraph 4 mentioning the bequest made by Miss Margaret H. Garroway to the Kelvingrove Gallery [9].  It said:

Figure 1. Andreotti, Federico; The Violin Teacher; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

Bequest made by late Miss Margaret H. Garroway.
There was submitted a letter by Messrs Kidstons and Co. solicitors of 86 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, intimating that the late Miss Margaret H. Garroway of Thorndale, Skelmorlie, had offered the Corporation under her settlement the choice of her collection of ivories, pictures and engravings, the selection to be postponed until after the death of her two nieces, Mrs Todd and Miss Haldane. The two nieces in question were agreeable to the corporation making their selection now. There was also submitted a report by the Director stating that he had inspected the collection and recommended acceptance by the Corporation of the complete set of ivories, the following pictures, three of which are shown, viz. –

Medium                Artist’s Name                          Name of the Painting

Oil                          Frederigo Andreotti                A Violin Teacher
Watercolour          Eduard Detaille                         The Drummers
Oil                          Lucien Gerard                           Young Man Reading
Oil                          Paul Grolleron                          The Scout
Oil                          Charles-Louis Kratké               French Army on the March(1848-1921)
Watercolour                   A P Robinson                     Highland Loch
Oil                          Adolphe Weisz                          Going to Mass

Figure 2. Kratke, Charles Louis; French Army on the March; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

There was also a number of engravings which would be useful for the library of period prints. The committee agreed that the Director’s recommendation be approved.‘Glasgow. A collection of approximately ninety pieces of oriental Ivory has been presented to the Art Gallery by the Trustees of Miss Margaret H. Garroway’.Margaret H. Garroway was brought up with her two brothers and three sisters. She was the youngest in the family. At that time, the Family Garroways had a house on Cumbernauld Rd, called Rosemount. They also had a house at Skelmorlie in Ayrshire. It is possible that our donor was educated privately, as was the custom of wealthy people at that time. 

It appears that Miss Margaret Helen Garroway either inherited or possibly bought the above paintings and the collection of ivory. In her later life, our donor moved to her final home Thorndale, Skelmorlie in Ayrshire.

Figure 3. Grolleron, Paul Louis Narcisse; The Scout; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

Margaret Helen Garroway died on 24 January 1947, when she was 86 years old. Her death was reported in the Deaths column on the first page of the Glasgow Herald of 25 January 1947. [11] It read:

‘Garroway: At Thorndale Skelmorlie, on 24th January 1947 Margaret Helen, daughter of the late Dr Robert Garroway. Funeral Private’.

There were no obituaries. The Scotsman of 23 May 1947 reported in its Wills and Estates on page seven that her estate was worth £53,248. [12]

Although our donor Margaret H. Garroway appears in all relevant Scotland Censuses, she is invisible all throughout her life until she makes her donation to Kelvingrove Gallery.

References:

[1] www.ancestry.co.uk 1861 Scotland Census.

[2] www.ancestry.co.uk 1851 Scotland Census

[3] Index of Firms (1888)  http://www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/1888_Book/Index_of_firms_1888.htm

[4] The will of James Garroway (About 1811-1877), Downloaded from Scotland’s People.

[5] http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/sc-50045-skelmorlie-15-shore-road-thorndale-with-b#.WIcjaVwcxg4

[6] op cit.[3]

[7] http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/spw048761?ref=2778

[8] http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/names/display/?rs=1&nid=GarrJas#s012des5

[9] Corporation Minutes 1946-1947, p. 882 Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

[10] www.e-periodica.ch/cntmng?pid=ast-002:1947:1::200

[11] Glasgow Herald 25 January 1947. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=19470125&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[12] The Scotsman 23 May 1947, p.7 Wills and Estates.

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