Mrs Elizabeth Webster Gow (1873 – 1951)

On 19 January 1943, an oil painting by James Godsell Middleton entitled Jeannie Deans and the Queen was presented by Mrs E. W. Gow, Ardchattan, 2 Wellshot Drive, Cambuslang. Its acquisition number is 2309. 1

Figure 1. Middleton, James Godsell; Jeanie Deans and the Queen;
© CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

The frame of the painting bears a tablet with the inscription ‘J. Middleton (Scottish School) Jeannie Deans and the Queen / Lent by Captain Dennistoun’.

The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1845 by the artist whose address was 76 Newman Street, London . It carried the caption:

Jeannie Deans begging the life of her sister from Queen Caroline.
“Tear followed tear down Jeannie`s cheeks as, her features glaring and
quivering with emotion, she pleaded her sister`s cause etc. Heart of
Midlothian”, (481). 2

The artist also exhibited the painting at the Royal Scottish Academy the following year with a shortened caption!

Jeannie Deans begging the life of her sister from Queen Caroline,
vide The Heart of Midlothian (136) 3

There was no record of the donation in the Corporation Minutes.

            Elizabeth Webster Waugh (later Mrs. E. W. Gow) was born on 2 June 1873 at 5 East Howard Street, Glasgow. 4 Her father, Robert Waugh, was a storekeeper who married, Elizabeth Chambers, a domestic servant, on 30 September 1870 at Hamilton Street in Motherwell. 5 Elizabeth Waugh was the second of six children of the marriage. In 1881 “Bessie” (Elizabeth) and her family were living at 115 Stirling Road, Glasgow along with four older siblings – children of Robert Waugh`s first marriage to Janet Marshall. Robert Waugh died on 6 July 1888 6 and the family moved to 9 Glebe Street, Glasgow. In 1891, Bessie, aged 17 was a ‘furniture polisher’. 7 (It may have been because of her occupation that she met her future husband Walter Gow who was a house furnisher/furniture dealer).              
Elizabeth`s mother died in 1892 8 and three years later, on 19 March 1895, Elizabeth, aged 21, married Walter Gow who was then 35.  It was Walter`s second marriage. (He had first married Elizabeth Marquis on 29 June 1883 in Glasgow 9. At that time, he was a cabinet maker and upholsterer with an address at 73 Buccleuch Street. However, Elizabeth Marquis “formerly married to Walter Gow” re-married in 1894 10 presumably after she and Walter divorced).

            The marriage to Elizabeth was ‘by declamation’ at 63, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh in the presence of Elizabeth`s sister Margaret and her brother Thomas. According to the marriage certificate Walter Gow was a bachelor whose occupation was ‘cabinet maker’. He gave his address as ‘The Grand Hotel, Charing Cross, Glasgow’. 11 (Walter Gow`s father Joseph was also a cabinet maker and had originated the family business of ‘J. Gow and Sons’, house furnishers. In 1899 the business was based at 187 (later 175) Trongate, 12).

                    After their marriage, Walter and Elizabeth moved to ‘Glenholm’ a large house at 31 Hamilton Drive, Cambuslang.13,14 The marriage did not produce any children. However, by 1911 Walter and Elizabeth had adopted Mosina (Ina) Mills the daughter of Elizabeth`s sister Annie and were living in Hamilton Drive along with Elizabeth`s older sister Margaret and one servant. Walter was a house furnisher and employer. 15

                    By 1927 Walter and Elizabeth had moved to ‘Ardchattan’, 2 Wellshot Drive, Cambuslang. The business was now based at 11 Hope Street. 16 (The name of the house would have derived from Walter`s interest in Clan or Family History. In 1898, he had been a subscriber to a book concerning the history of Clan Chattan.17 Gow is one of the minor Septs of Clan Chattan).

On 30 April 1929 Elizabeth`s niece and adopted daughter Ina, married Alexander Stephen, a fishery officer from Peterhead, in Glasgow Cathedral.18

 Walter Gow died aged 76, on 26 March 1936 at 2 Wellshot Drive, Cambuslang and was buried in East Kilbride Cemetery. 19 He left an estate valued at £100,111:18s:7d.20 Elizabeth inserted “In Memoriam” notices in the Glasgow Herald each year from 1937 to 1951 (apart from 1949 and 1950) in memory of her husband.

For example, the following appeared in the ‘In Memoriam’ column of the Glasgow Herald, on 26 March 1943:

            GOW. In loving memory of my beloved husband Walter Gow, J.P., who died on
26th March 1936. Inserted by Mrs Gow, “Ardchattan”, Cambuslang”

Elizabeth moved from Cambuslang to 29 Newlands Road in 1945 or 1946 and in the following year to ‘White Croft’, Barrhead. (Taken from Glasgow Herald, In Memoriam Columns.) Sometime between 1948 and 1951 she moved to ‘Glengyron’, Whitecraigs in Renfrewshire.

Elizabeth Gow died aged 78 at ‘Glengyron’, 38 Ayr Road, Whitecraigs on 21 August 1951 21. She was buried beside her husband in East Kilbride Cemetery on 24 August.22

The business of J. Gow and Sons was still operating from 11 Hope Street in 1964 23.


  1. Glasgow Museums Record of Donations
  2. Graves, Algernon, The Royal Academy of Arts; a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904, H. Graves and Co., London, 1905.
  3. Object File at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
  4. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  5. Scotland’s People, Marriage Certificate
  6. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  7., Scotland Census 1891,
  8. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  9. Scotland’s People, Marriage Certificate
  10. ibid
  11. ibid
  12. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1899-1900
  13. Cambuslang Suburban Directory, 1900/01
  14. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1902/03 till 1920/21
  15. Scotland`s People, Census 1911.
  16. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1927/8.
  17. Fraser-Mackintosh, Charles, of Drummond, An Account of the Confederation of Clan Chattan: Its Kith and Kin; The Minor Septs of Clan Chattan. J. Mckay, Glasgow, 1898
  18. Scotland’s People, Marriage Certificate
  19. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  20. Confirmations and Inventories, Mitchell Library
  21. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  22. Glasgow Herald, Deaths, August 22, 1951, page 1.
  23. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1966-67

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