James Couper (1839-1916)

Mr James Couper of Craigforth, Stirling was a Company Director living on private means.

Figure 1. Portrait of the late Charles Tennant by Andrew Geddes. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

The Portrait of the late Charles Tennant by Andrew Geddes was received by Glasgow Corporation in 1920. It had been bequeathed by his grandson, James Couper, to his wife Jane as life rent (2) and under the terms of his Will, after her death, was then to be given by his Trustees to Glasgow Corporation.

Figure 2. Statue of Charles Tennant and Obelisk for William Couper. Image © F J Dryburgh

James Couper was born on 13 September 1839 (3) the son of John Couper MD MRCP, Regius Professor of Materia Medica at Glasgow University (4) and his wife Charlotte Couper. His mother was the daughter of Charles Tennant (5) and his father was the son of Tennant’s great friend and associate, William Couper. (6)

The monuments to these men are side by side in the Necropolis in Glasgow. (7)

In the 1871 Census James Couper is living in Glasgow but visiting his parents and he is a manufacturing chemist. (8) James Couper moved to Craigforth in Stirling in1873 as a tenant and eventually as owner in 1904. (9)  In the 1881 Census he is listed as a manufacturing chemist, his wife is Jane, he has two sons, and 8 servants are listed. (10)  Craigforth is an impressive country house now on the M9 looking towards Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. Couper was a director of the Steel Company of Scotland and of Messrs Ogston and Tennant. (11) He and his wife were active in local society and contributed to charitable and civic activities in Stirling. (12) In 1878, James and Jane gave the Bishop’s Chair to the newly established Episcopal Church of The Holy Trinity in Stirling. (13)

He was a Director of Stirling Royal Infirmary and of The Albert Hall Company while these were being built. (14)

He died in the Central Hotel in Glasgow on 13 June 1916. (15)

His funeral was attended by many people including his nephew Mr. Charles Tennant Couper. He is buried in Logie cemetery. (16)

Charles Tennant (1768-1838) was a bleacher from Ayrshire with bleach fields in Darnley. (17)  There is a watercolour of the bleach fields by an unknown artist in the collection of Lady Maxwell in Pollok House, Glasgow (18) and a map from 1791 showing their location in the East Renfrewshire Public Library in Giffnock. (19) He went on to develop the first chemical method of bleaching using bleaching powder and to establish the St Rollox works in Glasgow, the first great chemical works in the world. (20)  His son John Tennant (21) developed the firm and built Tennant’s Stalk- a huge chimney in the North of Glasgow. His son was Sir Charles Tennant, an art collector, Liberal politician and industrialist. He was the founder of a family well known in social and political circles. (22) (23)   In 1926 the business became part of Imperial Chemical Industries and in 2008 became part of Atezo Nobel. (24)

References

  1. Archives of Glasgow Museums
  2. National Records of Scotland Wills and Testaments  1916
  3. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1839
  4. John Couper The University of Glasgow Story.  https://universitystory.gla.ac.uk/people
  5. National Records of Scotland Wills and Testaments  1840
  6. John Couper The University of Glasgow Story.  https://universitystory.gla.ac.uk/people
  7. The Glasgow Necropolis. http://www.glasgownecropolis.org
  8. National Records of Scotland census 1871
  9. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 3 March 1916. Obituary of James Couper
  10. National Records of Scotland census 1881
  11. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 3 March 1916. Obituary of James Couper
  12. Personal communication Stirling librarian
  13. http://www.holytrinitystirling.org
  14. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 3 March 1916. Obituary of James Couper
  15. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1916
  16. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 16 March 1916. Funeral of James Couper
  17. Massie, Alan. Glasgow Portraits of a City. London: Barrie and Jenkins,1989
  18. Watercolour of Mr Charles Tennant’s Bleachfields, artist unknown, held in Pollok House, Glasgow.
  19. Map of East Renfrewshire, 1791 showing Mr Tennant’s Bleachfields held in the East Renfrewshire Public Library, Giffnock
  20. Massie, Alan. Glasgow Portraits of a City. London: Barrie and Jenkins,1989
  21. Lindsey, Christopher F. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2014.
  22. Sir Charles Tennant Wikipaedia
  23. Ibid
  24. ibid

John Douglas Campbell White M.D. (1871 – 1940)

Dr. John Douglas Campbell White was heir to his uncle, Lord Overtoun. He donated four paintings to Glasgow Museums in 1935. (1)

Figure 1. The Tryst by  Sir John Noel Paton RSA © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

J D C White was born at Hayfield House, Rutherglen on 18 August 1871, to John Orr White and Fanny Campbell White (2) who were second cousins and came from a family of industrialists. The family moved to London. His father died on 22 January1879 (3) but his mother continued to live in London. (4) He was educated at Charterhouse School where he did well. (5) He then attended Trinity College Cambridge and in his five years there he was awarded a BA First Class in the Classical Tripos (1894) and also in the Theological Tripos (1896). He proceeded to an MA in 1899. (6) He went to the London Hospital where he was a House Physician and qualified MRCS and LRCP. (7) In 1905 Cambridge awarded him an MD. (8) He did not go into medical practice but joined the Lister Institute to undertake research. This was made possible in 1908 because he was his uncle Lord Overtoun’s heir and on his death inherited his estate in Dunbartonshire. (9)

Figure 2. Loch Ericht by Henry John Boddington © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

 His research was mainly into the social aspects of venereal disease and he was a member of the British Social Hygiene Council. (10) In the following years he published and lectured quite widely. In the First World War he was a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. (11) In 1922 he was sent by the army to Constantinople to conduct an anti-venereal disease campaign. (12) From 1923 he was Chairman of the Council of the Tavistock Clinic. (13)He was a committed Christian and continued to take an interest in religious affairs. He had been ordained a Deacon in the Church of St Peters in Eaton Square, London in 1898. (14)  He was Chairman of the Council of the Modern Churchmen’s Union from 1923 to 1930.  (15)

Figure 3. Dog in the manger by Walter Hunt © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

In 1898 he married Lucy Agnes McClure (16) and they had a son. He died at Harrow-on the-Hill on 25 March 1940. (17) His life is summed up in the BMJ obituary: ‘Circumstances made it possible for him to do unpaid jobs; training made him competent to look on sociological problems from both ethical and physiological viewpoints.’ (18)

Figure 4. Where’s my Good Little Girl   by  Thomas Faed RA © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Paintings donated to Glasgow Museums:

Oil. Thomas Faed RA. Where’s my Good Little Girl

Oil. Henry John Boddington.  Loch Ericht

Oil. Walter Hunt. Dog in the manger

Oil. Sir John Noel Paton RSA. The Tryst

The Family Inheritance

The White family members were industrialists and chemical manufacturers in the west of Scotland. They combined business acumen with strong religious beliefs and a commitment to civic service. (19) The family had come out at the Disruption in the Church of Scotland and clung to the ethics of the Free Church.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, brothers James and John White established a factory to make soda and soap in Shawfield, Rutherglen near Glasgow. By 1830 they were producing potassium dichromate, used as a mordant for the dye industry. By 1850 the site covered 200 acres and employed 500 men. It was a very successful business, a near monopoly, because of the large textile factories within Glasgow and Paisley. (20) James was well known in business and for philanthropy and his statue now stands in Cathedral Square, Glasgow. (21)

Their sons, John Orr White, son of James and John Campbell White, son of John, carried on the business but it was John Campbell White who became best known. (22) He studied at Glasgow University, graduating MA and studied law before entering the business. (23) Over the years he left others to run the business and devoted himself to philanthropy and religious causes and gave much time and money to charity. He was a powerful figure in the Liberal Party and became Baron Overtoun in 1893. He developed his estate in Dumbarton at Overtoun which he had inherited from his father.

The chrome business was successful but it was a dirty business. Little heed was paid to the well-being of workers or to the disposal of toxic waste. In 1899, the workers went on strike and their cause was taken up by Keir Hardie. This became a cause célèbre with much criticism of Lord Overtoun and can be followed in the Scotsman. (24) (25 ) (26 )(27) Opinions are divided about how much Lord Overtoun was involved.   Eventually a compromise was reached and the workers returned to work with improved conditions of employment but the legacy of chrome persisted in ill health and environmental damage.

In 1903 Lord Overtoun gave public parks to Dumbarton and to Rutherglen, both called Overtoun Park. For this he was made a Freeman of Dumbarton (28) in 1903 and of Rutherglen in 1905. (29)

In 1908 Lord Overtoun died childless and the estate and his art collection passed to his nephew. (30)  Dr John Campbell Douglas White also inherited a religious belief and a sense of duty to society.

 In 1935 the estate was given to Dumbarton by Dr White and some paintings were given to Glasgow and Dumbarton. (31)

  1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1935
  2. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1877
  3. Ancestry .co.uk
  4. Census England and Wales 1880
  5. Venn J.A, Alumni Cantabriensis London England. Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954
  6. BMJ 20 April 1940 p673. Obituary
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1908
  10. BMJ 20 April 1940 p673. Obituary
  11. Venn J.A, Alumni Cantabriensis London England. Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954
  12. BMJ 20 April 1940 p673. Obituary
  13. ibid
  14. Venn J.A, Alumni Cantabriensis London England. Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954
  15. BMJ 20 April 1940 p673. Obituary
  16. Venn J.A, Alumni Cantabriensis London England. Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954
  17. Ancestry.co.uk
  18. BMJ 20 April 1940 p673. Obituary
  19. Ritchie, Lionel Alexander. ‘John Campbell White, Lord Overtoun’ in Slaven, A              A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press,1986. Page 293
  20. ibid
  21. Memoirs and Portraits of 100 Glasgow Men
  22. Who’s who in Glasgow in 1909
  23. ibid
  24. The Bailie. The Man you Know June 1889
  25. The Scotsman 29 June 1899
  26. The Scotsman 5 July 1899
  27. The Scotsman 5 August 1899
  28. Who’s who in Glasgow in 1909
  29. ibid
  30. Wills and Probate. London, England
  31. Personal communication Dumbarton Librarian


Archibald Walker Finlayson J.P.

Archibald Walker Finlayson was a linen thread manufacturer whose company had factories in Johnstone, Renfrewshire and in the USA.

He was born in October 1849 (1) the oldest child of James Finlayson and his wife Rachel nee Watson. At that time they were living in Paisley. His father was a linen thread manufacturer, one of the first to introduce the spinning of flax mechanically.

  (2 ) In 1844, James and his brother Charles and C.H, Bousefield had established a business manufacturing linen thread which continued in production up to 1958 and formed part of the Linen Thread Company Ltd. The factory became a major employer in Johnstone. So Archibald was born into a successful family business.

Merchiston House
Figure 1. Merchiston House. From Canmore.

 His education is not known. At the age of 21years, (3 ) he is living with his parents and brothers and sisters in the family home , Merchiston, Johnstone, Renfrewshire , an impressive turreted building which required 7 servants to run (4). Later this house was to become part of the estate of the Western Regional Hospital Board as Merchiston Hospital.(5 )

In 1847 at the age of 25 years, he wrote to the Glasgow Herald (6 ) as one of the shareholders in what became known as the The Blochairn Share Scandal-effectively a “bubble”- which had promised impossibly high returns and which lost many small shareholders money. The subject was taken up by the Glasgow Herald in an article published the next day.(7 ) 

02 Mr Archibald Finlayson no 113
Figure 2 Archibald Walker Finlayson The Bailie  © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries

 The Bailie, discovering that he was the son of James Finlayson, a former M.P. and Deputy Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, were fulsome in his praise and promised a bright political future.(8)

 Archibald joined the family firm and was sent to America in 1880 to establish a linen thread mill in Massachusetts. He travelled to and from America on occasions. Eventually the firm became part of The Linen Thread Company, Ltd. (9)

He married Elizabeth MacAndrew. In 1891 his home address was Spring Grove, Kilbarchan. (10 ) He lived there until 1903 when his father died. (11) He then moved back to Merchiston. (12 )

 He was not able to become an MP but contented himself with representing West Renfrewshire on the County Council, was a JP and gave the Provost’s chain to Paisley. There is a death notice and an obituary in the local paper (13) on his death in November 1916. (14)

Halswelle, Keeley, 1832-1891; Sir Toby Belch and the Clown
Figure 3. Sir Toby Belch and the Clown  by  Keeley  Halsewell   © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

He gave two paintings to Glasgow Museums. In the Object file for the 1903 donation (15), there is a letter from him with information about Sir Toby Belch and the Clown , by Keeley Halsewell.    It was painted in 1862 at which time it cost £40, was shown at the Paisley Arts Institute Exhibition in 1896(16) then bought by Archibald Finlayson in 1901.

_ISP4824.NEF
Figure 4 September, Glen Falloch by A Brownlie Docherty© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

The other painting, September, Glen Falloch by A. Brownlie Docherty was exhibited at the Glasgow Institute and at the St Louis National Institute in 1904. (17) It was bought by Finlayson in 1907 and donated to Glasgow City Council. (18)

References

  1. National Records of Scotland      Statutory Births  OPR 18492.
  2. Calder, John.  Finlayson, James. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  3. National Records of Scotland. Census 1871
  4. Photographs of houses in Renfrewshire. Renfrew Archive
  5. Canmore images
  6. The Glasgow Herald 9 November 1874 page 4
  7. The Glasgow Herald 10 November 10 1874 page 9
  8. The Bailie 1874 vol 5 pp 113-1149.
  9. Calder, John.  Finlayson, James. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  10. National Records of Scotland      Census 1891
  11. National Records of Scotland      Statutory Deaths
  12. National Records of Scotland      Census 1891
  13. Paisley and Renfrew Gazette 18 November, 1916
  14. Ancestry .co.uk
  15. Glasgow Museums Archive
  16. Catalogue of Paisley Fine arts exhibitions, Paisley Archive.
  17. The Glasgow Herald 13 November  1940 A. Brownlie Docherty   Obituary          
  18. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1907.

Colonel Charles Louis Spencer DSO CBE (1870-1948)

Colonel Charles Louis Spencer was a merchant, a soldier, a yachtsman and a generous donor to museums in Glasgow and Edinburgh and a donor to The National Trust for Scotland.

He was born in 1870 to John and Robina (nee Jarvie)   Spencer (1 ) then living at 165 Hill Street, Glasgow. John Spencer had been a manufacturer of optical and photographic equipment, in business with his father, John senior,  with premises at 34 Union Street, Glasgow. (2)  John senior retired in 1869 and the business closed down. ( 3) By 1872 young John was a merchant, at 125  West Regent Street, Glasgow. The family home was at 2 Rosslyn Terrace, Victoria Park, Glasgow. ( 4) By 1881, they were living in Bridge of Allan and John is listed as a foreign merchant. (5 )

Charles was educated at Kelvinside Academy (6 ) and then from 1895 to 1896 at the College Chaptal in Paris. This was a college dedicated to the education of young men, destined for a career in commerce and industry, in science and languages. (7 ) His father John died in 1890. (8)  His mother moved to Edgehill, Horselethill Road, Glasgow and her children John, Elizabeth and Ann lived with her. They had a cook, a laundress and  a table maid. (9)

Charles and his older brother John carried on their father’s business. (10)       Their father’s   inventory (11)   published after his death  gives an idea of the scope of their  business in Canada, the USA, Calcutta and Colombo. The brothers were admitted to the Merchants House in 1912. (12 )

Charles had a long association with the Lanarkshire Volunteers Royal Engineers (13)     During the First World War, he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers and served in France and Flanders.  (14)    He was thrice mentioned in dispatches and received the DSO in 1918.(15) and in 1919 he was appointed a  CBE (16)

He was a yachtsman and gained his Master’s certificate in 1897.  He was Commodore of the Clyde Cruising Club and Flag Officer for 23 years. He sailed in his yacht RON and King George V was a frequent guest. (17 ) He collected, fashioned and repaired ship models and some of these are now in Glasgow museums’ collection.(18 ) On board ship sailing from India or from Canada he spent time making ship models. His book Knots , Splices and Fancy work went to several editions. (19 )

His brother John made a study of the Darien scheme and when he died in 1939 ( 20) his collection of papers was left to the University of Glasgow where they are kept as the Spencer Bequest in Special Collections. (21)

Charles was a member of the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh. He was a Councillor from 1922 to 1937.(22 ) Charles and his sister Ann lived together at 5 Great Western Terrace and also bought a house at Warmanbie in Dumfriesshire in 1933.(23) In 1940 they wrote to Glasgow City Council (24 ) offering;

Figure 1. Pirie, George; Black Setter; © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

  1. Two pastel drawings by Sir James Guthrie: Ploughing and The Smiddy; An oil painting      Black Setter by Sir George Pirie and The Steeple Chase by Joseph Crawhall
  2. 12 items of arms and weapons
  3. A collection of Japanese swords
  4. 16 books relating to arms and armour

In addition Colonel Spencer wanted to place on permanent loan several models of sailing ships.(25 )

The National Museums of Scotland received the rest of his weapons collection. This comprises 18 crossbows, 7 prodds,1 windlass,4 cranequins   and 8 crossbow bolts. (26

Another donation should be noted. He had inherited two small islands in Loch Lomond in 1911 from Donald Macgregor of Ardgarten and in 1943 he gave them to The National Trust for Scotland.(27 )

Charles and John had set up a Trust  to  maintain the upkeep of the Nunnery garden in Iona.(28 )

Charles died at Warmanbie  in 1948. (29 )       His sister Ann died in  1952. (30 )

Acknowledgement

I am pleased to acknowledge the help I received from Roderick Mc Callum from the Annandale Museum with respect to documents relating to Colonel Spencer’s time in Warmanbie  and to his death there.

References

  1. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1870
  2. National Records of Scotland Census 1861
  3. Edinburgh Gazette April 1870
  4. Post Office Directories, Glasgow 1872
  5. National Records of Scotland Census 1881
  6. Who Was Who 1941-1950
  7. College Chaptal: Vie de Chaptal: http://lycee-chaptal-paris.com
  8. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths. 1890
  9. National Records of Scotland  Census 1891
  10. Post Office Directory Glasgow 1910
  11. National Records of Scotland Wills and Inventories 1890
  12. Request for membership, Merchants  House Archives, Glasgow Mitchell Library
  13. Annandale Observer 7th May 1948
  14. www.forces-war-records.co.uk
  15. Who Was Who 1941-1950
  16. www.forces-war-records.co.uk
  17. Clyde Cruising Club -100years. Personal communication
  18. Malcolm, Emily and Harrison, M.R.    Glasgow Museums: the ship Models. Seaforth Publishing, 2019
  19. Spencer, Charles Louis.  Knots Splices and Fancy Work. Brown, Son and Ferguson, Glasgow. 1938
  20. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths. 1939
  21. University of  Glasgow. Special Collections
  22. Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 1922 personal communication.
  23. Annandale Observer 7th May 1948
  24. Minutes of Glasgow City Council April 1940
  25. Malcolm, Emily and Harrison, M.R.    Glasgow Museums: the ship Models. Seaforth Publishing, 2019
  26. National Museums of Scotland .personal communication
  27. http://www.aboutbritain.com /Bucinchandcreardoch
  28. Annandale Observer 7th May 1948
  29.  National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths. 1948
  30. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths. 1950

The Family of James (Paraffin ) Young (1811-1883)

Figure 1: James Young: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/file

James Young was a chemist and industrialist and is known as the father of the oil industry. (1) In the 20th century members of the family of James Young gave paintings, which they had inherited from his collection, to Glasgow Museums in his memory. The paintings form an important part of the museum’s Italian collection. (2) It is therefore fitting that he is considered a donor.

James Young (3) was born 14 July 1811 to John and Jean (Wilson) Young, who lived in the Drygate, Glasgow. The family moved to Rottenrow when James was 4 years old. (4 ) He attended the parish school.  His father was a Master Joiner and James was apprenticed to him. It was said that his life changed when he was sent to Anderson’s college to mend a window, heard Thomas Graham lecturing’ and decided to study chemistry.(5)

A university education was expensive and beyond their means but he was encouraged by his father to attend classes at the Mechanics Institute and also at Anderson’s College. In 1832 he became assistant to Thomas Graham, who lectured in Chemistry, and Young’s lectures were much appreciated because they comprised theoretical and practical sessions.(6) His class included David Livingstone, James Muspratt and Lyon Playfair who all became lifelong friends. In 1837 Thomas Graham went to London as Professor of Chemistry at University College, London, and James Young went with him. (7) In 1838(8) James married his cousin, Mary Walker and needed to support a family. He eventually was appointed manager at James Muspratt’s chemical works in Newton le Willows in 1839. (9)  Muspratt was a major alkali manufacturer.(10)  In 1844, Young was appointed chemical trouble shooter at Charles Tennant’s (11) works in Manchester.(12 ) It was understood that he could continue with his chemical research and could benefit from it personally.  His research diaries held in the University of Strathclyde, contain his experiments. (13 ) and are accessible and interesting. He continued his friendship with Lyon Playfair who was to become Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh University and  who later became Post Master General and 1st Baron Playfair.(14 )

Young was told by Playfair of an oil seepage on the estate of Playfair’s brother in law, James Oakes, at Alfreston in Derbyshire.(15 ) Stimulated by Playfair to analyse this , he extracted naptha (rock oil, the thinnest of the bitumens of a yellowish colour) which gave a very bright light on burning. Until then naptha had to be imported from Persia. Young’s stated  aim was to enable cheap lighting for homes. He then set out to find the best sources and discovered that by dry distillation of cannel coal he could obtain oil. He named the products paraffin oil and paraffin wax. (16 ) He had the foresight to ensure that this process was patented.(17) He continued to process patents and to pursue offenders through the courts. There are many interesting descriptions of lawsuits which ensued! (18)

The search was on for sources of paraffin and one was discovered on Torbanhill,  a farm near Bathgate.(19 ) It was named Torbanite , at that time classed as coal but now as shale.(20)   In 1851,with partners Edward Binney, a geologist who first published the theory that coal came from plants, (21 ) and Edward Meldrum  he opened the first commercial oil works in the world at Bathgate to distill paraffin from Torbanite . In 1857, Edwin Drake struck oil in Pennsylvania and the American oil rush began. (22) The oil was easily accessible and was to make America self sufficient in oil although Young would argue that the quality was variable.

In 1864, Young split with his two partners and in 1866 he set up Young’s Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company at Addiewell. The site occupied 50 acres of ground and he became a major employer in the area. (23)

He and his cousin Mary Walker had ten children, four sons and six daughters. (24)     In 1857, he bought an estate at Limefield House, Polbeth, and lived there for ten years. In 1867, he moved with his wife and family to Kelly House, Wemyss Bay from where he could enjoy sailing. (25)   Gradually he moved away from the Bathgate works and spent more time in Ayrshire, retiring finally in1870. (26)

He re-engaged with Anderson’s College endowing a chair in Chemistry and serving as President of Anderson’s College in Glasgow.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1861 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 1873.He was made LLD by the University of St Andrews.

He was Vice President of the Chemical Society 1879 to 1881. (27)

He travelled widely in his yacht Nyanza to Egypt and in Europe,mainly to Italy.

Figure 2. St John the Baptist baptizing Christ by Salvator Rosa © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Figure 3. St John the Baptist revealing Christ to the Disciples by Salvator Rosa. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

 His travel notebooks are in the Strathclyde University Archives. (28)  After he retired, he spent 6 months sailing to the Mediterranean and to Italy where he bought important paintings to bring back to Scotland. There is an interesting account  by Robert Wright, one of the crew, of the voyage which left Largs in November and returned in June.

He built a gallery on Kelly House to house the paintings. They included works by Salvator Rosa, and some at that time attributed to Tintoretto and Botticelli which were bought by his agent Dr  W. Robertson since Young was colour blind. (30)  Four paintings were inherited by the family and bequeathed to Glasgow Museums in 1901, 1902 and 1953. (31)

He had a number of influential friends including Lord Kelvin who lived near him at Largs. Both men had ocean going yachts and shared a voyage on one occasion.(31) A particular friend from his student days was the missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Indeed two of Livingstone’s daughters lived with the Young family after their mother died. He financed some of  Livingstone’s expeditions to Africa , particularly helping with his last and tragic expedition.(32) The statues in George Square of Thomas Graham and David Livingstone were donated by Young. The Livingstone statue is now in the cathedral precinct.

He died on the 13 May 1883(33) and Lyon Playfair was an executor of his will.(34)

Acknowledgement

I have to acknowledge conversations with Mary Leitch and particularly the book written by her James Paraffin Young and Friends which greatly enhanced my knowledge of her great grandfather.

James Young is widely regarded as the father of the modern Petrochemical Industry (35)   and now that shale is headline news again interest in Young has revived.

Paintings from James Young’s Collection

  • St John the Baptist baptizing Christ by Salvator Rosa. Donated by Alice Thom. 1953 Grand daughter
  • St John the Baptist revealing Christ to the Disciples by Salvator Rosa. Donated by the family of John Young. 1952
  • Virgin and Child with the child Baptist and two angels by Raffaelino del Garbo. Donated by Mary Ann Walker. Daughter .1902
  • Virgin and Child with Angels by a follower of Pesselino. Donated by T Graham Young  Son . 1902

References.

  1. engineeringhalloffame.org/profile-young
  2. Humfrey, Peter. Glasgow Museums: the Italian paintings. Unicorn Press, 2012.
  3. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. Butt, John.  Young, James 1811-1833. Oxford Dictionary of National Biograph,. Oxford University Press, 2014.
  7. Stanley, Michael.   Graham, Thomas. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  8. Scotland’s People Old Parish registers
  9. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  10. Williams, Trevor J. Muspratt, James. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  11. Murray, John G.  Tennant, Charles (1768-1838). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  12. The Bailie no 370 The Man you Know 19 November 1879
  13. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.  Archives
  14. Gooday G.J.N.   Playfair, Lyon, First Baron Playfair (1818-1898). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  15. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends.  Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  16. Butt, John.  Young, James 1811-1833. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  17. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends.  Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  18. Butt, John.  Young, James 1811-1833.  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  19. ibid
  20. Museum of the Shale Industry
  21. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  22. Encyclopaedia Britannica .com/ Edwin Valentine Drake
  23. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  24. Butt, John.  Young, James 1811-1833. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  25. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  26. Butt, John.  Young, James 1811 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  27. Humfrey, Peter. Glasgow Museums: the Italian paintings. Unicorn Press, 2012.
  28. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Archives.
  29. ibid
  30. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  31. Humfrey, Peter. Glasgow Museums: the Italian paintings. Unicron Press, 2012.
  32. Leitch, Mary. Paraffin Young and Friends. Edinburgh, David Macdonald, 2012.
  33. Ibid
  34. Scotland’s people Wills and probate
  35. engineeringhalloffame.org/profile-young

Francis James Eck (1835-1915)

In the 1915 minutes of Glasgow City Council,(1) there is a report of a letter received from the solicitor handling the will of Francis James Eck.

Figure 1. van Ostade, Adriaen; A Village Festival. Glasgow Museums © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (http://www.artuk.org)

“I bequeath ……..subject to my wife’s use and enjoyment such ten of my paintings as they shall select under the hand of their clerk. They shall be permanently hung in their gallery.” This was agreed by Deputy River Baillie, Rosslyn Mitchell. Mrs Eck wrote and formally declined the life use of the paintings. A full list of these paintings is appended as an annexe. The painting here is A Steet in Abbeville by D. Roberts . (2)

Francis James Eck came from a wealthy family and was at times  Independently wealthy. His father was a stockbroker and his son was on the Board of some banks in London. There are, however, years in which no record of him can be found in the United Kingdom and there is no known Scottish connection.  So why did he leave ten paintings to Glasgow?

When Francis James Eck was born in 1835(3) his parents, Francis Vincent Eck and Louisa, were living in St Pauls Terrace, Islington, London. He was baptised on 18 November 1835. His father Francis, (1797-1894) was born in Switzerland. (4) His mother Sara Eck (1799-1865) was born in London (5) but her father, Jacques Louis du Mont ( John  Lewis)(6 )was born in Saone et Loire Bourgogne, France. Her mother, Mary Poupard, was the daughter of Pierre and Louise Poupard.( 7) They were Huguenots and she was baptised in a Huguenot Church in Threadneedle Street, London.(8 ) Thus both sides of Francis Eck’s family came originally from the Europe.

Figure 2. A Street in Abbeville by David Roberts.  © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

In the census of 1841 (9) at six years of age and that of 1851(10) at 16 years of age, he is living at home in Islington. He does not then feature in records until he is 56 years old living at 58 Cleveland Square,London with his father. (11) No evidence can be found that he travelled abroad. His father died in 1894, (12) leaving an estate of £306, 421 (13)for which Francis James Eck and his brother were executors. In January 1895, he married Ada Marian Lamb at St James , Paddington, London. (14 ) His residence in 1900 was Hollywood, Clapham Common, Surrey.(15 ) From 1907 to his death on the 27th February 1915,(16) he lived at 7 Hollywood , Nightingale Lane , Clapham Common ,  Surrey with his wife.

In 1890, he was listed in the Economist (17) as a Director of the Bank of Tarapaca and London. He was re-elected in 1900(18) and 1903(19).The Bank of Tarapaca and London was founded in 1880 by John Thomas North- “The Nitrate King “. (20) British companies dominated the nitrate industry in Chile in the early 1880s. When easy supplies of guano as fertiliser were no longer available, nitrates replaced them. In the War of the Pacific (1879-1882) Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia (21) and assumed control of the provinces of Tarapaca and Antofagasta. British capital from private companies and government loans was invested in Chile to the extent of millions of pounds (22) and was financially very rewarding. The number of British companies was 25 in 1896. (23)  In 1907 The Bank of Tarapaca wished to expand their operations and decided to buy the Anglo-South American Bank and continue trading under that name. ( 24 ) In the Economist  (25 ) Francis James Eck is listed as a Director of that bank working there until his resignation in 1913.(26 ) He had other directorships, in particular, in the Scotsman, he is listed as a Director of the Nitrates provisions Supply Company. (27)

His Will (28), which is extensive, details bequests to his wife, to relatives, to servants and to friends. One in particular, Dixon Provand, whose address is in Ayr, Scotland, is the second “friend” to be mentioned. This friend was an engineer and can be found sailing from Valparaiso to Britain in 1900. (29) In the 1921 census he can be found living in Glasgow at an address near Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. (30 )  Did our subject visit him in Scotland, visit the Art Gallery and decide to leave paintings to Glasgow ? We can maybe speculate also that his interest in Chile was not only as a merchant banker and that this may provide an explanation for his not appearing in United Kingdom records from his late teens to mid-fifties.

Bequeathed by Francis James Eck. Hollywood, Clapham Common, London

  • A Mountain Stream with a Peasant driving Cattle over a Rustic Bridge by J. Rathbone
  • A Woody Stream, with a Cottage and peasant Woman Washing by W. Shayer
  • Interior with Card Players by Joost van Gael
  • Two Cows with Goats and Ducks in a Landscape by J.F.Herring
  • A Village Festival after Adrien Ostade
  • An Old Mill with Farm Cart by  Ibbotsen and Rathbone
  • A Street in Abbeville by D. Roberts
  • Ploughing By   Shayer Senior
  • Old Chelsea Church by H & W Greaves
  • A Street in Chelsea by H & W Greaves

References

    1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1915
    2. Wenley Robert : A Village Festival after Adrien van Ostade. National Inventory of Continental European paintings.
    3. Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813-1917 Ancestry.co.uk
    4. Ancestry.co.uk. Family Trees
    5. Ibid
    6. Ibid
    7. Ibid
    8. England Births and Christenings 1538-1975. Ancestry.co.uk
    9. England Census Records 1841
    10. England Census Records 1851
    11. England Census Records 1891
    12. England and Wales Death Index 1837-1915
    13. England and Wales, National Probate Calendar( Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1914
    14. England and Wales, Marriage Index:1837-1915
    15. Ancestry.co.uk. Family Trees
    16. England and Wales Death Index 1837-1915
    17. The Economist.22 October 1892.Vol 050 issue 2565 p34
    18. The Economist.22 October 1900.Vol 058 issue 2983 p1507
    19. The Economist.30 October 1903.Vol 061 issue 3140 1855
    20. Blackmore, H:   John Thomas North, The Nitrate King in History Today July 1962,volume 12, issue 7
    21. Ibid
    22. Ibid
    23.  Rippy J. FredEconomic Enterprises of “The Nitrate King and his Associates in Chile” in Pacific Historical Review November 1948 vol.17 p457-465
    24. Anglo-South American Bank Wikipedia
    25. The Economist.4 October 1907.Vol 065 issue 3347 p 1783
    26. The Economist.6 October 1913.Vol 077 issue 3658 p656
    27. The Scotsman 8 June 1892 p.4
    28. England and Wales, National Probate Calendar ( Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1914
    29. Ancestry.co.uk
    30. ibid

 

James Waddell (1846-1907)

Lorimer, John Henry, 1856-1936; Reverend Peter H. Waddell
Figure 1. Lorimer, John Henry; Reverend Peter H. Waddell.© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

In 1903, James Waddell wrote to the Glasgow museums donating a painting of his father, Revd Peter Hately Waddell by James Lorimer, a leading artist of the day. His letter says that the painting had been well-received when exhibited in Glasgow and Edinburgh and that his father had been well known as a preacher and as a member of the school board in Glasgow. (1)

James Waddell was born on 26 December 1846 (2) in Girvan the oldest son of the Revd Peter  Hately Waddell and Helen Halcro  Waddell. He attended classes at Glasgow University (3) but did not graduate. This was not unusual at that time. He became a mechanical engineer and worked abroad in Singapore and Java. On 5th February 1881 (4), in Singapore, he married Margaret Little, daughter of a doctor, in the Presbyterian Church. Thereafter his place of work can be defined by the locations of his children’s births(5): Peter Hately Waddell 1881 ; Robert Waddell 1883 ; Mary Campbell Waddell 1885 ; Helen Halcrow Waddell 1887 all in Singapore and Margaret Wardlaw Waddell 1889 in Java . By 1892 he had retired to Glasgow where he made his will. (6) In 1901 he was living in the West End of Glasgow with his wife and family. (7) He died in 1907. (8)

The Rev Peter Hately Waddell LL.D. (1816-1891)

Our donor’s father and the subject of the painting was a colourful character: minister of religion, ardent student of Scottish culture, particularly of the life and works of Robert Burns and author of several books. He was born at Balqhatston, Slamannan on 19 May 1816 the son of Revd James WaddelL and his wife Anne Hately Waddell. (9)  The family moved to Glasgow wherehe attended high school and Glasgow University. He was ordained as a minister at Rhinie in Aberdeenshire. In 1841 he was licensed as a minister in the established Church of Scotland and began his career in Girvan.(10)  In 1843 at the time of the Disruption (11) he joined the Free Church of Scotland as a probationer. However he disagreed on some points of faith and governance with the Free Church, writing pamphlets and letters to Thomas Chalmers and James Guthrie.(12) He left the Free Church in the same year and founded a church in Girvan,  known as Waddell’s Church. He preached there for 19 years.(13 ) He married Helen Halcro in August 1845.(14)

11 Rev Peter Hately Waddell no 95
Figure 2. The Bailie. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries The Mitchell Library Special Collections

In 1861 he moved to Glasgow to a Chapel in Waterloo Street and the expansion of his congregation led to a move to the City Halls. (15) A church was then built for him in east Howard Street.(16)  In  1874 he had to move back to the City Halls where he continued to preach for several months in the year.  (17 ) By all accounts he was an evangelical “Latter Day “ preacher.

While in Girvan he developed and pursued a love of Scottish culture and literature, particularly the writings of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Ossian. He gave the oration in Alloway in 1859 at the centenary of Burns birth. (18) After that he was much in demand as a lecturer in Glasgow. He gave a series of three lectures in 1860 (19) in which he compared Burns as a poet to Shakespeare and, significantly to King David who wrote the Psalms. He addressed the problem of Burns as a moral man and as a poet. This led to criticism from the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland that he had made a profane comparison.(20)

In 1864 he was the Chairman of a public dinner in Burns’ Cottage in Alloway to mark the Shakespeare tercentenary celebrations.(21) He proposed the toast and he said

Shakespeare was the Glorious Legend, Burns was the Glorious Voice.

In 1868 The Glasgow Herald reported that the Tusculum College, Tennessee, USA had conferred the degree of LL.D. on him. (22)

He was the author of several books. He edited an edition of the poems of Robert Burns published in 1869 in two volumes. (23) The contents can be read on the electronic Scotland website. He also edited an edition of Scott’s Waverly novels with notes and an introduction.(24)

He intended to produce a translation of the Old Testament in the Scottish tongue from the Hebrew but only the Psalms of David were published in 1871 as The Psalms :Frae Hebrew intil Scottis.(25) This translation was unique in that it was a direct translation from the original Hebrew and not a Scottish version of English translations.  It is a scholarly work. He also translated Isaiah (26) but did not attain his objective of translating all of the Old Testament.

He was supportive of education and was a member of the school Board in Glasgow. (27 )

He died on 5th May 1891 at 5 Ashton Terrace, Glasgow.(28)

References

  1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1903
  2. Ancestry.co.uk
  3. Glasgow University Archives
  4. Ancestry.co.uk
  5. Ancestry.co.uk
  6. National Records of Scotland Wills and Conformations 1907
  7. National Records of Scotland Census 1901
  8. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1907
  9. Ayrshire Roots www.ayrshireroots.co.uk
  10. Matthew, H.C.G. Peter Hately Waddell in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  11. Hamish McPherson in The Disruption . www.thenational.scot
  12. Protestant Delusion in the nineteenth century: A remonstrance. Google Books
  13. Ayrshire Roots www.ayrshireroots.co.uk
  14. Ancestry.co.uk
  15. The Bailie August 12 1874
  16. ibid
  17. Ibid
  18. ibid
  19. The Glasgow Herald Saturday November 10 1860
  20. The Liverpool Mercury Thursday June 11 1863
  21. The Glasgow Herald Monday April 25 1864
  22. Glasgow Herald Saurday May 2 1868
  23. Matthew, H.C.G. Peter Hately Waddell in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  24. Ibid
  25. Waddell,Peter Hately : The Psalms in Scots. Reprint of Peter Hately Waddell’s   The Psalms: Frae Hebrew intil Scottis. First published 1871. Aberdeen University Press 1989
  26. Waddell,Peter Hately : Isaiah: Frae Hebrew intil Scottis. J Menzies and Co. Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1871
  27. Glasgow Mitchell Library Special Collections
  28. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1891

Sir Thomas Mason D.L. J.P. 1844-1924

In September, 1902, Sir Thomas Mason gave an oil painting entitled The Fifth of November by John Burr A.R.W.S. to GlasgowMuseums. (1)

Burr, John, 1831-1893; The Fifth of November
Figure 1. Burr, John; The Fifth of November. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

001
Figure 2. The Bailie  © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries The Mitchell Library Special Collections

Thomas Mason was a successful Glasgow businessman and was prominent in many civic activities in Glasgow. (2)

He was born in Airdrie in October 1844 the son of John Mason, a builder, and his wife Marion. (3)   He was   educated at a private school, Anderson’s College in Carlton Place, Glasgow. (4)  After leaving school he was apprenticed to a mason in Paisley. (5) This was the time of the expansion of the railway system and for six years he worked as a contractor in railway construction. In 1867 he joined the firm of James Brand and was responsible for the construction of the Ayr viaduct. (6 ) In 1871 he was living in Ochiltree , Ayrshire and employing 20 Masons and 12 labourers. (7 )

In 1876 he joined the firm of John Morrison in Glasgow as the junior partner and the firm became Messers Morrison and Mason in 1879. (8 )  This was a very successful partnership which continued up to Morrison’s death in 1917. In 1876 Morrison was completing a number of contracts for Glasgow including the Merchants’ House, the Stock Exchange and the General Post Office. (9)

Mason’s experience with public works extended the firm’s involvement into major railway works in the West of Scotland including the Paisley Canal line, the first section of the Glasgow Cathcart Circle and also into England for Carlisle station. (10)

They gained contracts for major waterworks including the Mugdock tunnel for Glasgow (1886),  the Thirlemere Reservoir (1887)  and the aqueduct for Manchester . Nearer home they constructed  tunnels and the reservoir at Craigmaddie. (11) They continued their specialisation. In England they built reservoirs for Birmingham and Keighly.  On the Clyde they extended the Fairfield dock and built Yarrow’s dock at Scotstoun. Their largest contract was in 1907 at  the Portsmouth  Naval Dockyard for the lock gates and a graving dock for Dreadnoughts. (12 )

clyde navigation trust (2)
Figure 3. The Clyde Navigation Trust © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries. The Mitchell Library Special Collections

Further construction projects included the offices of the Clyde Navigation Trust for which the architects were J J Burnett and the municipal buildings on George Square for the main offices of the corporation. (13 ) They also built the forerunner of the Citizens’ Theatre –Her Majesty’s Theatre –in the Gorbals. In Glasgow they extended the Royal  Maternity Hospital in Rottenrow and built the fever hospital at Ruchill. The firm also built bridges over the Clyde, the Rutherglen Bridge and the Glasgow Bridge. (14)

untitled
Figure 5. Glasgow City Chambers © Malcolm Beckwith.

Nor did they neglect their own accommodation. Morrison  built a  flamboyant mansion in Pollokshields, Rhuadsgeir,  now Sherbrooke Castle hotel , in 1896.  (15 )

craigie hall, canmore
Figure 4. Craigie Hall   Canmore Collection 163406

Down the road in Bellahouston, Mason bought Craigie Hall on the death of its owner John Maclean (16 ) and it was extended by the architects Honeyman and Keppie and the interior decoration is attributed  to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, especially a much admired casement for an organ.

Public Life

He was a member of the Incorporation of Masons in Trades House and served as Deacon Convener of the House in 1889. (17)  In 1891 he was elected to serve as Councillor for the city’s eighth ward. (19) Then in 1906 he was Lord Dean of Guild, leader of the

thomas mason
Figure 6. The Bailie  © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries
The Mitchell Library Special Collections

Merchants’ House. (18) He was therefore at different times both the second citizen of Glasgow and the third citizen of Glasgow, the first citizen being, of course, the Lord Provost. He later served as Chairman of the Clyde Navigation Trust for eleven years and was credited with promoting schemes which improved navigation on the Clyde such as the building of the Princes Dock and of the Rothesay dock at Clydebank. (20)

He was knighted in 1908 in recognition of his public service.(21)

Private Life

drumbreck priory
Figure 7. Dumbreck Priory Canmore Collection 163406

He was first married to Jean Paton (22 ) in Ochiltree and they had two children. She died in 1875. (23 ) He later married Charlotte Wyllie. When he came to Glasgow he lived in Bellahouston, first in Dumbreck Priory (24 ) (25), and then in Craigie Hall. He and Charlotte had seven children. (26)  He is described in the Bailie as  “one of the kindest and least assuming of men……………his tact and kindliness are only two of his many qualities.”  (27 )

In addition to his many interests, he maintained a small racing stable and he was often to be seen at the horse races in Ayr. (28)

He died in 1924 and there is a very full obituary in the Glasgow Herald. (29)

References

  1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council September 1902
  2. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven, A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  3. National Records of Scotland. Old Parish Records. Baptisms 1844
  4. The Bailie The Man You Know October 8th 1890. The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  5. Ancestry.co.uk Scotland census 1861
  6. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven A.A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  7. National Records of Scotland Census 1871
  8. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven, A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  9. Ibid
  10. The Bailie The Man You Know November 9th 1906. The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  11. Pollokshields Heritage Trust. http://www.pollokshieldsheritage.org
  12. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven, A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  13. Ibid
  14. Ibid
  15. Pollokshields Heritage Trust. http://www.pollokshieldsheritage.org
  16. www.craigiehall.co.uk
  17. The Bailie The Man You Know 8 October  1890. The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  18. The Bailie The Man You Know 9  November  1906. The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  19. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven, A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  20. Ibid
  21. Ibid
  22. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Marriages 1871
  23. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1875
  24. Pollokshields Heritage Trust.       www.pollokshieldsheritage.org
  25. http://www.canmore.org.uk
  26. National Records of Scotland Census 1891
  27. The Bailie The Man You Know 9 November  1906. The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  28. Nicholas J. Morgan “Sir Thomas Mason” in Slaven, A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press,1986. Pp 158-160
  29. The Glasgow Herald  25 April 1924

Baillie James Shaw Maxwell J.P. (1855-1929)

James Shaw Maxwell was a printer, journalist and politician and one of the first socialist councillors elected to Glasgow Town Council. (1)

GL_GM_1697
Figure 1. James Shaw Maxwell by Robert Eadie© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

In the1927 Minutes of Glasgow City Council, it is reported that ex Bailie James Shaw Maxwell wished to donate a portrait of himself by Robert Eadie “as a memento of the honour of being convener of the Arts and Museums committee of Glasgow Town Council”. (2) It is notable that this committee was a subcommittee of the Parks Committee of which he was appointed convenor in 1908. (3)

James Shaw Maxwell was born in 1855. (4) He was the son of James Taylor Maxwell, fruiterer and merchant, living near the Salt Market. His mother was Janet Maxwell nee Shaw . Where he was schooled is not known but he served his apprenticeship and became a master printer and lithographer. (5)

He became more interested in journalism and that, with politics, became a major part of his life although he continued in business as a printer and lithographer until 1915.

His introduction to politics was through the Free Sunday School movement and the LSunday Society lectures. (6) The established church had encouraged setting up schools and Sunday schools which were affiliated to the Church of Scotland. The Free Sunday Schools movement was established in the 1780s in both England and Scotland and sought to provide education independently of the churches.  (7)  In the 1870s there was a resurgence of interest in Scotland. In 1880, Maxwell became Secretary of the Glasgow Free Sunday School Society. (8 ) He seems to have been one of the first people in Glasgow influenced, as were many, including prominent members of the Fabian Society, by the American journalist and political economist Henry George (9) and particularly by his book Progress and Poverty (10)  which sold millions of copies worldwide. Henry George was an advocate of land reform and this chimed with the views of Maxwell. He joined the Irish Land League and the Scottish Land Restoration League in 1880. (11 )  In 1885, he contested the parliamentary seat for the Blackfriars and Hutchesontown Division in Glasgow, as an Independent and Labour candidate, polling 1200 votes, but was defeated.

He moved to London, (12) as a journalist and lecturer, speaking in London, the Home Counties and Norfolk and as a  “red van “ lecturer.  (13 ) The English Land Restoration League (ELRL) sent out 5 vans in 1892. The vans, in which the driver and lecturer lived, toured villages in Suffolk and Somerset. They were responsible for arranging the dates and venues for their lectures. On the outside of the van was painted “Free rents-Fair wages –The Land for All”. In this they were following Henry George.  In London he founded the London Democratic Club, which was for some years the major democratic organ of socialism in England.  (14 ) He became a correspondent for a number of newspapers among them the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Chronicle and the London Echo. He bought and edited the London Peoples Press, which the Bailie said was “the accredited organ of about twenty of the largest trades Unions” (15) and the International Seamen’s Gazette. He was also  politically active . He took charge of demonstrations of the unemployed on Tower Hill where as reported in the Bailie “ he found employment for 10,000 men” (16 ).

Shaw_Maxwell
Figure 2. James Shaw Maxwell 1898. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:

The Scottish Labour Party (SLP) was established at a Conference in August 1888. (17) Robert Cunninghame Graham was elected President, Dr G B  Clark MP, a cotton manufacturer from Paisley was Vice president, Shaw Maxwell was Chairman and Keir Hardie was Secretary. (18)  An extensive programme of reform was agreed which included nationalisation of land, mineral and water-ways……….and taxes on incomes over £300. The SLP continued for six years until it merged with the Independent Labour Party ILP in 1894.(19) Maxwell was the first Secretary of the ILP.

In 1896 Shaw Maxwell became a Glasgow Town Councillor by election as a Labour party member. (20 ) He became deputy water Baillie and then a full Baillie in 1903. (21 ) He became Convener of the Parks Committee in 1908. (22)   In this role he championed free libraries and achieved the Sunday opening of museums against powerful opposition. One of those opposed was Baron Overton an antagonist of Keir Hardie (23)

shaw maxwell
Figure 3. Councillor James Shaw Maxwell. The Bailie Sept 1897 © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries. The Mitchell Library Special Collections

The Bailie of 1897(24 ) describes him as “the Maccaroni  of dress and debate” because he was always well turned out in starch collar and tie. “

. “one of the most dandified and distinguished looking men in the George Square assembly and ,without contest, the most sedulous student of oratorical style in all that somewhat slovenly school of rhetoric”.

In July 1909 he sailed from Glasgow to Montreal(25) to tour North American cities. A report of his tour was published in the Weekly Press, Michigan and is reproduced below.(26),

Glasgow Magistrate expresses views after studying Chicago and Boston

James Shaw Maxwell, senior magistrate of the city of Glasgow, declares, after a tour of Canada and America. that the Canadian cities are vastly superior in many ways to the cities of the United States.

Mr Maxwell studied the public institutions in Chicago, St Louis, Boston, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. In an interview here he expressed his surprise that the citizens of the major principalities here are not more interested in the problem of municipal ownership. Glasgow was the birthplace of the control by the government of public utilities.

“from what I have already observed” he said ”the Canadian cities are far ahead of those in the United States in many respects. . They appear to be better regulated and are kept cleaner.”

He was a governor of the School of Art in Glasgow form 1905 to 1909. (27) and was also a Justice of the Peace.  (28)

He was married to Elizabeth Ross Mckellar described in the 1901 census  (29) as having been born in St Albans, England. The   place and date of the marriage is not known. They had four daughters all born in Glasgow. (30)  They lived in a number of properties in Glasgow from 1895  from Sinclair Drive on the South Side to Woodlands Road, Queen Margaret Crescent and Kelvinside Terrace. He continued his business as a printer in the City centre moving from 58 West Regent Street in 1898 to Sauchiehall Street in1908. (31)

He died on 4th January, 1929 then living in Kilmarnock Road, Glasgow.  (32)

References

  1. Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Mitchell library
  2. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1927
  3. Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Mitchell library
  4. Ancestry.co.uk
  5. Peter D’A Jones in Henry George and British Socialism. Am. J .of Economics and Sociology Vol.47, No.4.p487
  6. ibid
  7. National Library of Scotland. The History of Working People in Scotland
  8. Peter D’A Jones in Henry George and British Socialism. Am. J .of Economics and Sociology Vol.47, No.4.p487
  9. Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Mitchell library
  10. Peter D’A Jones in Henry George and British Socialism. Am. J .of Economics and Sociology Vol.47, No.4.p487
  11. Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Mitchell library
  12. 1891 England Census. Ancestry.co.uk
  13. Gilbert K and Howell D. Dictionary of Labour Biography, Vol XIV. Springer,2018. pp 29-30.
  14. The Bailie. The Man You Know. September, 1897. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  15. Ibid
  16. Ibid
  17. Wikipaedia The Scottish Labour Party James Shaw Maxwell
  18. Holman Bob Keir Hardie: Labour’s greatest hero? 2010 .Lion Hudson. 2010
  19. ibid
  20. Who’s Who in Glasgow 1909. Mitchell Library
  21. The Bailie. The Man You Know. November, 1903. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  22. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 1908
  23. Holman Bob Keir Hardie: Labour’s greatest hero? 2010 .Lion Hudson. 2010
  24. The Bailie. The Man You Know. September,1897. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  25. Ancestry.co.uk
  26. The Weekly Press, ST Joseph, Michigan USA. August, 1909
  27. Archives of Glasgow School of Art
  28. Post office Directories. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  29. National Records of Scotland Census 1901
  30. Ibid
  31. Post Office Directories. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  32. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1927

 

 

 

 

Jessie Henderson Hay

In 1947, the portrait of Adam Carter Hay was offered to Glasgow museums by the lawyer acting for Jesse Henderson Hay on the instructions of her late husband that the painting should be given to Glasgow museums to hang in the People’s Palace (1). The painting was a portrait by Maurice Greiffenhaggen of Adam C Hay painted on the occasion of his retirement from R and J Dick.

Figure1. Adam C Hay by Maurice Greiffenhagen. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Jessie Henderson Smith was born to John Smith and Agnes Marion Smith née Ferrier on the 12 November 1893 in Cardross. (2) Her father was a headmaster and her parents had been married in Kirkliston. (3) Little is known of her early life and education and she first appears in the 1901 Census (4) visiting Newington with her mother and older sister. She was the second wife of Adam Carter Hay and their marriage certificate (5) of 12 March 1926 describes her as a private nurse. Her husband died on the 13 September 1936. (6) She is next found travelling to Montréal in 1937. (7) When and where she died is not known.

Adam Carter Hay has been described in the Bailie as the archetypal example of “rags to riches”. (8) He was born on 16 May 1861 to William Hay, harbour labourer, and his wife Margaret Campbell living in Clyde Street, Glasgow. (9) He was with the Dick Company for 47 years starting as an office boy, then becoming a labourer proceeding to foreman and finally retiring as managing director. The Bailie has described him as being” an outstanding personality controlling a great business who retained the affection and loyalty of all grades of his employees”.(10) They attribute this to his knowledge of the business from A to Z. He was also a well-known figure in the business and social life of Glasgow; a member of Trades House and a Mason and a member of the other charitable organisations. Particularly as President of the Bridgeton Burns Club he was the moving spirit in raising £1150 for the Erskine House Hospital for Disabled Sailors and Soldiers in October 1917.

To understand the working life of Adam Hay one must describe the firm set up by the Dick Brothers. This is very fully chronicled in “100 years of Gutta-percha, R and J Dick Ltd” by Aird and Coghill Ltd Glasgow. (11) R and J Dick were from Kilmarnock. (12) They moved with their parents to Glasgow at an early age and John was apprenticed to an upholsterer and Robert to a jeweller but it was the coming of gutta-percha which made their fortune. Gutta-percha was rubber from Singapore. They made rubber soled shoes – 34,000 per week at the height of production – in the Greenhead works on Glasgow Green. In the 1840s, adequate insulation was needed for the transatlantic cables and gutta-percha proved ideal for this. They worked successfully with William Thompson, Lord Kelvin, on developing these cables.

Figure 2. © Glasgow Life and Museums.

The next opportunity came with the increase in the number of manufacturing industries  and the need for transmission belts in factories. In the 19th century power transmission was achieved solely by leather belting but this was not entirely satisfactory. In 1885 Robert Drake produced a driving belt made from rubber. Gutta percha was not suitable for this because it was too soft but a vegetable gum known as balata was found in South America. Thus the balata belt industry was born and became global.

Adam Hay (13) was recognised as an expert in belting and he superintended important installations in many of the great factories on the continent notably in France, Spain and Germany. He also took a leading part in the establishment and opening up of the Passaic factory, New Jersey.

On the death of James Dick, in 1902, the business was left to a number of his old employees, among whom was Mr Adam Hay. He resigned in 1920 but on the death of the then managing director, he was reappointed and remained in post until his death.

He married twice. His first wife with whom he had four daughters was Ellen Todd(14) and after her death he married Jessie Henderson Smith in 1926.(15) He died on the 13th September, 1936.(16) The date of death of Jessie Hay is not known.

References

  1. Minutes of Glasgow City Council 17th May 1947
  2. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Births 1893
  3. National Records of Scotland Census 1901
  4. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Marriages 1926
  5. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1936
  6. Ancestry.co.uk   Passenger Lists 1937
  7. The Bailie. Men you know.2444. August 20th 1919
  8. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Births 1861
  9. Wikipaedia Gutta-percha
  10. The Bailie. Men you know.2444. August 20th 1919
  11. 100 years of Gutta-Percha. http://www.electricscotland/history/articles/dicks
  12. The Bailie. Men you know.2444. August 20th 1919
  13. 100 years of Gutta-Percha. http://www.electricscotland/history/articles/dicks
  14. Ancestry.co.uk
  15. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Marriages 1926
  16. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1936