Archibald Montgomery Craig (1872-1947)

Donor- Archibald Montgomery Craig (1872-1947)

Painting

(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Figure 1. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

A Miser- 18th Century German School Accession Number 2367

The painting was donated in 1944. It is unsigned but has been attributed to the eighteenth century German School by Hamish Miles in 1961.1 In addition the National Inventory of Continental and European Paintings gives 1700 as the earliest date and 1800 as the latest date and goes on to say, “The figure of the old man,the embodiment of greed and miserliness,reflects well-known models of Netherlandish tradition ,including those of Rembrandt.”The inscription in the painting,”Haec mea voluptas” means,” this is my obsession.”

Although the painting was donated by Archibald Montgomerie Craig(AMC) it had belonged to his father William Blackburn Craig , a wealthy Glasgow merchant, at least as early as 1902.AMC also donated an 18th Century Scottish tablecloth  dated 1783 or 1788 to Glasgow Museums in September 1925.4

There is no record of the painting  ever having  being exhibited.

Family Background

AMC’s paternal grandfather was James Craig, a wine and spirit merchant, who married Margaret Aitkin Blackburn in 1821.5James Craig had various business premises in Glasgow including 22 Stockwell Street and 9 Miller Street.6They were fairly affluent, living at  such genteel addresses as Abbotsford Place7 and 4 Carlton Place in the Gorbals.8 Carlton Place was begun in 1802, designed by Peter Nicholson and the brainchild of John and David Laurie  who had bought the land on the south side of the river, now known as Laurieston, with the intention of developing an up-market suburb on the south side of the River Clyde.9  James Craig and his family , including AMC’s father William, were living at 4 Carlton Place from at least 1851 to 1861 along with two live-in servants10, an indication of affluence. By 1861 ,William, aged 18, was a clerk, possibly in his father’s business.11

Family Homes to c 1890

Athough AMC  was born at Fordbank House , Lochwinnoch, the Craigs only occupied this house between c 1872 and c1874.12  William Craig and his family followed the path of most wealthy Glasgow merchants, living first of all at various addresses in Glasgow’s New Town, Blytheswood Hill.13 William and Elizabeth’s first home post marriage in 1863 was in West George Street( formerly Camperdown Street) 14.From 1865 to 1871 they lived at 239 St Vincent Street.15

On returning from Renfrewshire they lived at 245 St Vincent Street then c187516 , as Blytheswood Hill was more and more being turned over to business premises, they moved out to the west end of Glasgow to 2  Lancaster Terrace off Great Western Road.17By the time AMC was about nine years old the family were living at 10 Westbourne Terrace18,in a terrace of houses designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.19

Schooldays

AMC’s father owned 10 x£10 shares in Kelvinside Academy20, a private school which opened in the West End of Glasgow on 21st September 1878 with places for 155 boys.21The Kelvinside Academy Company Limited had a share capital of £15-20,000 in £10 shares.22 In Colin McKay’s History of Kelvinside Academy 1878-1978 there is a photograph of the First Elementary Class 187823 ,one of whom is Arthur Blackburn Craig, AMC’s elder brother.

Figure 2. © Kelvinside Academy

There is also a photograph of the Third Junior Class of 1881 where we find young Archibald Montgomerie Craig aged about eight . He is named in the photograph as ‘Montgomerie’.  Elsewhere in the book we are told that AMC was known as ‘Gummy’ to his classmates.The curriculum in those early  years included shorthand and book-keeping . The reason for this was that most of the pupils then were the sons of business men and were expected to join their father in business at the end of their time at the school rather than go to University.24   Although there is no evidence that Edward, the youngest Craig brother attended Kelvinside Academy, the fact that if three members of one same family attended the school only half the fee was due, might lead us to believe Edward went there too.25

AMC illus 5
Figure 3. © Kelvinside Academy

Family Wealth

According to the 1871 UK census William Blackburn Craig’s occupation was that of “drysalter”, a dealer in gums, dyes and various chemicals. From that period onwards he appears in census records as ‘living on private means’ or a ‘retired drysalter’.26 However the real wealth came from property. His obituary in the Bearsden and Milngavie Herald referred to “ …Mr William Blackburn Craig, well-known in property circles in Glasgow. One of his latest undertakings was the purchase of the valuable ground and the erection of a handsome block of red buildings in course of completion at the corner Buchanan Street and St Vincent Place…”.27 The Valuation Rolls tell us that in 1865 W B Craig was the owner of 5 properties in Glasgow City Centre consisting of three counting houses(Great Clyde Street and St Vincent Street) a warehouse(St Vincent Street) and two stores(St Vincent Street and Fox Street). 28 By 1895 he owned 41 properties in Glasgow City Centre, mostly in St Vincent Street and Virginia Street. These were rented out to a variety of businesses. No 11 Virginia Street was a Gospel Hall. No 63 St Vincent Street-presumably  at street level- was a tea room.29 No 151 St Vincent Street was a branch of the Commercial Bank.30His own main business premises were at various times 63a St Vincent Street  where John  Smiths Bookshop was for many years31 and 147 St Vincent Street.32

Family Homes from c1890

Our donor, AMC, never married and lived most of his life with his family first with his parents and brothers and sisters 33  and latterly with his unmarried or widowed  sisters .34 About 1890 the family moved to ‘Borva’, a substantial house in Middlemuir Road, Lenzie35 , a growing suburb of Glasgow to which many wealthy Glasgow merchants moved when the opening of a railway station made commuting to the city easy.36

AMC illus 6
Figure 4. Borva Middlemuir Road  Lenzie © J M Macaulay

William Blackburn Craig continued to follow the path of many wealthy Glasgow merchants when in 1896 he bought the 836 acre Ballagan Estate near Strathblane in Stirlingshire. Ballagan House was completely renovated and the family moved in around 1897.37 AMC was 18 by this time.

AMC Ballagan House
Figure 5. Ballagan House Strathblane © Norma Farquar 2005

Earning a living.1891-1914

According to the 1891 UK Census AMC was an accounts clerk, one presumes in the family business. He first appears in the Glasgow Post Office Directory in 1897 as an iron merchant ‘at Arthur Blackburn Craig , iron merchant’ at 63a St Vincent Street. Thus he was working with or for his elder brother. He remained there until 1903. 38 William Blackburn Craig died in February 190339 and AMC became  one of the trustees of Ballagan Estate along with his younger brother Edward and his three sisters. Strangely, Arthur Blackburn Craig, the eldest son, is not mentioned in the Will of William Blackburn Craig either as a beneficiary or as a trustee.40 Had Arthur already received his share in the family wealth, perhaps to set up in business for himself or is there some other explanation for the eldest son not to be mentioned?

Arthur had married Mary Balfour Robertson on 19th June 1900. The wedding took place at the Windsor Hotel, St Vincent Street. The wedding was carried out under the rites of the Episcopal Church.41  According to the 1901 UK census Arthur and his bride lived at ‘Beechmount’ Dalkeith Avenue Dumbreck, which was the home of Mary’s parents, Mr and Mrs Anthony Robertson. Anthony Roberston was an iron master42, which was also Arthur Blackburn Craig’s occupation at the time of his marriage.43

Had there been a family feud? Arthur’s sister Williamina was one of the witness at the wedding so some of the family were there.44 There is no evidence as to  why Arthur was not mentioned in his father’s will.

AMC became head of the household at Ballagan in 1903. Also living in the house were his mother, Elizabeth Samson Craig until her death in 1908 45, his younger brother Edward who was an accountant and his three sisters, Elizabeth, Williamina and Margaret.46

In 1903 AMC joined H F Docherty and Company-gas and steam heating and appliance manufacturers of Robertson Street.47 He remained with Docherty and Company until around 1906.48 During this period AMC and HF Docherty registered three patents:-

1903     Improvements in Gas Cooking Attachments for Kitchen Ranges

1905     Improvements in Apparatus for the Production of Acetylene Gas

1905     A New or Improved Generator for the Production of Acetylene Gas 49

Perhaps HF Docherty and Company manufactured this equipment for their customers but there is no information available to support this.

From about 1906 until 1914 AMC was in business for himself as a ‘bakery utensil manufacturer’ of whom there were many in Glasgow at that time.50 He had premises in St Enoch Square, then Queen Street, then from 1911 in Springfield Court between Buchanan Street and Queen Street.

In 1912 AMC put his name to another patent registration-Improvements in Egg Whisks.51 Robert McDiamid was the other name on the application. This was possibly a business or work colleague.From the technical drawing it appears that the egg whisk was for industrial rather than domestic use.

AMC’s  elder brother Arthur was also operating his business as an iron merchant from the Springfield Court Premises from about 1910.Whatever the reason for not being mentioned in their father’s Will the two brothers appear to have been on good terms.52

The Saturday Soldier 1890-1903

Around 1890 at the age of 17 AMC became what was often referred to as a ‘Saturday Soldier’. He joined what would be known today as the Territorial Army. He joined the 5th Volunteer Battalion (Glasgow) Highland Light Infantry.53 This battalion is better known as ‘The Glasgow Highlanders’.

In 1859, after the Crimean War had ended, the Government decided   a civilian Volunteer Force was needed in time of war when regular forces were deployed overseas. Regiments were formed at county level with no connection to the regular army.54

In 1868 a group of Glasgow migrants from the Highlands formed such a regiment. It was called the 105th Lanarkshire (Glasgow Highland) Rifle Volunteers.55

The 105th wore the Black Watch kilt and cap badge at that point.56 In 1881 Secretary of State for War Childers put through a series of reforms which linked the Volunteer Defence Forces more closely to regiments of the regular British army.57 The 105th was allied to the Highland Light Infantry and became the 10th Lanarkshire Rifles. In 1887 this was changed to the 5th Volunteer Battalion(Glasgow) HLI in . 58 Headquarters was  81 Greendyke Street near Glasgow Green.59

5. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO3 DEC 1897 P11 HEADQUARTERS GREENDYKE ST (002)
Figure 6. Glasgow Highlanders Headquarters Greendyke Street The Pibroch 1897 ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries  Collections: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

The 5th VB was distinct from the other HLI volunteer battalions because they continued to wear the Black Watch kilt rather than the Mackenzie tartan trews of the HLI. They did have their own cap badge by this time.60As well as regular drills and rifle shooting out at the Rifle Range at Patterton61, there was annual camp which , according to the The Pibroch, the annual report of the Glasgow Highlanders published each December from 1895, was much enjoyed by the volunteers.

3. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO2 DEC 1896 P28 IN THE FIELD (002)
Figure 7. The Annual Camp  The Pibroch 1896 © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries  Collections: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections

An annual gathering each December at St Andrews Halls and one can imagine the good social life that would go along with the serious purpose of the organisation. In time of war many of the volunteers went on active service,in the South African War for example. In fact in 1900 the Annual Ball was cancelled and only a concert was held in order to respect those of the Highland Brigade who had fallen at Magersfontein.62

4. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO2 DEC 1896 P34 REGIMENTAL GATHERING (002)
Figure 8. Pibroch 1896 © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections : The Mitchell Library ,Special Collections

The 5th VB had companies A-M all over the city. AMC joined M Company based at Hillhead.63  This Company was commanded by Alexander Duff Menzies. AMC’s   brother Arthur was already in M Company as Colour Sergeant.64 The Pibroch-the annual record of The Glasgow Highlanders- enables us to follow  AMC’s career as a Saturday Soldier.

1. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO1 DEC 1895 FRONT COVER (002)
Figure 9. First edition of The Pibroch December 1895© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections : The Mitchell Library Special Collections

In 1895 AMC was promoted to Lance Sergeant and in 1897 to Sergeant.65

On 21st June 1897 both AMC and his brother Arthur took part in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Parade in Glasgow.66

6. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO3 DEC 1897 P19 DIAMOND JUBILEE DETACHMENT (002)
Figure 10. The Pibroch 1897©  CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collections: The Mitchell Library Special Collections

In July 1987 they both attended a summer camp at Aldershot for all volunteer regiments to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.67

8. THE PIBROCH VOL1 NO3 DEC 1897 P31 THE REGIMENT AT ALDERSHOT (002)
Figure 11 The Glasgow Highlanders Sergeants at Aldershot July 1897 The Pibroch 1897 ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: Mitchell Library,Special Collections

For some reason AMC was demoted to Lance Sergeant again in 1899. The reason is not evident.68 Arthur resigned in 1899, the reason given is ‘expiry of term of service  and other causes’ one of which may have been that he was due to marry  the following year. AMC served until 1903, still as Lance Sergeant .On resignation he was given a special certificate ‘For long and good service’. AMC does not appear to have distinguished himself in any way-winning rifle shooting competitions etc- but appears to have given good service.69 Perhaps he resigned because of heavier business and family duties. His father had died in February 190370 and he was now head of the household. Also the volunteer forces were changing. The annual camp was shortly to be lengthened to two weeks and was to be compulsory, while the training was to brought much more in line with that of the regular forces.71 AMC was 31 by this time and perhaps he thought he had been a Saturday Soldier long enough.

War Service 1914-16

By the beginning of World War One in August 1914 the volunteer forces had been reorganised yet again.72 In 1908 the reforms of Richard Haldane,Secretary of State for War, had established the Territorial Force (TF) from the old volunteer brigades. In Scotland the TF consisted of 2 Divisions (1) Highland Division and (2) Lowland Division . AMC’s former battalion became the 9th (Glasgow Highland )Battalion HLI Territorial Force and was in the Lowland Division. The conditions of service had been altered from 1908.The men now had to complete 10 drills and a musketry course. The annual camp was now two weeks and was compulsory. This meant the entire annual holiday and more for many men in Glasgow and elsewhere. Even though many employers cooperated and the men were paid, a lot of good men resigned, either unwilling or unable to make this commitment. The weakness in the system, however was that no man in the Territorial Force was obliged to serve overseas.73

The 9th (Glasgow Highland)HLI now had eight companies-A-H and its HQ  and Drill Hall was still 81 Greendyke Street. It was probably there that our donor reported when on 9th September 1914 at the age 41 he enlisted in 2/9th Battalion(Glasgow) HLI-still known as the Glasgow Highlanders.74

Along with his fellow volunteers AMC was sent to Lochend Camp  Dunfermline. According to army records AMC (Service no 2989) was five foot  six inches tall with grey eyes and grey hair. His occupation is given as that of commercial traveller .75 In October 1914 he was promoted to sergeant .76 On 24th October AMC signed Army Form E624 whereby he volunteered for overseas service. It appears that the volunteers in Dunfermline had been paraded before the commanding officer, Colonel W Fleming, for the purpose of urging them to commit themselves to overseas service, which most of them did .77

The 2/9th Battalion (Glasgow) HLI embarked for France in November 1914.78 However AMC did not go with them. No reason is forthcoming at that point but in August 1915 we find AMC in Craigleith Military Hospital  in Edinburgh suffering from heart problems which had begun to show themselves in June 1915 . The medical report of 4th August 1915 states that he was suffering from myocardial disease which manifested itself in shortness of breath and occasional pains in his chest when marching etc. He was recommended for light duties.79

On 18th August 1915 AMC was transferred to 9th Scottish Provisional Battalion, Company A which was a reserve battalion used for coastal defence  formed in May 1915 of home service men. The 9th Scottish was a battalion of the 1st Provisional Brigade. The 1st Brigade was moved down to Kent in June 1915 and  the 9th Scottish Provisional Battalion was stationed in Deal .80  There is no information as to whether AMC was in Deal, one can only presume that he was with his battalion.

What is known is    from 3rd September to 12th October 1915 AMC was a patient in Newcastle on Tyne Workhouse Military Hospital.  His medical records state that he although he has myocardial disease the reason for his stay in Newcastle was that he was also suffering from a  disease which was very common in the army at that time .   AMC was discharged on 12th October 1915, presumably to go back to his battalion.81 In November 1915 he was promoted to Acting Company Master Sergeant of C Company. 82

There were several changes to the organisation and names of regiments and battallions of the British Army during 1915 and it has proved difficult to track the movements of AMC and the 9th Scottish Provisional Battalion during the period following  AMC’s stay in Newcastle. However, by September 1916 he was at the 2nd Scottish Command Depot near Randalstown  County Antrim in Northern Ireland. 83

Sir Alfred Keogh, Director of Army Medical Services, concerned about the availability of beds in UK Hospitals , set up four large convalescent camps in Blackpool, Epsom, Dartford and Eastbourne. This system was further refined early in 1916 by the establishment of over twenty Command Depots for the rehabilitative training of wounded soldiers who were too fit for a convalescent hospital but not fit enough to return to the front. One of these Depots was at Shanes Park near Randalstown, County Antrim in the grounds of Lord O’Neill’s Estate .84 Presumably AMC was there to assist in the retraining of troops as he had already been declared unfit for duty abroad .85

It was from here on 8th September 1916, after two years, that AMC was discharged from military service at his own request. The only reason given for his discharge was  ‘Termination  of Engagement ’.86 Perhaps it was AMC’s health problems or his age-he was 43 by this time. The Military Service Act of January 1916  had ended the distinction between home and  foreign service and all Territorial Force soldiers became liable for overseas service but they had to be medically fit, which AMC was not. Also the age limit for conscription was 41 so perhaps it was a combination of his health and his age which led him to request his discharge.87

Home Again-Glasgow 1916-c1921

At some point in 1914 our donor’s three sisters, Williamina, Elizabeth and Margaret, had left Ballagan House and became tenants of  Woodhall House , Kirkintilloch Road ,Bishopbriggs. 88  Ballagan House was rented to a farmer, John Paton. 89 Perhaps this was done because AMC, the head of the household, had volunteered for the army and the ladies wanted to live somewhere smaller(though Woodhall was a sizeable house ) and perhaps nearer to other members of the family. Younger brother  Edward and his wife lived in nearby Lenzie in a house called ‘Craigmillar’ .90 The Ballagan Estate was eventually advertised for sale in November 1917 .91 It was sold   to Colonel Peter Charles Macfarlane ,shipowner.92 The purchase price was £15,925.00. 93

It was to Woodhall House that AMC went after his discharge .94 According to the Glasgow Post Office Directories up to 1921 AMC  was a commercial agent based at 63a St Vincent Street.After   1921 there is no trace of AMC in Glasgow again until 1931 except in 1925 when he donated an eighteenth century Scottish tablecloth to Glasgow Museums95 giving his address as 9 Kelvin Drive. The  three Craig sisters had moved to 9 Kelvin Drive in the west end of Glasgow around 1922. 96

Where did he go? 1921-1931

AMC’s brother Arthur and wife Mary had moved to London around 1918 where Arthur set up in business as a merchant  in Chancery Lane 97 with a home at 24 Regent Court Park Road in  Westminster 98,a prestigious address  and later as a land agent at 8 Blenheim Street Mayfair,SW1.99  Arthur and Mary spent the rest of their lives in London at various prestigious addresses including Belsize Park Hampstead, Baker Street100, Courtfield Gardens  Kensington101 and from c about 1938 at 52 South Edwards Square Kensington 102 where Arthur died in on 20th August 1947. 103

Did AMC go down to London to join his brother? There are a few  tantalising yet inconclusive pieces of evidence that suggest he may have gone to London. In the London Telephone Directories of 1922,1923,1925 and 1927 there are entries for an A. Montgomerie Craig  in Chancery Lane where his brother Arthur was in business at that time and then in Dane Street Holborn. 104 As we have seen   AMC was probably known as Montgomerie rather than Archibald since his school days. Did his sisters move to the much smaller house at 9 Kelvin Drive because their brother was moving to London? We can only speculate. These slight pieces of evidence alone cannot allow us to say definitely that these London Post Office entries refer to our donor. So his whereabouts remain a mystery until further sources of evidence can be accessed.

Later Life 1931-1947.

AMC re -appears as a Glasgow resident in 1931 living with his sisters at 9 Kelvin Drive. He was about 60 years old by this time.105 There is no evidence that he worked again after his return to Glasgow. 106 As we know he donated the painting The Miser to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 1944. He died on May 26th 1947 of chronic myocarditis   at the age of 74. 107 He was buried in the family grave at Glasgow Necropolis which had been designed for his father in 1903 by Glasgow architect James Thompson (1835-1905). 108

AMC illus 22
Figure 12. Craig Family Memorial Glasgow Necropolis-  Epsilon. Copyright J M Macaulay

References and Notes

  1. Miles, Hamish Catalogue of Dutch,Flemish and Netherlandish Paintings in the Glasgow Art Gallery.  Glasgow Corporation 1961. Vol I p59
  2. The National Inventory of European Paintings. http://www.vads.ac.uk
  3. Label on reverse of painting. GMRC object file
  4. GMRC Object File 1925/2
  1. http://www.scotlandspeople.go.uk/opr/marriages
  2. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1824-1829
  3. UK Census 1841
  4. UK Census 1851
  5. Foreman, Carole Lost Glasgow:Glasgow’s Lost Architectural Heritage. Birlinn. 2002  pp 88-89
  6. UK Census 1861
  7. as above
  1. www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk Land Ownership Commission 1872-3
  2.  McKean, Charles et al – Central Glasgow: An illustrated Architectural Guide.   Pillans and Wilson 1989. pp116-118
  3. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1863-4
  4. as above 1865-71
  5. as above 1875-6
  6. 17.as above 1876-7
  7. UK Census 1881
  8.  www.e.architect.co.uk/Greek-Thomson,
  1. Will of William Blackburn Craig. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/wills
  2. Mackay, Colin H. History of Kelvinside Academy 1878-1978.  Kelvinside  Academy 1978
  3. as above p16
  4. op cit Mackay pp32,33
  5. op cit Mackayp26
  6. op cit Mackay Chapter 1
  1. UK Census 1871-1901
  2. Bearsden and Milngavie Herald 13 /02/ 1903
  3. http://www.scotlandspeople.go.uk/valuation rolls 1865
  4. as above 1895
  5. as above 1885
  6. Glasgow Post office Directories 1871-1901
  7. op cit 30 above
  1. UK Census 1881-1911
  2. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1912-21; Glasgow Electoral Rolls 1931-1947
  3. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1890-1895
  4. The Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Company opened a station in 1848 to serve the town of Kirkintilloch,naming it Kirkintilloch Junction. The building of houses around the station for Glasgow commuters began in the 1850s but the housing and population boom really began in the 1870s when piped and running water was made available to the villas. The North British Locomotive Company renamed the station Lenzie Junction in June 1890. http://www.edic.co.uk Local History and Heritage.
  5. http://www.strathblane.org.uk/history/Ballagan House
  1. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1903/4
  2. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/statutory deaths
  3. as above/statutory wills. William Blackburn Craig
  4. as above /statutory marriages-marriage certificate
  5. as above
  6. op cit ref 41
  7. as above
  8. op cit ref 39
  9. UK Census 1901,1911
  10. op cit ref 38
  11. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1906/7
  12. Espacenet Patent Search. http://worldwide.espacenet.com
  13. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1905-14
  14. op cit ref 49
  15. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1910-14
  1. http://www.ancestry.co.uk British Army Pension Records 1914-20. Attestation Papers Archibald Montgomerie Craig
  2. http://www.scottishmilitary articles.org.uk
  3. The Pibroch December 1895. Introduction to first issue by commanding officer.
  4. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow Highlanders
  5. op cit ref 54
  6. as above
  7. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1892-3
  8. op cit ref 56
  9. op cit ref 59
  10. The Pibroch December 1900
  11. The Pibroch 1895
  12. as above
  13. as above
  14. The Pibroch 1897
  15. as above
  16. The Pibroch 1899
  17. The Pibroch 1903
  18. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/statutorydeaths
  19. http://www.wikipedia.org/Territorial Force
  1. The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907,also known as the Haldane reforms after Richard Haldane, Secretary of State for War, transferred existing volunteer and yeomanry units into a new Territorial Force where all units were attached to regiment of the British Army.
  2. Glasgow City Archives TD366/3/2. Glasgow Highlanders, Notes on Battalion 1908-18.
  3. as above
  4. http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ British Army Pension Records 1914-20
  5. as above
  6. op cit ref 73
  7. as above 79. op cit ref 75
  8. wikipedia.org/wiki/221st Mixed Brigade
  9. op cit ref 75
  10. as above
  11. as above
  12. The Long Long Trail. http://www.1914-18.net/commandposts
  13. op cit ref 75. Army Form B179. Medical Report on an Invalid
  14. as above Army FormB268A Proceedings on Discharge During The Period of Embodiment.
  15. Military Service Act 1916. Op cit ref 85 /msa1916
  1. http://www.scotlandspeople.co.uk/valuationrolls 1915
  2. Stirling County Archives. SC4/3/40. Stirling County Valuation Rolls 1916/1917/1918.
  3. op cit ref 88
  4. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 15/11/1917
  5. op cit ref 89 1918/19
  6. Stirling Advertiser and Journal 15/11/1917
  7. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1916/17
  8. Glasgow Museums Accessions. Object File 1925/2
  9. Glasgow Electoral Roll 1922
  10. http://www.ancestry.co.uk/British Telephone Directories 1880-1894
  11. http://www.ancestry.co.uk/London Electoral Roll 1918
  12. op cit ref 97 1934
  13. op cit ref 97 1936
  14. op cit ref 98 1936
  15. op cit ref 98 1938-48
  16. http://www.ancestry.co.uk/wills and probate
  17. op cit ref 97
  18. Glasgow Electoral Role 1931
  19. as above 1931-47
  20. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/statutory deaths. Death certificate of Archibald Montgomerie Craig
  21. http://www.kinnairdhouse.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

William Graham Greig (1910-1999)

In 1949 Baillie William Graham Greig (WGG) donated the following paintings to Glasgow.

Lavery, John, 1856-1941; Potter at Work
Figure 1. Potter at Work  John Lavery 1888  Acc. 2835 © CSGCIC Glasgow Museums
Lavery, John, 1856-1941; Woman Painting a Pot
Figure 2. Woman Painting a Pot  John Lavery 1888 Acc 2834 © CSGCIC Glasgow Museums

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two potters from Bengal,Tarini Charan Pal and Harakumar Guha, were brought to Glasgow to demonstrate their craft in the Indian Court at the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition. The Indian Court was a very popular feature of the Exhibition.¹These paintings were two of the fifty or so which Lavery  painted of the 1888 Glasgow International exhibition. In October 1888 the paintings were exhibited at the Craibe Angus gallery in Queen Street ,Glasgow.²

There is no information as to how these paintings were acquired by William Graham Greig. Woman Painting a Pot has been exhibited on several occasions including in 1951 in an exhibition of John Lavery paintings at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, in 1983 at the St Andrews Crawford Centre for the Arts, again in an exhibition of John Lavery paintings,  and  in 1990 at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in an exhibition entitled  Women in Art and Design 1880-1920. The paintings are currently on display in the Glasgow Boys Gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.3

The model featured on the Doulton stand was Alice Groom. According to the 1881 census she was living in Auckland Street, Lambeth with her widowed mother  Eilzabeth, who was a dressmaker, and two younger brothers. Alice’s occupation is recorded as ‘artist/painter’. She almost certainly trained at the  Lambeth School of Art which had been set up in 1854 to teach applied art and design to working artisans. The school formed a close relationship with the nearby Doulton &Co Pottery and from the 1870s had a curriculum designed to train young men and women for the pottery trade.4

John Lavery saw Alice demonstrating the art of painting pottery at the Doulton and Co stand at the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition. He described her as,”a fascinating, red-haired beauty, attracting crowds by her dexterity in decorating vases.5 “. Even though her career at Doultons was short, vases  bearing her name still appear in auctions from time to time.6

Lavery was so taken with Alice Groom that he used her as the model again a year or so later. This painting, My Lady Disdain ,was painted in 1889.

It was exhibited at the 1890 annual exhibition of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (No748) and was bought for  £50 by a Mr W. Shields of Perth. Today this painting is on show at the Berwick Museum. It was one of 46 paintings, drawings and watercolours donated to the town in 1949 by Sir William Burrell to form the basis of an art gallery for the town.

Lavery, John, 1856-1941; Dear Lady Disdain
Figure 3. My Lady Disdain John Lavery 1889 © Berwick Museum and Art Gallery

How it came to be in Burrell’s collection is unclear but he must have bought it fairly soon after the 1890 exhibition, possibly through a dealer, as Burrell loaned it to Glasgow’s East End Industrial Exhibition of Manufactures, Science and Art in 1890. It appears in the exhibition catalogue as no 26.7 Burrell’s home, Hutton Castle in the Scottish Borders, was near Berwick.

In September 1888  Alice  married an artist called Frank Markham Skipworth9   who often used her as a model in his paintings. For example Portrait of a Red Haired Lady, painted in 1889 and which is in a private collection.10  Skipworth often exhibited at the Royal Academy in London.

She then went on the stage, appearing in 1894 at Daly’s Theatre in London in ‘The Gaiety Girl’. In 1895 the couple moved to New York where Alison Skipworth, as she was known there, carried on her stage career on Broadway. In 1897 she joined the company of Daniel Frohman at the Lyceum on Broadway and toured the US  acting and singing in plays and light opera. She did return to England in 1898 as The Stage reported on June 23rd . She appeared in a musical drama Adelaide  at St Georges Hall Langholm Place in London.  The review stated, ‘Miss Alison Skipworth ,a pretty and clever young lady, showed most commendable versatility as Clara, acting with intelligence and sympathy, singing charmingly and accompanying skilfully.’ However this was just a visit and she returned to New York appearing in many Broadway plays throughout the 1920s. She received very good reviews on many occasions. One such review appeared  in  The Era, an entertainment magazine ,on 2nd February 1927  when she appeared in  a play called New York Exchange in which she played the role of a wealthy and elderly cradle snatcher.’The role of the elderly pursuer of youth is in the skilful hands of Alison Skipworth and she acts the part for all its worth.’ Alison made her movie debut in 1912 in silent films and by 1930,by which time she was in her sixties, she had moved to Hollywood and graduated to ‘talkies’. She played character roles in over 50 films.

Alison Skipworth
Figure 4. Alison Skipworth as Mrs Crawley in Becky Sharp 1935. © Mary Evans Picture Library.

Alison Skipworth appeared in many films with W.C.Fields , Mae West, and Marlene Dietrich,often playing the role of formidable ‘grande dame’. In 1935 she appeared in The Devil was a Woman which starred Marlene Deitrich and was directed by Josef von Sternberg for Paramount. ‘Skippy’ as she was known to her friends and colleagues, played the part of the formidable Senora Perez. Photographs of her appear in the collection at the Paul Getty Museum. She was said to be very popular. 11

In 1936 John Lavery went to Hollywood with the intention of painting the stars. On his arrival at the Plaza Hotel he found an invitation to lunch from Alison Skipworth 48 years after he had painted her on the Doulton Pottery stand at the Glasgow International Exhibition. She reminded him of the other portrait he had painted of her12, telling him she had no idea at that time that she would become an actress. She introduced him to several famous stars of the time  including  Marlene Deitrich, Herbert Marshall and Rod La Roque.13

In his book  John Lavery A Painter and his World  Kenneth McConkey refers to a painting of  film actresses Maureen O’Sullivan,  and Loretta Young which was done by Lavery during his Hollywood visit.The painting was donated to the Limerick  City Gallery of Art  by the artist.

LCGA4458_Lavery_Sir_John_Stars in Sunlight_copyrightLCGA (002)

Stars in Sunlight by John Lavery ©  Permanent Collection of Limerick City Gallery of Art

The Donor

William Graham Greig(WGG) (1910-1999)

Our donor was the only son of James Graham Greig(JGG) (1879-1951) and Janet Alexander Buchanan, daughter of John Buchanan, a Falkirk timber merchant. At the time of WGG’s birth on 16th July 1910  the family home was at 2 Strathallan Terrace, Dowanhill in Glasgow’s West End.14 Janet Alexander Buchanan was JGG’s second wife. His first wife, Helen Stewart Jacob, who he married in 1905, sadly died at the age of 28.15

JGG was a stockbroker. Originally a co-partner in the firm of Service Brothers and Greig of 118 Queen Street, in 1909 the partnership was dissolved and James Graham Greig set up his own stockbroking business -James Graham Greig & Co- at 8, Gordon Street16. By 1930 the business had moved to 164 Gordon Street, premises owned by the Commercial Bank of Scotland.17

By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 2, Caledon Street, Hillhead, off Byres Road. They had one live-in servant, Elizabeth McDonald18. In 1912 a daughter, Margaret Alston was born, followed a few years later in 1919 by another daughter, Doris Graham.19

JGG was a member of the Glasgow Stock Exchange Committee for many years. He was also appointed a Justice of the Peace for the County and City of Glasgow in 1935. He was a member of the Sandyford Burns Club and was president for a term. JGG was also one-time chairman of the Partick Unionist Association.20

There is little information available on the life of our donor, WGG, in the 1920s either about his schooldays or whether or not he went to university. Like his father he became a stockbroker and went to work in the family firm.21 He and his father shared an interest in angling. There are newspaper reports of them taking part in competitions for example on Loch Leven in April 1935.22

In 1936 WGG entered Glasgow local politics and was elected councillor for the Whiteinch Ward which he served until 1955.23 He stood for the newly formed Glasgow Progressive Party(formerly known as the Moderate Party) which was a mixture of  Liberals,Unionists and Independents. The Progresssive Party  supporters were members of the public who opposed the policies of the Socialists on Glasgow Corporation who were in the majority at that time.  The terms ‘Conservative’ and ‘Labour’ were not really used until the mid 1960s. Instead ‘Unionist ‘and ‘Socialist’ were used. What we now know as the Scottish Conservative Party was then the Scottish Unionists Association.24

WGG won the Whiteinch Ward from the sitting Socialist Hector McNeill with a comfortable majority of 1036.25 Overall the Progressive Party won seven additional seats, not quite the dozen they had hoped for but now the Progressives had   49 seats to the Socialist 55, an improvement on the previous election.26 At this time the family were living at 88 Balshagray Avenue in the West End27.

For the rest of the 1930s, while continuing his career as a stockbroker, WGG  served  on many of the Glasgow  Corporation committees. These included  Housing, Education, Water and Markets as well as the Police Committee, Sub- Committee on Baths and Washhouses  and the Sub -Committee for Continuation Classes. He was also on the Western School Management Committee   and the Advisory Committee for Juvenile Employment on which he represented Partick. WGG was one of the Town Council patrons of Hutcheson’s Hospital.28

Although only 29 when war broke out in 1939 there is no record of WGG serving in any of the services during World War Two. Whether this was because of a medical condition or some other reason there is no information available at this time. According to the National Register of 1939 WGG was  a   Stockbroker, Member of the Police Committee and of the Emergency Police Committee. There is no information available as to whether he was involved in such organisations as the Home Guard or Air Raid Wardens etc. His younger sister Doris, however, became a British Red Cross driver during the war.29 At the outbreak of war WGG was living at 88 Balshagray Avenue with his parents and sisters.30

During the war years WGG continued his career in local politics. In addition to the committees already mentioned he served on the Libraries Committee and the Special Committee for Public Indoor Gymnasia. In 1943 WGG was elected a Bailie of the Burgh by his fellow councillors, and was thus a magistrate.31

WGG also followed in his father’s footsteps by taking an interest in Robert Burns. He was a member of the Sandyford Burns Club and one of the speakers at the Annual Burns Supper   held on January 25th1943. This was the Jubilee Year for the club. Attending the meeting was King Peter II of Yugoslavia who happened to be on a visit to the west of Scotland and expressed an interest in the traditional ceremonies associated with the Bard.32

A report in the Glasgow Herald in October 1945 relates WGG as attending a meeting at Dunoon of the Glasgow and   West of Scotland Seaside Convalescent Homes where he was a speaker along with Reverend Neville Davidson of Glasgow Cathedral.33 Whether WGG was a patron of the home or a representative of Glasgow Corporation is unknown.  The home had been opened in 1869 ‘for the purpose of affording sea air, bathing and repose to those invalids (from Glasgow) whose circumstances prevented them regaining in any other way the health and strength necessary to resume work.’ Glasgow philanthropist Beatrice Clugston, along with councillors James Salmon and James Thomson, had been instrumental in raising the £11,000 to build the home, which housed 150 patients.34 The running costs were covered by annual charitable subscriptions from various philanthropic individuals and bodies, for example The Incorporation of Coopers of Glasgow.35  The Homes had been requisitioned by the Admiralty in September 1940 for the training of radar operatives. WGG spoke in support of a motion for the homes to be de-requisitioned quickly so the normal work of providing convalescent facilities for workers and their families could resume.36 The Dunoon Homes were de-requisitioned in May 1946 and eventually re-opened around 1948 after extensive renovation which was needed after damage done during the war-time occupation by the Admiralty. They remained supported by charitable subscription until closure around 1971.37

The Chief Constable of Glasgow  had not had a rise in salary since 1931. So reported The Scotsman in May 1947. WGG, as a member of the Police Committee, was reported as speaking in favour of such a pay rise as had been recommended by the Secretary of State for Scotland. The recommended rise was to £1700 per annum rising by £50 increments to a maximum of £2,200 plus a free house. This was still below the Secretary of States recommendation of £1900 with increments of £100 up to a maximum of £2400 plus a free house. The proposal was carried by 42 votes to 35. Opposition came from   Labour and ILP councillors.38  

In 1949 WGG was on the Galleries and Museums Committee of Glasgow Corporation, remaining on that committee for a couple of years.  As 1949 was the year in which WGG donated the two Lavery paintings,perhaps it was his membership of this committee which influenced him to make the donation. There is no record of the donation in the Glasgow Corporation Minutes.

In January 1951 the death of James Graham Greig, our donor’s father, was reported in the Glasgow Herald.  The business by this time was at 22a West Nile Street. JGG was reported as being one of the oldest members of the Glasgow Stock Exchange, joining in 1903, serving as a member of the Stock Exchange Committee for 12 years. He was a Justice of the Peace and also Chairman of the Partick Unionist Association and past president of the Sandyford Burns Club.39

In December 1953 WGG was adopted as Unionist Parliamentary Candidate for the Bothwell Constituency. Perhaps,once again, this was due to his father’s  interest in the Scottish Unionist Party. The Motherwell Times describes WGG as,”Former police judge and ex-Bailie of the Corporation of  Glasgow. Representative of the Whiteinch Ward since 1936 as a Progressive and at present sits on the Public Health and Welfare Committee”. At this time the Bothwell Constituency included Mount Vernon, Carmyle, Springboig and Garrowhill as well as Uddingston and Bothwell. 40 

In March 1955 WGG retired from Glasgow Corporation. 41 In May of that year he was appointed Master of Works for the following year.42 The appointment of Master of Works meant that WGG was the Glasgow Corporation Representative  in the Department of Public  Works (later the Engineers Department)and also on the Dean of Guilds Court which, until its abolition in 1975, dealt with all matters pertaining to the positioning and construction of streets and buildings.43 

In the General Election held on May 26th 1955 WGG had the daunting task of overturning a Labour majority of 6,000 gained at the previous election in 1951.  However in a report in the Motherwell Times of 18th May 1955 entitled,” No Need  for Despondency” , WGG was optimistic about his chances of being elected  because of the enthusiasm and hard work of his team of Unionist Party Workers and the reports from the canvassers and reports that many in the constituency  who voted Labour in 1951, seeing the job done by the current Tory Government, did not intend to vote against the government this time.44 In the event WGG was not elected but he did reduce his opponent’s (John Timmons) majority to 3,610.45

After retirement as a councillor WGG continued to work as a stockbroker at the firm his father had founded, still at 229a West Nile Street. By this time he had moved to another address in the West End-Westcraig ,22 Victoria Park Gardens North.46 He was living with his mother, Janet and his sister Margaret.47

In February 1958 at the annual meeting of the Bothwell Unionists Association WGG was once again elected as the prospective Unionist Candidate for the Bothwell Constituency.48 A few days later WGG gave a short address at the meeting of the Bothwell Constituency Association. At this meeting a motion from the Uddingston Branch was passed overwhelmingly, recommending the death penalty for all types of murder. This motion was to be forwarded to the May Conference of the Scottish Unionist Conference.49

WGG is reported as attending a meeting of the Women’s Section of the Bothwell Unionist Constituency Association later in February 1958.The Motherwell Times reported that a vote of thanks was given by Miss G Greig.50 This must have been WGG’s sister Margaret A. Graham Greig as his other sister Doris had married George Campbell McKinlay in 1943.51 Margaret appears to have had a similar interest in the Unionist Party to that of her brother. Also in March 1958 the Motherwell Times reported on a whist drive held by the Newarthill Unionist  Association,presumably a fundraiser,  which was attended by WGG who spoke a few words and by Miss G Greig who presented the prizes.52

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of June 1958 William Graham Greig Esq. JP  was awarded the OBE ‘for political and Public Services to Glasgow’.53

The General Election of 8th October 1959 proved no more successful than that of 1955 for our donor, though again he lost by the comparatively small margin of 4,352 again to John Timmons.54  At this time  the Labour Party were almost unbeatable in the Central Belt of Scotland, especially around Glasgow. This was to be the last time WGG attempted to become a Member of Parliament.

WGG continued as a stockbroker under the name of James G Greig until the early 1960s. He then moved to the firm of Campbell Neill and Co,Stock Exchange House,69 St Vincent Street. He appears to have remained there until around 1974 after which time his name disappears from the Glasgow Post Office Directory. By this time WGG would have been around 65 and perhaps he retired. His home up this point remained Westcraig in Victoria Park Gardens.55

There is no more information concerning our donor until his death on February 1st1999 at the age of 88. He died at the Lyndoch Nursing Home in Bearsden.56

References.

    1. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow. Glasgow Boys Gallery. Information Panel Potter at Work by John Lavery
    2. McConkey,Kenneth John Lavery :A Painter and His World pp40-45 .2nd Edition 2010   Atelier Books  Edinburgh
    3. Glasgow Museums Resource Centre Object File. Lavery, John
    4. www.artisansinscotland.shca.ed.ac.uk
    5. Lavery, John The Life of a Painter p239 Cassell 1940
    6. op cit. 4 above
    7. e-mail . Amoore@museumsnorthumberland.org.uk
    8. https//www.berwickshirenews.co.uk/burrell_family_life_at_hutton_castle.
    9. www.ancestry.co.uk Statutory Marriages
    10. www.artnet.com
    11. https//Wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_Skipworth
    12. Hull Daily Mail 14/11/1936
    13. op cit 5 above
    14. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Births
    15. ibid. Statutory Deaths
    16. Edinburgh Gazette 25.05/1909
    17. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Valuation Rolls 1930
    18. ibid Census Records 1911
    19. ww.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Births
    20. Obituary James Graham Greig. Glasgow Herald (GH) 08/01/1951
    21. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1936-7
    22. Dundee Courier (DC) 20/04/1935
    23. Corporation of the City of Glasgow: Town Council Lists 1938-9. Glasgow Corporation 1939
    24. Seawright, David. An Important Matter of Principle:The Decline of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. 2nd Edition. Routledge  2018
    25. GH 04/11/1936
    26. DC 04/11/1936
    27. op cit. 21 above
    28. op cit. 23 above
    29. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk  Statutory Marriage
    30. www.ancestry.co.uk Glasgow,Lanarkshire,Scotland Electoral Registers 1857-1962.
    31. Glasgow Corporation Minutes 05/11/1943 Ref C1/3/109
    32. Burns Chronicle and Club Directory Second Series Vol X1X
    33. GH 23/10/1945
    34. https//historic_hospitals.com/gazeteer/argyll_and_bute
    35. Mair,Craig The History of the Incorporation of Coopers of Glasgow. Pub Neil Wilson 2013
    36. GH 08/10/1946
    37. www.live.argyll.co.uk
    38. GH 08/01/1951
    39. GH 08/01/1951
    40. Motherwell Times (MT) 18/12/1953
    41. Glasgow Corporation Minutes 17/03/1955. Ref C1/3/130
    42. ibid 06/05/1955 Ref C1/3/131
    43. www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.uk
    44. MT 20/05/1955
    45. Birmingham Daily Gazette 28/05/1955
    46. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1957-58
    47. op cit. ref 30
    48. MT 01/02/1958
    49. ibid. 07/02/1958
    50. ibid. 14/02/1958
    51. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Marriages
    52. MT 07/03/1958
    53. London Gazette 12/06/1958
    54. GH 10/10/1959
    55. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1960-1975
    56. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Deaths

 

 

 

Ronald McNeilage and David Gordon Nicolson.

Donor-Ronald McNeilage (1935-1959) and David Gordon Nicolson (1870-1952)

The Painting.

Calves in the Cabbage Patch   by J Denovan Adam (1841-1896) Acc 3442

Adam, Joseph Denovan, 1841-1896; Calves in the Cabbage Patch
Figure 1. Adam, Joseph Denovan; Calves in the Cabbage Patch. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection. http://www.artuk.org

Donated in July 19491, the painting was bought from an auction held at the Crown Hall Auction Rooms in Glasgow on 8th April 1949 for £1.2 ( Today  a Denovan  Adam painting can fetch as much as £60003).

Joseph Denovan Adam was a Scottish painter specialising in the painting of animals, Highland landscapes and still life. In 1887 he set up a school of animal painting at Craigmill near Stirling which became the centre for a group of Stirling and Glasgow artists. It was based on Adam’s small farm where students were encouraged to paint his herd of Highland Cattle from life.4

Exhibitions.

The painting was exhibited at the Smith Art Gallery in Stirling in 1996 in an exhibition called, Mountain,Meadow,Moss and Moor. 5

Ronald McNeilage (1935-1959)

The official donor of this painting is rather unusual as he was only 14 years old when he gave the painting to Glasgow. At the time of the donation Ronald was a patient in Killearn  Hospital,  Stirlingshire, suffering from a brain tumour. The brain tumour was pressing on an optical nerve and affected his eyesight. Killearn Hospital was a specialist hospital which dealt with brain injuries and illness which affected the brain. His parents were Alexander McNeilage, an electrical engineer, and Jessie Lowe Nicolson. They lived at 32 Alden Road Newlands, Glasgow at that time.

Ronald McNeilage and family
Figure 2. Ronald McNeilage(on left) , brother Alan ,Grandfather David G Nicolson and father Alexander (seated) on Hillman Minx AGG 149. © A McNeilage

The Director of   Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, Dr Tom Honeyman, wrote to Ronald thanking him for  the painting . Ronald was so proud of the letter that he had it framed and showed it to all his visitors. Dr Honeyman even wrote again to Ronald who was still in hospital, in November 1949 to say that Ronald was still in the thoughts of himself and the staff of the Art Galleries.

As one might guess there was more to this story. In fact it was Ronald’s maternal grandfather, David Gordon Nicolson (DGN), who masterminded this donation. After acquiring the painting he wrote to Dr Honeyman explaining the circumstances of his grandson’s illness and asked him to write the letter of thanks to his grandson.6 As we already know DGN had bought the painting for £1 in at an auction in Glasgow in 1949 (buying and selling Figure 2. paintings at auctions was a hobby) and hatched the plan for its donation probably hoping this would cheer up his grandson who was in hospital for the greater part of 1949.

According to his younger brother, Alan, Ronald was in and out of Killearn for the next ten years . He had several operations and was under the care of neurosurgeon James Sloan Robertson. Ronald eventually went to work for the RNIB in Glasgow where he was a library assistant. Both Ronald and Alan were pupils at Glasgow High School.7

David Gordon Nicolson (1871-1952)

Thus our true donor is David Gordon Nicolson (DGN). He was born in Dunse, Berwickshire. His father, David William Nicolson, was a mariner and his mother was Mary Jane Whitelaw.8 The couple were married in Liverpool where Mary’s family ran a boarding house.9 Perhaps DGN’s father had been a lodger at the boarding house when his ship came to Liverpool? DGN had an elder brother William Darling and a sister Janet, known as Jessie. By 1881 the family had moved to Musselburgh. The father was not on the census and was presumably at sea.10

David was a pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School which was managed by the Musselburgh School Board. In July 1885 at the age of 14 he was employed as a pupil -teacher at the school. 11 At that time in Scotland and in England this was one road into teaching.

At the age of fourteen (after Standard III) the best pupils in a school were chosen to stay on as pupil-teachers. They remained as pupil-teachers until they were 18.

DGN as teacher pupil 001
Figure 3. DGN (front row centre)as a pupil teacher at Musselburgh Grammar School (c1885-9). © A. McNeilage

They were paid a salary starting at £10 per annum rising to £20. Schools were allowed to have one pupil teacher per 25 pupils and were paid to have pupil teachers.  Pupil -teachers had to sit an examination every year and were annually inspected.12

David remained as a pupil- teacher until 10th September 1889 when he left the Musselburgh School to take up the post of uncertificated teacher at Brand’s School Milnathort in Kinrosshire.13 It was common for ex-pupil teachers to work as uncertificated teachers after completing their ‘ apprenticeship’. We know he remained at Brands School for 15 months.14

DGN was back in Musselburgh at the time of the 1891 Census, usually held in March.  He was listed in the census as a ‘teacher of English’ while his sister Janet was a ‘certificated teacher’. It is unknown at this point in which school they were teaching.  Mary, DGN’s, mother appears to have been running a boarding house as there were two more certificated teachers and one assistant teacher living as lodgers at the same address.  Running a boarding house appears to have been a Whitelaw family business.

It is unknown at this time where DGN was between March 1891 and February 1892. There is a family story, backed up by a photograph of DGN in uniform that he served in the Boer War, however he does not appear in any of the military records.15 Information from Dr Patrick Watt  of the National Museum of Scotland  suggested the photograph was taken in the 1890s and identified the uniform as that of the Royal Scots, possibly a volunteer battalion. Perhaps DGN, like many other young men of that time had joined one of the volunteer regiments. The Royal Scots were the local Edinburgh Regiment based at Glencorse Barracks. The photograph may have been taken at the annual summer camp which was part of the commitment required of volunteer soldiers.

DGN in uniform 001
Figure 4. DGN is on the extreme left of the photograph. © Alan McNeilage

In February 1892 DGN began a course at the Church of Scotland Teacher Training College in Edinburgh. He was there for two years graduating in December 1893 25th out of a class of 13416. There is little information as to how teacher training was financed during the 1890s. Until the 1860s   pupil -teachers could sit a competitive examination for a Queens Bursary of £25 per year for men (less for women) which would maintain them while at college. Presumably college fees would be paid as well.17 There is some evidence that these bursaries carried on after the 1872 Elementary Schools (Scotland)Act when there was a huge rise in demand for teachers. It is not known if DGN was in receipt of a bursary as the records of male students have been lost but the list of female students records some in receipt of a bursary.18

Until 1905 provision of teacher training was in the hands of the churches either the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church or the Episcopalian Church.  The latter two were much smaller organisations. In Edinburgh the Church of Scotland Teacher Training College was first in Johnston Terrace and then in Chambers Street while the Free Church Training College was at Moray House. In 1905   teacher training was taken out of the hands of the churches and taken over by the Scotch Education Department as it was then known. The two Presbyterian Edinburgh Colleges amalgamated in 1907 and became Moray House Teacher Training College, one of four Provincial Training Colleges in Scotland, the others being in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.19

In January 1894 DGN began his first post as a probationary teacher at Grahamston Public School in Barrhead, Renfrewshire. The headmaster of the School was James Maxton, father of the James Maxton who became the ‘Red Clydesider ‘ MP in the 1920s.20 Even though he was in his first  year of probation DGN was given Standards 1V,V and V1 to teach- in other words what would be known today as  Secondary Education which had only been publicly funded since 1892. The 1872 Act had only provided public funds for elementary education before that date.21

.DGN’s appointment possibly came about as a result of comments made by the School Inspector during his annual visit to Grahamston School in 1893. When commenting on the Senior School, Standards 1V,V  and V1 –“The staff of the senior department would require to be strengthened if these subjects are to be carried on to any further extent.”22

DGN seems to have settled in well as the log book entry for February 2nd 1894 states,” Mr Nicolson is promising very well and manages Standard 1V… very satisfactorily”. DGN completed his two year probation and became a certificated teacher in February 1896.23  As the log books show, at this time schools underwent an inspection every year and the results of that inspection affected the annual grant given by the SED.

In December 1896 DGN married Ellen Agnes Robertson in Musselburgh.24 DGN’s home before  his marriage  was  in Albany Place Nitshill where he appears to have been a lodger. 25

DGN was obviously ambitious and keen to earn extra money as he quickly became involved in teaching evening classes at various schools under the Neilston Parish School Board. There are several entries in the minutes of the Evening Class Committees of the Neilston Parish School Board from 1895 onwards regarding DGN’s involvement in evening class teaching at Cross Arthurlie Evening School and Uplawmoor Evening School  where he was described as ‘Chief Teacher’ of the evening school.26

uplawschoolformer
Figure 5. Uplawmoor Public School. © East Renfrewshire Archives

On April 29th 1898 after four years at Grahamston Public School another entry in the log book tells us that on the order of the Neilston Parish School Board Mr DG Nicolson was to be transferred to another Barrhead School i.e. Cross Arthurlie Public School (also under the Neilston Parish School Board) as First Assistant27(Deputy Head today). The Nicolsons continued to live at Nitshill where in 1898 a daughter Ellen was born. Mary followed in 1900 shortly after which  the family were living at  36 Carlibar Road Barrhead in a block of 3 storey tenements.28.

In 1902 the Nicolsons moved to Uplawmoor, Renfrewshire  as  on 8th September  DGN  took up his duties as  headteacher of Uplawmoor Public School, living in the School House.29

DGN was a keen golfer and was one of the founder members of the Caldwell Golf Club, Uplawmoor, in 1903. The first meeting was held at the Old School House in the village, DGN’s home. He became the club’s first secretary and treasurer.30

David G Nicholson aged 24
Figure 6. DGN at Caldwell Golf Club c1904. © Alan McNeilage

While at Uplawmoor  DGN was given leave of absence for two weeks to attend,” a course of instruction at the Royal College of Art ,South Kensington”. DGN had a keen interest and talent in artistic subjects. In the  annual Inspectors Report in May 1904 DGN was praised for  his teaching of the Supplementary Course in art subjects single-handed.31 

In 1905 DGN was transferred to Neilston Public School as Headmaster, again living in the School House. This was probably because of   the sudden death of the headmaster, Duncan Martin in February 1905. DGN’s salary was £200 per annum and use of the School House. Both Uplawmoor and Neilston schools were managed by the Neilston Parish School Board. The family lived at 47 High Street Neilston which was the School House.32  DGN is credited with starting the Neilston School Magazine.33

In 1908 another daughter, Jessie Lowe was born. She became the mother of our young donor Ronald.34                                                                  

DGN remained at Neilston until 1924 when he was appointed Headmaster of Mearns Street School in Greenock.35 He was headmaster of Mearns Street School until his retirement in 1932.36

Mearns Street School, Greenock 3
Figure 7. Mearns Street School Greenock © Inverclyde Heritage Hub

According to his grandson, Alan, DGN was a keen chess player and a member, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer for several years , of Glasgow Chess Club which met in the Athenaeum building in Glasgow. As we know he was a keen golfer. He was a keen angler too. His efforts were once reported in the press when he spent three hours on the River Stinchar bringing in a salmon with a trout rod. He used to go and stay at the Portsonach Hotel on Loch Awe and look after the fishing for hotel guests. His grandson, Alan, visited the Hotel in 1959 and found his grandfather’s handwriting in the catch record book.

David Gordon Nicolson
Figure 8. David Gordon Nicolson on his retirement in 1932. © A. McNeilage

DGN was a talented sketcher and loved carving items such as animals out of wood. As we have seen, a  favourite hobby was going to art auctions and buying and selling paintings. On his retirement he presented a painting to Mearns Street School and as we know he bought a painting for his grandson to present to Glasgow.

DGN was a freemason, holding the office of Provincial Grand Junior Warden for Renfrewshire East based in Paisley. On January 1st 1932 for holding this office DGN was presented with a small wooden mallet made from the old rafters of Paisley Abbey.37

DGN’s retirement was not short of adventure. In July 1937, he and Ellen his wife, daughter Ellen and son-in -law John embarked on a road trip to Venice. Ellen   chose Venice as she said she wanted to make sure, “it wasn’t just a Fairy Tale”. They travelled in a Hillman Minx-AGG 149- which the young people had just bought on HP. (see figure 2)

Details of the trip filled 4 large scraps books hand-written by DGN and illustrated with his own sketches as well as receipts for hotels and restaurants.©

To venice and back 1937
Figure 9. Front cover of Scrapbook 1. Drawing by DGN. © Alan McNeilage.

What was known as the Automobile Association in those days was extremely helpful providing them with routes and all the official documents they needed for the trip for the car and for themselves. The AA, as it is known today ,arranged the ferry crossing    from Dover to Calais with AA  representatives to smooth the path at the ports, all for £12/11/-(£12 and 11 shillings-£12 60 pence today). Each car had to be hoisted on board as there was no such thing as a roll-on roll-off car ferry in 1937.

 

Car ferry in 1937
Figure 10. Hoisting AGG 149 on board at Dover. Scrapbook 1 © A McNeilage

There is no time or space here to go into  too much detail of the trip but from the first stop of the trip outside Doncaster where bed, breakfast and supper for four at the Rosery Cafe was 30 shillings (about £1.25 today), they travelled  to Dover where bed and breakfast  and supper cost seven shillings  each (about 70pence). They then  drove through France, Switzerland and Italy to Venice where they spent only a few days before starting the journey home.

rosery Cafe Bill
Figure 11. Receipt from the Rosery Café July 5th1937. Scrapbook 1. © A. McNeilage

The party travelled back through Austria, Germany and Belgium where they spent time at the Great War Battlefields  such as Ypres. The scrapbooks are fascinating to  read. They tell of hair- raising climbs up  mountain passes such as the Brenner Pass as well as friendly meetings with local people and visiting places of interest such as Versailles, Cologne Cathedral and St Marks in Venice.

The travellers had taken with them a small spirit stove and everywhere they went in all the countries they passed through, often staying only one night, they made tea and had lunch by the roadside on most days, eating locally bought provisions.

They were in Italy during the time of Mussolini and in Germany during the time of the Third Reich where they only once came into contact with,” that Heil Hitler nonsense “, as DGN put it. In all they covered 3,500 miles in AGGI 49 as the car became known, having developed a personality by the time the party had travelled in her for a while. The car never travelled above 55 miles an hour and never had a puncture.38

DGN 1937 The Group
Figure 12. DGN ,daughter Ellen,wife Ellen and son-in-law John with unknown St Bernard. © A McNeilage

Ellen died in 194339 and eventually DGN went to live with his daughter Ellen in Hamilton from where he masterminded the donation of Calves in a Cabbage Patch on behalf of his grandson Ronald. David Gordon Nicolson die on  March 2nd 1952.40

And what of our young donor Ronald?  Unfortunately at the age of 24, after years of being in and out of hospital for numerous operations, the brain tumour returned once again41 and, sadly, Ronald died in Killearn Hospital on September 13th 1959.42 At least his grandfather did not live to see that.

Postscript

While researching David Gordon Nicholson, entries were found on the http://www.ancestry.co.uk website   referring to photographs of one David G Nicolson. They were posted by Lorraine Whitelaw Speirs who lives in Vancouver. As Whitelaw was the maiden name of DGN’s mother  the owner of these photographs was contacted in order to confirm that the posts referred to DGN. Mrs Lorraine Whitelaw Spiers   revealed that she was a descendant of Robert, younger brother of Mary Whitelaw, mother of DGN. Lorraine knew nothing of the McNeilage side of the family but had visited Scotland several times researching her family. When Alan McNeilage, Ronald’s younger brother and grandson of DGN was informed of the existence of a   branch of the family of which he was unaware he was delighted. By pure chance   he and his wife Caryl had a holiday planned in July 2018 to Vancouver. Alan and Lorraine are now in touch by e-mail and plan to meet during the visit. Who says there is no such thing as co-incidence?

References.

1.Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. Object Files. Adam, J Donevan.
Acc 3442 1/1/563 (GMRC)
2.GMRC
3.www.bonhams.com/auctions/14216/lot/57
4.Julian Halsby, Paul Harris. The Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600 to the Present. Canongate 2001 p.1
5.Glasgow Herald 7/7/1996
6.GMRC
7.Interview with Alan McNeilage, grandson of DGN.  16/04/2018(A. McNeilage)
8.www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Statutory Births
9.www.ancestry.co.uk. Statutory Marriages
10.UK Census 1881
11.East Lothian Archives. SCH 34/1/1
12.Marjorie Cruikshank History of the Training of Teachers in Scotland.University of London 1979.p.56
13.East Lothian Archives SCH 34/1/1
14.Grahamston Public School Log Book 19/01/1894. Glasgow City Archives (GCA) REF. C02/5/6/4/1
15.A. McNeilage
16.Edinburgh University Library. Special Collections. REF GB237EUA 1N18.(EUL)
17.Cruikshank.p61
18.EUL
19.Cruikshank.Chapter 5.
20.Grahamston Public School Log Book. 19/01/1894.GCA Ref. C02/5/6/4/1
21.Cruikshank .p219
22.Grahamston Public School Log Book. 06/05/1893.GCA Ref.C02/5/6/4/1
23. As above 02/02/1896
24. http://www.ancestry.co.uk.Statutory Marriages.
25. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Valuation Rolls 1895
26.Neilston Public School Board Minutes. GCA Ref.C02/5/3/14/11
27.Grahamston Public School Log Book 29/04/1898.Ref.GCA C02/5/6/4/1
28.UK Census 1901
29.Uplawmoor Public School Log Book 08/09/1902.Ref.GCA C02/5/6/78/2
30. Caldwell Golf Club:The First Hundred Years-1903-2003. Akros Printers 2003
31.GCA.Ref.C02/5/6/78/2. Supplementary Classes were classes aimed at the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate for pupils who stayed on after the age of 14. See Cruikshank.
32.Berwickshire News and Advertiser 11/04/1905
33.e-mail correspondence with Lorraine Whitelaw Speirs
34.UK Census 1910
35.Sunday Post 06/07/1924
36.A. McNeilage
37. ibid.
38. To Venice and Back July 1937.Scrapbooks 1-4 A. McNeilage Family Papers.
39. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk  Statutory Deaths
40. ibid
41. A McNeilage
42. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Deaths

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Alan McNeilage and his wife Caryl for their hospitality and for the supply of so much invaluable information from family papers and photographs. JMM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Felicia Pepys Cockerell 1890-1970

Felicia Pepys Cockerell 1890-1970

Painting                                           

Harding, Chester, 1792-1866; Robert Grahame (1759-1851), Lord Provost of Glasgow (1833-1834)
Fig.1. Robert Grahame of Whitehill (1759-1851) Lord Provost of Glasgow 1833-4 by Chester Harding (1792-1866 )© CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

Artist  : Harding was an American portrait painter. He was born in Massachusets of humble origins. He was largely self-taught but became very successful. He spent time in Europe between 1823 and 1826 and was very popular. Even members of the royal family commissioned him. This portrait was probably painted around 1825 as another portrait by Harding of Thomas Grahame, Robert’s son, has a date of 1825. Our portrait was exhibited in Glasgow in 1868 in an Exhibition of Portraits held at ‘The New Galleries of Art’,Sauchiehall Street (McLellan Galleries).  It was loaned by Thomas Grahame of Leamington Spa – son of Robert Grahame(1) .

Donor

The portrait was presented to Glasgow Museums on 26th November 1947 by  Felicia Pepys Cockerell (FPC) of Brook House Aldermasten,  Berkshire2. The first question one must ask is how a lady living in Berkshire in 1947 came to possess a portrait of a former Lord Provost of Glasgow? In fact  FPC was the great-great granddaughter of Robert Grahame and the portrait was probably handed down through the generations of the family. The diagram below shows the link between  FPC and Robert Grahame.

Grahame Family Tree

Fig. 2. Jackie Macaulay

Robert Grahame (1759-1851)

Robert Grahame was born on 28th December 1759 in Stockwell Street, the son of Thomas Grahame, Writer to the Signet, (Solicitor) and from 1751 a member of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. Robert followed his father into the legal profession and went into partnership with his father as the firm of  “Thomas and Robert Grahame”. He joined the Faculty of Procurators in 1792. On the death of Thomas Grahame in 1791 Robert carried on the practice alone until 1802 when he went into partnership with Andrew Mitchell and the practice became “Grahame and Mitchell”. ‘No firm ever stood higher in Glasgow’.

Robert married Helen Geddes(1751-1824) of Cupar, Fife, in 1786.They had four surviving children (see above diagram),one of whom was James Grahame, our donor’s great grandfather.

In 1797 Robert bought Whitehill House and Estate in what is now the east end of Glasgow in   the suburb of Denniston. The original house(the centre part) was  built by John Glassford , one of the Glasgow Tobacco Lords. Glassford sold the estate in 1759 to John Wallace of Neilstonside who in turn sold it to a retired London merchant, Nathaniel Gordon. Robert Grahame bought it from John Gordon, son of Nathaniel. The house remained in the Grahame family until the 1840s. It was eventually sold to the Denniston family3.

thumb_Whitehill House
Fig. 3. Whitehill House from The old country houses of the old Glasgow gentry. John Guthrie Smith and John Oswald Mitchell, 1878. Glasgow: James Maclehose & Sons. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou098.htm

Robert was one of the most respected  men of his time in Glasgow.   He was well-known for his liberal and democratic views . He was an ardent supporter of the emancipation of slaves, a friend and correspondent of William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson. He was against oppression throughout the world. He was President of the Glasgow Emancipation Society for many years. He was known to support the American War of Independence and be not entirely unsympathetic to the aims of the French Revolution. In 1793 the British Government was in something of a panic regarding the holding of liberal views and feared that the ideals of the French revolution might spread to Britain. As a result of this Robert was watched by the government. The Lord Provost of Glasgow received instructions from the Lord Advocate to activate an arrest warrant drawn up for Robert Grahame. The Lord Provost wrote to the Lord Advocate saying that such was the esteem in which Robert Grahame was held in the town that he could not guarantee civic order if Robert Grahame were to be arrested.  As the Lord Provost was Grahame’s political opponent it says a lot for the reputation and standing of Robert Grahame at the time. He was not bothered again.

This fracas did not prevent Grahame from acting as an agent in the defence of Thomas Muir and the political martyrs of 1793 or in trying to get a reprieve in 1819-20 for Hardy and Baird and James Wilson for their part in the Radical Insurrection of that year.

Grahame campaigned long and hard for Parliamentary Reform and was the first Lord Provost of Glasgow (1833-4) to be elected after the passing of the Reform Act. However by 1834 his health and his age was beginning to take its toll and he only served a year as Lord Provost. He left Glasgow for warmer climes and went to live  on the south coast of England. The 1841 Census finds him living with his daughter, Ann Donald, in Clifton, near Bristol. In 1851 he was staying with his son Thomas in Chorley Wood near Watford in Hertfordshire. He died on December 28th 1851 at Hatton Hall Northamptonshire, aged 91. Whether or not this was his home is not known  at this time4.

James Grahame (1790-1842)

The next name in the story is Robert Grahame’s eldest son James who was born in Glasgow on 21st December 1790. James was educated at the Grammar School of Glasgow in George Street. This became the High School of Glasgow in 1834. He then attended classes at Glasgow University where he heard lectures from Professor Playfair. Around 1810 he became a student at St John’s College Cambridge, it is thought to study literature as he had literary ambitions. Even though James’s time at Cambridge was short, while there he became great friends with a fellow student, John Herschel, who is to play a pivotal role in our story . John Herschel, later Sir John Herschel, became known as an astronomer and chemist.

During one university vacation James met and fell in love with a woman called Matilda Robley. As he wanted to marry Matilda  James went back to Scotland to study for the Scottish Bar in Edinburgh, presumably to be able to support a wife. He was called to the Scottish Bar as an advocate in June1812 and married Matilda in Stoke Newington in October 1813.

Unfortunately he found the practising of law not to his taste. He wrote to a friend,   (possibly John Herschel), ”Until now I have been my own master and I now resign my independence for a service I dislike”. However he does seem to have carried on a satisfactory practice, no doubt spurred on by his love for his wife, as he further wrote,  “Love and ambition unite to incite my industry.”

Who was this woman who captured James’s heart? According to one of her teachers, a Mrs Barbauld, she was “…young, beautiful, amiable and accomplished…. with a fine fortune”5. Ironically much of Matilda’s fine fortune came from the profits of plantations owned by her uncle , Joseph Robley, in Tobago. Sugar and  cotton were the crops grown on the plantations. Joseph owned several plantations and thousands of slaves. Matilda’s father, John Robley, managed the business from the London end. The Robleys lived at Fleetwood House, Stoke Newington6. How this all sat with James who had been brought up by a father who abhorred slavery in all its forms can only be guessed at. According to Eleanor M Harris, James was,” so moved at the privilege of gaining her that it brought about a religious conversion which lasted the rest of his life.” It must have been a case of love conquering all!

James and Matilda had three children: Anne(b1814), Robert (b. 1816) and Matilda (b.1817). Tragically daughter Anne died in 1817,followed by  much loved  wife Matilda in 1818. James was said to never really recover from these events.” He was left with his religion, his children, and the wealth”. After Matilda’s death the children, Robert and Matilda were left with a ninth share of the Tobago estate with James inheriting a life rent of it. In 1827  wrote that,”My conscience was quite laid to sleep.Like many others, Idi not do what  I could, because I could not do what I wished. For years past something more than a fifth part of my income has been derived from the labour of slaves. God forgive me for having tainted my store!…Never more shall the price of blood enter my pocket!…Till we can legally divest ourselves of every share, every shilling…is to be devoted to the use of some part of the unhappy race from whose suffering it is derived”. When his children were of age they gave up their shares.7

James Grahame was not of robust health. The death of Anne in 1817 and then of his wife the following year brought on illness which threatened his life (though it is not known  what the illness  was). However he slowly began to take up his literary pursuits again. He had previously written pamphlets on various subjects such as   Inquiry into the Principle of Population’  in 1816 and  in 1817 a spirited defence of Scottish Presbyterianism in opposition to Walter Scott’s ‘ The Tales of my Landlord ‘ which Grahame said subjected them to contempt. In 1823 he went to the Low Countries for his health. Also in that year he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. About the same  time,influenced by his father , he began to think about what was to prove the main work of his life, writing a history of the United States of America. One of his chief interests was American history. Washington and Franklin were his great heroes.

In 1825 his mother, Helen Geddes, died at Whitehill. In London in 1825 and early 1826  James was again suffering illness and depression. He was still working at his law practice in Edinburgh when his doctors prescribed moving to a warmer climate. In March 1826 he wrote,”I am now preparing to strike my tent…I quit my profession without regret, having little liked it and greatly neglected it.”

In 1827 the first two volumes of his history of the United States was published– ‘The History of the Rise and progress of the United States of  North America ‘till the British Revolution in 1688. During 1827 and 1828 he spent time in Madeira, Paris and Nantes, travelling for his health. He stayed in Nantes until May 1828. By December 1829 the 3rd and 4th Volumes of his history of the USA had been published-‘ The History of the United States of North America from the Plantation of the Colonies ‘Till their Revolt and Declaration of Independence. It has to be said that the works did not arouse much interest on either side of the Atlantic.

James suffered another bout of ill health and returned to Nantes where he spent much of his time, especially the winters, until his death. In 1830 he married  Jane A. Wilson, daughter of the Reverend Mr Wilson ,Protestant pastor in Nantes. Apparently this was a very happy marriage. Matilda, James’s daughter by his first marriage, lived with them in Nantes. She was of fragile health also and the new Mrs Grahame looked after them both very well. The family stayed at the Chateau L’Eperonniere. They took a central role in Nantes society and became warmly attached to the French people of Nantes.

About this time James began revising the four volumes of his history of the USA. Perhaps this was because in 1831 a favourable review of the first two volumes appeared in the North  American Review. He was urged by writer Washington Irving himself to write a history of the Revolutionary Wars.The first real evidence of public respect for his works in the United States came in August 1839 when he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Harvard University.  This was in recognition of his writings after the four volumes were republished in 1837 and in 1839 an American edition was published in Philadelphia.

Although James himself was backwards and forwards between London and Nantes, having to oversee his publications, his family remained mostly in Nantes. This was mainly because his daughter Matilda had several life-threatening periods of illness during the early 1830s. Much to everyone’s surprise she made a full recovery and went on to marry the next player in our story, John Stewart (1814-1887). They married in Nantes in 1839. (See below- Fig 4 Stewart Family).

James Grahame spent much of the remainder of his life in Nantes along with his wife and his daughter and son-in law who split their time between London and Nantes. His final publication was, ‘ Who is to Blame? Or a Cursory View of the American Apology for American Accession to Negro Slavery which was published in 1841/42. There is some evidence that James intended to return to live in Britain.  He died in London on 3rd July 18428.

The Stewart  Family

As we have seen, Matilda Grahame became Matilda Stewart on 2nd October 1839. Who was John Stewart and what was his family background?

Alexander Stewart (1764-1821)

From the family tree below9, John Stewart was the son of Alexander Stewart, a Scottish Presbyterian minister. At the time of John’s birth  his father was  parish minister in Dingwall, Ross-shire . Alexander Stewart was of the Evangelical wing of the Church of Scotland, having undergone a ‘conversion ‘ about 1796. He supported the abolition of slavery and the non-consumption of sugar, rum and tobacco as part of that support. His work  ‘Elements of Gaelic Grammar’ first published in 1801 , went into 12 editions between 1807 and 1823.

John Stewart’s mother was Alexander’s second wife, Emilia Calder, eldest daughter of Charles Calder, Minister of Urquart, Ross-shire. She and Alexander  had eight children. John, born in 1814, was the youngest. His sister, Margaret Brodie, born in 1810, plays an important part in our story. Alexander’s first wife was Louisa who died around 1799, having had two children, Alexander, who went on to be one of the Disruption Worthies of the 1843 Disruption of the Church of Scotland , and Catherine who married a local minister in Ross-shire.

Alexander had been plagued with ill health for several years, an unspecified internal complaint which caused him much pain. He decided, on the advice of his doctors, to take his family to Edinburgh where better medical facilities were available. Around 1819 the Stewart family moved to Edinburgh, living at some point, according to the Edinburgh Post Office Directory,at 5,Hermitage Place. Alexander’s health improved somewhat and when the minister in charge of Canongate Parish died suddenly, Alexander was given the post, thanks to the influence of one of his wife’s family. Unfortunately the illness returned with a vengeance in the winter of 1820 and although he valiantly carried out his duties as parish minister, he died on May 27th 182110. John was only about seven years old when his father died. The family appeared to have stayed in Edinburgh until about 1830 when they moved to London.

Stewart Family Tree

Fig. 4. Copyright Robert Haley www.brontesisters.co.uk/John-Stewart-Photographer.html

Why the family moved to London is unclear. John’s father’s financial position is not known,though he is referred to as a landowner in one source.  John Stewart’s financial position as the youngest son when he started out is not known either.  On 3rd March 1829 Margaret Brodie Stewart married John later Sir John Herschel, in Marylebone , London , a prestigious address. Herschel was the only son of William Herschel , the distinguished astronomer  who discovered the planet Uranus. His son John also became a distinguished astronomer , mathematician and photographic pioneer.  He appears to have become friends with his young brother -in – law. In the summer of 1829, while in the Pyrenees, John Herschel drawing with a’ camera lucida’ wrote in a letter to his mother,”  Johnny and I are running a race which shall sketch most-he draws very nicely …).They went on to develop a close relationship11.

In London John Stewart entered the printing business with his brothers. Between 1838 and 1841 he was in  partnership with Alexander Elder Murray as Stewart and Murray  printers , London. John Stewart’s brother Patrick (b.1808) was a partner in the publishing firm of Smith, Elder and Co. , so perhaps the world of publishing and printing became known to John through him. The printers did a great deal of work for Smith and Elder in which John Herschel had invested. Smith and Elder took over the printing company in 1855.

As we have seen, in 1839 John Stewart married Matilda Grahame, who was said to be ‘an old childhood friend’.  As the Stewart family lived in Edinburgh from about 1819 to 1830 and we know that Matilda’s father, James Grahame, was an advocate in Edinburgh from c 1813 to 1826, one presumes they became known to one another in Edinburgh. Also John Herschel and James Grahame had been friends since they were at Cambridge together which may also have brought John and Matilda together. John Herschel certainly went to Nantes to attend the wedding12 .  The newly- weds set up home in Nantes. This was possibly to be near her father who had moved there for his health or perhaps because the climate was good for her health too. As we have seen she suffered several periods of ill-health.

About 1846 they moved to Pau in the Pyrenees, South-West France13. Perhaps  after the death of her father there was nothing to keep them in Nantes. John’s financial situation at this time is not known. Whether he had financial resources of his own or he made use of his wife’s money is not known either. There was presumably some financial settlement on the marriage.  Even before her father’s death Matilda was a wealthy woman, having inherited wealth from her mother. On her father’s death, after her step-mother had been taken care of financially, she and her brother inherited half each of her father’s wealth also14. Whatever the source John Stewart went on to become very successful financially as we shall see.

The couple had two children. Matilda Jane was born in 1841 and James Grahame, our donor’s father, was born in 1842 while they were still living in Nantes.

Pau was already an important British ‘colony’ when John and Matilda moved there. The city had first been discovered by the British when it was occupied in February 1814 by Wellington’s troops during the Napoleonic Peninsular Wars. The troops found the flat terrain perfect for training, for horse-racing, even fox- hunting and golf. Twenty years later more and more British travellers went to Pau, attracted by its mild climate and the beauty of the scenery. When Dr Alexander Taylor went to Pau in 1833 to recover from typhus and dysentery and recovered in a very few weeks he decided to set up a medical practice in Pau. Whether as a clever piece of advertising or genuine belief Taylor wrote his book,On the Curative Influence of the Climate of Pau’  which was published in 1842. Immediately it became a best seller amongst British Society. Perhaps that was what attracted the Stewarts there. Certainly there was a large influx of the British aristocracy who went to Pau with their families and friends. The British ‘invasion’ would start in mid-September each year. John and Matilda Stewart and their children spent every winter in Pau from about 1850, the rest of the time in London

The British influx led to an economic boom in Pau in construction, housing and in the demand for valets, domestic servants, gardeners etc. Living was cheaper than in London and many other British cities. Magnificent villas were built with beautiful gardens. Pau changed from the 1850s and became a modern, for the times, city with an up-to date theatre, a Winter Palace  and many parks and gardens. The ‘Boulevard des Pyrenees’ gave wonderful views of the snow-covered Pyrenees. In 1842 the race course was opened and this became the main sports activity in Pau and remains so today15.

John stewart -Memoires of the Pyrenees
Fig. 5. Etablissement des Eaux-Bonnes. Photograph by John Stewart 1852.© Paul Getty Museum Collection.

One of the main sources of information about John Stewart is ‘Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-196616.

According to the Who’s Who John Stewart was a man of many parts. He was a banker and a diplomat though there is no more information given  about his diplomatic life.  For forty years he and his family lived a large part of their lives in Pau  and played a large part in the life of the community. In 1847 John Stewart was awarded the Legion d’Honneur’ by the French Government for activities in French Indo China connected with the wrecking of a French Naval ship. Again here is tantalisingly little  information available about this incident.

Possibly as a result of his friendship with John Herschel,  John Stewart took up photography. Exactly when is not known. He joined a group of artists in Pau who became known as ‘L’Ecole de Pau’. Among these were well-known early photographers such as Henri-Victoire Regnault, Jean -Jacques Heilman and Maxwell Lyte. They established a studio and printing establishment. Stewart specialised in landscape photographs of the Pyrenees. In 1853 his photographs were published in an album, ‘ Souvenirs des Pyrenees by top photographic editor Blanquart- Evard. John Stewart exhibited in the London Exhibitions of the Society of Arts in 1852, the Photographic Institution  in 1854 and The Photographic Society in 1855. In that year also he became a member of the Societe Francaise Photographique.  His portrait of Sir John Herschel was exhibited  at the 1857 Manchester ‘ Art Treasures ‘ exhibition.

In 1856 , in London , the newly established Photographic Club produced an album of fifty photographs of views around Britain.  Fifty copies were produced to be distributed among the fifty photographers plus two more, one of which was presented to Queen Victoria and the other to the British Museum. To mark his contribution to photography, Stewart’s portrait of Sir John Herschel was included in the work.

Stewart’s photographs were much admired by his contemporaries. In a paper on photography’s relation to art, Sir William Newton in the Journal of the Photographic Society in 1853 commented that photographs should not only be chemically but also artistically beautiful, “The nearest approach in this respect…were the excellent Photographs exhibited by Mr Stewart.”17

John Stewart was a friend of George Smith, of Smith, Elder and Co., Charlotte Bronte’s publisher. Sometime during 1856-7 Smith arranged for Stewart to visit Haworth Parsonage to photograph the portrait of Charlotte Bronte by George Richmond to be used as the basis of an engraving for the frontispiece of Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte. This enabled the public to see Charlotte Bronte for the first time. He appears to have visited Haworth three times, also taking photographs of the parsonage. In a letter to George Smith in November 1856, Mrs Gaskell wrote that “Mr Stewart is an excellent amateur photographer gone out to Iceland by the Danish government’s request to take photographs of the boiling springs and those sort of things … and has had to go and show his photographs to the Queen as the ‘crackest ‘things of the kind in the Kingdom”.18

Apart from photography as a hobby, John Stewart was a keen golfer. In 1856 he was one of the five founder members of Pau Golf Club, the oldest golf club on Continental Europe. He was President in 1885 and 1886. He was also keen on fox-hunting and a great supporter of the Pau Hunt. When the Hunt was going through bad times around 1879, Stewart is credited with engaging the help of the Mayor, Aristide de Montpera, to save fox-hunting in Pau. According to  Who’s Who,it was down to Stewart that fox-hunting was legally recognised .

Apparently his business dealings towards the end of the 1850s led to the lessening of his photographic activities. There is not a lot of information available on John Stewart’s business life. Again we must depend on   Who’s Who . In 1857 Stewart bought land on which to build a house which was called ,”Villa Stewart” later known as “ West Cottage “ in what is now Avenue Dufau in Pau. In 1862 , along with Pastor Brown of the “Scottish Church”, John Stewart was instrumental in establishing the Holy Trinity Church in Pau which today is the “Cinema D’Arte et D’Essais” showing art films. Before the building of  the Holy Trinity  Church Scottish Presbyterians in Pau would hold services at the Stewart’s first home in Pau,La Maison Labetoure.

In 1866 John Stewart, along with Dr Alexander Taylor, Musgrove-Clay, director of the English Bank in Pau, and Henry Alcock, a banker from Skipton North Yorkshire, founded La Societe des Anglais ‘. The aim of the English Society was to buy farmland on which to build an  estate of apartments. These apartments were rented out during ‘the season’ which was from about mid-September to the end of March when British visitors would flock to Pau to escape the winter at home. This became known as ‘Quartier des Anglais’.

Who’s Who also reported that John Stewart was one of the founder members, then a director, of the  Ottoman Bank. This bank was founded by Sultan Abulaziz to mitigate the economic crisis within the Ottoman Empire. There were French, English as well as Ottoman Government shareholders. In 1875 the bank became the State Bank of the Ottoman Empire. Its main function was to negotiate international loans for the Ottoman Government. In the 1870s, the time of the Franco- Prussian War, it is claimed that John Stewart secured loans for the French Government  for the defence of France.

John  Stewart certainly  died a wealthy man. At his death on 29th July 1887 his personal wealth stood at £295,000. Today this sum would have a purchasing power of around £36millon19. He died in London at 5 Cleveland Row, his London home20. Before his death he had put his wealth into a trust for his wife and children. Matilda lived on in Pau until her death there in January 1893. Her funeral as held at the Holy Trinity Church in Pau attended by a large crowd of both British and French inhabitants. According to Le Journal des Etranges of 22nd January  1893 (a local newspaper for the British Colony in Pau )Matilda was an ”esprit agreeable et cultive,  quel coeur bon et charitable”21.

James Grahame Stewart   (1842-1913)

As we know,our donor’s father, James Grahame Stewart  was born in Nantes in North West France but the family moved to Pau in South West France and by 1850 was spending every winter there while maintaining a house in London. James received most of his education in Pau at Le Lycee de Pau where he was a brilliant honours student. There is no indication that he went to university. He appears to have followed his parents’ habit of spending much of his time in Pau where he played a full part in the life of the community. He was a member of Pau Golf Club and was its President  in 1901 and 1904. He also helped to found the ‘Societe de Jeu des Paumes de Pau’ ( Pau Real Tennis Club). In May 1901 he made a speech on behalf of the British Colony in Pau on the  occasion of the visit of the President of France, Monsieur Carnot, in the presence of the delegation led by the UK Vice Consul of Pau Foster-Barnham.22

There is some evidence that he had similar business interests to his father. For example he was elected a Director of the Bank of Egypt in May 187823. There are reports of his presentation at Royal Levees in London in May 1880 and 188524.

James was 43 when he married Helen Louisa Georgina Ellis at the Holy Trinity Church in Pau on 16th April 1885. Helena was 20 years younger than her husband. She was the daughter of Major Charles David Cunynghame Ellis,  late of the 60th Rifles, and granddaughter of the 1st Baron Seaford of Seaford.  According to the Morning Post of 20th April 1885 Helen was also the niece of Colonel Arthur E Ellis, Equerry to the Prince of Wales  and of the Honourable Mrs A Harding, Lady in Waiting to the Princess of Wales, thus the bride was very well connected.  The best man was Prince Clermant Tonnerre and one of the six bridesmaids was also French, which shows how integrated the Stewarts were with the French population of Pau. The honeymoon was spent in Paris25.

James and Helen appear to have spent much of their life in Pau along with their children, Felicia who was born in 1890 and John Cecil who was born in 1897 as they are nowhere to be found in the UK Census of 1891 and 1901. Only in the 1911 Census does the family appear to have given up spending winters in Pau and were now living at Stonewall Park,  near Edenbridge, Kent. Stonewall Park was a 140 acre estate about 26 miles from London. They lived in a beautiful Georgian House there but also spent time in London for “The Season”.

According to the 1911 Census James was “of independent means”. This probably meant he was living off the trust fund set up by his father26. As we have seen he also had business interests of his own. In 1907 he also inherited   the estate of his uncle, Robert Grahame, who was his mother Matilda’s only sibling. He was Uncle Robert’s sole heir, inheriting £46,530 of personal wealth. This would have the purchasing power of roughly £5millon today.  Robert Grahame was living in Brighton at the time of his death27.

James Grahame Stewart appears to have been well thought of while living at Stonewall Park. When reporting his death in September 1913 The Kent and Sussex Courier stated,” There will be no doubt that his cheery presence will be missed in many a village function. He was a model employer and much respected by all who knew him here”28.

Our Donor.  Felicia Pepys Cockerell (1890-1900)

Felicia was born in London on 4th October 1890 at 19 Carlton House Terrace in London29.  She had one brother, John Cecil, born in 1897.

We  know that there was no trace of the family in either the 1891 or the 1901 census and that this   is possibly because, like her father’s parents, John and Matilda Stewart, Felicia’s mother and father spent a good part of each year living in Pau until about 1911,though still keeping a house in London.

From the 1911 Census we know that Felicia’s home at that time was  Stonewall Park, near Eden Bridge in Kent some 26 miles from London. The Stewarts also had the house in London and as we are aware were obviously wealthy.  Felicia’s father died in 1913 leaving a personal estate of £260,000-worth £26m of purchasing power today.  On her father’s death, by which time Felicia was 23, she had inherited a trust fund of £35,000 -over three and a half million pounds of purchasing power today – which provided her with a very comfortable income. She was a very rich woman30.

Stonewall park 2
Fig. 6 Stonewall Park copyright Matt Clayton for Locations >info@stonewallpark.co.uk

Like most girls of her ‘class’ Felicia did the London Season. In fact she did five Seasons-1908-1913, attending on average four balls a week31. She was presented at court on 15th May 190832.  She also appeared to be interested in amateur dramatics. There is an account in   the Tatler  for Dec 8th and Dec 15th  1909 which shows a photograph of her among a group of other ‘debs ‘ taking part in “St Ursula’s Pilgrimage” a play put on at the Court Theatre in London by the Hon Mrs Edith Lyttleton – a well-known member of London Society  who supported all sorts of women’s and worker’s causes , for example women’s suffrage. This production was in aid of The Industrial Law Indemnity Fund. In 1911 Felicia attended the Shakespeare Memorial Ball at the Albert Hall dressed as Juliet (one of about 40 Juliets! ). Perhaps she wore the same costume she wore the previous year when she played the part of Juliet in, “The Masque of Shakespeare” a theatrical event organised again by Mrs Lyttleton in aid of The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Fund33.  In 1913 she and her mother attended the wedding of Vita Sackville West to Harold Nicholson34. Weddings seemed to feature greatly in her life.

After her father’s death in 1913   Felicia, her mother and brother  moved to The Grove, Exton ,Hampshire. They were living there by 1914.

At the outbreak of WW1 now aged 23 Felicia was still single  – maybe she was a bit choosy-she could afford to be!

By 1915 Felicia was doing her bit for the war by working at the Bere Hill VAD hospital near Whitchurch in Hampshire, leaving her mother at home at The Grove. Her mother had written on the 1915 National Registration Form for Females that she had no skills, could not work in munitions and was very busy at home!35

John Cecil, Felicia’s brother had gone to Eton and aged only 17 joined  the army on 15th August 1914 -5th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He was promoted lieutenant on 14th August 1915 and sent to France. He survived for just a month. He was killed at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915.Thus Felicia would inherit everything after her mother’s death36.

There was a notice in The Times on July 23rd 1918 of Felicia’s engagement to Major Walter Headforte Brooke of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. But the print was hardly dry when an announcement appeared in the same newspaper  the following month saying that the marriage would not take place-not usual in those days37. Had Walter been killed in action like so many young men? That was not the case. He  went on to marry someone else in 1920 and it is not known what went wrong between him and Felicia.

12021300
Fig 7 Felicia in 1918, age 28.T From ‘The Sketch’ 7th August 1918 . Copyright Mary Evans Picture Library

There is little information about Felicia during the years after her engagement was broken off. We know she drove a car as she managed to come up against the law in January 1918 by contravening the Gas Restriction Order of February of that year which forbade the use of gas for a private car. She managed to get off on a technicality and only had to pay two shillings costs. One can only presume that Felicia’s life carried  on during the years after the war as it had done before, attending weddings and balls. Her home during this period was 25 Edwardes Square, Kensington.38

At the age of 32 on St Valentine’s Day 1922 she married Frederick Pepys Cockerel MC OBE – he was 14 years older than she was. They married at St Margaret’s Westminster.  There is no information as to how they met. The wedding was reported in The Times the following day. ”Miss Stewart made a lovely Valentine’s Day bride in a crystal and georgette gown with a long silver tissue train”. The bride was given away by her cousin Sir Guy Campbell and the best man was Guy Ridley,a barrister friend of the groom.  Among the many guests The Times listed many titled people. The couple began their honeymoon at Greenwood Gate, Ashdown Forest, the home of The Earl and Countess of Norbury and then went on to the Riviera and Greece. After the honeymoon they lived in Palace Gate Kensington39.

Frederick was a barrister at the time of the marriage. He was a descendent of Samuel Pepys, the diarist, through Pepys’s sister Pauline. His father, also Frederick Pepys Cockerell, was a noted architect as was his grandfather . Frederick  had attended Winchester School and then New College, Oxford but left in 1896 to go out to South Africa where he served in the war against the Boers. He had been a distinguished soldier during the Boer War, after which he spent a couple of years in the Colonial service in South Rhodesia. He was called to the Bar (Lincolns Inn) in 190940. He stood twice, unsuccessfully, for Parliament in 1910 and 1912 as Unionist Candidate for Mansfield in Nottinghamshire41.

Frederick  was one of the Old Contemptibles, entering WW1 at the beginning as a  lieutenant.  He was captured after the battle of Loos, escaped, found his way back to the British lines and was arrested by a Colonel who did not know him and thought he was a German spy. He was a talented linguist and spoke several European Languages as well as several African dialects and served a large part of the war in the Intelligence Unit, ending up as Lt Colonel in the Middle East in charge of the policing of the largest oil depot in the world at that time at Baku. General Dunsterville said of him,”My chief of military police ,the then Captain Cockerell reaches the last degree of unsurpassed skills.” He continued to serve after the war, serving on the Upper Silesia Plebiscite Commission in 192142.

Frederick and Felicia had two children. John Lawrence, born in 1924 and Mary Georgina in 1926. The marriage did not last, however, and in 1928 there appeared a report in The Times of the granting of a decree nisi between Felicia and Frederick  on the grounds of his adultery at Palace Gate and the Park Lane Hotel. Felicia was given custody of the children44.

What does one  do to cheer oneself  up after a divorce? You buy yourself a castle! Holt Castle in Worcestershire to be exact. Felicia and the children, John Lawrence and Mary lived there from 1928 until 1947. In 1939 Felicia was living there with Mary and eight domestic servants45. It is not known how much contact the children had with their father.

Holt Castle, 11745-39
Fig 8 Holt Castle Worcestershire. ‘Country Life’ 20th July 1940. Copyright Country Life Picture Library

There was a notice in a local paper in 1937 saying that Holt Castle Gardens would be open to the public for a couple of afternoons to raise money for Birmingham hospital, so Felicia was obviously involved in local charities46. She also appears to have kept exotic pets as in 1939 she put a notice in The Times advertising a kookaburra for £5, cage included!47

Holt Castle, 11745-39
Fig. 9 The Hall, Holt Castle. ‘Country Life’ 27th July 1940. Copyright Country Life Picture Library

From 1940 to 1945 Holt was leased to Southover Manor School, a private Girls School which had been evacuated from Lewes, Sussex and at which Mary was a pupil48. Felicia also kept a house in London which in 1940 was 8 Westbourne Park Road W2. There is no information to date as to how Felicia spent the war49.

But what happened to Frederick, Felicia’s ex-husband? He married to Grace A. Corbett in 192850. He then attempted to go into show business putting on performances of Russian singers at various theatres52, then opened a book shop in London. He was apparently an expert on old coins and books. He seems then to have   got into financial difficulties after buying an old Tudor house , Ramsden  Bellhouse Hall near Wickford, spending a lot of money trying to get it back to its Tudor glory and throwing many parties. Sadly he committed suicide in April 1932. He was found by police in a garden in Wimbledon with a bottle of poison by his side. According to the inquest he committed suicide while temporarily mentally disturbed. His obituary in The Times described him as, “ a man of great ability and much personal charm”52. After this time Felicia always referred to herself as a widow.

Felicia’s mother died in 1934 and the contents of The Grove were sold53. We can guess that this was probably the time that Felicia inherited our portrait. There was an article in Country Life Magazine in July 1940 about Holt Castle  ( see above figs 8 and 9)  which has photographs of the interior showing many paintings on the walls and which refers in the text to family portraits of Pepys ancestors54. Perhaps we can guess that our portrait may also have been on a wall in Holt Castle and when Felicia downsized in 1947 to go and live in Brooke House in Aldermaston she had no room for this portrait and gave it to Glasgow Art Galleries.

There is little more information available about Felicia after this. Her son John Lawrence had joined the Colonial Service. Felicia sailed from Liverpool on June 19th1952 on MV Apapa, heading for South Africa. She returned on August 11th aboard MV Areol. We may presume she had  visited her son55. Her daughter Mary became an architect, following her grandfather and great grandfather Pepys Cockerell56. There is a reference in the local Aldermaston paper in the 1960s which refers to the local annual fete and lists the various cups and awards which have been presented over the years, one of which was the Pepys Cockerell Cup-so Felicia must have supported events in the local community57.

Felicia died at Brooke House on 10th June 1970 aged 80. The death certificate described her as  the widow of Frederick Pepys Cockerell , bookshop proprietor58. Perhaps she never really forgot him.

References

  1. https://www.nga.gov Chester Harding; ‘Illustrated Catalogue of the Exhibition of Portraits on loan in the New Galleries of Art,Corporation Buildings,,Sauchiehall St.’(McLellan Galleries) https://babel.hathi.trust.org
  2. GMRC Objects file. Acc 2683

   3.”Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry” Published  1878 James Maclehose and Sons 2nd edition     www.glasgowhistory.co.uk/Books/MansionHouses

4. Robert Grahame of Whitehill .Obituary Glasgow Herald 12/11/1852

  1. Quincey,Josiah “Memoir of James Grahame LLD. ”Charles C Little &James Brown Boston 1845(.Originally) written for the Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  2. Robley Genealogy http://www.robley.org.uk/jrstoke.html
  3. Harris,Eleanor .’James Grahame’ in “The Episcopal Congregation of Charlotte Chapel”.Online- http://www..stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk.2011
  4. Quincey,Josiah “Memoir of James Grahame LLD.”Charles C Little and James Brown Boston 1845
  5. http://www.brontesisters.co.uk/John_StewartPhotographer.html
  6. Memoirs of the Late Reverend Alexander Stewart DD .One of the Ministers of Canongate ,Edinburgh”.pub William Oliphant 1822.
  7. Luminous -Lint. Photography :History,Evolution and Analysis. http://www.luminous_lint.com/app/photographer/John-Stewart_01/A/

12.  http://www.brontesisters.co.uk/John_StewartPhotographer.html .

13. Rossoni,Raphael (ed) “Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966” 2016 https://issuu.com/raphaelrossoni/docs/pgc_who_s_who_1856-1966

  1. Will of John Stewart.GOV.UK. https:www.gov.uk/search-wills-probate
  2. http://www.justabouttravel.net/2014/07/14pau “Pau, it’s such a British City.”
  3. Rossoni, Raphael(ed) Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966. 2016
  4. Luminous- Lint.Photography:History,Evolutionand Analysis .http://www.luminous_lint.com/app/photographer/John-Stewart_01/A/
  5. http://www.brontesisters.co.uk/John_StewartPhotographer.html
  6. Will of John Stewart.GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/search-will- probate
  7. Register of Statutory Deaths John Stewart. www.ancestry.co.uk
  8. Rossoni,Raphael (ed) Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966
  9. ibid
  10. Morning Post(MP) 07/07/1878
  11. MP 08/05/1880 ;MP 12/05/1885
  12. MP 20/04/1885
  13. Will of John Stewart. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

27. Sussex Agricultural Express   02/02/19

28. Obituary Kent and Sussex Courier 19/09/1913

  1. Register of Statutory Births. Felicia Stewart www.ancestry.co.uk
  2. Will of James Grahame Stewart. GOV.UK Wills Probate and Inheritance. https://www.gov.uk/search-wills-probate
  3. Times 06/02/1954
  4. Times 16/05/1908
  5. Daily Telegraph and Courier 24/06/1910 ; The Globe 21/6/1911
  6. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 25/7/1930
  7. National Registration Act 1915.Form for Females.92A02/A1/22/469/470.Hampshire Record Office
  8. Eton College Chronicle No 1737 8th July 1920
  9. Times 16/09/1918
  10. West London Observer 22/02/1918
  11. Times 15/02/1922; Sheffield Daily Telegraph 15/02/1922
  12. Obituary Times 31/03/1932
  13. Times 25/10/1910 ;Sheffield Evening Telegraph27/09/1913
  14. New York Times 08/01/193o ; Visions of Azerbaijan .Summer 2006. Vol 1.2. http://www.visions.az./news
  15. Register of Statutory Births . John Lawrence, Mary Georgina. www.ancestry.co.uk
  16. Times 23/10/1928
  17. 1939 Register www.findmypast.co.uk
  18. Birmingham Gazette 03/07/1937; Birmingham Mail. 29/7/1939
  19. Times 21/7/1939
  20. National Archives Discovery:East Sussex Record Office .Ref amsnn/AMS6799
  21. London Telephone Directory 1940
  22. Register of Statutory Marriages. www.ancestry.co.uk
  23. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 25/7/1930
  24. Times 31/03/1932
  25. Hampshire Telegraph 10/08/1934; Portsmouth Evening News 25/09/1934
  26. Country Life 20/07/1934;27/07/1934
  27. Outgoing and Incoming Passenger Lists 1890-1960. www.ancestry.co.uk
  28. The Tatler 09/02/1944
  29. Berkshire Record Office. arch@reading.gov.uk
  30. General Register Office Death Certificate Felicia Marie Louise Pepys Cockerell

JMM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archibald Cameron Corbett

Archibald Cameron Corbett (1856-1933) 

Property Developer ,Politician and Philanthropist

Paintings

Archibald Cameron Corbett presented two paintings to the Corporation of Glasgow in September 18981.

Borderland   1896  by James Paterson

Copyright  CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

This painting was exhibited at The Royal Scottish Academy in 18962 and also in 1961 in ‘An Exhibition of Scottish Painting held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery . It was bought by Corbett in 1898,”for Glasgow Gallery” for £1504.

The Corbett family appear to have been patrons of Paterson over many years. The first recorded sale to  Corbett was of two watercolours, ‘Moxhill’ and ‘Old Mill Moniave’ bought for £35 in 1883. Corbett, his sister , Jessie, his father ,and his elder brother Thomas Lorimer Corbett went on to buy at least 16 more of Paterson’s paintings , both oil and watercolour. Corbett also bought many of Paterson’s watercolours to adorn the walls of Rowallan Castle,the family home in Ayrshire built in 19065.

And

The Right Honourable Arthur J Balfour MP 1896-1898

by William Ewart Lockhart

Lockhart, William Ewart, 1846-1900; The Right Honourable Arthur J. Balfour (1848-1930), MP

Copyright CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Painted by William Ewart Lockhart RSA,RSW 1896-1898. Exhibited at the Royal lScottish Academy in 18986. The portrait was commissioned by Corbett in order to be “presented to the new Art Gallery in Glasgow”.7

Early Life

Corbett was born at 8 Buckingham Terrace , Glasgow on May 23rd 18561. He was the second son , one of five children born to a wealthy Glasgow merchant, Thomas Lorimer Corbett , who had married Sarah Cameron in 18522. Corbett’s father was an ‘Australia merchant’ trading in timber and wool with his brother, Andrew , who had emigrated to Australia some years earlier.The Corbetts also had a summer home , South Park, at Cove on the Firth of Clyde, as did many wealthy Glasgow businessmen at the time4.

In 1864 when Corbett was about eight years old, Corbett senior moved his business to London with an office in Gracechurch Street5. By 1871 the family were living in a house called Oak Park in Cavendish Road, Clapham Park. By this time the family was complete with four children, three boys-Thomas, Archibald and Henry and one girl- Jessie6.

In January 1877, Thomas Corbett bought 110 acres of greenfield market garden land ,part of the Manor of Woodgrange, Forest Gate, originally part of Epping Forest, now in the London borough of Newham, and began the development of good quality housing estates in south –east London which was later carried on so successfully by his second son, Archibald7.

Despite their wealth the Corbetts lived a very unostentatious life. Mother, Sarah, appears  to have been a strict Presbyterian,allowing no games etc on Sundays and no dancing or theatre- going at any time! The family were also strict supporters of temperance. Even so our donor appears to have had a happy childhood with summers spent at Cove where he had a Shetland pony called Tottie, and winters in London8.

The Corbett children were educated at home by a series of ‘godly’ tutors, as their mother did not want them exposed to the’temptations ‘ of school life’9.

About 1870 Archibald and his elder brother Thomas  were given the choice of going on  a tour of Europe with a tutor or going to Oxford or Cambridge! What a difficult choice that must have been for a  fourteen and a fifteen year old!10. Fortunately we still have the detailed account of the trip written by Archibald in several exercise books which contain not only written details in a beautiful copperplate hand but also architectural drawings of the things he had seen 11. Whether  it was this tour  which sparked an interest in things artistic  we do not know, but soon after his European Tour Archibald enrolled at the  ‘Art School in South Kensington’ to study sculpture12. We know he was there in February 1876 as there is a letter written by him to his friend James Paterson, the artist, in which he writes ‘…..I am modelling pretty steadily at present and I hope to finish a bust of Clytie for the SK  competition…’.  How they became friends we do not know but they appear to have been quite close as in the letter Archibald tries to persuade Paterson to continue his studies in London where ‘…Millais would be one of your professors…’13

By the time he was 21 Archibald had abandoned student life  and was managing his father’s property development business in South East London  which he took over after his father’s early death in 1880. But even though his student days did not last long, according to his son ‘..he was left for life with a keen appreciation of both painting and sculpture’. As we shall see  and according to his son he became a modest patron of the arts14.

Property Developer

Archibald Cameron Corbett became one of the principal developers of the middle class suburbs of South East London. Between 1877 and 1914  Corbett managed the building of around 7,500 houses on 1096 acres of land1 . These good  quality  houses were spread over seven estates :-

Clementswood and Grange –Ilford

Dowanshall  at Seven Kings to the north of Ilford

Mayfield-to the east of Ilford

Woodgrange at Forest Gate

St German at Hither Green

Eltham Park.2

A catalogue was produced in 1913 showing the types of houses for sale in Eltham Park-not common practice among speculative developers at the time3.

The Corbetts were not builders but went into partnership with Mowlems(roads and drainage), J.J.Bassett and Son and the building firm of Picton and Hope. One of the Hope family bought one of the Eltham Park houses for himself-44 Craigton Road. There in 1913 was born Leslie Towns Hope-better known to the world as ‘Bob’4.

Many of the roads on the Corbett Estates had Scottish names. Also the estates were always built near to a railway station to encourage sales to the growing number of commuters into the City. The houses ranged from £530 for a six bed villa to £330 for a three bed terrace. The Corbett Estates had its own system of payment by  instalments . The houses were priced little higher than cost price as the real income came from the annual ground rent which ranged from £8.80 per annum for the large houses to £3.30 for a terrace house5.

The needs of the residents of the Corbett Estates were taken care of as Corbett gave land and financial support for parks, libraries and churches on all his estates. However one thing not to be found on any Corbett estate was a public house or hotel which sold alcohol as Corbett was always true to his temperance beliefs6.

IMG_20160611_0003 - Copy

Copyright  Frank Kelsall

The Corbett Estates had an office at 24 Sloane Square which exisited until 1926 when it made way for the Peter Jones Department Store7. The houses on many of the Corbett Estates are still sought after today. In 1976 the Woodgrange Estate was made a Conservation area and in October 2013 the Archibald  Corbett Society was formed in Hither Green whose aim is ,’to preserve the estate’s unique character and heritage for future generations’8.

Politician

Both Archibald and his elder brother  Thomas Lorimer Corbett were interested in a political career. Thomas was a life long Conservative and Unionist , while Archibald was a supporter of the Liberal Party for most of his political career however both brothers were life- long opponents to Irish Home Rule. After serving on the London County Council from 1889 to 1900, Thomas was eventually elected as Irish Unionist MP for North Down in 19001.

At first Archibald was unsuccessful when he stood as Liberal candidate for North Warwickshire in 1884 and seems to have been regarded as a carpet bagger by his opponents as illustrated in this cartoon by EC Mountford which appeared in ‘The Dart ‘ magazine in November 1882

cartoon ACCorbett

Copyright. University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections. Archibald Cameron Corbett Collection GB248DC126/19

Finally in November 1885 Archibald Cameron Corbett was elected Liberal MP for the newly created constituency of Tradeston in Glasgow3. Glasgow’s seven MPs were all Liberals. The group sent a telegram to Prime Minister Gladstone which said ’Now we are seven.’4

The constituency of Tradeston included not only the district of Tradeston but also those of Kinning Park and Kingston,all industrial suburbs of Glasgow south of the Clyde now much changed as a result of the building of the M8 and M74 motorways and the Kingston Bridge.

Temperance and Home Rule were Archibald Cameron Corbett’s most cherished political beliefs. So strong were his opinions on these matters that he ‘crossed the floor of the House’ on two occasions in order to support his beliefs.

The first dispute , with his own Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Gladstone, came very early in his political career. In 1886 Archibald disagreed with Gladstone’s Irish Home Rule Bill and left the Liberal Party  to join the Liberal and Unionist Party ,newly founded by those Liberal MPs who were opposed to Irish Home Rule but yet could not bring themselves to join the Conservative Party. When the Liberal Unionists joined the Conservatives in a Coalition Government which was in power from 1895 to 1905,the Prime Minister was Arthur Balfour,leader of the Conservative Party . Thus we now know why a Liberal MP commissioned a portrait of  Conservative Prime Minister!5

The second parting of the ways occurred in 1908, when Corbett was still a member of the Liberal Unionist Party, now in opposition but taking the Conservative Whip.The Liberal Government under Gladstone introduced a Licensing Bill which was very dear to our donors heart. If passed  this Bill would close one third of the public houses in England and Wales,severly curtail Sunday opening hours and forbid the employment of women in public houses. The Bill was very unpopular ,especially among barmaids! There were even riots in Hyde Park.

The Conservative Opposition and the Liberal Unionists were very much opposed to the Bill,having many supporters in the drink and brewing industries. So Archibald , a life- long supporter of the Temperance Movement found himself in opposition to the Whips of his own party. The matter was aired many times in the Glasgow Herald and the Times during the summer of 1908, when the Tradeston MP toured the country in support of the Bill. Around August 18th  Archibald Cameron Corbett resigned from the Liberal Unionist Party. He wrote a letter to the Times in which he offered to resign his seat.6

There were several  meetings of the  Constituency Committee in Tradeston but as they had long known their MP’s views on Temperance  and as his opposition to Irish Home Rule was just as strong , he was asked to remain as the Tradeston MP.

In fact Archibald Cameron Corbett held his seat in Tradeston through eight General Elections between 1885 and 1910 , so great was his personal following  even when he stood as an Independent against the official Liberal Candidate as he did in January 1910. By the time of the December 1910 General Election he had rejoined the Liberal Party and was the victorious  official candidate.

The whole affair had taken a toll of his health and there are reports in the press in September 1908 of an illness due to exhaustion while campaigning in Newcastle. It must have been a disappointment to him, if not to the barmaids of England and Wales , that the Licensing Bill was dropped as it was so unpopular.7

There are few other insights into Corbett’s political career and beliefs. One came in the run-up to the passing of the ground breaking 1909 People’s Budget introduced by the Liberal Government . This budget would introduce welfare reforms and increase taxation on the rich. In a letter to the Times in May 1908, Corbett suggested the he regarded the Old Age Pension Bill, which proposed to give a better allowance to two single people than to a married couple , would lead to immorality!

He was also Chair of the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration  for the Steel Trades of the West of Scotland-there were no disputes on his watch! He was also a supporter of the Suffragette Movement. According to his son  Godfrey he was also responsible for  arranging for a young Marconi to transmit a message through the airwaves from Westminster across the Thames to St Thomas’s Hospital- the first wireless demonstration in Britain.8

Corbett was also noted for his innate kindness to his fellow man. According to his son , while still in the House of Commons, when the first Labour PMs were elected, his father helped them settle in.9

Perhaps it was a relief to Corbett’s political loyalties and to everyone else that further conflict was avoided when in the Coronation Honours List  in June 1911 he was raised to the peerage  and became 1st Baron Rowallan.

During his years in the House of Lords one of his favourite pastimes was taking groups of schoolchildren round Westminster, especially as the children had no idea who he was!10

When asked what gave him the greatest feeling of satisfaction in his political career, it is said that it was the passing of the Temperance( Scotland) Act 1913. This Act gave Scottish people the right to vote for a veto on the sale of alcohol in their local area if 10% of voters wished for a ballot. One wonders what the voters of Tradeston thought of that!

Personal and Family Life

Life was not all work for our donor. In  September 1887 he married Alice Mary Polson at Skelmorlie United Presbyterian Church. Alice was the 21 year old daughter of John Polson of Paisley one of the owners of Brown and Polson  Cornflower Manufacturers. Polson was a very wealthy man, his business interests included being  a director of the Vale of Clyde Tramway Company.1

Archibald and Alice  met on the  French Riviera probably in the spring of 1885 where Corbett  had gone possibly to lick his wounds after losing the North Warwickshire election. The Corbetts were staying in Nice and had gone to nearby Cimiez where the Polsons were staying. The couple met when the Corbetts took shelter from the rain at the Polsons’hotel. 2

Lavery, John, 1856-1941; Sir Archibald Cameron Corbett (1856-1933), 1st Baron Rowallan, MP

Archibald Cameron Corbett c1890  by John Lavery

 Copyright CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Portrait-of-Lady-Rowallan-in-White-210x300

Alice Mary Polson  by W E Lockhart 1896 

 Copyright  The Fine Art Society  Edinburgh

According to his son Godfrey  Corbett waited until he got a seat in Parliament before  he embarked on marriage. The wedding reception was held at Castle Levan on the Clyde, the summer home of the Polsons.

In 1888 the Corbetts moved to 26 Hans Place in London not far from Harrods.They had three children. Elsie was born in 1893,Thomas Godfrey in 1895 and Arthur Cameron in 1898. As well as their London home the Corbetts always had a home in Glasgow and a summer home at Cove . Bellahouston House was the Glasgow Home from 1890 to 1900, then Thornliebank House on the Rouken Glen Esate until 1906.3

Thornliebank House

Thornliebank House

Copyright Glasgow City Archives

Corbett was very conscious of his own restricted upbringing, brought about by his mother’s attitude and beliefs. He was determined to “banish the Cameronian gloom”. For example both his sons went to Eton.4

In 1901 Mrs Polson bought the 6,000 acre Rowallan Estate for the Polsons. What a very generous mother-in-law! There was an old castle on the estate but Corbett felt it was unsuitable for a family and commissioned architect Sir Robert Lorimer  to design a new house on higher ground.5

Rowallan Castle-old

Old Rowallan Castle Copyright  East Ayrshire Leisure Trust

Then in 1902 disaster struck . In July 1902 following a short illness after attending a city banquet  Alice Corbett died suddenly at Hans Place. She was to the children ,”our gay and adored mother”. Ever a caring father and determined his children should not be exposed to such grief when so young , Corbett chartered a yacht and sent his children on a cruise along the Firth of Clyde with some friends to keep them company. Only in later life did his children realise what a sacrifice that must have been for their father and how lonely he must have been.6

The plans for Rowallan  were reduced by 100,000 cubic feet,much to the chagrin of the architect. No longer was there to be a ballroom for example. The Corbetts moved into the new Rowallan Castle  in 1906,while continuing to live in Hans Place when in London and life went on as well as could be expected without Alice until 1914.

Corbett’s eldest son Godfrey(always called Billy by the family) was at Eton when war was declared in August 1914.There can be no better demonstration of their upbringing than the desire of the three Corbett children to play their part in the war effort. Billy was commissioned into the Ayrshire Yeomanry and later transferred to the Grenadier Guards. He was badly wounded and won the Military Cross. Arthur  joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 19 16 when he was just 18. Sadly he was  killed in action in December 1916. Elsie joined a Woman’s Ambulance Unit ,serving in Serbia from 1915 until 1919. She was taken prisoner by the Austrians and held for a year.7 She later wrote a book of her experiences.8

True to his generous nature their  father moved from Hans Place to Browns Hotel in 1916. He gave 26 Hans Place over to Belgian refugees.That he was a much –loved father can be seen from the many letters written to their father during the war by Elsie ,Billy and Arthur.10 In 1918 26 Hans Place was sold and Browns Hotel became Corbett’s permanent  home.

But what became of Rowallan Castle? In August 1918 Billy married  Gwyn Grimond, sister of Joe Grimond , future Liberal MP. They took over Rowallan Castle as their main residence where they had four children. Billy went on to be Chief Scout of the Commomwealth from 1945 until 1957 after which he became Governor of Tasmania ,following his father’s example  a life of public service.11      

Philanthropist

Archibald Cameron Corbett’s father,Thomas Lorimer Corbett was probably the role model for his second son’s lifetime of caring about those less fortunate than himself. While still living in Glasgow, Corbett senior set up the Glasgow Cooking Depots, canteens where working men could get cheap meals. These were very successful and made a profit which in turn was used to found Saltcoats Convalescent Home. T L Corbett was  instrumental in the financing of Quarrier’s Orphan Homes. He also founded Glasgow Working Men’s Club, the first of its kind in Scotland and supported the 1865/6 Glasgow Industrial Exhibition. His financing of bowling greens in Glasgow was true to the Corbett family tradition of trying to give working men an alternative to the public house!1

The Polsons were also a very generous family ,the town of Paisley benefiting from many gifts as in 1904 when Mrs Polson donated £10,000 to the local hospital. Thus when our donor married Alice Mary Polson in 1887 he had a wife who had been brought up with similar philanthropic views to his own.2

In Glasgow Archibald Cameron Corbett is remembered for his gift of Thornliebank House and Rouken Glen Estate(now Rouken Glen Park opened 26th May 1906) to the people of the city.He also bought the Ardgoil Estate in Argyle and gave it to the city in the hope that “large numbers of mothers and children from congested areas of Glasgow should be taken there by steamer”.4

A C Corbett c1906

Archibald Cameron Corbett c1906

Copyright Glasgow City Archives

The Corbetts were one of the  four Glasgow families who helped to finance and run The Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women,founded in 1886. Mrs Corbett was president of the Ladies Auxiliary Committee which raised funds for the hospital. The Alice Mary Corbett Memorial Home for Nurses was built in her memory after her death in 1902. Her husband  eventually became President of the hospital. The Corbetts were also involved in the Victoria Infirmary  where Corbett was its Chairman.5

After he took possession of the Rowallan Estate in 1906 ,Corbett took a great interest in how to improve the lives of his tenants. On discovering that the dairy farmers on the estate had to rise at 2am to milk the cows and then take the milk to Glasgow to sell, he set up the Rowallan Farmers Creamery ,a central point to which the farmers could take the milk to be cooled  and handled at reasonable hours. Based on a scheme which Corbett  had seen in Denmark ,it was the first of its kind in Britain.6

The list of Archibald Cameron Corbett’s charitable interests in Scotland are endless and include The Band of Hope,Temperance Association,Foundry Boys Association, Sunday Schools and many others.7 There is no better proof of the high esteem in which he was held than his repeated re-election as MP for Tradeston no matter which party he supported.

In recognition of his many years of service as both a Glasgow MP and of his great generosity to the City, Archibald Cameron Corbett was made a Burgess of the City  in January 1908.8

Because of his Parliamentary and business duties there Corbett spent a considerable part of his time in London ,”where he is as popular as he is in his Northern  Kingdom.” His philanthropic activities were as numerous in and around the Corbett Estates. Among these were:-

C1894-donated a drinking fountain for outside Forest Gate Station

1894-one acre of land given to tenants and residents of Ilford  for tennis courts and other games with £250 for layout.

1898 St German’s Recreation Grounds laid out “for tennis , croquet and other garden games”

1899-Downshall Baptist Chapel on on land and through finance given by Corbett

1900/1- 9 acres of land for parks at seven Kings Estate ,Ilford

1900/1-2000 children Lambeth given bulbs, a jar and growing instructions in December with a flower show in March to see the results.Mr and Mrs Corbett presented the prizes.

1902-ambulance given to Borough of Ilford

1903 –land donated for library at Hither Green,St German’s Estate

And many many more.9

Archibald Cameron Corbett’s philanthropy is perhaps best   summed up by the Glasgow Herald after his death.

“…supporter of every movement for the moral and social education of the populace…”10

Final Years

Corbett appears to have lived a quiet life at Browns Hotel in Albemarle Street after 1918. Little of his later life is documented. Perhaps he enjoyed visits from his  children and grandchildren . His daughter Elsie who never married  but settled in Spelsbury in Oxfordshire where she became a Justice of the Peace  for that county.1

On 19th March 1933 Archibald Cameron Corbett died peacefully at Brooks Club in London while sitting in his favourite chair reading a book . He was buried alongside his beloved Alice on Rowallan Moor in Ayrshire  in a simple grave. A short service was held at Rowallan House and was attended by large numbers of farm tenants and estate workers. The road to the burial was lined with local people,for example the boys of Fenwick School, and blinds were drawn in village shops and houses as a mark of the great respect in which this simple ,kind man was held.

A Memorial Service was held for our donor at Glasgow Cathedral on 23rd March 1933.2

Perhaps today we would find Archibald Cameron Corbett  rather paternalistic and patronising to ordinary people but the people of his time held him in great esteem.3

Notes and References

Paintings

1.Glasgow Corporation Parks Dept .Museums Sub-Committee Minutes 2/9/1898

2. C Baile  de Lapariare (ed)RSA  Exhibitions 1826-1990 Vol 111.1991

3.Catalogue: Exhibition of Scottish Paintings from Early 17th Century to Early 20th Century.Kelvingrove Museum

4.James Paterson Sales Book.Glasgow UniversityLibrary (GUL)Special Collections.MS Paterson HC4

5.ibid

6.C Baile de Lapariere(ed) RSA Exhibitions 1826-1990. Vol111.1991

7.Glasgow University Archives(GUA)GB 0248 (GUA) Doc026/16.Letter from A.J Balfour to ACC

Early Life

1. http://www.ancestry.co.uk Statutory Register of Births

2. T.G.P Corbett.Rowallan:The Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT pub Paul Harris 1976. p6

3.ibid p4

4.ibid p7

5.ibid p7

6.www.ancestry.co.uk Census Records 1871

7.www.newshamstory.com

8. Corbett. Rowallan:The Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT p8/9

9.ibid p9

10.ibid p10

11. GUA Doc 26/20

12.Corbett.Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT p10.”SK” became Royal College of Art and Design

13. James Paterson Sales Book. GUL Special Collections.MSPaterson H4

14. Corbett. Rowallan :Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT p10

Property Developer

1.Cole,Oswald. The Quest for Cameron Corbett:A Study of an Eminent Edwardian

2.ibid

3.www.building conservation.com:Kensall,Frank/dating old buildings.

4.The Corbett Estate. Article in The Mercury(Greenwich)19/01/2000

5.www.newshamstory.com

6. Cole.The Quest for Cameron Corbett:A Study of an Eminent Edwardian. p43

7.ibid p47

8.www.newshamstory.com

9.www.catfordcentral.com/hither-green-archibald-corbett-society

Politician

1. Cole. The Quest for Cameron Corbett:A Study of an Eminent Edwardian p41 ;www.wikipedia.org-Thomas Lorimer Corbett

2.”Dart Magazine” 24/11/1882 Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections.Archibald Cameron Corbett Collection GB248DC026/19

3.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p15

4.Fisher,J. The Glasgow Encyclopaedia. Mainstream 1994

5.Glasgow Herald(GH) 20/03/1933;Cawood,Ian The Liberal Unionist Party. Taurus 2012

6.GH 18/08/1908

7.GH 28/09/1908;12/10/1908

8. GUA DC026/6;Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p77

9. Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p29

10.ibid p76

Personal Life

1.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord RowallanKT. pp 13-16

2.ibid pp12,15,16

3.ibid pp17-24

4.ibid p18

5.ibid p26

6.ibid pp27-28

7.ibid pp37-52

8.Elsie Cameron Corbett. Red Cross in Serbia 1915-1919:A Personal Diary of Reminiscences. Mainstream 1964.

9. GUA DC026/6

10.GUA DC026/28/29/30/31

11.Corbett.Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. Chap 4

Philanthropist

1.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT p5

2.ibid pp 12,15,16,32

3.ibid p33;GH 20/03/1933

4.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p32

5.Stothers Glasgow,Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Xmas and New Year Annual 1911-12

6.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p63

7.GH  20/03/1933

8.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. p35

9. Stothers Glasgow,Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Xmas and New Year Annual 1911-12

10.GH 20/03/1933

Final Years

1.Elsie Cameron Corbett. Red Cross in Serbia 1915-19:A Personal Diary of Reminiscences.

2.Corbett. Rowallan:Autobiography of Lord Rowallan KT. pp76-78

3.GH 24/03/1933

JMM

 

Lt Colonel H.A Campbell OBE 1895-1971

Paintings

In 1946 our donor presented the following family portraits to Glasgow Museums.

Underhill; William Campbell of Tullichewan (1794-1864)
Figure 1 Underhill; William Campbell of Tullichewan (1794-1864)© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.
unknown artist; James Campbell of Tullichewan (1823-1901)
Figure 2 Unknown artist; James Campbell of Tullichewan (1823-1901);© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

William Campbell was our donor’s great -grandfather  and one of the founder’s of the family’s prosperity. The artist was” Underhill” but whether William Underhill (1848-1871) or Frederick Charles Underhill(1832-1896)  or another artist by that name is not known at this time. James Campbell was our donor’s grandfather  who continued the management of the family business after his father’s death.

There is no evidence that either painting was exhibited.

The Campbell Family

We cannot discuss the life and exploits of Henry Alastair Campbell (known as Alastair)  without looking into his family background  as the subjects of the portraits played such a great part in the economic and social life of Glasgow and the surrounding area in the 19th Century as well as in the prosperity of the Campbells , which affected future generations.

William Campbell (1793-1864)

“Christian Philanthropist and one of our Merchant Princes” was how William Campbell,great-grandfather of H.A. Campbell was described in his obituary1. William Campbell was one of the founders of the family fortune. His father was a tenant farmer on the Gartmore Estate  near Port of Menteith. He was the fifth of nine children. In 1805 his parents brought the family to Glasgow ,attracted by the burgeoning industry of the city. After learning weaving William was employed by John Craig,who had a “respectable Scotch cloth business “ in the High Street. Such was the good impression he made,through his honesty,cheerfulness and energy for hard work, that on the death of his employer, William was invited by the widow to run the business. However William decided to set up in business for himself. He was 22 years old. He began by selling handkerchiefs from premises in the Saltmarket in 1817. The business prospered ,extending to all types of drapery,eventually outgrowing the premises and William’s ability to run the business single-handed. One of the reasons for his success was his acknowledged  transformation of the art of retailing in Glasgow. He introduced a system of small profits,quick returns and fixed prices. Thus he ended the practice of “prigging” where the price of  everything on  sale was negotiable.  Different people paid different prices for the same product and the whole business was very time-consuming.

William  was eventually joined by his brother  James and together they formed the partnership of ‘J & W Campbell & Co General Warehousemen’ and moved to a purpose-built warehouse in Candleriggs. By 1841  William had became so prosperous he was able to buy the estate of Tullichewan on the shores of Loch Lomond and moved to Tullichewan Castle2. James bought the estate of Strathcatro in Angus. Both sons of James Campbell,James A Campbell and Henry Campbell  became Members of Parliament. Henry Campbell ,MP for Stirling , inherited an estate in Kent from his uncle Henry Bannerman in 1871 with the provision that he change his name to Campbell- Bannerman  He was later to become Henry Campbell Bannerman,Prime  Minister3.

tullichewancastle
Figure 3 Tullichewan Castle © http://www.valeofleven.org.uk

The company continued to prosper, expanding into a wholesale business which traded with every part of the UK as well as Australia ,New Zealand ,South Africa,The West Indies,Canada and the USA. J&W Campbell also acted as agents for manufacturers and other warehouses which wanted to export goods abroad . In 1856 the company moved for the final time to large new premises in Ingram Street which had been built to the company’s specifications.

William Campbell  was an intimate friend of Thomas Chalmers, the minister who led  the Disruption of the Church of Scotland and to the founding of the Free Church of Scotland. Chalmers was a frequent visitor to Tullichewan Castle. William was an avid supporter of the Disruption ,not least in the financial support he gave. He took an active part in the scheme of William Collins to build 20 new churches in Glasgow and that of Thomas Chalmers to build two hundred new churches in Scotland. He is included in that very famous memorial to the Disruption,”The Disruption Worthies”4.

William Campbell’s generosity was not confined to the building of churches. He spent a large part of his fortune on those in need. He was co- founder and financial supporter of The Glasgow Night Asylum  for the Homeless to which he bequeathed a legacy of £1500. He supported The City Improvement Scheme,The Royal Infirmary and the Indigent Gentlewoman’s Fund. He did not shy away from the darker  side of life either in that he supported those who worked to rescue girls from a life working in the brothels of Glasgow and he is credited with financing the rescue of 30-40 girls. He was always alert to the need to improve the lives of working people. To that end he contributed £500 to the financially  struggling Glasgow Botanic Gardens so that  it could open its gates to the general public on the annual  Glasgow Fair Holiday. It is estimated that he gave away between £80,000 and £90,000 to charity of all kinds during his lifetime5.

In 1822 William had married Margaret Roxburgh. They went on to have five children  and became one of the leading families in Dunbartonshire.

When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Dumbarton Castle in 1847,  Mr and Mrs William Campbell as well as their son James and his wife, Jessie, were among the party which greeted the queen6.

Figure 4 Painting by Hope J Stewart 1816-1881; Landing of Queen Victoria at Dumbarton © West Dunbartonshire Council

William Campbell died on April 2nd 1864 at the home of his son James at 200 Bath Street7. He is buried at Glasgow Necropolis“among the great of Glasgow”8 .

James  Campbell of Tullichewan (1823-1901)

Even before the death of his father in 1864  his second son, James, our donor Alastair’s grandfather, had taken over the running of  J&W Campbell & Company aided by two of his Campbell cousins, sons of James Campbell ,later Sir James Campbell, Lord Provost of Glasgow. In 1846 James had married Janet Black(always known as Jessie) daughter of the owner of a bleaching business. They were married for over fifty years and had five children-William born in 1848;Eliza  born 18519;Margaret born  1854;Jessie G born in 1855 and James Adair,Alastair’s father, born in 186010.

Under James’s leadership the company went from strength to strength. Since about 1856 when the company moved to the Ingram Street premises, it  had become a  completely  wholesale enterprise. The Ingram Street premises had three floors and a basement. The ‘counting house’ was on the ground floor,the basement housed  ‘heavier classes of goods’ for example ‘flannels and blankets…waterproof fabrics, moleskins…towellings … carpets and floorcloths…stock…representative of the best national products of its kind’. The first floor housed woollen cloth ‘embracing every variety of the tweeds of Scotland and England’ among many other drapery items.The second and third floors were equally well-stocked with every kind of drapery one could imagine including ‘a ready-made clothing department…silks and satins,ribbons,laces,flowers,fancy goods,smallwares,fans,bags,umbrellas,stays,braces,mantles,millinery and shawls’. The company employed between five and six hundred employees11. The Campbells had come a long way from selling handkerchiefs from a tenement in the Saltmarket!

On the death of William Campbell  James and Jessie moved from their home at 200 Bath Street to Tullichewan Castle. Like his father James continued to support  the Free Church,later the United Free Church, and carried on many of his father’s philanthropic works,for example he was president of the Glasgow Night Asylum For the Homeless for many years. James was also an ardent  Liberal and supporter of William Gladstone. He supported many Liberal associations in the Vale of Leven  both financially and by giving advice.He was also very interested in the education of young people12.

Although living at Tullichewan, James continued to take an active part in the life of the City of Glasgow. He was very interested in the education of the young and served on the School Board of  Glasgow. He was  a member of the Executive Council  for the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition. He was also very interested in drama and music. The Glasgow Music Festival of 1874 owes no small thanks to James who was Chairman of the Executive Committee. James was also President of the Glasgow Choral Union and a patron of the Glasgow Amateur Dramatic Club which had been founded in 1883  as a charitable institution,’to promote the study and practice of Dramatic Art’. Tickets were only available from members13.

Jessie Campbell LLD
Figure 5 Jessie Campbell LLD © Glasgow University Archives

We cannot forget Alastair’s grandmother Jessie as she was an extraordinary woman for her time.Jessie was involved in many social and intellectual movements but her main interest was the promotion of the cause for the higher education of women in Scotland. It was she who first suggested in 1868 that Glasgow University hold lectures for women in Natural History,Moral Philosophy,English Literature and Astronomy,given by professors from the university. These lectures were held at the university and at the Corporation Galleries( known to us as McLellan Galleries where the city’s art collection was housed at that time). These lectures were very successful and continued until 1877 when the Glasgow Association for the Higher Education of Women was formed  to offer women the opportunity to study at University level. Jessie became Vice President of the Association. In 1883 the Association was incorporated as Queen Margaret College. Jessie took on the role of Vice President and chaired its executive committee. She persuaded her friend Isabella Elder, wife of ship builder David Elder and one of the greatest  Glasgow philanthropists of her  time, to buy North Park House,(Queen Margaret Drive)  in the West End of Glasgow for the college. Jessie was  the main fund-raiser of the £20,000 college endowment fund. At this time Queen Margaret College was the only college of higher education for women in Scotland. The college amalgamated with Glasgow University  in 1892 and was particularly noted for its medical faculty for the training of female doctors-separate from the training of male doctors of course! In 1901 Jessie Campbell was  awarded  an honorary LLD degree in gratitude for her services14.

Unfortunately the year 1901 was not a happy one for the Campbell family. In April 1901, James and Jessie’s grandson, George Gildea,son of their daughter Eliza and her husband, the late Major General George Frederick Gildea , died of enteric fever in Johannesburg  while serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Highland Fusiliers as his father had done. Young George and his step-sister, Alleine,  spent a lot of time at Tullichewan with the Campbell grandparents while their parents were with his regiment.

Eliza was the second wife of George Fredreick Gildea who was a distinguished soldier. He fought in the Crimean War and in the Anglo-Boer war of 1880-81 when he was Garrison Commander of a fort near Pretoria. This fort was built around 1880 and he named it Fort Tullichewan after his wife’s home in Scotland15. Eliza accompanied her husband to South Africa and was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her services attending the wounded at the ‘investment of Pretoria’16. On  the Major -General’s retirement in 1886 the Gildea’s lived at Broomley House on the Tullichewan Estate.  According to his obituary James never recovered from the death of his young grandson and on August 14th 1901 he died  at Tullichewan and was buried in a newly built family vault in Alexandria17.

James Adair Campbell ( 1860-1932)  

At the time of his grandfather’s death our donor Alastair was living at Broomley House on the Tullichewan Estate with his parents James Adair Campbell (known as Adair) and his mother Jean Blanche Campbell. Alastair was five years old  his eldest brother ,James Haldane Adair Campbell was seven and his younger brother Melvin was two. A sister , Shena ,was born in 190318.

Adair Campbell had not married until the age of 32. He had served in the Matabele  with the British South African Company Police in 1890 and along with Cecil Rhodes  was in the pioneer column which penetrated what later became Southern Rhodesia . He received one of the few medals which were awarded during this campaign19. At St Mary’s Church in Tuxedo , New York ,in November 1892 he married  Jean Blanche Havermeyer whose grandfather  had been Mayor of New York. According to the Dundee Courier “they met and loved in Algiers”  during the previous summer20. The couple returned to Scotland in January 189321. Blanche was 10 years younger than her husband. Adair Campbell was involved in the running of J&W Campbell and Company during this period. The marriage appeared to be happy for the first ten years ,during which time,as we have seen, they had four children. Then, according to Blanche, Adair changed and ‘lost interest in home and in her and his interests appeared to be centred elsewhere’. They were divorced in 1925 , having not lived together since 191422. Divorce was unusual at that time and was not regarded as entirely the correct way to behave!

Blanche Campbell and her children Melfort,Sheena,Alastair
Figure 6 Melfort,Shena,Blanche and Alastair c1914 © Rupert Plummer

Perhaps the state of his marriage was the reason that on the outbreak of war in 1914 at the age of 55 Adair joined up on the first day. He was a Captain in the 8th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (AS&H). He was wounded and sent home from France after which he continued to serve in training camps, in Ripon for example.

Sadly  the Campbells suffered an even worse war casualty as on 7th June 1916 The Scotsman reported that Midshipman Melfort Campbell ,third son of Blanche and Adair,was killed in action aboard HMS Defence on May 31st. He was only 17 years old.

In 1919 Adair returned to Glasgow to continue as a businessman. Apart from his interest in the family firm he was also a director of the Royal Exchange Insurance Company. He was a member of The Royal Company of Archers, a keen yachtsman ,a first class shot and an enthusiastic fisherman. There is little information as to how much contact he had with his children after the divorce . His last permanent address,according to his death certificate, was The New Club Edinburgh.  According to his obituary ‘He had a happy capacity for making friends and will be missed by staff and customers alike23.

Henry Alastair Campbell OBE (1895-1971) 

Schooldays

Having looked at Alastair’s family background we can go on to look at the life of this donor. Alastair went to school at Wellington College in Berkshire from 1909 until 1912. Wellington College was built as a national monument to the Duke of Wellington. The school opened in 1859 and was originally intended to educate the sons of deceased army officers. While at the school  Alastair was in Mr Bevir’s House, was a ‘Gentleman of the Hunt’-a member of the cross-country running team -and played Rackets for the school24.

After Easter in 1912 Alastair enrolled at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst as a Gentleman Cadet. According to the Military Announcements in the Aberdeen Press and Journal of May 2nd 1914 he graduated from Sandhurst in May 1914 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant into the 2nd Battalion A S&H (Princess Louise’s Regiment) at Fort George. He was subaltern   to Lieutenant Hyslop in B Company25.

World War 1914-1918

Alastair was at Fort George when war was declared. He entrained for Southampton on 9th August and embarked with the 2nd battalion on 11th August on the ship “Sea Hound” for Boulogne. They were the first fighting troops to land in France26. He fought at the battles of Mons ,Cambrai and  Le Cateau  where it appears he was wounded and was shipped home. The Scotsman reported this on 11th September 1914. Alastair  was visited in his private nursing home by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, who was not only Honorary  Commander-in- Chief of the regiment but had been a friend of the family for many years. Since 1890 the Princess’s main home had been Rosneath Castle in Argyll and so was a “neighbour “ of the Campbells, mixing socially with Mrs and Mrs James Campbell. The princess shared Jessie’s interest in the education of women and was a supporter of the suffragette movement27. Alastair  returned to France in May 1915 as part of a draft to join the 2nd Battalion. He was now a lieutenant. In August 1915 Alastair was appointed temporary Captain and in December 1915 set sail from Marseilles for Egypt as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. In  February 1916 he was transferred to the 1st Battalion the Lovat’s Scouts and was appointed adjutant. The battalion was sent to Salonika as part of the British Salonika Force. Alastair was adjutant until October 1917 when he was transferred back to the 1st Battalion A S &H, remaining in Salonika until Spring 1918. He arrived in the UK from Salonika on 4th June, one of the last  officers to leave Salonika28. He was then posted to the 4th Battalion A&SH in Edinburgh . In  the autumn of 1918, just after the end of the war, he was appointed a staff captain to the Adjutant General’s Department at the War Office in London29. Alastair was awarded  the 1914 Star,The British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal-known to the British  “ Tommy”as,“Pip, Squeak and Wilfred” after popular cartoon characters of the time which appeared in the Daily Mirror .

Between the Wars 1919-1939

Alastair continued his career as a professional soldier after the war. He remained a Staff Captain at the Adjutant General’s Office in London until January 1920 when he was seconded to The Staff Training College in Camberly on a four month course after which he re-joined the 2nd Battalion A&SH at Aldershot. He remained with his battalion until 21st June 1921 when he was given 3 months leave to accompany the Earl of Dundonald and Lady Cochrane  as Military  Attache  to Peru to represent the British Government at the celebrations of the Centennial of that country’s independence, arriving back in England on 14th September30.

At some point in 1922 Alastair underwent additional training at the musketry school in Hythe. According to his Army Record he passed the course with distinction.

He then took up the post of acting  adjutant,then adjutant to the 2nd Battalion AS&H , in Aldershot, a post which he retained until 30th April 1925 after which he was restored back to the 2nd Battalion establishment31.

At the end of September 1923 the 2nd Battalion was posted  to Parkhurst Barracks on  the Isle of Wight to replace the Royal Ulster Rifles who had been stationed there for four years. The battalion remained in the Isle of Wight until September 1927. During the General Strike of 1926 the battalion  was sent to Gosport from 6-17th May “on General Strike duties” though there is no information as to whether Captain Campbell took part in these duties32.

During this period several events took place in Alastair’s personal life. In 1922 Tullichewan Castle and Estate were sold. Although William McOran Campbell was the eldest son of James and Jessie Campbell he  and his wife Marianne do  not appear to have lived  at Tullichewan which was in the hands of a Trust set up by James Campbell in 190033.  It is unclear whether Alastair’s father lived there permanently though he did take an interest in the affairs of the estate. For example in July 1922 The Scotsman  reports that Major Adair Campbell  won the medal for the best turkey at the Highland and Agricultural Society Show held in Dumfries34 and  in August he attended   the grouse shooting on the Tullichewan Estate35. The Estate had been put up for sale in May 1922 at an auction at the McLellan Galleries in Glasgow but did not sell. Despite dividing the 987 acre estate into smaller lots, there were no buyers. This was a time of depression after WW1 and there were many estates for sale at the time as landowners struggled to cope with the death duties which resulted from the death of so many men during the war. It was not until December 1922 that the Sunday Post reported that part of the Tullichewan estate had been bought by a Mr Scott Anderson “a Glasgow business gentleman”36. Tullichewan Castle was demolished in 1954 to make way for the A82 bypass around Alexandria along Loch Lomondside37.

In 1922 also the family firm of  J&W Campbell amalgamated with another Glasgow company  Stewart and McDonald to form Campbell, Stewart and McDonald, the warehouse in Ingram Street which continued in business until the 1980s. Apparently it was Stewart and MacDonald  who were in financial difficulties, not J&W Campbell.38

In 1922 Alastair acted as best man at the wedding of his elder brother James Haldane Adair Campbell to Princess  Ekaterina  Galitzine, daughter of Prince Paul  Golitzyn who had been Master of the Imperial Hunt and a State Councillor to Tsar Nicholas 2nd and  who had fled the Russian Revolution. Apparently Catherine had made her way to the South of France  possibly in the company of the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia and there met  Captain James Haldane Adair Campbell. The couple’s wedding was a big London Society affair held on Sunday 12th November at St Philip’s Church Buckingham Palace Road and was attended by that old friend of the Campbells, Princess Louise39.

In 1922 Alastair was awarded the Order of  the Star of Serbia with Crossed Swords (fifth class) for his services to that country during WW1.

The Dundee Courier of 23rd April 1925 reported that Captain Alastair Campbell and his fiancée Miss Aileen Emmett were entertained to lunch at Kensington Palace  by  Princess  Louise ,Duchess of Argyll, in order to receive a wedding present-a silver box for cigarettes and cigars engraved with the Princess’s initials. She could not attend the wedding as she was about to leave for the South of France. The couple appear to have known one another since at least December  1923  when Alastair was a guest at the wedding of Aileen’s eldest brother, J. A. Garland Emmett40.

On April 29th 1925 Alastair married Aileen (known as ‘Muffy’) ,daughter of Major and Mrs Robert Emmett of Moreton Paddox in Warwickshire. Robert Emmett and his wife,natives of New York, had settled in England early in the 20th Century and built a magnificent house. They bred horses and Aileen was a keen rider and fox-hunter.

Wedding H A Campbell (2)
Figure 7 © Rupert Plummer

They married at St James’ Church, Spanish Place in London .The Emmetts were a wealthy Catholic family and  the wedding ceremony  a Catholic one. It is not known if Alastair changed his religion  but ,as we shall see later, the children were probably  brought up in the Catholic Faith. At least one of the sons attended Ampleforth College , a famous Catholic boarding school in Yorkshire41. The wedding reception was held at 66 Grosvenor Square,the London home of the Emmetts.

The pipers of the A S&H played the tune, “Highland Laddie “as the happy couple left the church42. It would appear that the couple  lived in Elizabeth Street,Eaton Square in London as there is a report of the theft of £7000 of jewellery  belonging to Aileen43. It is not known if Aileen accompanied her husband on the posting to the Isle of Wight. She was certainly in London when their first child,John Alastair, was born in 192744.

One would have thought there would be few better postings for a soldier than the Isle of Wight  but the next posting for  the 2nd battalion was even better. In September 1927 the 2nd Battalion AS&H was posted to Bermuda in the West Indies!

Aileen  and infant John  Alastair were among the  eight officers’ wives, and five officers’ children who accompanied  husband  and father on this posting along with 34 soldiers’ wives and 40 soldiers’ children45. A second son, Robert Adair was born in Bermuda around March or April 192846 and a daughter Fiona was born in May 192947. A second daughter, Morag Nada, was born in 1932 after the family returned  to the UK48.

From August 1931 until  November 1934 Alastair was seconded to the post of adjutant to the 14th London Regiment ,known as the London Scottish, a Territorial Regiment. Shortly afterwards he was promoted Major and transferred to the 2nd Battalion A&S H in Edinburgh.

In November 1934 he exchanged postings with Major Ritchie of the 1st Battalion and joined that battalion in Edinburgh. Perhaps this exchange was because the 2nd Battalion was due to be posted to India and for some reason ,a young family perhaps, Alastair felt unable to go. The 1st Battalion was then transferred to  the Lucknow Barracks at Tidworth Camp, Wiltshire49 .  In 1936 he attended a training course for senior officers in machine gunnery at Sheerness50. This was because it was planned that the 1st Battalion was to become a machine gun unit.

During this period Alastair continued his interest in sporting activities  and won the Individual Cup in the Highland Brigade Point to Point 51. He remained at Tidworth as second in command of the battalion until he retired from the army,aged 43, in March 1938. During the period at Tidworth Alastair was awarded the King’s Jubilee Medal(1935) and the Caledonian Medal(1937)52.

Also during the 1930s, probably as a result of his family’s connections, Alastair had represented the Duchess of Argyll at several formal occasions such as the funeral of the Laird of Ardgour in June 1930 and at the Requiem Mass for the late King Albert of the Belgians in 1934 at Westminster Cathedral 53 .

Henry Alastair campbell
Figure 8 Major H.A.Campbell © Rupert Plummer

World War Two 1939-1945

If Alastair and Aileen  had hoped for a peaceful life after Alastair’s retirement from the army they were sadly mistaken. Only 15 months later Alastair was “back in the saddle”. In June 1939  at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel T.A. he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 8th Battalion A & S H(a territorial battalion). In August 1939 he was transferred to the 11th Battalion, again as Commanding Officer54. The Stirling Observer reported  on 19th November 1939 that the 11th Battalion had arrived in Doune,near Stirling, and were billeted in halls , hotels and private houses.The following June his army records show he was admitted to hospital but it not known where or why. However he must have recovered as on 12th November 1940 he was appointed  Local Defence Commander-defence advisor to the station commander- at RAF Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire55. It would appear that many army personnel were seconded to the RAF,part of the RAF Regiment, to carry out defence duties at airfields at a time when the threat of invasion was very real.

On 23  February 1943, Lt Colonel Campbell was appointed GSO1,ie Chief-of-Staff  ,No 2 Group RAF Western Europe. This was one of ten ,later more ,groups of Bomber Command .In 1943 the HQ was at RAF Huntingdon ,Cambridgeshire ,and one presumes this is where Alastair was based. In 1943 2 Group  consisted of more than a dozen operational squadrons ,spread out over at least ten different areas. Alastair’s job was to keep the Group operation-a daunting task indeed!

In May 1943 2 Group left RAF Bomber Command to join the new  Second Tactical Airforce whose  main task was to prepare for the  allied invasion of Europe. It was felt that the threat of invasion was over and army personnel were more valuable training for the  invasion of Europe than defending RAF bases . Eventually the Group became part of the first occupational forces in Germany. There is no detailed information as to Alastair’s actions during this period other than he seems to have remained with 2 Group until June 1945 and left the service in August 194556.

In March 1945 Lt Colonel H A Campbell was awarded the  OBE for his service during the war57.

Aileen Campbell had also played her part in the war effort. From some point in  1939 the Campbells rented  Kilsythe  Castle near Dunblane, Stirlingshire, possibly because Alastair’s battalion, the 11th , was based at Doune which was not far away. Aileen remained there throughout the war. Throughout the war she was Commandant of the  local  Doune Voluntary Aid Detachment. The VAD had been formed in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross and St John’s  Ambulance  in order to train volunteers in medical ,nursing and other related skills. VADs played a valuable part in nursing wounded soldiers both at home and abroad during World War One. It is not known how or why Aileen  had become involved . Perhaps her interest was aroused during WW1 when her family home,Moreton Paddox in Warwickshire ,had been a military hospital  largely organised by her mother. There had been 50 beds in 8 wards at Moreton Paddox 58.

Aileen was also on the organising committee of the A&SH War Comforts  Depot,based at 19 Park Terrace in Stirling. The Stirling Observer reported that Fiona and Morag Campbell had presented bouquets to the Duchess of Argyll on her visit to the depot early in December 193959.

Post War Years 1945-1971

On 20th September 1945 The Stirling Observer reported the sudden death of Captain James Adair Campbell, Alastair’s elder brother , of a heart attack at the age of 52. Apparently Captain Campbell had been wounded at Gallipoli during WW1 and had been a semi -invalid ever since. At the time of his death he was living in Edinburgh60. Perhaps this is  the reason why, a year or so later, the two portraits of Campbell ancestors were given to Glasgow Museums . One  could believe that  it was decided by the family to give these paintings to Glasgow at a time when Captain Campbell’s estate was being dealt with. As the eldest son , he would probably have inherited the paintings from his father, Adair Campbell.

The  Campbells  left Dunblane in  November1945 as there is an account in The Stirling Observer of Mrs Campbell’s receiving a presentation as thanks for her work with the VAD in  “as she was leaving the district”61.  They moved to Ardhuncart Lodge near Alford in Aberdeenshire. There they played a full part in local society attending many local events such as the Aboyne Ball in September 1949 and the Ballater Ball in the same month62. In this article there is mention of Fiona Campbell’s skill as a skier and that she was a member of the British Olympic team in 1948. Lt Colonel Campbell was also involved in the formation of the Aberdeenshire Home Guard while at Ardhuncart Lodge63.

Next the Campbells moved to their final home Altries Estate near Maryculter, Aberdeenshire. In 1960 the Altries Fishing Company Ltd was set up, a private company controlled by the Campbells, renting out the Altries stretch of the River Dee to fishermen. A very keen rider ,Alastair took part in many local point -to-points on his horse,Lear. He continued his life of service in the local community.

He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, a member of the Aberdeenshire County Council and Chairman of the Dee and Don River purification Board. He was also a member of The Royal Company of Archers,the Queen’s Bodyguard in Scotland.64

According to his obituary in The Thin Red Line Aileen and Ali, as he was known to his friends, had,”a particularly happy marriage” and ,”kept open house for their friends ,who will remember with gratitude their ever warm welcome and hospitality”65 .

Henry Alastair Campbell died in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on 3rd September 1971 at the age of 76. He is buried in the cemetery of Kirkton of Maryculter. The Altries Fishing Estate is still in the hands of the Campbell family.

 

References

1.Glasgow Morning Journal  (GMJ)11/04/1864

2.James Maclehose.Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men. 1886. Mitchell Library

3.J&WCampbell &Co .www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/1880Book/Campbell;www.stirling-lhs.org/5thdecember-1905

4. Rev John Roxburgh DD. A Memorial of the Disruption Worthies.1843.  Mitchell Library

5. Maclehose.Memoirs and Portraits of 100 Glasgow Men.

6.Dundee Courier (DC)  25/08/1847

7.Paisley and Renfrewshire Advertiser 09/04/1864

8. GMJ 11/04/1864

9. http://www.ancestry.co.uk Census Records 1851

10.ibid 1861

11.J&W Campbell &Co www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/1880Book/Campbell

12.The Bailie 17/04/1878 and 05/12/1883

13Glasgow University Archives(GUA) ref GB248UGC055/1

14.Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

15.www.westfulworth.org.uk

16.samilitaryhistory.org

17.Glasgow Herald  (GH )16/08/1901

18.www.ancestry.co.uk Census Records  1901 and 1911

19.G H  05/09/1932

20. DC 16/11/1892

21.www.ancestry.co.uk Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960

22.Sunday Post 25/01/1925

23.G H 05/09/1932

24.Archive@wellingtoncollege.org.uk

25.www.argylls.co.uk/2014/08/war-Diaries-Hyslop

26. ibid

27.C.Myers.University Co-Education in the Victorian Era:Inclusion and Exclusion in the United States and the United Kingdom. NY Palgrave Macmillan 2010

28.Thin Red Line  Vol 26 1971 p88

29.Army Form B119A  .Service Record of Henry Alastair Campbell ( HAC Army Record)

30.HAC Army Record; http://www.ancestry.co.uk. Incoming and Outgoing Passenger Lists 1878-1960

31.HAC Army Record

32.A History of the 2nd Battalion Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders(Princess Louise’s)(Formerly 93rd Sutherland Highlanders)1919-1947. Brigadier R.C.B. Anderson DSO MC.Unpublished. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum Collection ,Stirling.

33.www.scotlandspeople.co.uk Wills and Trusts

34.Scotsman  (S) 19/07/1922

35. S .18/08/1922

36. S .11/05/1922 ; Sunday Post 10/12/1922

37.www.valeofleven.org.uk

38.Anthony Slaven;Sidney  Checkland (ed)Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography Vol 2 AUP 1990

39.Dundee Evening Telegraph 27/11/1922

40.Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser (WWA) 01/12/1923

41.Aberdeen Evening Express 30/12/1953

42. S. 30/04/1925

43.Yorkshire Post and Leeds Inteligencer  14/12/1925

44.www.ancestry.co.uk Statutory Births

45.The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders Now 2nd Bn The Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess     Louise’s)  1799-1927. p281.Brigadier General A.E.J Cavendish CMG.Published privately 1928. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum Collection ,Stirling

46.www.ancestry.co.uk Statutory Births

47.Aberdeen Press and Journal  (APJ)15/05/1929

48.www.ancestry.co.uk Statutory Births

49.Brigadier R.C.B Anderson  DSO. MC.History of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1st Battalion 1909-1939. p155. Privately printed  T.A.Constable Ltd Edinburgh.Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum Collection ,Stirling

50.HAC Army Record

51. Anderson. History of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 1st Battalion 1909-1939. p152

52.HAC Army  Record

53. DC. 02/06/1930 ; Nottingham Evening Post 28/02/1934

54.Thin Red Line Vol 26 1971 p88

55.HAC Army Record

56.Kris hendrix@rafmuseum.org; HAC Army Record

57.London Gazette 20/03/1945 8424

58.WWA 24/10/1914

59. Stirling Observer  (SO) 07/12/1939

60. SO 20/09/1945

61. SO 29/11/1945

62. SO 10/09/1949 ; Tatler 21/09/1949

63. Aberdeen Evening Express 19/01/1952

64.  APJ 04/09/1971

65. Thin Red Line Vol 26 1971 p88

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

Many thanks for all their help to Fiona Thornton of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum in Stirling and to Kris Hendrix of the RAF Museum .

J M M