Articles

John Keppie – Architect (1862-1945)

Figure 1. John Keppie.Courtesy of Glasgow Art Club.

John Keppie was a renowned Glasgow architect whose business partners during his career included John Honeyman and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He was also an accomplished watercolourist and had studied at the Glasgow School of Art and in Paris. On his death in 1945 he bequeathed a number of paintings to Glasgow which included works by Edward Walton, Bessie MacNicol and Joseph Crawhall.[1]

The following notes describe his family background, his early life, career and painting activity. Inevitably they touch on his relationship with Mackintosh whose fame, some sources suggest,[2] has unfairly overshadowed Keppie’s success and achievements as an architect. Keppie is almost invariably referenced, when mentioned, as a partner of Mackintosh as if he had no other meritorious claim.

The Keppie family originated in Haddington, East Lothian. John’s paternal grandfather, also John (Keppy), married Mary Quelain, the daughter of James Quelain, a Haddington flax dresser, in Edinburgh on 20th April 1810.[3] He was aged about twenty four and worked as a gentleman servant, Mary was about 17 years old.[4]

Between 1811 and 1836 they had five sons and seven daughters all born in Haddington.[5] John Keppie’s father, James was born on the 19th October 1816 and baptized on the 3rd November.[6] Grandfather John appears to have had a number of occupations being variously described as a labourer, carter and finally a farmer.[7]

James Keppie married twice. His first wife was Janet Smith whom he married in Canongate Parish Church on 12 June 1840. At the time of his marriage he was described as a tobacconist lodging with William Corns, a bookbinder, in Leith Walk. Janet was the daughter of John Smith, a gentleman’s butler of North Berwick. She was also lodging in Edinburgh at the time with a Miss Ritchie at 21 Lothian Road.[8]

In the following year James was working as a tobacco spinner in Glasgow, he and his wife living in Buchanan Court in the Gorbals.[9] It’s likely he was in the employ of Henry Spence and Co. whose tobacco and snuff manufactory at that time was located in Park Place, Stockwell Street.[10] Spence commenced trading around 1813 in Main Street, Gorbals [11] moving to Stockwell Street in 1816 [12] where he remained until 1848 when he ceased trading from that address.[13] His company continued for another year from premises in the Trongate which he had occupied since 1842.[14]

In 1848 James Keppie set up his tobacco business in the premises in Stockwell Street vacated by Spence,[15] hence the conjecture that Keppie had worked for Spence and had learned the broader business from him. By 1851 Keppie’s snuff and tobacco manufactory business employed two men, one apprentice and nineteen boys.[16] The smuggling and adulteration of tobacco and snuff at this time were of major concern to the legitimate manufacturers, and to the Excise. In 1851 thirty one of Glasgow’s tobacco manufactories, including Keppie’s, formed a society whose purpose was to protect themselves against such activities. In the Glasgow Herald of the 7th March 1851 notice was given of the society’s formation, included in which was the threat that retailers found selling such contraband would be liable for an Excise fine of £200.[17]

His marriage to Janet Smith was childless and sometime after March 1851 she died. The exact date has not been established but James remained a widower until 1856 when he married Helen Morton Hopkins on the 14th February in Glasgow.[18] Helen’s family came from Galston in Ayrshire where her parents, James Hopkins, a bookseller and Elizabeth Cuthbertson, had married in 1824.[19]

James and Helen had eight children, five daughters and three sons [20], John, the eldest boy, being born on the 4th August 1862.[21] The family lived at various addresses in Glasgow including Frederick Street, where John was born, Granville Street and by 1879 at 42 Hamilton Park Quadrant [22] which James owned.[23] This address became 42 St James Street with the street name changed late in 1887.[24] By 1875, in addition to his Glasgow home, James owned two properties in Station Road in the parish of Monkton. One was rented out to Mr. John Campbell, a police officer in Glasgow, the other was the family second home.[25]

James’ tobacco business seems to have been very successful with premises at different times in Stockwell Street, Brunswick Street, and finally at 157 Trongate where he owned two properties, acquired around 1859. He used one to run his tobacco business and rented out the other.[26] At one point he employed two travellers, four spinners, two message boys and forty two boys in the workshop.[27] He retired from business in 1880 having rented out his business property to another tobacconist, F & J Smith & Co. five years previously. He continued to operate some business from these premises until his retirement.[28] He died at home in 1889 from chronic bronchitis, his death registered by his son-in-law David Riddoch [29] who had married John’s sister Elizabeth in 1887.[30]

His will and particularly his inventory makes interesting reading. The net value of his estate was £22,494 which included a number of shareholdings as well as heritable and other moveable property. His shareholdings ranged from railways to land holdings in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.[31]

Initially his will, which was written in 1874, refers to an ante-nuptial agreement between him and his wife Helen dated 1856. She would inherit all his property should he predecease her. His will recognized that they now had seven surviving children who should be provided for in the event of his death, his wife agreeing to these provisions. It also notes he had significantly more assets than at the time of his marriage. Essentially the daughters were to be educated and supported until they married, the sons until they could ‘stand on their own two feet’. Five trustees acting as executors, curators and tutors were named to ensure the intended objectives of the will were achieved.[32]

A codicil was added in 1883 which along with some minor changes replaced two of the original trustees with his sons John and James, and added his wife Helen, Hugh Hopkins and Dr James Corns of Oldham.[33]

There were two items in the inventory which were unexpected. The first was that in addition to his estate in Scotland he had assets abroad, namely in Henderson County, Kentucky where he had an interest in Thomas Hodge and Co., a tobacco manufacturing company established in 1884 [34]. His interest in the company was valued at $40,076.[35]

What happened to that interest has not been established despite a search of Kentucky probate records and others of the period 1889 – 1895. This company continued into the 1970s when the then owner (another Thomas Hodge) sold it.[36]

How did Keppie come to invest in a tobacco company in Kentucky? It’s very likely the initial connection was with tobacconists J & T Hodge, established in 1850, whose business was located at 12 Maxwell Street, Glasgow.[37] They were members of the same society as Keppie that set out to deal with smuggling and the adulteration of tobacco.[38]

James Hodge was a partner in the business and two of his sons emigrated to the United States. Son John Henderson Hodge (b.1854) emigrated in 1876 [39] and set up the John Hodge Tobacco Co. in Madison, Kentucky.[40] His younger brother Thomas (b.1859) joined him in 1880 [41], establishing his own company in 1884. In Keppie’s will that company is referred to as Thomas Hodge & Co., in a history of tobacco manufacturers in Kentucky it is referred to as the Hodge Tobacco Manufactory.[42]

The other point of interest was that Keppie’s son James was described as a janitor in the inventory and also as a “sometime tobacco manufacturer in Henderson, Kentucky, U.S.A., at present in Glasgow.[43] It therefore seems probable he had been working for Thomas Hodge and Co. whilst in Henderson County. He returned to Glasgow in 1890 [44] and was living with his mother Helen, brother John and sister Mary at 42 St James Street in 1891.[45] He died in Glasgow in 1918 [46] having been in the Gartnavel Royal Lunatic Asylum since before 1901, his infirmity recorded as ‘lunatic’.[47]

James Keppie senior’s estate for the time was exceptional. Looking at RPI changes since 1889 his Scottish assets equate to £2.2m today; taking into account economic power that value increases to between £17m and £29m.[48] His interest in the Kentucky tobacco company equates to somewhere between £2m and £10m,[49] using the 1889 exchange rate of $4.87/£1.[50]

When you consider his father at the time of his marriage in 1810 was a gentleman servant and that James had been a tobacco spinner in 1841, it was an incredible transformation in the family’s wealth in the following near fifty years. It provided a standard of living that all his children benefited from significantly throughout their lives.

John Keppie’s initial schooling was at Ayr Academy.[51] At the age of about 15 he began a five year architectural apprenticeship with the Glasgow firm of Campbell Douglas and Sellars. In the following year he enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art, remaining a student there until 1882, when his apprenticeship was complete.[52] During this time in 1879 he also attended Glasgow University for two sessions studying mathematics.[53] In his final year he gained a bronze medal in the National Competition, won five guineas (second prize) in the Worshipful Company of Plasterers competition and achieved a third or highest grade in the advanced section of the school.[54]

He then went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Atelier Jean Louis Pascal apparently because the Campbell Douglas practice was concerned that it was being threatened by others with Paris trained architects.[55] He remained there for eighteen months, sharing rooms with fellow architects Frank Lewis Worthington Simon and Stewart Henbest Clapper. [56] In the autumn of 1886, he toured northern Italy with an artist friend. This tour produced sketches and watercolours of Lucca, Florence and Sienna [57] which were used to illustrate a talk called ‘A Tour of Italy’ he gave to the Glasgow Architectural Association in May 1887.[58] The association published some of them in their sketch book of 1888,[59] the year in which he became their president.[60]

A watercolour of a Sienna street scene was also exhibited in 1888 by the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.[61] His future travels were to become a major inspiration for many of his watercolours and sketches.

Later in 1886 he was successful in the Royal Institute of British Architects’ William Tite Prize competition winning the silver medal, as reported in the Glasgow Herald of the 24th January 1887.[62] He was to repeat this success in 1887.[63]

In January 1887 a competition was advertised for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888 and Keppie worked with Sellars to produce the firm’s entry which was successful and built. However the years 1887 and 1888 were generally difficult for the practise with Campbell Douglas becoming ill and making no contribution to the business and Sellars dying late in 1888 from blood poisoning. This resulted from a wound sustained by him to his foot during a visit to the exhibition site.

As a consequence of this Keppie, late in 1888, was taken into partnership by John Honeyman thus establishing John Honeyman and Keppie. This was not only a positive move for Keppie but probably saved Honeyman’s business as at that point it was chronically short of work and capital, Keppie bringing with him the ongoing contract for the Anderson’s College of Medicine.[64] His final service to his old colleague and mentor James Sellars was to design his memorial which was erected in Lambhill Cemetery.[65]

The partnership between Honeyman and Keppie seems to have flourished from the beginning. In 1888 Herbert McNair joined the practise as a draughtsman and in 1889 Charles Rennie Mackintosh also joined as an assistant or junior draughtsman, in addition to at least four other members of staff.[66] Mackintosh had served an apprenticeship between 1884 and 1889 with architect John Hutcheson and like Keppie had attended the Glasgow School of Art.[67]

A friendship developed among the three young men which saw them spend working weekends at the Keppie Prestwick home along with, in due course, Keppie’s sister Jessie, the McDonald sisters Margaret and Frances, Agnes Raeburn, Janet Aitken and Katherine Cameron, who all stayed in rented accommodation at Dunure further down the coast. They referred to Dunure as the ‘Roaring Camp’ and collectively called themselves ‘The Immortals’.[68]

Between 1889 and the mid 1890s the practice was involved in a number of projects and competitions, perhaps the most notable of the former being company offices for the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Govan (1889-1891), the Glasgow Art Club building in Bath Street, Glasgow (1893) and the Glasgow Herald building, known as ‘The Lighthouse’, in Mitchell Street, Glasgow (1893-1895).[69]

Keppie had been elected an artist-member of the Glasgow Art club in 1888.[70] In 1891 he was appointed honorary secretary of the artists section and he and three other members were tasked with investigating the possibility of the club acquiring its own premises, it then currently renting a property at 151 Bath Street.[71] Adjacent properties at 187 and 191 Bath Street were purchased in 1892 for £5500 with the aid of a loan of £3500 from the trustees of James Keppie, John Keppie’s father. The loan was secured over the two buildings and eventually discharged in 1941.[72]

The job of adding to and refurbishing the property, perhaps unsurprisingly, fell to Honeyman and Keppie, a sum of £1500 being allocated for the work which commenced on 16th September 1892 and was completed in June the following year at almost twice the planned cost.[73] John remained a member of the club for the rest of his life becoming Vice-President between 1896 and 1898 and president twice, in 1905-06 and again in 1926-27.[74]

The firm also had three entries in the competition for the new Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in 1891/92, all of which were unsuccessful. [75]

Keppie, as his career developed, joined a number of architectural organisations, the first being the organisation for apprentices and junior architects, the Glasgow Architectural Association. He then became a member of the Glasgow Institute of Architects in 1890, becoming its President twice, in 1904 and 1905. In 1898 he was on the council of the newly formed Scottish Society of Art Workers and in 1906 he was Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights in Glasgow.[76]

The Honeyman and Keppie partnership continued to progress. The staff recruited in 1889, including Mackintosh, gained in confidence and experience, as would their responsibilities in design and draughting. How this was shared with each staff member and Keppie is difficult to determine, (part of the Keppie/Mackintosh who did what debate), however Keppie or Honeyman would be signing off each project as lead architect until Honeyman retired in 1901 when Mackintosh became a partner.[77]

This would not be a passive role. In any collaborative process, the lead would ensure that the team worked together, guiding, intervening, advising, contributing to design activity and artistry, and bringing practical architectural experience and skill to the project to ensure the customer objectives were being met.

The Art Club project, as reported in various newspapers and periodicals of the time illustrates Keppie’s design and artistic skills as well as the leadership of the Honeyman and Keppie team which included Mackintosh.

The Glasgow Herald of 6th June 1893 in its report on the Club’s reopening commented that “Mr John Keppie….prepared the designs, and the work….has been carried out under his supervision”. [78] The Studio magazine of July 1893 stated “The architectural alterations……in fact all the details have been carried from the designs of Mr John Keppie and display much artistic taste”. [79]

Keppie’s and Mackintosh’s personal lives at this time were intertwined particularly at Prestwick where he formed an attachment with John’s sister Jessie. That appears to have lasted from c.1891 to 1897 with one source saying, unconfirmed by any other and unlikely, that they became engaged in 1891.[80] In the event the relationship came to nought with Mackintosh marrying Margaret McDonald in August 1900.[81]

Whether or not Mackintosh’s original intention for his prolonged involvement with Jessie was to benefit professionally from the working weekends at Prestwick and to stay close to John Keppie, his boss, is pure conjecture, however Jessie was very disappointed with the outcome and remained unmarried throughout her life.

John’s personal life also had its disappointments in that he never married. He had hoped to marry widow Helen Law however that was not to be as she married the artist Edward Arthur Walton in Glasgow in June 1890.[82] In 1897 there appears to have been, at least, the beginnings of an attachment to the artist Bessie MacNicol. However she was ill that summer and “any hint of romance with John Keppie did not survive the illness”[83]

Newbery (2)
Fig. 2 Francis Newbery. Courtesy of Glasgow Art Club.

In 1896 the director of the Glasgow School of Art Francis Newbery announced a competition for the design of a new school building. He had been instrumental in raising £21,000 for the project, £14,000 of which was to be spent on the new building. In the event Honeyman and Keppie won the competition and were awarded the contract. The first phase started in 1897 and was completed in 1899, however work on phase two did not commence until 1906 finishing three years later in 1909.

The building has deservedly become of world renown mainly because of its association with Charles Rennie Mackintosh. However there is perhaps a bit more to it than it being the work of one man. In his book of 2004 “Mackintosh and Co.” David Stark, then managing director of Keppie Design*, stated the following: “Mackintosh is traditionally credited with designing the Art School himself. More recent research (he does not say by whom) suggests the design of the building was a team effort with each partner (Honeyman and Keppie) and their assistants playing to their strengths.”[84]

One aspect of the building on which Keppie brought his skills and experience to bear was the design of its ventilation system. He had worked on such a system for the Victoria Infirmary with James Sellars in 1887 which was subsequently very successful, being described asexemplary, leading to good air quality in the wards and quicker patient recovery.” [85]

The Art School system consisted of a series of very large basement tunnels and horizontal and vertical ducts. Keppie understood that fans large enough to move air through this system would be required and following research with the school builder appropriate fans were obtained from B.F. Sturtevant. It has been described by some as the first planned air conditioning building in the world.[86]

Mackintosh undoubtedly made a significant contribution. It seems clear that Keppie also did likewise. The site location is on a steep hill which made for a complicated structure. The large windows specified and the ‘air conditioning’ system of the building suggests that more than one mind was at work, perhaps a mix of the artistic and the practical. Did the external and internal aesthetics of the building ‘disguise’ the more mundane issue of the technical difficulties associated with the build design and process?

In 1901 the business was renamed Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh reflecting Mackintosh’s new status as partner. The partnership did not require any capital from Mackintosh and initially profits were split such that he got the lowest share primarily because Keppie had the largest clientele. That changed in 1906 when the original agreement expired and profits were split equally between the two men, Honeyman having been bought out in 1903.[87]

Following the partnership agreement Keppie returned to designing for his own clients producing a number of projects which were very well received. Perhaps the two most praiseworthy are the McConnell Buildings in Hope Street opposite the Theatre Royal (1907) and the Glasgow Savings Bank at Parkhead Cross (1905).[88]

 

Fig. 3 The McConnell Buildings, Hope Street, Glasgow. G.Manzor
Fig. 4. Glasgow Savings Bank Parkhead Cross. G.Manzor

His stature as an architect growing, in 1904 he became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) [89]and in 1905 undertook the role of competition assessor, judging “the competition for Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, a contest of much more than local significance”[90]  In 1906 he proposed Mackintosh as a Fellow, which was approved in November of that year.[91]

Fig. 5 RIBA proposal documentation. Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Courtesy of Glasgow Art Club.

The end of the first decade of the 20th century brought a number of difficulties to the partnership, particularly for Mackintosh whose personal client base diminished significantly. There had been problems with the Scotland Street School project in 1905 and also with the second phase of the Glasgow Art School in 1907.[92] In 1912 Mackintosh failed to complete the firm’s entry for the Jordanhill Training College competition. “Some of his corridors terminated in mid-air…his preliminary sketches were unworkable. After working on the project for several months he had nothing to show.[93] Eventually the required design drawings for the demonstration school were done by Andrew Graham Henderson who had joined the firm in 1904.[94] When the competition was won, despite these problems, Keppie sent Mackintosh a cheque for £250 as his share of the competition award.[95]

Around this time Henderson advised Keppie he would not stay with the firm if Mackintosh remained a partner. There seems a number of reasons for this, some of which, according to Thomas Howarth (a Mackintosh biographer), would have been as a result of his mood swings, his sometime lack of purpose and vagueness in directing his team, his drinking, and his general inability to listen to advice and suggestions.[96]

Keppie had concerns of his own and subsequent to the then current partnership agreement running out in January 1910 he reviewed the firm’s accounts for the period 1901 to 1911 which effectively resulted in the partnership being ended, the formal end being sometime between 1913 and 1914. During the review period Keppie had brought £16,303 new business to the practice whilst Mackintosh new business amounted to £4,934 with his share of the profits being £5,467[97]. Keppie had also been warding off complaints from some of the business’s clientele, both issues making the continuation of the partnership untenable.[98]

The partnership reverted to its original title of Honeyman and Keppie although John Honeyman had died in 1914.[99] Henderson had gone off to war in the same year, and was wounded in 1916 resulting in him being invalided out of the forces and returning to work for Keppie. He became a partner in the firm at the end of the war, it then trading as Keppie and Henderson.[100]

From that time until Keppie retired in 1937 [101] the majority of design activity was undertaken by Henderson. During this time two notable projects were the Mercat Building (1925-1928) at Glasgow Cross and the Bank of Scotland building (1929-1931) in Sauchiehall Street both of which included statues by the sculptor Benno Schotz.[102]

Fig.6 Mercat Building at Glasgow Cross. Courtesy of ‘Glasgow History’ website http://www.glasgowhistory.com

He continued to be involved with the professional bodies which saw him become President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects again in 1919-1920, President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland in 1924-1926 and Vice-President of the RIBA in 1929.[103]

In 1915 he had joined the Old Glasgow Club becoming a life member,[104] and he continued with his involvement with the Glasgow Art Club becoming known as ‘King John’ to the members.[105]

Fig.7 ‘King John’ as drawn by Wat Miller in 1931. Courtesy of Glasgow Art Club

He was keen golfer and had joined the prestigious Glasgow Golf club in 1892. The club was formed in 1787 and was initially located at Glasgow Green. For a number of reasons between circa 1835 and 1870 it enjoyed only sporadic activity. It was reconstituted in that year and was located at Queens Park, then as membership continued to grow, Alexandra Park and, in 1895, Blackhill. By the early 1900s the club was again looking for new premises which resulted in Killermont House, owned by the Campbell Colquhoun family, being leased for a period of twenty years. By this time Keppie was a member of the House and General committees of the club and was very much involved with the necessary and substantial internal refurbishment of the house.[106]

It’s not clear when the original house was built however in 1804/05 the South front was added by architect James Gillespie Graham.[107] The estate owner at that time was Archibald Campbell Colquhoun whose father John Coats Campbell of Clathic had succeeded to the estate through his wife Agnes Colquhoun.[108] A perhaps interesting aside is that Coats Campbell was the brother-in-law of John Glassford who had married his sister Anne Coats in 1743.[109]

Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh were retained as architects and it is generally understood that the project was designed and led by Keppie. The major part of the work to be done required gas fitters, stone masons, plumbers and painters and tenders were issued early in 1904, the first quote being accepted on the 23rd  February. The quotes totalled just over £978; the final bill however was £1,404, the main ‘culprits’ being the masonry work (+£230) and the gas fitting which was nearly £200 more than the quote of £43! An all too modern story.[110]

Simultaneously the course layout was designed by Old Tom Morris and all was ready for the opening ceremony on the 21st May 1904, performed by the then Lord Provost of Glasgow John Ure Primrose. In 1922 the club acquired the house and grounds permanently.[111]

In 1909 Keppie became club captain and in 1926 he gifted prints of four of his own etchings, two of which remain hanging in the club Gun Room.[112]

Throughout his life Keppie had continued to paint and exhibited frequently at the annual exhibition of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and at the Royal Scottish Academy. Between 1888 and 1943 sixty seven paintings, mainly watercolours, were exhibited by the Institute, a number of them resulting from his travels in Europe and North Africa.[113]

At various times he had travelled to Spain, Morocco, Italy, Holland, Belgium, France and Egypt, each trip providing subject matter for his watercolours.[114] His exhibits included paintings of ‘Chartres’ – 1890, ‘Grenada’ – 1898, ‘Patio, Alhambra’ – 1910, ‘Bovignes, The Ardennes’ – 1907, ‘St Marks, Venice’ – 1912, Mosque Courtyard, Cairo – 1916, and ‘A Street in Tangiers’ – 1939. He also exhibited four of his etchings between 1932 and 1939. In time his Scottish paintings outnumbered those of his foreign excursions.[115] He became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1920 and a full member in 1937.[116]

His connection with the Glasgow School of Art after his student days had begun in 1892 as a design competition examiner for the school. In 1904 he joined the Board of Governors. As Keppie’s company were the architects for the second phase of the new school he resigned from the Board in 1907 and did not re-join it until 1923. From 1926 to 1944 he served two terms as Vice-Chairman of the Board (1926-1931 and 1937-1944) and was Chairman from 1931 to 1937. He also endowed two scholarships in architecture and sculpture in 1923.[117]

The last few years of Keppie’s life saw him live with his sister Jessie at Haddington Park West in Prestwick having given up his home in Glasgow at the start of World War Two.[118] He died there on 28th April 1945, cause of death myocarditis.[119] He is buried in Monkton and Prestwick cemetery, in the same grave as his sisters Jane (d. 1924), Mary (d. 1923) and brother-in-law John Henderson who was the husband of sister Helen and had died in 1918. Jessie died in 1951 and was buried with her siblings.[120]

He left estate valued at £40,931(around £8m today in economic power) [121], bequeathing £2,000 to his partner Andrew Graham Henderson,[122] and eleven paintings to Glasgow.[123] Interestingly he left estate in Scotland and Wales, his sister Jessie and Matthew Wylie being granted probate in Llandudno in August 1945.[124] All his sisters when they died left significant estates, and all had property in Scotland and England.[125]

One final point about Keppie’s reputation or lack of one. I have no competence in the architectural debate however it does seem to me that Keppie is diminished by Mackintosh’s supporters undeservedly. The website ‘Glasgow – City of Sculpture’ in its biographical notes on Keppie states “Keppie’s contribution to the firm’s design work in the 1900s has been overshadowed by Mackintosh’s celebrity, with every one of his surviving architectural drawings scrutinized by historians eager to find evidence to confirm that drawings previously credited to Keppie were, in fact, actually by their God, Mackintosh.”[126]

It’s as if by diminishing Keppie, Mackintosh is somehow enhanced. They were two different people with similar and different skills, each deserving merit for the application of these skills. Artistically Mackintosh was the better of the two, however both had trod similar paths at the School of Art and had toured Italy producing sketches and watercolours of scenes observed. Keppie certainly was the more durable of the two professionally and was a more stable character than the temperamental, unstable, and depressive Mackintosh. It is perhaps forgotten or dismissed that Mackintosh not only would be influenced by the older Keppie, but there would be a cross fertilisation of ideas with Frances and Margaret McDonald. In 1897-98 ‘The Studio’ magazine published an article over ten pages detailing the artistic endeavours, with illustrations, of Mackintosh and the McDonald sisters.[127] Looking at these illustrations it’s difficult to dismiss the idea that some form of collaboration or cross inspiration occurred. That is not to say there is no distinction between the three, there is, however they were, along with Herbert McNair, a close knit group (The Four)[128] who would surely share ideas, enthusiasms and techniques as part of their way of life.

We should be celebrating two significant architects both with artistic skills rather than trying to deify one at the expense of the other. The Glasgow School of Art biographical notes on Keppie describe him as a superb draughtsman and watercolourist.[129] The Glasgow University project ‘Mackintosh Architecture’ headed by Professor Pamela Robertson and Joseph Sharples is probably the most balanced I’ve read with Keppie’s achievements being given due credit. It ends by saying that by the time Keppie died in 1945:

“Mackintosh’s elevation to the role of neglected genius was already underway, and Keppie’s posthumous reputation has suffered by comparison with his more illustrious associate. When his death was announced in the RIBA Journal, the opening sentence summed him up as partner of Charles Rennie Mackintosh – this despite a long and productive career of his own, with major buildings to his credit, and a lifetime of behind-the-scenes work on behalf of architecture in Glasgow and beyond”.[130]

* Keppie Design are the ‘descendants’ of the architectural company started by John Honeyman in 1854. The book is an account of architects and architecture in the following 150 years.

Fig.8 Bessie MacNicol; Self Portrait. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(http://www.artuk.org)

My thanks to Donald Macaskill (Glasgow Art Club Archive) for access to the club’s information on John Keppie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and also for the many conversations involved.

My thanks also to Nevin McGhee, Glasgow Golf Club Archivist, for his help with John Keppie’s involvement with the club.

[1] Glasgow Museums, John Keppie object file at GMRC, South Nitshill.

[2] Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland: http://www.rias.org.uk/rias/about-the-rias/past-presidents/john-keppie:

[3] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Edinburgh, Midlothian. 20 April 1810. KEPPY, John and QUELAIN, Mary. GROS Data 685/01 0530 0332. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[4] Census 1841 Scotland. Haddington, East Lothian. GROS Data 709/00 003/00 015. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[5] OPR birth searches Scotland. Haddington, East Lothian. John Keppy(Keppie) and Mary Quelain(Quillans etc) http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[6] Births (OPR) Scotland. Haddington, East Lothian. 3 November 1816. KEPPIE, James. GROS Data 709/00 0050 0400. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[7] Births (OPR) Scotland. Haddington, East Lothian. 25 February 1821. KEPEY, William. GROS Data 709/0 0070 0020: Census 1841 Scotland. Haddington, East Lothian. GROS Data 709/00 003/00 015: Marriages Scotland. Central District, Glasgow. 14 February 1856. KEPPIE, James and HOPKINS Helen. GROS Data 644/01 0039. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[8] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Canongate, Edinburgh. 12 June 1840. KEPPIE, James and SMITH. Janet, GROS Data 685/03 0290 0221. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[9] Census 1841 Scotland. Gorbals, Glasgow. GROS Data 644/02 033/00 013. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[10] Directories Scotland. (1840-41). Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: Henry Spence. p. 221. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=83821763:

[11] Directories Scotland. (1813). Glasgow Directory: Henry Spence. p. 136.

http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=87859352:

[12] Directories Scotland. (1816). Glasgow Directory: Henry Spence. p. 144.http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=90714452:

[13]Directories Scotland. (1847-48). Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: Henry Spence and Co. p. 252. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=84345905:

[14] Directories Scotland. (1848-49). Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: Henry Spence and Co. p. 252. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=90168216:

[15] Directories Scotland. (1848-49). Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: James Keppie. p. 153. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=90167028:

[16] Census 1851 Scotland. Glasgow. GROS Data 644/01 309/00 015. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[17] Glasgow Herald (1851) Against Adulteration and Smuggling. Glasgow Herald. 7 March. p.1dhttps://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18510307&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[18] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Central District, Glasgow. 14 February 1856. KEPPIE, James and HOPKINS, Helen Morton. GROS Data 644/01 0039. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[19] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Galston, Ayr. 29 August 1824. HOPKINS, James and CUTHBERTSON, Elizabeth. GROS Data 593/00 0040 0344. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[20] Statutory birth searches Scotland. Glasgow. James Keppie and Helen Hopkins. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[21] Births (CR) Scotland. Central District, Glasgow. 4 August 1862. KEPPIE, John. GROS Data 644/01 1450. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[22] Directories Scotland. (1879-80) Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: James Keppie. p. 279.http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=84463001:

[23] Valuation Rolls (1885) Scotland. Govan, Lanark. Hamilton Park Quadrant. KEPPIE, James. GROS Data VR107/114/662. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[24] Addresses Index (1836-1915) Glasgow West End, Hamilton Park Quadrant.http://www.glasgowwestaddress.co.uk/Hamilton_Park_Avenue/Hamilton_Park_Avenue_Numbers.htm

[25] Valuation Rolls (1875) Scotland. Monkton, Ayr. Station Road, James Keppie. GROS Data VR90/53/715. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[26] Directories Scotland. (1859-60) Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: James Keppie. p. 150. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=83897800: and

Valuation Rolls (1865) Scotland. Glasgow. Trongate, James Keppie. GROS Data VR102/4/17. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[27] Census 1861 Scotland. Central District. Glasgow. GROS Data 644/01 027/00 003. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[28] Directories Scotland. (1875-76). Post Office annual Glasgow Directory: James Keppie. p. 251. http://digital.nls.uk/directories/browse/pageturner.cfm?id=84177837:

[29] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Partick, Lanark. 21 December 1889. KEPPIE, James. GROS Data 646/03 0692. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[30] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Kelvin, Glasgow. 29 September 1887. RIDDOCH, David Spence and KEPPIE, Elizabeth. GROS Data 644/09 0387. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[31] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 17 February 1891. KEPPIE, James. Inventory. Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills. GROS Data SC36/48/131. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[32] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 17 February 1891. KEPPIE, James. Will. Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills. GROS Data SC36/51/102. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[33] Ibid

[34] Henderson County, Kentucky. Tobacco Manufacturers. http://www.hendersonkyhistory.com/TobaccoManufacturers.htm:

[35] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 17 February 1891. KEPPIE, James. Inventory. Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills. GROS Data SC36/48/131. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[36] Courier Press. Obituaries. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/courierpress/obituary.aspx?n=thomas-hodge&pid=155225392:

[37] Directories Scotland. (1850-51) Glasgow Post Office Directory. Glasgow: William McKenzie. p. 151 http://www.archive.org/stream/postofficeannual185051uns#page/n3/mode/2up

[38] Glasgow Herald (1851) Against Adulteration and Smuggling. Glasgow Herald. 7 March. p.1d https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18510307&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[39] Census 1900 United States Federal Census Henderson Ward 2, Henderson, Kentucky; Roll: 527; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0057; FHL microfilm: 1240527. http://www.ancestry.co.uk

[40] Let’s Look Again. John Hodge Tobacco Co. http://letslookagain.com/tag/hodge-tobacco-company/

[41] Passport Applications 1922 United States. HODGE, Thomas. Collection: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. Roll #: 2066; Volume #: Roll 2066 – Certificates: 206100-206475, 19 Jul 1922-20 Jul 1922 http://www.ancestry.co.uk

[42] Starling. E. L. (1887) History of Henderson County, KY.  Madison: University of Wisconsin. p. 516, 517. https://archive.org/details/historyofhenders00star

[43] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 17 February 1891. KEPPIE, James. Inventory. Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills. GROS Data SC36/48/131. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[44] UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1879 – 1960. James Keppie Junior 23 January 1890. Class BT26; piece 6; item 6. http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?ti=5538&indiv=try&db=bt26&h=29404396

[45] Census 1891 Scotland. Partick, Lanark. GROS Data 646/03 043/00 042. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk:

[46] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Hillhead, Glasgow. 8 November 1918. KEPPIE, James. GROS Data 644/12 1037. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[47] Census 1901 Scotland. Partick, Lanark. GROS Data 646/3G 023/00 008. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[48] Measuring Worth (2016). https://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/

[49] Ibid

[50] Ibid

[51] Eyre-Todd, George (1909) Who’s Who in Glasgow in 1909. Glasgow: Gowans and Gray Ltd. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho1010.htm

[52] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=KeppJ#JKbio1-back

[53] Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland: http://www.rias.org.uk/rias/about-the-rias/past-presidents/john-keppie

[54] Glasgow Herald (1882) Letters Glasgow Herald. 1st September 1882 p.9d.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18820901&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[55] Stark, David. (2004) Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Co. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing Ltd. p.139.

[56] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200057

[57] Stark, David, op.cit.p.141.

[58] Glasgow Herald (1887) Notes Glasgow Herald 12th May 1887. p.6g.https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18870512&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[59] Glasgow Herald (1888) Notes Glasgow Herald 20th August 1888. p.6f.https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18880820&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[60] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=KeppJ

[61] Billcliffe, Roger (1992). The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 1861-1998: A Dictionary of Exhibitors at the Annual Exhibitions. Vol. 2. Mitchell Library reference: f.709.411.074 Roy.

[62] Glasgow Herald (1887) Notes Glasgow Herald 24th January 1887. p. 6f.https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18870124&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[63] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200838

[64] Ibid.

[65] Glasgow Herald (1889) Notes. Glasgow Herald 16th January 1889. p. 6e https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18890116&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[66] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/essay/?eid=office_essay

[67] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/mackintosh/

[68] Glasgow School of Art. Archives: The Magazine. http://www.gsathemagazine.net/context.php

[69] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200838

[70] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/essay/?eid=lead_essay

[71] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=GlaArtCl

[72] Donald Mackaskill. Archive notes on history of Glasgow Art Club. 21st August 2014

[73] Ibid.

[74] Glasgow Art Club. Presidents http://glasgowartclub.co.uk/about/presidents

[75] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/browse/display/?sysnum=s389

[76] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=GlaArtCl

[77] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[78] Glasgow Herald (1893). Glasgow Art Club. The Glasgow Herald 6 June 1893 p.7c http://find.galegroup.com.connect.nls.uk/bncn/basicSearch.do;jsessionid=2CD5B89441A71A487F30BD4DCAFFCEA87

[79] The Studio (1893). Scotch Art Notes. The Studio No.4 July 1893 p. 161. http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1893

[80] Cairney, John (2015). The Quest for Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Edinburgh: Luath Press Ltd. p.65.

[81] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Dumbarton. 22 August 1900. MACKINTOSH, Charles and MACDONALD, Margaret. GROS Data 496/88. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[82] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Kelvin, Glasgow. 2 June 1890. WALTON, Edward Arthur and LAW, Helen. GROS Data 644/9 200. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[83] Stark, David, op.cit.p.146

[84] Stark, David, op.cit.p.205-207.

[85] Ibid

[86] Stark, David, op.cit.p.208.

[87] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid

[90] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/mackintosh/

[91] Glasgow Art Club Archives: Proposal Document. Donald Mackaskill

[92] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200838

[93] Howarth, Thomas (1977) Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement. 2nd ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul p.194.

[94] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[95] Howarth, Thomas, op.cit.p.195.

[96] Howarth, Thomas, op.cit.p.194.

[97] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[98] Howarth, Thomas, op.cit.p.195.

[99] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Logie, Stirling. 8 January 1914. HONEYMAN, John. GROS Data 485/B 3. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[100] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=201519

[101] Glasgow Herald (1937) Retirement of Mr John Keppie RSA. Glasgow Herald 31 July 1937. p.13c

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=19370731&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[102] Glasgow – City of Sculpture. Benno Schotz (1891-1984) http://www.glasgowsculpture.com/pg_biography.php?sub=schotz_b#

[103] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200838

[104] Old Glasgow Club: Transactions. Vol.3. 1913-17. Glasgow: Aird & Coghill. Mitchell Library Reference: GC 941 443 OLD Vol 3.

[105] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[106] Nevin McGhee. Archivist, Glasgow Golf Club.

[107] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200250

[108] Stewart, George (1881) Curiosities of Glasgow Citizenship. Glasgow: James Maclehose.  pps 139 – 144.

https://archive.org/stream/curiositiesofgla00stewuoft#page/144/mode/2up

[109] Births (OPR) Scotland Glasgow 19 June 1720. COATES, Anne. 644/01 0100 0065. Births (OPR) Scotland Glasgow 12 October 1721. COATS, John. 644/10 0100 0116. Marriages (OPR) Scotland Glasgow 24 April 1743. GLASSFORD, John and COATS, Anne. 644/01 0250 0082. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[110] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=KeppJ

[111] Nevin McGhee, op. cit.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Billcliffe, Roger, op.cit.

[114] Eyre-Todd, George, op.cit. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/eyrwho/eyrwho1010.htm

[115] Billcliffe, Roger, op.cit.

[116] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=KeppJ

[117] Ibid.

[118] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[119] Deaths (CR) Scotland. Monkton Prestwick, Ayr. 28 April 1945. KEPPIE, John. GROS Data 606/00 0048.

http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[120] Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=keppie&GSfn=john&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=126255262&df=all&

[121] Measuring Worth (2016). https://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/

[122] Dictionary of Scottish Architects. http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200838

[123] Glasgow Museum Resource Centre.

[124] Testamentary Records. England. 20 August 1945. KEPPIE, John Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the grants of probate. p.49. Collection: England and Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858-1966.

http://www.ancestry.co.uk

[125] Ancestry: Wills and Probate Records. http://www.ancestry.co.uk

[126] Glasgow – City of Sculpture. John Keppie (1862-1945) http://www.glasgowsculpture.com/pg_biography.php?sub=keppie_j#

[127] The Studio (1898). Some Glasgow Designers and their work. The Studio 1897-98. pps. 89-99.

https://archive.org/stream/studiointernatio11t13londuoft#page/n89/mode/2up

[128] Glasgow School of Art: Archives and Collections. http://www.gsaarchives.net/archon/index.php?p=creators/creator&id=255

[129] Ibid

[130] Mackintosh Architecture: http://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=KeppJ

Robert Jeffrey (1827 – 1902)

In his will of 1902, Robert Jeffrey bequeathed the contents of his library at Crosslie House, Renfrewshire to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. This bequest consisted of ‘all the books that shall belong to me, at the time of my decease, together with the bookcases in which they are contained and the statuettes on the top thereof, as well as the ivory carving statuettes and mosaics on the wall between the principal bookcases and the oriel window in my library at Crosslie House’. 1 An incidental part of his bequest included two portraits one of himself and one of his wife Margaret Jeffrey (nee Reid)

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Figure 1.Robert Jeffrey (unknown artist) Mitchell Library.© CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collecton.

 

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Figure 2. Margaret Jeffrey (unknown artist) Mitchell Library. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Robert Jeffrey was born into a family of cloth manufacturers whose business spanned the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Robert`s grandfather, James Jeffrey, was a linen manufacturer in Fife where Robert`s father, Robert Thomson Jeffrey was born in 1787. His mother was Margaret Thomson.2 On the 21 December 1813, Robert Thomson Jeffrey married Margaret Jack in Biggar, Lanarkshire. 3 Margaret`s father, James, was a farmer in Roberton. The marriage produced eight children; William born 1816, Agnes 1817, John 1818, James 1820, Andrew Gordon 1822, all born in Biggar. 4 After the birth of Andrew, the family moved to Edinburgh where Robert set up business in the Lawnmarket: Jeffrey, Robert, cotton manufacturer, 300 Lawnmarket.5

During their stay of about nine years in Edinburgh, three more children were born;  Isobel 1824 and Francis 1830. Robert Jeffrey junior was born on the 4 March 1827 in Edinburgh and christened in St. Cuthbert`s Church. 6 About 1833, the family moved to Glasgow where Robert set up business at 37 St. Andrew`s Street with a house at 16 St. Andrew`s Square later moving to 49 St. Andrew`s Square: 7 Jeffrey, R, stripe, check and linen manufacturer, 37, St Andrew’s St, house 49 St Andrew Sq.’8

With business obviously prospering, the family moved to Wyndford House in Maryhill, Glasgow:Jeffrey, R. cotton and linen manufacturer, 37, St Andrew`s Street, house Wyndford by Maryhill’ 9

In the census of 1841, the family at Wyndford consisted of Robert and Margaret Jeffrey, Agnes, William, James and Francis along with Robert Jeffrey junior aged 13. Robert was educated at Glasgow High School and at the Collegiate School which opened in 1842 in Garnethill.10,11 Two family members not on the census were John and Andrew. John Jeffrey had probably left by this time to take over or establish a base for the family business in Kirkcaldy 12 and Andrew may already have moved to Balfron to look after the family`s interests there.

(The Ballindalloch cotton works near Balfron were built in 1790 by Robert Dunmore and sold to Kirkman Finlay of James Finlay & Co. in 1798. They were subsequently sold to Robert Jeffrey & Sons in 1845 after the death of Kirkman Finlay). 13

By 1851 Robert Jeffrey was a linen manufacturer employing 54 males and 114 females.14 The firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London: ‘Jeffrey, Robert, Mary Hill, Glasgow, Kirkaldy (sic), Forfar, and Brechin – Specimens of huck, dowlas, ticks, loom sheeting, diaper, &c.’ 15

In that year, Robert and Margaret together with Agnes, James and Robert junior were still at Wyndford. Robert junior was now aged 23 and employed as a clerk of works. 16

On 3 November 1858 the thirty-one-year old Robert Jeffrey, a ‘manufacturer’ married Margaret Reid who was twenty-two. The wedding took place in Hillock House, Govan which was the bride`s home. Her father Alexander Reid was a turkey red dyer who had founded the Govan Dyeworks in 1829; 17 her mother was Mary Veitch. 18 Robert and Margaret moved to 17 Buckingham Terrace, Glasgow with Robert employed in the family business at 118 Brunswick Street. 19

Meanwhile John Jeffrey was overseeing the building of the family`s Balsusney Works in Kirkcaldy 20 with William and Andrew in control of the Ballindalloch Works:

‘an extensive Cotton work on the banks of the Endrick Water, the building varies from one to six storeys in height and was erected in 1789. The machinery is propelled by water of about 30 horse power. This work employs about 250 persons when in full operation, chiefly females. Property of W. and A. Jeffrey, Balfron.’ 21

The works which were employed in cotton spinning would have been supervised by Andrew Gordon Jeffrey who lived locally in Buchanan Street, Balfron.

Robert Thomson Jeffrey was widowed in 1861 when his wife Margaret died at Wyndford on 15 March. 22 In the census of 1861 his address was Garscube Road, Maryhill, still a cotton and linen manufacturer now aged 73 with his daughter Agnes aged 44. Three years later on 6 May 1864 Robert Thomson Jeffrey died at Wyndford House. 23 In his will dated 27 April 1863 24 he left all his assets; ‘in favour of William Jeffrey, manufacturer in Glasgow, John Jeffrey, manufacturer in Kirkcaldy, Andrew Jeffrey, cotton spinner, Ballindalloch, Balfron, Robert Jeffrey junior, manufacturer in Glasgow, all my sons’.

He described his business relationship with his sons as a ‘copartnery. and his four sons were to divide equally the whole residue of his estate between them. There was no mention of his daughter Agnes.

In 1867, Robert Jeffrey, his wife Margaret and brother Andrew sailed from Liverpool to Boston, Massachusetts where they arrived on  9  May. 25 On their return, on 31 July 1867, Robert Jeffrey

retired from and ceased to be a partner in the company of Robert Jeffrey & Sons, Manufacturers in Glasgow and at Wyndford near Glasgow, Balsusney near Kirkcaldy and Ballindalloch near Balfron of which he and the other subscribers were the sole partners ‘.

The ‘other subscribers’ were William Jeffrey and John Jeffrey with no mention of Andrew. This was reported in the London Gazette the following year. 26

Robert and Margaret Jeffrey moved to Crosslie House as tenants about 1869 with previous addresses being 224 Great Western Road and 21 Holyrood Crescent. 27 It would be about this time that Robert started to collect books for his library and begin his travels in Europe and venturing as far as Egypt. From the outset, though, he was involved in discussions with the owners of Crosslie House concerning repairs and alterations first of all to the offices and then to part of the building damaged by fire. The Glasgow architect John Baird was employed to draw up plans. This work was completed by 1873. However, later that year Robert intimated that ‘he will renew his tenancy for 11 years provided that certain alterations are made to the house and he ‘wishes permission also to erect vineries, conservatories or glass houses’. The plans give a description of the house and grounds:

‘The house has 3 floors and “a sunk flat”. The Ground Floor includes a Large Entrance Hall and a Large Library (formerly two rooms converted into one) and the First Floor comprises Dining Room, Drawing Room and Bedroom. The Offices consist of Coachman or Gardener’s House (2 rooms and kitchen) Stable 3 stalls and loose box, Coach house for 3 carriages, Washing-shed, 2 Conservatories (Stone Built), Dog Kennel (Modern).The Garden and Grounds extend to 10 acres or thereby, and are beautifully wooded and planted with a fine variety of pines and shrubs.’ 28

The 1871 census confirms that Robert and Margaret were at Crosslie House, Renfrewshire and employed a cook and a housemaid. He was described as a ‘retired merchant’. In the same year, Andrew Jeffrey died of heart disease at Buchanan Street, Balfron. He was Justice of the Peace for Stirlingshire and a Captain of Rifle Volunteers. 29

In 1879 Robert set out a second time to visit the USA. This time on his own. He sailed from Glasgow via Larne and arrived in New York aboard the ‘State of Nevada’ on 24 February 1879 30

The firm of Robert Jeffrey & Sons appears to have ceased trading in the 1880s. The Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1880/81 has the listing:

‘Jeffrey, Robert & Sons, cotton spinners, Ballindalloch Works, Balfron; linen and cotton manufacturers, Wyndford Works, Maryhill; warehouse 110 Brunswick Street’.

However, in the Glasgow Post Office Directories from 1881 to 1887 only the Wyndford Works is mentioned and the entry for 1887/88 is the last for the firm. The year 1889 saw the opening of the Castle Brewery in Maryhill, which was

‘built upon the premises vacated some time since by Messrs. Robert Jeffrey & Sons, Linen and Cotton manufacturers, and the ground, buildings, and accessories cover an area of fully an acre’. 31

On 29 August 1899, Margaret Jeffrey died at Crosslie House. She was sixty two. 32  In the census of 1901, Robert was at Crosslie House, aged 74 and a retired linen manufacturer. A visitor to Crosslie at the time of the census was Francis Barrett aged sixty five. He was Glasgow`s City Librarian and first Librarian of the Mitchell Library. He seems to have guided Robert in his choice of books for his library.  Robert Jeffrey died on 18 August the following year at Crosslie House, probably of cancer of the stomach. His death was reported by his gardener. 33 He was buried on 22 August at Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow. His grave (F 630 – 632) 34 is next to that of his brother-in-law Thomas Reid who was the principal shareholder of the cemetery at the time of his death.

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Fig. 3 Jeffrey Family Grave and Gravestone Inscription, Craigton Cemetery. Photograph: Alistair Macdonald.

Sacred To the Memory of Margaret Daughter of Alexander Reid Of Govan and Wife of Robert Jeffrey Manufacturer, Glasgow Died 29th August 1899 Aged 62 Years

Also The Above Robert Jeffrey Died 18th August 1902 Aged 75 Years.                       

He  bequeathed to the Public And Endowed The Jeffrey Reference Library

In the memorandum written by Francis Thornton Barrett, Robert Jeffrey amassed his collection of books over a period of about thirty years. The collection includes first editions of collected works by Dickens, Scott and Thackeray. There are many works of Scottish history and literature including the Kilmarnock edition of the poems of Robert Burns. Among the many works of natural history there is a double elephant folio of The Birds of America by John James Audubon – apparently a gift from Margaret to Robert. At his death the collection amounted to over 4,300 volumes and had cost about £6,300. It was valued at the time of his death at £4789.5.6. His total estate was valued at £32,901.15.2 35

His will 36 was written at Crosslie House by Johnstone, Renfrewshire. It was presented for registration at Edinburgh on 23 August 1902 and at Paisley on the 26th of February 1903. Francis Thornton Barrett, librarian of the Mitchell Library, was one of the trustees and executors. He was given a legacy of £50 paid annually. Robert`s housekeeper Jessie Robertson was to choose articles of furniture and plenishings from the house to the value of £100. She also to be given £50 per annum. On the death of his wife Margaret Reid he had received about £2000 derived from the estate of her father, he wished this to be returned to her family i.e. her four nieces. and shared equally. £50 per annum was to be paid to Francis Jeffrey and £100 per annum to Robert Milne Jeffrey and William Jeffrey sons of his deceased brother William Jeffrey. It was also evident from the inventory of his estate that he had retained possession of Hillock House, his wife`s former home and that he rented it out with a piece of vacant ground to Mackie and Thomson, shipbuilders.

The bulk of his will is devoted to the disposal of his library. He states that he has bestowed much time, labour and expense on the acquisition of his library of books. He wishes it to be preserved intact and to be called ‘The Jeffrey Reference Library’ and made available ‘for the benefit and instruction of all well conducted persons’… He wishes to hand over all the books….together with the bookcases in which they are contained and the statuettes on the top thereof, as well as the ivory carving statuettes and mosaics on the wall between the (four) principal bookcases and the oriel window in the library at Crosslie House……and that they shall in all time coming be retained and held by the Managers of the Mitchell Library without any power to dispose of them. To be kept separate and apart from other books of the Mitchell Library with a separate catalogue and not added to. If the Mitchell Library refused the gift or failed to meet the conditions, the library was to be offered to the University Court of the University of Glasgow. It was a further condition that whoever accepted the gift of the library had to agree to provide the funds to maintain his burying ground and monument in Craigton Cemetery ‘in all time coming’ in perfect condition. No further internments were to be allowed. His library was to be fully insured against loss or damage by fire, theft or otherwise. It was to be under the management of a Special Assistant whose salary is to be considered as part of the cost of maintenance.

If the Mitchell and the University were to refuse the gift then the library was to be sold and all together with the whole residue of his means and estate to be given to the Royal Infirmary Glasgow subject only to them maintaining his burying ground and monument in Craigton Cemetery. The Mitchell if it accepted the gift was forbidden to try to dispose of any part of it under threat of forfeiture to the University and the same for them to the Royal Infirmary.

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Figure 4. Robert Jeffrey at Crosslie House. Glasgow Weekly Herald, 30th August, 1902

References

  1. National Records of Scotland, Wills and Testaments, SC58/42/63
  2. Scotland`s People Death Certificate (Robert Thomson Jeffrey)
  3. Old Parish Registers, Family Search
  4. Old Parish Registers, Family Search; ancestry.co.uk., 1851 Census
  5. Edinburgh Post Office Directory, 1832-3
  6. Old Parish Registers, Family Search
  7. Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1833-34 to 1841-42
  8. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1838-39
  9. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1841-42
  10. https://oldglasgow.tumblr.com/post/96015172496/glasgows-collegiate-school-looks-familiar
  11. Robert Jeffrey and his Library, Francis Thornton Barrett, Mitchell Library, Glasgow, AGN 1933, MP (31) 155, 156
  12. https://lundinlinks.weebly.com/blog/john-jeffrey
  13. The Ballindalloch Notes Issues of 1830, P. Symes, 1996
  14. Scotland`s People, Census 1951
  15. Catalogue of Great Exhibition of 1851
  16. Scotland`s People, Census 1851
  17. Slaven, A. and Checkland, S. (eds) Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography, 1860 – 1960, Vol. 1, Aberdeen University Press, 1986, p 395
  18. Scotland`s People, Marriage Certificate
  19. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1860-61
  20. https://lundinlinks.weebly.com/blog/john-jeffrey
  21. http://www.balfron.org.uk/history/ballindalloch-cotton-works/
  22. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  23. Ibid
  24. National Records of Scotland, Wills and Testaments, SC36/51/47
  25. Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820 – 1963, ancestry.co.uk
  26. London Gazette, 24th January, 1868
  27. Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1864 – 1868
  28. https://canmore.org.uk/site/197633/crosslee
  29. Scotland`s People, Census 1871; Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  30. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820 – 1957, ancestry.co.uk
  31. https://www.oldglasgowpubs.co.uk › castlevaultsmaryhill
  32. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  33. Ibid
  34. Craigton Cemetery Burial Records, Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library
  35. National Records of Scotland, Wills and Testaments, SC58/42/63
  36. Ibid.

Mrs Anna Walker (1866-1948)

On 11th October 1948 the following 3 paintings were presented to Kelvingrove Galleries from Mrs Anna Walker’s Trust, per Messrs. Inglis Glen and Co., 223 West George St., Glasgow, C2:

On 11October 1948 the following three paintings were presented to the Kelvingrove Galleries from Mrs Anna Walker’s Trust, per Messrs. Inglis Glen and Co., 223 West George Street, Glasgow, C2:

  1. A Bunch of Flowers, an oil painting by Victor Vincelet (1840-1871).
  2. Peonies, a watercolour by Andrew Allan (1905-1982).
  3. Cathedral Interior, a watercolour by James Holland (1799-1870).

When a female donor makes a donation using only her married name and with no other details, it is difficult to find out much information about her. Our donor is a prime example of this. Apart from her name and the pictures that she donated to the Gallery, there is no other information. However, what was obvious about her was her enthusiasm for flowers which is very clear from the above two paintings that were presented to Kelvingrove Gallery (See 1 and 2).

Figure 1. A Bunch of Flowers, an oil painting by Victor Vincelet (1840-1871) © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (http://www.artuk.org)
Figure 2. Peonies, watercolour by Andrew Allan (1905-1982) © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

As the search started, it was clear that it would be expedient to write something about the historical background. This was the mid- Industrial Revolution age which saw tremendous social changes as well as certain scientific awareness and discoveries which affected everybody in this country as well the whole world.

The Industrial   Revolution took hold in Glasgow at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Linen was Scotland’s premier industry in the eighteenth century but at the beginning of the nineteenth century the manufacture of cotton and textiles increased rapidly. Immigrants from the Highlands in the 1820s and from Ireland in the 1840s formed the workforce.  The city then diversified into heavy industries like shipbuilding, locomotive construction and other heavy engineering that could thrive on nearby supplies of coal and iron ore. Between 1870 and 1914, Glasgow ranked as one of the richest and finest cities in Europe. [1]

As all this industrialisation was going on, it was clear that certain breathing spaces of the City must be built in the form of parks and botanic gardens as the lungs of the City.  Thomas Hopkirk, a distinguished Glasgow botanist, had founded the Botanic Gardens in 1817 with the support of a number of local dignitaries and the University of Glasgow. [2] The Gardens were originally laid out on an 8-acre site at Sandyford at the western end of Sauchiehall Street (at that time on the edge of the city). The Royal Botanical Institution of Glasgow owned and ran the Gardens.  They agreed to provide the University of Glasgow with teaching aids, including a supply of plants for medical and botanical classes. It is worth noting that one of the future famous plant-hunters, David Douglas, who was born at Scone near Perth, had taken up a post at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in 1820.  

Professor Hooker, who was Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University in 1820 and later became the first official director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1865, took a great liking to Douglas and the two men made a number of botanical trips together to the Scottish Highlands while Hooker was writing his book Flora Scotica. It was on Hooker’s recommendation that the Horticultural Society (not yet ‘Royal’) employed Douglas in 1823 as an explorer. It should be noted here that when David Douglas was exploring North-West America in the 1830s, he sent home seeds of Pseudotsuga, now commonly known as the Douglas Fir. David Douglas had also introduced more than 200 species of plants to gardens in Europe. [3]

Until the 1840s Glasgow’s West End consisted of open countryside, isolated farmhouses and the country dwellings of Glasgow’s most wealthy citizens. The completion of the Great Western Road and the re-location of the Botanic Gardens to the Kelvinside Estate in the early 1840s was the catalyst for a rapid change to the character of the area. [4] The Botanic Gardens and Glasgow Green are prime examples of these developments of the time.   ln 1852 the Council purchased some land from the Kelvingrove and Woodlands estate to create an area which is now Kelvingrove Park and which was to be the new home for the famous Kibble Palace. [5]

There was definitely some desire to experiment growing and cultivating new breeds of plants brought in by scientists and other enthusiasts from the faraway lands of India, China, Japan and the Americas. These plants were either acquired in seed form or as complete plants to the newly established Horticultural Society and the like.

This enthusiasm for bringing plants from faraway lands continued into the beginning of the twentieth century, when we meet our donor Mrs Anna Walker.

She was on holiday in Northern Italy, when she accidentally discovered a heather. It was propagated by her gardener Robert Howieson-Syme and it was then sent to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at Wisley and in 1925 named by F.J Chittenden, the then Director of the RHS. Initially, this new variety of heather was called Springwood which was the name of the house in Stirling where Anna lived with her husband. Later it was named Springwood White on the appearance of another variant called Springwood Pink by F. J. Chittenden in 1925. [6] The preferred name for the plant is Erica Carnea f1  Alba  Springwood White. [7] It is remarkable that our donor Mrs Anna Walker had discovered her heather at a time when the main part of the Industrial Revolution had ended. Furthermore, World War I was over. However, the endeavour for the appreciation and growing plants from foreign lands was still alive.

The above information obtained from the article in the Heather Society [8] was the key to discovering the identity of our donor Anna Walker – her age, date of birth and her family’s details. In the 1881census [9], Anna was 14 years old and described as a scholar. She was born in 1866 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Her father, William Gibson, born in 1841, was a cloth merchant and her mother Isabella S. Gibson was born in 1844. In the same census record, it is recorded that she had a brother George who was 10 and a sister Jeannie T. who was 12. The Gibson Family lived in 1 Burnbank Gardens, Glasgow, Barony Lanarkshire with two servants.

Anna Gibson married Ralph Wardlaw Thomson Walker, a ship broker in 1890 in the Glasgow district of Partick. [10] Also in the 1891 census [11] it is recorded that the Gibson family was living in Doune, Perthshire in Castle Bank Cottage. Ralph WT Walker is shown to be in the same dwelling with his now wife, Mrs Anna Walker. Furthermore, the same household appears to have a guest, William Linklater, a minister of the Free Church in their house.

Our donor’s husband, Ralph W.T. Walker, was born in 1865. His father’s name was Robert Walker and his mother’s name was Mary Ann (Donaldson). The couple lived for a time in 3 Bruce Street Glasgow where Ralph had lived and had been living for a few years before he married.  In the 1891 census [12], Anna’s brother George Gibson is described as a mercantile shipping clerk.

In the 1901 census [13], Mr and Mrs Walker are shown to be living in 4 Athole Gardens at Partick Burgh, Glasgow. Ralph’s profession is now recorded as ship owner. This is a large house and our donor Mrs Anna Walker now employed two servants – one as a table maid domestic and the other as a cook domestic. There is an impression that Mr and Mrs Walker were keen travellers, because apart from their travel to Italy in the 1920s, both of their names also appear on the First Class passenger list of the ship Duchess Of Atholl belonging to the Canadian Pacific Line bound to a West Indies cruise from the port of Greenock on 30 January 1930. [14]

Our couple stayed in Athole Gardens until 1915 and then moved to Stirling .  The name of the house is Springwood and is B-listed. It was built about 1870 and they lived there from the early twentieth century until Anna died on the 24 July 1948. Earlier, Ralph had died there too in 1943.

In the Glasgow Herald of the 26 July 1948 there was a notice [15] which is printed below:

 At Springwood Stirling on the 24th July 1948 Anna, wife of late Ralph W.T.Walker, ship owner.  Funeral private.  No Flowers.

References

[1]https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/victorian/trails_victorian_glasgow.shtml
 [2] https://www.glasgowbotanicgardens.com/the-gardens/history/
 [3] ibid
 [4] https://www.glasgowwestend.co.uk/pats-guide-buildings-architecture-history-glasgows-west-end/.
[5] op.cit [1]
[6] https://www.heathersociety.org/heathers/erica-hardy/erica-carnea/carnea-corolla-pure-white/springwood-white/
[7] Correspondence from  Mr Chris Moncrieff, Head of Horticultural Relations, Royal Horticultural Society
 [8] op.cit [6]
[9] 1881 census
 [10] Marriage Cert. from Scotland’s People.
 [11] 1891 Census
[12] ibid
[13] 1901 Census
[14] West Indies Cruise, UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 for Ralph W T Walker
[15] Glasgow Herald of the 26 July 1948, Anna’s death notice.

 

Sir George Thomas Beatson (1848-1933)

In 1933 Sir George Beatson bequeathed  Haul on the Sands painted by Joseph Henderson in 1874, a Glasgow based artist who became known for his marine paintings. Henderson was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Scottish Academy and at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, and was president of the Glasgow Art Club. 

Henderson, Joseph, 1832-1908; Haul on the Sands
Figure 1. Henderson, Joseph; Haul on the Sands; Glasgow Museums; (© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection)

George Beatson was born in Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1849 to Surgeon-General George Stewart Beatson (1) and Mary Jane Cochrane.(2) George senior was honorary physician to Queen Victoria and served with distinction in Ceylon and India during the Crimean War, subsequently becoming principal Medical officer at Netley Hospital in Hampshire. The impressive hospital buildings were not however well designed for patients welfare and it was Florence Nightingale who subsequently put pressure on the government to improve facilities.(3) Mary Cochrane, whose family came from the Isle of Man,  was the daughter of an officer who was a member of The Ceylon Rifles.(4)

 George junior followed in his fathers footsteps in medicine and his name is now very much associated with cancer treatment in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow.

Sir_George_Thomas_Beatson._Photograph_by_T._&_R._Annan_&_Son_Wellcome_V0026013
Figure 2.   Sir George Thomas Beatson           Photograph by T & R Annan and Sons, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 , Wellcomecollection.org/works/jkp6w8u

George was brought up in Campbeltown, Argyll with his parents and attended school there. He continued his education at King Williams College in Isle of Man, presumably due to his mothers connection to the island. From there he studied at Clare College, Cambridge where he achieved Batchelor of Arts in 1871, and continued his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, where he qualified as Batchelor of Medicine in 1874.(5) It was during this period that he became interested in the treatment of breast cancer and graduated as Doctor of Medicine in 1878. His final thesis focused on the links between ovulation, lactation and cancer. In 1896 he published a paper on oophorectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the ovaries, in which he proposed a treatment for advanced breast cancer and which became standard practice in cancer treatment.(6) 

While in Edinburgh George became House Surgeon and studied antiseptic principles under Lord Lister, who was Professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow in 1860, and who is commemorated by a statue in Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow. During Beatsons time as House Surgeon at University of Edinburgh, W E Henley, a patient and poet friend of R L Stevenson, composed some lines to describe George’s character…

Exceeding tall, but built so well his height,

Half disappears in flow of chest and limb,

Frank-faced, frank-eyed, frank-hearted, always bright,

And always punctual-morning, noon and night,…(7)

Perhaps not the finest poem ever composed but it probably describes him well, as he appears to have been a highly respected figure who combined compassion with ambition.

George moved to Glasgow in 1878 and took up general Practice before progressing to surgical appointments in the Western Infirmary.(8) He lived at 2 Royal Crescent, Glasgow (9) till around 1900 when he moved to 7 Woodside Crescent nearby and remained there till his death in 1933. (10)

DSC_9997
Figure 3. 2 Royal Crescent, Glasgow. Photograph by author

In 1893 he was appointed to Glasgow Cancer and Skin Institute, renamed Glasgow Cancer Hospital in 1894, was appointed Director and took complete control over its functions. He appears to have had formidable organisational and administrative skills, perhaps influenced by his military background. He encouraged research at the hospital and pioneered radium therapy in Scotland.

 He persuaded Lady Burrell, wife of the shipping magnate who gifted the Burrell Collection to Glasgow, to provide £10,000 to open the Radium Institute at 132 Hill Street, Glasgow.(11) On the establishment of The National Health Service in 1948 the hospital came under the control of the Western Board of Management and in 1953 was renamed The Royal Beatson Memorial Hospital in his memory. (12)

The clinical section was moved to a new centre within the Western Infirmary and was named The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. In 2007 the Centre was moved to new state of the art premises within Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow’s West End which has clinical links with 21 hospitals in the west of Scotland. It is the second largest facility of its type in the UK.(13)

Beatson’s pioneering research played an important role in improving cancer treatments and this work continues at The Beatson Institute in Glasgow. In 1967 the Department became The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and in 1976 moved to new premises at Garscube Estate in Glasgow.(14)

Beatson_Institute_for_Cancer_Research,_Glasgow_02
Figure 4. Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, Permission of Vojtech Dostal.

George managed to make time for other interests. At the end of the 19th century there was no ambulance service in Glasgow and he pioneered the forming of the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association. He was also active in the Volunteer Association, forerunner of the Territorial Army. He played a leading role in the Scottish Red Cross Association in Glasgow and a portrait of him remains at their headquarters in Glasgow.(15)

V0026014 Sir George Thomas Beatson. Photograph by Warneuke.
Figure 5. Sir George Thomss Beaton. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Sir George Thomas Beatson. Photograph by Warneuke. Published: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

During his long and active career he received many honours and decorations. He was knighted in 1907 and awarded an OBE in 1918 in recognition of his services during World War 1 and in 1919 he became Deputy Lieutenant of City of Glasgow.(16) In 2006 the University of Glasgow commissioned a bronze bust of Sir George by Guyan Porter, a Glasgow based artist, for the Hunterian Museum.

Beatson, George by
Figure 6. Bust of George Beatson by Guyan Porter, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International, permission Stephen C Dickson

Sir George died at his home at 7 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow in his 85th year on 16th February 1933 after a period of ill health.(17) The funeral was held at Park Church and was attended by representatives of many medical organisations including The Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance. His ashes were interred at his mothers grave on the Isle of Man.(18)

DS

References –

  1. https://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=WH27292&type=P
  2. Deaths, Beatson George, Thomas K (644/12 0213), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netley_Hospital
  4. https://www.beatson.scot.nhs.uk/content/default.asp?page=s32
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Beatson
  6. https://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=WH27292&type=P
  7. https://www.thebreastonline.com/article/0960-9776(92)90121-H/pdf
  8. https://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=WH27292&type=P
  9. Census 1891 Beatson George T (644/09 018/09 012), www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk 
  10. Deaths, Beatson George, Thomas K (644/12 0213), www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk 
  11. https://www.thebreastonline.com/article/0960-9776(92)90121-H/pdf
  12. https://www.beatson.scot.nhs.uk/content/default.asp?page=s32
  13. https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/health-services/cancer-services/the-beatson-west-of-scotland-cancer-centre/
  14. http://www.beatson.gla.ac.uk/About/history.html https://www.thebreastonline.com/article/0960-9776(92)90121-H/pdf
  15. https://www.thebreastonline.com/article/0960-9776(92)90121-H/pdf
  16. https://www.bmj.com/content/1/2627/1090.3
  17. Deaths, Beatson George, Thomas K (644/12 0213), www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
  18. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.3322/canjclin.33.2.105

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glasgow Magistrate expresses views after studying Chicago and Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

 

 

 

 

Dr. Helen Constance Herbert Story (1871 – 1942)

On the 17th of March 1942, Dr. Helen Story donated two watercolours by her sister Elma Story.

Figure 1. Wooden Posts in Lagoon near Venice (2273). © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Figure 2. Study of a Beech Tree. (2274). © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

`The Director reported that Dr. Helen Story, 21, Ashton Road, W.1 had gifted two small watercolours by the late Miss Elma Story, and the committee agreed that the gift be accepted and that a letter of thanks be sent to Dr. Story`.1

Helen Constance Herbert Story was born on 13th May 1871 in her maternal grandparents` home at 48 Melville Street, Edinburgh.2 Her father was the Reverend Robert Herbert Story, who had been minister of the parish of Rosneath in Dunbartonshire since 1860.3 Helen`s birth was registered in both Edinburgh and Rosneath. Her mother was the novelist Janet Leith Story nee Maughan.

Janet Story published seven novels with titles, Charley Nugent (1860), The St Aubyns of St Aubyn (1862), The Co-Heiress (1866), Richard Langdon or Foreshadowed, The Man of Mark, Kitty Fisher the Orange Girl (1881) and Equal to Either Fortune. In 1911 at the age of 83 she published Early Reminiscences. This was followed in 1913 by Later Reminiscences.

Helen`s parents were married in Edinburgh on 31st October 1863. Their first child, a son, died a few hours after birth. Helen`s sister, Elizabeth Maria Margaret Arnott Story (Elma) was born in Edinburgh on 17th September 1866.4

Robert and Janet
Figure 3. Robert and Janet Story

Helen Janet Elma
Figure 4. Helen, Janet and Elma Story about 1872. Figs. 3 and 4 from: Story, J. L., Early Reminiscences, James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1911

Helen and Elma’s early years were spent in almost unbroken happiness in our beloved Rosneath`. Their grandmother lived close-by and ‘my little girls went daily to see her until she died in 1882’. 5 In the Census of 1881 Helen was a “scholar”, aged 9 living at Rosneath Manse with her parents and sister. 6

Rosneath
Figure 5. Rosneath Village late 1800s. From:Story, J. L., Later Reminiscences,  James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1913

However, in 1886 Robert Story was appointed Professor of Church History in the University of Glasgow and the following year the family moved to Number 8, The College, Glasgow. ‘Having been appointed to the chair of Church History in the University of Glasgow, Dr. Story had reluctantly to resign the parish of Rosneath, and took leave of the congregation to whom he had so long ministered on Sunday 5th June 1887’. 7

At the 1891 Census, Helen, aged 19 and her father, were visitors at Barshimming Mansion House, Stair, Ayrshire. She gave her occupation as “professor`s daughter”. Her mother and Elma were at home at Number 8, The University. In her twenties, Helen became interested in trying to alleviate the causes of social deprivation.

“There is no record of the origin and growth of her devotion to the cause of Social Service, but it became her life work and her abiding memorial”.8

In 1897, she was one of the women involved in the founding of the “Queen Margaret College Settlement”. The Settlement,

was founded by a group of pioneering women in 1897. They had struggled  for the right to access Higher Education and, having achieved this against much opposition, they felt a commitment to others whose needs were often disregarded. The basic idea was simple: young people from the University should move into areas of deprivation to live with the poor and by this means, share in their lives and provide practical support through personal contact. Based first in Anderston (opened 1901) and later in Drumchapel, Settlement Volunteers were pioneers in many areas of    social work throughout the 20th century. They provided legal and welfare advice, they set up credit unions and after-school clubs. From these beginnings developed: Legal Aid, The Citizens Advice Bureau, Savings Banks and a multitude of self-help groups”. 9

In 1898 Robert Story was appointed Principal of the University and the family again moved this time to the Principal`s House at Number 13, The College. The move seems to have been made reluctantly. Janet Story wrote that ‘very cosy and contented we were for eleven years in our happy home at No. 8, The College’. 10 In the 1901 Census, Helen, aged 29, was living with her parents and Elma at this address.

Drawing Room
Figure 6. The drawing room at Number 11, The College when Helen lived there. From: Story, J. L., Later Reminiscences,  James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1913

Helen continued to be involved in social work and in 1903 wrote that,

“One of the most practical phases of modern social and philanthropic work is the formation of settlements in the poorer parts of the city where workers (can) learn how best to take a share in helping (their neighbours) overcome their difficulties”. 11

From 1906 she was a member of the Joint Committee which created the Glasgow School of Social Study and Training. Other members were the Misses, M.G. May, Galloway, Younger, Snodgrass, E.S. Stevenson, Brown, Redie, Gairdner and Marwick. In 1908 she became Convener of the Committee and in 1912, when the school was established she became its ‘long-time secretary’:

“all others proclaim her as the mainspring and continuing force in the creation, the building and the development of the Glasgow School of Social Study and Training”.12

The Reverend Robert Story died at home on 13th January 1907 and was buried in Rosneath Churchyard. 13, 14 His death meant that the family had to vacate the Principal`s House and they moved to 30 Lilybank Gardens, Hillhead. 15 Helen and Elma wrote a biography of their father which was published in 1909.16 A copy signed by Elma is in the Mitchell Library.

In the 1911 Census, Helen, aged 39, was a visitor at Newtondee House, Cults, Aberdeenshire. (It may be a coincidence but today Newton Dee is a Camphill Community in Aberdeen.  It offers a home, meaningful work and opportunities for personal development to adults with learning disabilities and other special needs).

The three women continued to live at 30 Lilybank Gardens, Hillhead, until Janet Story died aged 98 on 11th of September 1926. 17 Thereafter, the sisters moved to 21 Ashton Road. 18

Helen became a Governor of the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science in 1931 and held this post for eleven years latterly becoming Convener of the Cookery Committee. The College Minutes recorded that ‘she has done much to maintain the high standards of the work of the College’.19

From 1932 to 1935 she was Vice-President of the Scottish Section of the Workers` Educational Association (WEA). In an address to the WEA she drew attention to the wide range of social services that now existed.

“When I came to Glasgow in 1887 these services were practically non-existent. There was no workmen`s compensation, no Health Insurance, no Old Age Pension, no Widows` pensions, no Unemployment Insurance, very little Health Service apart from the Hospitals or Child Welfare. It must be very difficult for anyone born in this century to realize what a revolution has come about in these ways in the course of little more than a generation, and what an easing of the burdens of life has resulted”.20

On 21st June, 1939 Helen Story was awarded an Honorary LL.D. degree from the University of Glasgow. The citation for the award was as follows:

“Miss Helen Story is joint-authoress of a full and sympathetic life of her father – a former Principal of this University. Her chief work, however, has been in the study of the social problems of a great city, such as this, and she has contributed by thought and effort towards the solution of them. Thus, she has taken part in the management of the Queen Margaret Settlement since its foundation; in the work of the collecting Savings Banks; in the care of soldiers` dependents during the war; in the provision of training for Women and in the direction of the College of Domestic Science. From the beginning of these activities, Miss Story recognized that an improvement in social conditions depended on increase in knowledge of them, and in the application of that knowledge when obtained. With this ideal before her, she had a large part in the founding of the School of Social Study and Training, of which she has been the indefatigable and tactful Secretary since 1912”.21,22

Helen Story LLD
Figure 7. Helen`s Story`s signature on Hon. Ll. D. roll. Glasgow University Archives, Album of Honorary Doctorates, 1939.

Sig on page from Hon LLD Record

On 29th May, 1941, Helen`s sister Elma died and was buried at Rosneath.  Helen caused to be cut into the gravestone ‘There is no friend like a sister In calm or stormy weather’.

It is likely that Helen gifted the watercolours as a memorial to her sister. Elma was a talented artist who had exhibited at the RSA from 1898 till 1934.

On the  21st August 1941 Helen Story died of colon cancer at her home 21, Ashton Road.23 Her funeral service was held at the University Chapel on Tuesday, 24th after which she was buried at Rosneath. 24

In his memoir written after her death G. E. R. Young wrote that

‘Her sense of humour ….. was one of rare quality. A story …..of Anderston or Port St., retailed by Helen was enriched and scintillated in the telling. And who among her friends will forget when moments of disaster arrived or things went wrong, that quiet, detached, dispassionate “Damnity, Damn!!’. 25

References

  1. Minutes of the Corporation of Glasgow C1/3/105, p 946, Minute of Committee on Art Galleries and Museums, 17th March 1942.
  2. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  3. Bayne, T. W. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, revised by A. T. B. McGowan
  4. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  5. Story, J. L., Later Reminiscences,  James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1913
  6. ancestry.co.uk, Scotland Census 1881
  7. https://electricscotland.com/bible/Memoir-of-Robert-Herbert-Story-by-His-Daughters.pdf
  8. Young, G. E. R. Elma and Helen Story, A Recollection, 1948. (A copy of this pamphlet is held in the Glasgow University Archives).
  9. http://www.src.gla.ac.uk/volunteer/settlement/history/‎
  10. Story, J. L., Later Reminiscences. James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1913
  11. Young, G. E. R., Elma and Helen Story, A Recollection, 1948.
  12. Ibid
  13. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  14. Bayne, T. W., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, revised by A. T. B. McGowan
  15. Glasgow Post Office Directories 1908-9
  16. Principal Story, A Memoir By His Daughters, Glasgow, James MacLehose and Sons, 1909
  17. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  18. Glasgow Voters` Rolls, 1926
  19. Young, G. E. R., Elma and Helen Story, A Recollection, 1948.
  20. ibid
  21. ibid
  22. ibid
  23. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  24. Glasgow Herald, 22 August 1942, Death Notices.
  25. Young, G. E. R. Elma and Helen Story, A Recollection, 1948.

Sir Hector McNeill – Lord Provost of Glasgow 1945 – 1949.

Figure 1. Sir Hector McNeill. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (www.artuk.org)

As is the tradition, when Sir Hector McNeill retired as Lord Provost of Glasgow in 1949, he had his portrait painted by the artist David Shanks Ewart. On its completion he gifted the portrait to Glasgow museums in 1950.

His paternal ancestry came from fairly humble, rural beginnings. His grandparents were Archibald McNeill, the son of farm servant John McNeill and his wife Flora McDonald,[1] and Flora McNeill, both of Campbeltown. They married there in April 1840, he a labourer,[2] and she the daughter, age 24, of shoemaker Archibald McNeill and his wife Jean McIntyre.[3] They lived all their lives in Campbeltown at various addresses, latterly in Queen Street where Flora died in 1883 [4]. Archibald also died there in 1895, age 78, his occupation being given as a distillery maltster.[5]

He had been a labourer until circa 1848 at which time he is recorded as being a maltster.[6] His job was to create malt by wetting barley on the floor of the malthouse, turning it over for several days to allow the barley to germinate and then drying it out. When that process was complete the malt would then be passed on to the distiller to make alcohol from the sugars that were produced. Campbeltown in the ninetenth century was a major fishing port for herring and was a significant producer of whisky. It’s therefore probable he worked in one of the many distilleries there. In the early 1800s there were over thirty, by 1885 there were twenty one, producing two million gallons of spirits per annum. From farm labourer to a maltster in a thriving industry would have meant a significant improvement in the family’s situation. There are now only three distilleries in Campbeltown; Springbank, Glen Scotia and Glengyle.[7]

Between 1840 and 1855 Archibald and Flora had seven children, the first a daughter Catherine was born seven months after they married, Sir Hector’s father, yet another Archibald, was the seventh, and third boy, born on the 28th October 1855.[8] They had two other sons after 1855, Duncan, born c. 1859 and James born c. 1864.[9]

In the 1871 census son Archibald is recorded as a scholar, age fifteen,[10] which is perhaps surprising in that the majority of young men at that age would have been in employment unless from a well to do family. However, it may have been his father’s wish to have his children educated as well as possible, especially as he was illiterate at the time of Archibald’s birth in 1855. Where he was schooled has not been established however it may have been at Campbeltown Grammar School which was founded in 1686.[11]

Ten years later Archibald is still living with his parents, in Queen Street, as are brothers Hector and James. His occupation is given as a clerk, Hector is a tailor and James is a pupil teacher.[12]

He married Margaret Burns in 1884 by which time he was living in Glasgow at 396 Argyle Street, working as a mercantile clerk. Margaret, who was a milliner and lived at the same address, was age 29 and the daughter of Robert Burns, farmer, and Catherine McPhail, both deceased.

Like his paternal ancestry Sir Hector’s maternal forebears were farming folk. That however is as much as I have been able to establish directly about his maternal ancestry. His mother’s birth date has also proved elusive however there is one possibility which would also add more information about his maternal ancestry.

According to the 1901 census she was born in Kilmaronock in Dunbartonshire.[13] Her age at the time of her marriage to Archibald would mean she was born circa 1854. A search either side of 1855 produced only one result and that is for a Margaret Burns born illegitimately to Robert Burns of Little Finnery and Catherine (no surname) on the 26th July 1851. She was a servant to an Andrew Paton.[14]

Little Finnery was a farm in the parish of Kilmaronock, adjacent to which was another also referred to as Little Finnery.[15] In the 1851 census Little Finnery was occupied by widow Mrs. R. Burns, her forename being Margaret, and her two sons, James and Robert who was age 22. It’s clear the family worked the farm, which extended to 50 acres, as they employed a number of ‘outdoor servants’ to assist them.[16] The adjacent farm was of 40 acres and occupied by Andrew Paton and his family. He employed agricultural labourers and servants amongst whom was servant Catherine McPhail, age 20, born in Islay.[17] Strong circumstantial evidence I would say that these are Sir Hector’s maternal grandparents.

Mrs Burns was 60 years old when her granddaughter Margaret was born in 1851 and remained at Little Finnery at least until 1857 by which time she was joined as occupier by a William Burns. There is no reference to either son.[18] In 1861 there is a Mrs Margaret Burns, age 70 living in the village of Gartocharn, Kilmaronock with her granddaughter, also Margaret, age 9, further evidence that seems to support the contention above.[19]

Regarding Robert and Catherine no other evidence as to whether they got married, their whereabouts or deaths have been established. It’s more than likely for that time period, she would be deemed the ‘guilty’ party and perhaps had to leave the locality.

Archibald, shipping clerk, and Margaret continued to live in Glasgow and by 1901 were living at 70 Carrick Street, Back Yard with son (Sir) Hector age 9 and James, Archibald’s brother. They also had a boarder, Annie Cooper who was a book folder.[20]

In that census and in 1911 Hector is said to have been born in Motherwell his age in each case indicating he was born in 1892. Unexpectedly I have not been able to confirm that directly. There were no Hector McNeills born in Motherwell between 1888 and 1894 despite varying the spelling of the surname. Searching the whole of Lanarkshire produced two possibles, one being the son of a master mariner, the other the son of a Clyde Trust labourer. The parents in each case had different forenames.

In 1908 Hector’s mother Margaret, died in the Western infirmary of a cerebral haemorrhage, she was 54 years old. At that time the family still lived in Carrick Street at number 77,[21] however by 1911 father and son had moved to 9 Buchanan Court in Lauriston in Glasgow where Archibald continued working as a commercial clerk and Hector was employed as an ‘iron turner’ in the engineering industry.[22]

Working in engineering with its strong involvement with the trade union movement of the day Hector would have got involved with the unions and the Labour party fairly early on in his working career. His ‘point of entry’ would likely have been as a local shop steward which led to a progression through the ranks of union and party. By 1924 he was President of the Glasgow Trades and Labour Council and also chairman of the Central Division Labour Party.

In the 1923 General Election the Labour party decided to support the communist candidate for Kelvingrove constituency, Aiken Ferguson. McNeill was chosen by the party as their contact point with the communists, and again in 1924 when there was a by-election at Kelvingrove, Ferguson standing again as a candidate.[23] This occurred at a time when there was some talk of the Communist and Labour parties joining together which never happened, the support for Ferguson in 1924 being lukewarm because of what was considered to be his and others radical views.

Later that year the municipal elections were held in Glasgow and McNeill was chosen as the socialist candidate for the 14th (Anderston) Ward. His opponent, described as Moderate, was painter and decorator Edward Guest who had been a member of the council for 16 years.[24] On a 63% turnout of the electorate of 12,585 McNeill won with a majority of 388. [25]

The first meeting of the new council was held on the 7th November and McNeill was duly appointed to five committees, including Gas Supply and Water. He was also proposed as a governor of the Victoria Hospital but lost by four votes despite being supported by Bailie Mary Barbour, renowned for her leadership of the women of Govan in the rent strikes of 1915, Pat Dollan, future Lord Provost of Glasgow whose wife Agnes had been involved with Barbour during the rent strikes, and his two fellow councillors for Anderston.[26]

He was re-elected in 1927, with a similar majority,[27] served in the same committees as previously and in 1929 became depute water bailie in addition to joining the General Finance and Streets, Sewers and Buildings committees.[28]

His political career however stalled in the 1930 municipal elections when he lost his council seat. There were three candidates on this occasion representing the Moderate Party, Labour, (McNeill) and the Independent Labour Party (I.L.P.), the Moderate candidate Jonathan Harvey winning by 1285 votes. No doubt the left wing vote was split because of the two socialist candidates however the Moderate majority was greater than the vote for the I.L.P. candidate by 165 votes.[29]

During his first tenure as a councillor Hector’s father had died in 1926[30] and in 1927 Hector had married Grace Stephen Robertson, a milliner of Skelmorlie, age 35. He was described as an insurance agent living at 9 Alexandra Street. The marriage was by declaration in front of witnesses authorised by warrant issued by the Sheriff Substitute of Lanarkshire on the same day. Her father was a retired wholesale grocer,[31] her mother, Grace Simpson Stephen had died in 1914 at the age of 59.[32]

There were two sons of the marriage, Ramsay, born in 1929[33] and Hector John, born in 1934[34].

McNeill did not stand again for the council until 1932 when he was one of the Labour candidates for the newly created Ward 38 (Yoker and Knightswood) with an electorate of 16,109. Each ward has three councillors, with one retiring for re-election each year. As ward 38 was new the election was for three council seats instead of the usual one.

There were eight candidates, three Socialist or Labour, three Moderate Party, and two I.L.P. Those elected were E. Rosslyn Mitchell (Soc.) – 4813 votes, Hector McNeill (Soc.) – 3077 votes and Elphinstone Dalglish (Mod.) – 2775.[35]

Rosslyn Mitchell had been a councillor for Springburn and also stood for parliamentary election in 1910 and 1922. In the 1924 General Election he stood as the Labour candidate for Paisley and beat the sitting member Herbert Asquith the ex-Liberal Prime Minister by 2,200 votes. He declined to stand again for parliament in 1929 citing business and personal difficulties. He died in 1965.[36]

Elphinstone Maitland Dalglish was a grocer, described as a wholesale egg merchant in the Town Council lists.[37] He died in 1942.[38] He had a very famous policeman son, of exactly the same name, who as Detective Superintendant was initially in charge of the investigation into the ‘Bible John’ murders in Glasgow which were never solved.[39] He finished his police career as Deputy Chief Constable of Glasgow and then Strathclyde.[40] He died in 1988.[41]

For the following twelve years or so McNeill served on a variety of committees which typically included municipal transport, parks, the Kelvin Hall, streets sewers and building, and health. He was also a Justice of the Peace from 1932.[42]

He became a Baillie in November 1933 remaining so for three years,[43] and in 1941 he joined the General Finance committee as city treasurer, his tenure in that role again being three years.[44]

His business address during his time as a council member from 1932 was given as 218 West Regent Street, his home address being initially Clarion Crescent in Knightswood.[45] In 1942 he moved to Larchfield Avenue, Newton Mearns where lived for the rest of his life.[46]

On the 9th November 1945 he was elected Lord Provost of Glasgow, beating his opponent for the office, James Grey, by 65 votes to 42.[47] As was normal for the time he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of the City of Glasgow in December 1945[48] and was knighted in June 1946.[49]

As well as his duties as Lord Provost he became involved with a number of other governmental organisations.

These included; in 1946 he was appointed to the Scottish Advisory Council for Civil Aviation by British European Airways (BEA) with the approval of the Secretary of State for Scotland,[50] and in 1947 he was nominated by the Minister of Transport to serve on the board of David MacBrayne, Ltd., primarily to monitor a contract between the government and the company to provide shipping services to the Western Highlands and Islands,[51]

He was also a member at various times of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive of the Ministry of Transport,[52] the Clyde Navigation Trust and the Scottish Tourist Board.[53]

Other organisations he was a director of were the Economic Insurance Company which he joined the board of in 1949[54] and SMT Sales and Service Co. Ltd. (Motor Engineers).[55]

He died in 1952, age 60, in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, his occupation given as company director[56]. His memorial Service was held in Glasgow Cathedral, the service conducted by Rev. Dr. Nevile Davidson. An address was given by former Secretary of State Tom Johnston who described him as a middle of the road traveller. A man of high ideals who laboured all his life to promote social ownership and cooperation between all his countrymen, and who had earned the respect of opponents and colleagues alike. At the time of his death he was the Chairman of the Glenrothes Development Corporation.[57]

The Trades House of Glasgow recorded his death in their minutes and noted that there was a deep loss sustained by the community through his death.[58]

His wife Grace died in 1954, age 62, from chronic bronchitis.[59]

[1] Deaths. (OPR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 5 January 1895. MCNEILL, Archibald. 507/ 4 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[2] Marriages. (OPR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 20 April 1840. MCNEILL, Archibald and MCNEILL, Flora. 507/ 60 363. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[3] Births. (OPR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 17 December 1816. MCNEILL, Flora. 507/  40 454 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[4] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 28 January 1883. MCNEILL, Flora.  507/  20 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[5] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 5 January 1895. MCNEILL, Archibald. 507/  4 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[6] Births. (OPR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. November 1840 to June 1853. MCNEILL. 507/  70 184, 239, 306, 346, 382 and 436. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[7] Woodward, Richard. Campbeltown Whisky: A Long and Winding Road. https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/features/13934/campbeltown-whisky-a-long-and-winding-road

[8] Births. (SR) Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 28 October 1855. MCNEILL, Archibald. 507/ 1 143. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[9] Census. 1871. Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 507/ 2/ 9. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[10] Ibid.

[11] Argyll and Bute Council. Campbeltown Grammar School. https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/content/campbeltown-grammar-school

[12] Census. 1881. Scotland. Campbeltown, Argyll. 507/ 11/ 35. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[13] Census. 1901. Scotland. Broomielaw, Glasgow. 644/7 7/ 8. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[14] Births. (OPR) Scotland. Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire. 26 July 1851. BURNS, Margaret. 497/ 20 145. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[15] ScotlandsPlaces. Ordnance Survey Name Books 1860. Parish of Kilmaronock, Finnery. Vol. 9, page 49. OS1/9/9/49. https://scotlandsplaces.gov.uk

[16] Census. 1851. Scotland. Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire. 497/ 4/3 Page 3. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[17] Census. 1851. Scotland. Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire. 497/ 4/3 Page 4. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[18] Valuation Rolls (1857). Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire. BURNS, Mrs. R. VR009600001-/160. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[19] Census. 1861. Scotland. Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire. 407/ 3/ 7. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[20] Census. 1901. Scotland. Broomielaw, Glasgow. 644/7 7/ 8. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[21] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Hillhead, Glasgow. 19 August 1908. MCNEILL, Margaret. 644/12 614. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[22] Census. 1911. Scotland. Lauriston, Glasgow. 644/17 21/ 13. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[23] Glasgow Herald. (1924) Civic Election. Glasgow Herald 3 November p. 8d. https://news.google.co./newspapers.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Glasgow Herald. (1924) The Glasgow Poll – The Results. Glasgow Herald 5 November. p. 10b. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[26] Corporation of Glasgow Minutes. November 1924 to April 1925. Initial Meeting 7 November. Mitchell Library Glasgow reference C1/2/72.

[27] Glasgow Herald. (1927) Moderate Gains – Results of Municipal Poll. 2 November Glasgow Herald. p. 12def. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[28] Corporation of Glasgow Minutes. April 1927 to November 1927. Mitchell Library reference C1/3/82.

[29] Glasgow Herald. (1930) Scottish Municipal Elections. 5 November Glasgow Herald. p. 12a. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[30] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Springburn, Lanarkshire. 9 December 1926. MCNEILL, Archibald. 644/6 1159. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[31] Marriages. (SR) Scotland. Kelvin, Glasgow. 21 October 1927. MCNEILL, Hector and ROBERTSON, Grace Stephen. 644/13 298. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[32] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Anderston, Glasgow. 1914. ROBERTSON, Grace Simpson. 644/11 518. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[33] Births. (SR) Scotland. Scotstoun and Yoker, Glasgow. 1929. MCNEILL, Ramsay. 644/23 511. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[34] Births (SR) Scotland. Scotstoun and Yoker, Glasgow. 1934. MCNEILL, Hector John. 644/23 474. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[35] Glasgow Herald. (1932) Scottish Municipal Elections. 2 November Glasgow Herald. p. 12c. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[36] Glasgow Herald. (1965) Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell. Former M.P. for Paisley. 1 November Glasgow Herald. p. 11f. https://news.google.com/newspapers

[37] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Vol. 13. 1933/1934. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. pp. 16, 17. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[38] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Hillhead. 1942. DALGLISH, Elphinstone Maitland. 644/13 750. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[39] Old Glasgow Murders. The Bible John Murders. http://oldglasgowmurders.blogspot.com/2016/02/bible-john-murders-part-1.html

[40] Allan Glenn’s School. School Club: Former Pupils. http://www.allanglens.com/index.php/former-pupils

[41] Deaths. (SR) Scotland. Glasgow. 1988. DALGLISH, Elphinstone Maitland. 607/929. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[42] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Volumes 12 to 15 – 1932/1933 to 1949. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[43] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Vol. 13. 1933/1934. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. pp. 16, 17. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[44] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Vol. 14. 1941/1942. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. p. 45. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[45] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Volumes 12 to 15 – 1932/1933 to 1949. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[46] Glasgow Town Council Lists. Volumes 14 – 1942/1943. pp. 16/17. Glasgow: Town Clerks Office. Mitchell Library Glasgow.

[47] Corporation of Glasgow Minutes. November 1945 to April 1946. Meeting 9 November. pp. 13, 14. Mitchell Library Glasgow reference C1/3/113.

[48] London Gazette (1945) 7 December 1945. Issue 37379, p. 5951. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37379/page/5951

[49] London Gazette (1946) 4 June 1946 Supplement. Issue 37598, p. 2756. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37598/supplement/2756

[50] House of Commons. Hansard. Civil Aviation (Scottish Advisory Council) 28 November 1946. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1946-11-28/debates/62e5aefb-d332-4b7a-bc09-ce5473bd1ce2/CivilAviation(ScottishAdvisoryCouncil)

[51] Commercial Motor Archive. Personal Pars. 11 July 1947. http://archive.commercialmotor.com/article/11th-july-1947/30/personal-pars

[52] London Gazette (1952) 19 September 1952. Issue 39648, p. 4949. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39648/page/4969

[53] Bonavia, Michael R. (1987) The Nationalisation of British Transport: The Early History of the British Transport Commission 1948-1953. New York: Palgrave McMillan. p. 177. https://books.google.co.uk

[54] The Times. (1950) Economic Insurance Company. The Times. 7 June, p.11e. https://auth.nls.uk

[55] Graces Guide to British Industry. 1953: Who’s Who in the Motor Industry. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk

[56] Deaths (SR) Scotland. Townhead, Glasgow. 28 September 1952. MCNEILL, Hector Sir. 644/6 953. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[57] Glasgow Herald. (1952) Funeral of Sir Hector McNeill. Glasgow Herald. 2 October p. 6e. https://news.google.co./newspapers

[58] Bryce, Craig. (2019) Sir Hector McNeill Obituary. Email to G. Manzor. 9 August 19.08

[59] Deaths (SR) Scotland. Newton Mearns, Renfrew. 28 November 1954. MCNEILL, Grace Stephen. 571/2 181. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

 

James Bryce McLennan (1869-1950) and Robina Birnie Lawrence (1868-1946)

On the 21st of August 1946 a portrait in oil of Mrs. J. B. McLennan (nee Robina Birnie Lawrence) by Alexander Spottiswoode Duthie was presented to Glasgow Corporation by Mr and Mrs J. Bryce McLennan, Hotel Swisse, Hyeres (Var), France, formerly of Ardoch, Blanefield 1 (2566)

Robina
Figure 1. Robina Birnie McLennan. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Robina Birnie Lawrence was born at Gowanhill, Rathen, Aberdeenshire on the 23rd April 1868. Her parents, William Jamieson Lawrence, a general merchant and Elizabeth Hall Morgan, the daughter of a shipmaster, had married at St. Clement’s Aberdeen on the 25th of November 1837. 2  Robina was named after her paternal grandmother.

The family remained at Gowanhill and by 1881 Robina had five older siblings and one younger. 3 Sadly, her mother Elizabeth had died of tuberculosis at Bridge of Allan in 1879. Her father was now a merchant, a bakery shop owner and a farmer. 5 However, he died in Aberdeen on the 29th of September 1885 6 and the business was taken over by Robina’s brother William. Gowanhill was now a shop and a farm and the home of William, Robina and their three sisters. The business also employed four ‘servants’. 7

James Bryce McLennan was born on the 26th of December 1869 at 68, Pollok Street, Tradeston, Glasgow. His parents were James McLennan, a ‘commercial traveller’ and Henrietta Bryce. 8 They had married on the 24th of December 1868 in Govan and went on to have seven children. (This was James McLennan`s second marriage; he had a son Andrew born in 1866 by his first marriage to Agnes Watt Logan. Agnes died, aged only nineteen, in the same year that Andrew was born. 9 By the 1881 census the family had moved to 88, Leslie Street, Govan and James` father was now a ‘wholesale wine and spirit merchant’. Ten years later, James was a commercial clerk aged 21 living at 20, South Crescent, Ardrossan with his family. 10  It was probably about this time that James joined his father in the wine and spirits trade. His great grandfather Alexander Bryce founded the firm of Alexander Bryce and Co. in 1812. 11 James McLennan, senior was born in 1838 in Coylton, Ayrshire, the son of an innkeeper. He moved to Glasgow in 1853 to work for a firm of bonded storekeepers. Twelve years later he was employed as a ‘traveller’ for Alexander Bryce and Co. Three years after the death of his first wife, James married Henrietta Bryce the granddaughter of Alexander on Christmas Eve 1868. 12  In 1875 he was appointed as a partner in the firm. The other partners were Alexander Kirkpatrick and Peter Clark both sons-in-law of Alexander Bryce. Alexander Kirkpatrick retired in 1875 and when Peter Clark died in 1882, James McLennan became sole owner of the firm and very wealthy. His eldest son by his marriage to Henrietta was James Bryce McLennan. Father and son were both members of the Trades’ House of Glasgow with James senior elected Deacon Convenor in 1884. In his memory a portrait bust was presented to the House.13 In 1892, as Deacon Convenor, James McLennan purchased part of the façade of the 1796 Adam designed Assembly Rooms (Atheneum) in Ingram Street then under demolition. He presented this to Glasgow and after being moved several times has, since 1991, been located at the entrance to Glasgow Green – The McLennan Arch. 14

On the 21st of December 1898 at the Free Church in Rathen, Aberdeenshire, James Bryce McLennan, wine merchant, married Robina Birnie Lawrence. James` address was Newhall, Dowanhill Gardens, Partick which was his parents` home at the time. 15 In the same year, or very soon thereafter, the couple took over the tenancy of Ardoch, an estate in Strathblane, Stirlingshire owned by Sir Archibald Edmonston, at a yearly rent of £40. 16 They then began to cultivate the garden at Ardoch, which was later to become a showpiece of the district and for which they became well known further afield.

On the 7th of February 1899 James McLennan senior died at his house, Newhall, Hillhead. 17 The firm was bought from the trustees of his estate by James and his brother Andrew and they continued to run the business successfully for many years.

With James having the business to run (in the census of 1901 his occupation is ‘wine and spirit merchant’) responsibility for the garden at Ardoch seems to have fallen, initially at least, to Robina. Within a few years the garden became well established so much so that it was open to the public and advertised in the Press. On the 11th and 12th of September 1909 King Edward VII visited Strathblane and a local newspaper reported: Mrs McLennan of Ardoch, noted for their (sic) fine gardens, which were opened to the public, had created a floral tribute in the form of a crown of red, white and blue flowers. 18

In 1911 when the couple had been married for twelve years, they were employing three servants and a chauffeur. James was still listed as a wholesale wine and spirit merchant. 19 However, in 1916 the firm of Alexander Bryce and Co was wound up 20 presumably giving James the opportunity to devote more time to landscape gardening. Robina and James continued to cultivate the garden and advertised ‘Open Days’ in the Glasgow Herald. This was usually accompanied by a report of the garden in glowing terms. Robina featured in articles in Scottish Country Life:

Ardoch 4
Figure 2. The Rock Garden at Ardoch, Blanefield. Its owner, Mrs. R. B. McLennan, is the well-known landscape gardener, who devotes special attention to this department of her art. Scottish Country Life, September 1930, p162, (Photo John A. Stewart).

KM_C364e-20160610121659
Figure. 3 Ardoch, Blanefield, Stirlingshire (from an old photograph)

KM_C364e-20160610121659
Figure 4. Ardoch in the Trees (from an old photograph)

The following notice appeared in the Glasgow Herald: 21

Advert

Mrs. McLennan advertised herself as a landscape gardener/garden designer and had a hand in designing gardens up and down the country. The following newspaper article dated 26 May 1933 is in the donor’s file at the Glasgow Museum Resource Centre as are the two old postcards shown in figures 3 and 4.

                                                               A DREAM GARDEN

BLANEFIELD COUPLE`S CLEVER WORK

There is a garden in Blanefield, so lovely that it takes your breath away, and so clever that it might have happened by some divine chance. It belongs to Mr. and Mrs. R. B. McLennan, who for 35 years have made it their life work.

Beyond a sweep of smooth lawn rises the rock garden, ablaze with azaleas and rhododendrons. In the water garden, a tiny stream runs between low banks into a brown pool edged with reeds and golden marigolds. Further on is the “pleasaunce”, a quaint, formal garden of circular green lawns and square flower beds filled with dignified yellow tulips.

Down a mossy path lies the last part of the 13 acres – the woodland garden – where the wild hyacinths lie like a blue mist among the long grasses and the clumps of fern, and the rabbits come out boldly to play.

Although the Blanefield garden was originally begun as a hobby, Mrs. McLennan and her husband have since taken up the work of landscape gardening as a profession. Mrs. McLennan has designed gardens from Inverness to Buckinghamshire.

Looking at the garden in the glory of a May afternoon, one could not but wonder at the beauty of it. If ever an enthusiasm justified itself, this one has. – M.                           

In 1938, the couple gave up the tenancy of Ardoch 22 and seem to have moved temporarily to The Old Cloth Hall, Cranbrook, Kent. The electoral registers for Cranbrook 23 confirm that they were occupants of the property in 1939, although whether they were owners or tenants is unclear. The property had extensive gardens which would have appealed to them. Their next move was to France. James B. McLennan was described as ‘an ardent Francophile and well-read in French Literature’. 24 In 1938, he presented a bronze statue of Robert Burns to the British Institute at the Sorbonne. Coming from Ayrshire, his ‘ancestors were well acquainted with him (Burns)’. 25 During the occupation the statue was hidden to prevent it being melted down by the Nazis. After the war it was restored and is presently on display at the Sorbonne.

20180122_155930 - Burns Statue at Sorbonne
Figure 5. Photograph from Erica Burnham, Head of Library, IT and Facilities, University of London Institute in Paris. (Used with permission)

20180122_155925 - Plaque on Statue
Figure 6. Photograph from Erica Burnham, Head of Library, IT and Facilities, University of London Institute in Paris. (Used with permission)

In gratitude for preserving the statue, the Burns Federation presented a set of the Scottish National Dictionary to the Sorbonne in 1946. 26

At some point the couple moved to France settling at Hyeres on the south coast. They were of course caught up in the Nazi occupation and Robina, in particular, suffered a great deal. In a letter written in 1947 on behalf of Dr T. J. Honeyman in reply to J. McLennan Boyd a nephew of the couple he mentions that Mrs McLennan ‘had gone through so much during the occupation and that she had been “such an outstanding figure in the history of landscape gardening’. He was also ‘particularly charmed’ by the merit of the painting. 27

Robina McLennan died at the Hotel Suisse, Hyeres, France on the 15th of August 1946. She was 78. James arranged for her body to be brought back to Blanefield and buried in the churchyard. He inserted a notice of her death in the Glasgow Herald : ‘Ruby (nee Lawrence) loving wife and companion for 47 years of James Bryce McLennan, late of Ardoch, Blanefield, Stirlingshire’. 28

Gravestone Ruby Inscription
Fig 7  Gravestone Inscription in Blanefield Cemetery. (Photo by author)

       The portrait was presented after her death perhaps as a memorial to her. The artist seems to have been a family member as one of Robina`s brothers was Robert Duthie Lawrence. In the probate of Robina`s will she is described as ‘Lawrence or McLennan Robina Birnie of Old Cloth Hall, Cranbrook, Kent and Hostellerie du Beau Rivage, Carqueiranne, (Var), France’. 29

After his return from France, James McLennan lived on in Strathblane  at the Kirkhouse Inn. He died there on the 3rd of March 1950 aged eighty His death was reported by a nephew John McLennan 30 and a notice appeared in the Glasgow Herald. 31

References

  1. Glasgow Museums Archives
  2. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  3. ancestry.co.uk, Census 1881
  4. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  5. Scotland`s People, Census 1881
  6. Family Search, Find a Grave
  7. Scotland`s People, Census 1891
  8. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  9. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  10. ancestry.co.uk, Census 1891
  11. https://jenjen999.wordpress.com/alexander-bryce-1788-1855-and-his-business/
  12. Scotland`s People, Marriage Certificate
  13. The Records of the Trades’ House of Glasgow, Craig R Bryce M.Sc., M.Ed., F.R.S.A. Trades House Honorary Archivist, MMXVII
  14. glasgowhistory.co.uk/Books/EastGlasgowDictionary/…/McLennanArch.htm
  15. Scotland`s People, Marriage Certificate
  16. Valuation Roll, Stirlingshire 1900 – 1901, Stirling Archives
  17. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  18. Stirling Saturday Observer, 18th September 1909 and strathblanefield.org.uk/history/KingsVisit
  19. Scotland`s People, Census 1911
  20. The Edinburgh Gazette, 9th June 1916, p 1067
  21. Glasgow Herald, 3rd June 1930, p1
  22. Valuation Roll, Stirlingshire, 1938-39, Stirling Archives
  23. findmy past.co.uk
  24. Letter from a nephew on file at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
  25. Ibid
  26. robertburns.plus.com/MonumentsAyr.htm)
  27. Object File, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre
  28. Glasgow Herald 20th August 1946 p1
  29. clanmclennan-worldwide.com/genealogy
  30. Scotland`s People, Death Certificate
  31. Glasgow Herald, 4th March 1950, p1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Garnet Douglas Wilson 1885-1975

Garnet Wilson joined the family business of G L Wilson’s department store in Dundee and became a distinguished Lord Provost of that city. He donated a portrait of himself painted by Rodrigo Moynihan to Glasgow in 1950. Moynihan was a British artist who was influenced by the French Impressionists, especially Manet, and moved between figurative and abstract work. (1) The University of Dundee holds another portrait of Wilson by Moynihan. 

Moynihan, Rodrigo, 1910-1990; Sir Garnet Wilson (1885-1975)
Figure 1. Sir Garnet Douglas Wilson by Rodrigo Moynihan. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (http://www.artuk.org)

Garnet was born in Cupar, Fife on 24 March 1885 to Gavin Laurie Wilson, draper, and Jessie McCulloch who came from a farming family in Ayrshire. (2) Wilson’s first name Garnet was chosen after General Lord (Garnet) Wolseley came to the rescue of General Gordon in Khartoum in 1884-85. (3) In 1891 the family was living at 29 Crossgate, Cupar.  Garnet was then aged six and the household consisted of his father Gavin,  younger brother John, sister Jessie, and Gavin’s mother-in-law Janet McCulloch. (4) Garnet’s mother had died in 1888 at the time of Jessie junior’s birth. In 1891 Gavin Wilson married Alison Johnston Russell whose father had moved to New Zealand as a minister.(5)

Garnet was educated at Bell Baxter School in Cupar, then he attended  Newport Public School in Dundee (6) followed by a year at the High School of Dundee, a historic institution which dates its origins back to 1239 and which, reputedly, William Wallace attended. (7)

Dundee_High_School
Figure 2. High School of Dundee. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported (Ydam-GNU Free Documentation)

Instead of going to university he joined the firm of P F & J Husband, solicitors, where he completed a law apprenticeship. (8) However, family loyalties were to play a role in his career and in 1903 he joined his father’s drapery business, G L Wilson’s at the junction of Murraygate and Commercial Street, popularly known as the ‘Corner’, and one of the most prominent stores in Dundee. Opened in 1894, it’s Christmas Grotto was a popular attraction and traded successfully for many years. Garnet’s brother John joined the business on leaving school but then studied for a BA in Engineering and left for America. On a holiday back home in 1913 he decided to stay and rejoin G L Wilson’s. He became known for his kind-heartedness and remained with the store till his death in 1962. (9)

Dundee The Corner
Figure 3. G L Wilsons, Dundee by permission of Libraries, Leisure and Culture, Dundee

 In 1911 Garnet was living at 20 Kilburn Place with his father Gavin, stepmother Alison, brothers John and Gavin, and sisters Jessie, Alison and Dorothy. (10) Jessie became a favourite pupil of Ann Macbeth who taught at Glasgow School of Art and who was associated with Charles Rennie MacKintosh and The Glasgow Style. Jessie excelled in embroidery and pottery.(11)

 Local politics became a passion, carrying on the family tradition in supporting the Liberal Party, and he became a member of Newport Council from 1919 to 1929. (12) Newport-on-Tay is a small town in Fife just across the River Tay from Dundee and he lived at 6 Albert Crescent in Newport for much of this period. (13)

In 1925 Garnet married Gladys Marjory Johnson of Longton in Staffordshire and they had three children, Guy, Ian and Jennifer. The family then moved from Newport to St Colms, 496 Perth Road, Dundee, a sizeable Victorian house in the western part of the city and near the waterfront. (14) Garnet became a Town Councillor for Dundee in 1929 and played an active role in its Education Authority, and was chairman of the Education Committee from 1930 to 1935. (15)

City_Chambers,_Dundee,_Scotland
Figure 4. Original City Chambers, Dundee. Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, (Zc Beaton, English Wikipedia)

 In 1940 he was appointed Lord Provost of Dundee and re-elected for a second three-year term in 1943. (16) When the second world war was raging and many parts of the UK were suffering high unemployment, the UK government passed the Distribution of Industry Bill to revitalise designated areas, but Dundee was initially not included. Just prior to the passing of the Bill Garnet persuaded the authorities to include part of Dundee in the scheme and he subsequently persuaded the National Cash Register Company (Manufacturing) Ltd, better known as N.C.R, to set up business there. He was also influential in establishing Dundee Airport, and in 1946 visited the French city of Orleans to attend the ceremony of twinning the two cities. In 1944 Garnet was knighted for his services to Dundee. (17)

Garnet continued to contribute to society especially in education and housing. From 1940 to 1949 he was a member of the St Andrews University Court, 1940 to 1949 was the chairman of the Scottish Special Housing Association, and from 1942 to 1951 was the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council on Education in Scotland. From 1946 to 1952 he was appointed as the President of University College, Dundee. In 1952 Garnet was appointed as the Chairman of the Glenrothes Development Corporation, which was set up to oversee the creation of one of Scotland’s post war ‘new towns’. He retired from this position in 1960. (18)

In 1970 he performed the official opening of Craigie High School in Dundee. Garnet Road, which leads to the school, was named in his honour. (19)

Garnet died on 18 September 1975. (20)

DS

 

References:

(1)    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodrigo_Moynihan

(2) (births 420/45)1885 https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

(3) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p12.

(4) (census 420/3/3)1891, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

(5) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p8.

(6) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p12.

(7)  https://www.highschoolofdundee.org.uk/about-the-school/history/our-history

(8) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p13.

(9) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p10.

10)  (census 431/2/2)1911 https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

(11) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p8.

(12) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet_Wilson

(13) 1925 Wilson, garnet Douglas (Valuation Rolls VR010100071-/202, Fife county)

(14) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p14.

(15) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet_Wilson

(16) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p16.

(17) Wilson, Garnet The Making of a Lord Provost. David Winter & Son Ltd, Dundee 1965, p49.

(18) Glasgow museum Resource Centre, Who Was Who vol V11.

(19) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet_Wilson

(20) (Deaths 352/650)1975 https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

 

James Welsh (1881-1969)

Figure 1. Ancill, Joseph; James Welsh, Lord Provost of Glasgow (1943-1945); Glasgow Museums; © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection. http://www.artuk.

Introduction

Having presented his portrait, Mr Welsh suggested that it might hang in the People’s Palace, Glasgow in view of his association with the East End of the city.[3]

In the 1946-47 minutes of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums [1], it was minuted that the Ex Lord Provost, James Welsh, had presented an oil portrait of himself painted by Joseph Ancill (1896-1976) who was born in Leeds and attended the Glasgow School of Art.[2] He specialised in portrait painting and engraving.

Shortly after writing an earlier draft version of this blog, it was discovered that Dr James Welsh’s grandson David Welsh had already written his grandfather’s biography for his family and after corresponding with him, he suggested that he could give me a wider perspective of his grandfather’s life as well as earlier relatives, information which is not available in the public domain.

The early Years of Welsh Family

To give an overall picture of the beginning of the life of the Welsh family in Scotland, it will be appropriate to start with the great-grand parents of our donor, James Welsh.  Sometime before the 1841 Scottish census, our donor’s great-grandfather Michael Welsh and his wife Elisabeth McCulley came across to Scotland from Ireland.[4] Both, Michael Welsh and Elisabeth McCulley were born in Ireland in about 1790.  According to the 1841 Scottish census [5], their four children were all born in Low Glen Cairn, West Side, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. They were listed in the census as: William (18) a carpet weaver, Robert (15) a calico printer, Cathrine (12) and Michael (10). There is no record of Michael Welsh in the next census in 1851. Therefore, it is assumed that he died sometime before then.[6] Michael’s eldest son, William, was married to Agnes Johnstone on 3 January 1851 and they were living at 92 Sanbed Street, Dickiesland, Kilmarnock together with William’s mother Elisabeth and his father in-law, William Johnstone (57, also born in Ireland).[7]

William, the grandfather of our donor, continued with his profession in Kilmarnock where they had settled and had their six children. The first two were born in Kilmarnock. After his second child William was born in 1854, he and his family moved to the Paisley area where he started a quilt making business and where his other four children were all born.[8] The 1861 census records all the family’s address as 64 Love Street. William and Agnes settled in Paisley where they were to live for the remainder of their lives. By the time of the 1881 census, William (junior) had left the family home after having married Mary Ann Young on 1 April 1875. In 1881, William and Mary Ann were living at 18 Causeyside Street, Paisley where James was born on 29 January.

Although 1882 was just like any other year for the happily married couple living with their four children, William, our donor’s father, decided to pay a visit to Boston, Massachusetts where his uncle was living. He boarded a Boston-bound ship on 23 February 1882 to see him. However, after receiving a short note from his home, in reply to his own letter in June, and learning that his young son William, who was born in 1876, had died from scarlet fever on 16 June 1882, he sailed for home. Soon after this tragedy, William Welsh and his family including our donor James, who was one year old, moved from Causeyside Street, Paisley to Queen Mary Street in Bridgeton, Glasgow.[9] Perhaps one of the reasons for this move was that the textile industry, aided by the mechanisation of cotton spinning, prospered and the associated trades such as 15 bleach works and dye works were also thriving.[10] The Industrial Revolution took hold in Glasgow at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The manufacture of cotton and textiles, chemicals, glass, paper and soap increased rapidly. Immigrants from the Highlands in the 1820s and later from Ireland in the 1840s formed the workforce.[11]

Early Life of Our Donor

Our donor, James Welsh, was born on 29 January 1881 in Paisley, Renfrewshire as the fourth child of Mr. William Welsh and Mrs Mary Ann Welsh, who went on to have two more children David (born in 1882) and John (born in 1887). Young James had his formative life in Bridgeton.[12] Although, there is very little known about young James’s first few years there, it is known that he went to his first and only school, Hozier Street Public School in 1886 at the age of four and a half years. He did very well at school and was permitted to leave two years early (at the age of 11 rather than 13 according to the education legislation of the day). The only leavening of the school day was a limited amount of singing, drawing, woodwork, cookery and drill. Much of the time was spent learning tables by rote, copying from the board and facing oral tests in English Grammar and arithmetic, allowing little or no opportunity for self-expression.  There was also little or no secondary education; the leaving age at the elementary (primary) school being 13 with a mere handful of pupils staying on beyond that birthday. Young James was an exceptionally good pupil and won a prize for being punctual which is still in his family’s possession today. [13] He was allowed to leave at age 11 indicating that he had attained a high standard of achievement.

It didn’t take long for James Welsh to find work after leaving school. His first job was as a message boy with W & J Martins of Brunswick Street, Glasgow.[14] James stayed with Martins for two years and in 1894, at the age of 13, he was taken on as an office boy with James Templeton & Co., the famous carpet makers with several factories in the Bridgeton area. By the time James started work with the firm, the factory beside Glasgow Green, (the Doge’s Palace), had been built, had collapsed and had been re-built. [15] But it was the Crownpoint Road factory that saw James rise from the position of office boy to assistant-foreman during his fourteen years with the firm. A newspaper article, written about him some years later, stated that five of the Welsh family were employed with Templeton’s. He certainly made a name for himself in the firm and proved to be a highly respected member of the workforce. When he left the firm in 1908, he was presented with a magnificent roll-top desk which he kept and used all his life.[16]

Political Life and Civic Career

After leaving Templeton’s, James Welsh was now to move in a completely different direction when he became an agent for the insurance company, Scottish Legal Life, where he stayed for four and a half years. The times spent at Templeton’s and Legal Life were James Welsh’s formative years. It was during this period that he attended night school and evening lectures, developed his musical interests, became heavily involved in politics, enjoyed the fellowship of the Clarion Scouts, and became generally involved, as he said later, in the ‘progressive and humanist movements’. He also witnessed the beginnings of the cinema revolution and saw its potential, experiencing at first hand the tragic consequences of alcohol abuse. It was during this period, in 1896, that the family moved from 41 Queen Mary Street, the short distance to 40 Dalmarnock Road, a stone’s throw from Bridgeton Cross, where father, mother and five growing young adults were to be found in the 1901 census.

The year 1910 was a highly significant and pivotal year in James Welsh’s life for three reasons:

  • His name was to be included for the first time on the electoral register for 1909 -10 and he was entitled to vote in the two General Elections of 1910, helping Labour to achieve its best results up till then, 40 seats in January and 42 in December.
  • Along with his friend and partner George Smith he was to take the first tentative steps in the cinema world when they converted an empty hall in Alexandria Parade into The Parade Cinema.
  • But the most important change was to take place on 7 July 1910 – the day of his marriage to Helen Greig in Anderston Registry Office, Minerva Street, Glasgow.[17]

At the age of nearly 30, James Welsh married Helen (Nell) Greig, who had been born on 22 May 1881 in the township of Skene, north of Stonehaven and a few miles to the west of Aberdeen. Her father, Frederick Murray Greig, whose family was very much centred in Stonehaven, was a saddler to trade.[18] Helen retained a warm affection for the villages and the countryside of the North East coast throughout her life. Both before and after their marriage, Mrs Welsh was interested in theatrical entertainment and she was known under the name of Nell Greig as an accomplished actress and elocutionist. In her stage career she appeared in a number of plays some of which were written by her brother Frederic Greig, with whom Nell came to Glasgow around 1901. Frederick Greig’s ambition was to be a playwright. Later rising to prominence in the business world and becoming the General Secretary of the Rotary Club of London, he was perhaps better known as the husband of Teresa Billington, the celebrated suffragette.[19] The 2018 statue of Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist leader and social campaigner, in Parliament Square, London, is a work by the Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing where the name of Theresa Billington Greig is also carved. [20]

After their marriage, Mr and Mrs James Welsh lived in 41 Esmond Street, Yorkhill where their only child, Frederick Welsh was born on 31 March 1911. It was a small flat where James had lived before his marriage and it was becoming too small for a growing family. Therefore, they moved in 1914 to a larger place in Smith Street, Hillhead. Built in the 1880s the individual apartments were of varying sizes but the one chosen by the Welsh family was a two bedroom flat with kitchen/living room and bathroom.

At this time, James Welsh started taking an increasingly active interest in politics. In 1913, when the Municipal Elections were held in Glasgow, on the division of the City of Glasgow, James Welsh was the Labour candidate representing Dalmarnock Ward. The election was a victory for Labour and also for James Welsh, as this was the beginning of his political career. He represented the Dalmarnock Ward from 1913-1929.[21] In June 1926 our donor and his family moved and settled in 1 Endfield Avenue, Kelvindale, Glasgow W2.[22]

On the outbreak of war in 1914 James Welsh enlisted for service in the army but was turned down on medical grounds. It was discovered that he had a heart murmur so there was no question of his signing on. He was immensely disappointed.

During the time he was a member of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow, he was a Bailie of the Burgh from November 1920 to November 1923. After resigning from his post in the Corporation in 1929, he stood as a Labour candidate to represent the people of Paisley and he was elected MP for Paisley in May 1929. After 2 years, in 1931, he was defeated by the Liberal Candidate in the general election and withdrew from politics and contemplated not continuing as a Labour candidate in Paisley. After a break of eight years he returned to the Council in 1937 as a representative of the Maryhill Ward and continued his service until 1949 when he did not seek re-election. During this time, he was involved in The Empire Exhibition which was held in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow and opened by King George VI and Queen Mary on 3 June 1938. The opening ceremony held in the Ibrox Stadium was attended by 146,000 people.

During 28 years of membership he gave service in many aspects of local government, but he will be remembered particularly for his outstanding contribution as Convenor of the Parks, Municipal Transport and Parliamentary Committees. He was Lord Provost from 1943 until 1945, in which latter year he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, LL.D by Glasgow University. His period of office as Lord Provost (2 September 1943 – 5 November 1945) was particularly onerous, coinciding as it did with the last two years of the Second World War and all the problems and adjustments which required to be met at that time, but he guided the Council through the difficult period and identified himself with much of the early post-war planning of the city. Apart from his civic duties, he devoted much of his time to the development of the arts and he held numerous offices in various cultural societies and associations.[23] James Welsh stepped down from his post as Lord Provost in November 1945 and did not seek re-election.[24] However, he remained as an elected councillor until 1949 when he retired.[25]

During the time when James Welsh was a member of the Corporation City of Glasgow and later the Lord Provost, T.J. Honeyman was the director of the Art Galleries and Museums of Glasgow. The two men got on extremely well and had a harmonious relationship. It was at this time that a decision was made by Sir William Burrell that his collection (now known as The Burrell Collection) should belong to the City of Glasgow.[26] John Julius Norwich writes in the Introduction to the book The Burrell Collection[27]:

 Let there be no mistake about it: in all history, no municipality has ever received from one of his native sons a gift of such munificence as that which in 1944 The City of Glasgow accepted from Sir William and Lady Burrell.

Honeyman also mentions James Welsh in several places in his book Art and Audacity.[28]

Contributions to Glasgow Cinema

Apart from his interest in politics, James Welsh also had an interest in the art movements in Glasgow. Among these was the new form of entertainment of the time, the cinema. One of his close friends, George Smith, shared the same interest. George Smith, a lifelong friend, was a Labourite like himself, who had been born and brought up in the Bridgeton area. Like James Welsh, Smith was deeply involved in the Labour party and was to follow James into the City Chambers where he was to remain a Councillor for many years. This interest in cinema had stemmed from them being staunch socialists and their intense desire to give something to the people rather than their self-monetary interests. Over the years, working together, they managed to raise their name to be amongst the pioneers of cinema in Glasgow at the beginning of the twentieth century. Their venture in this endeavour began in 1910 when James and George rented a hall in Alexandria Parade in Dennistoun and together, they turned it into a cinema and they called it the Parade. One of the first films that was shown was a Western called The Range Rider and also an interest film Glimpses of Bird Life. The prices were 2d and 4d, with separate houses nightly at 7pm and 9pm. [29] The Parade was very popular with the people of Dennistoun and this encouraged the partners to open another one in 1912. The second cinema was in Church Street, Hamilton and called the Cinema House. It was equally successful. Now, they owned two separate companies – The Parade Picture Houses Ltd and The Hamilton Cinema Company Ltd. So successful was their emerging and growing cinema business that James Welsh felt able to devote all his time to that business and relinquish his position as an insurance agent. By this time the cinema had become a popular form of mass entertainment and picture shows were being held everywhere. In mid-1912, there were about 50 cinemas in Glasgow.[30]

Up until 1921 their two cinemas had been halls, originally built for other purposes. In 1921 the Welsh-Smith partners built their first cinema just round the corner from their existing one in Dennistoun. The (old) Parade had been on Alexandria Parade itself but the New Parade was built at 200 Meadowpark Street, just off the Parade. The cinema was designed by the architect Mr D MacKay Stoddart and was a substantial building with a well finished hall and a lofty auditorium, seating more than 1,400 people. The New Parade cinema was retained by the two partners throughout the twenties but was sold to a Gaumont subsidiary in 1928.[31] During Mr Welsh’s election campaign, located in the Cathcart district on the south side of Glasgow, the new Kingsway Cinema opened on 8 May 1929.[32] It was built for and operated by the independent Kingsway Cinema Ltd. which was owned by a conglomerate of shareholders, among them were James Welsh and George Smith. James Welsh was also named the Cinema Director and George Smith the Manager of the newly formed Kingsway Cinema Ltd. The cinema was designed by noted architect James McKissack in what was described as a Spanish-American style. Inside the auditorium, seating was provided in stalls and circle levels.[33]

This was to be Welsh-Smith’s fourth cinema and the first in south Glasgow.[34] However, on 7 January 1950 it was sold to George Singleton Cinemas Ltd. chain and was re-named the Vogue cinema, a name Singleton gave to all the cinemas in Glasgow that were operated by Singleton’s Circuit.

After building the Kingsway cinema, the architect James McKissack (also responsible for the La Scala) built two more cinemas for Welsh and Smith. The first one was the Mecca Picture House in Balmore Road, Possil built in 1933, to an imposing design by McKissack, to serve the new Corporation housing estate. It was opened in August 1933 and originally seated 1,620, (1,140 in the stalls and 430 in the balcony and served the older tenement area of Possilpark.[35]

The second cinema was one of the most important cinemas built by McKissack. This was the Riddrie Cinema which stands at 726 Cumbernauld Road, Riddrie. Perhaps, at this point, it is worth noting that the former Riddrie (later to become Riddrie-Vogue) cinema is one of the best preserved 1930s suburban super-cinemas in Scotland. [36] It was listed Category B by Historic Scotland in 2008. This was one of McKissack’s best designs and it seems no expense was spared by Smith and Welsh in its construction. On 7 January 1950, the same date as the Kingsway Cinema was sold to Singleton Circuit, the Riddrie was also sold to the Singleton’s and as before was renamed the Vogue (the Singletons also owned the McKissack-designed Cosmo – now the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) – and numerous other cinemas in the West of Scotland).[37] The Riddrie-Vogue remained a cinema until April 1968, when it went over to full time bingo.[38] It must be noted here that combining the two roles of a busy councillor and manager of two cinemas was very time consuming for our donor and it was no surprise that in 1940 Mrs Helen Welsh was appointed Manageress of the Mecca Cinema in Possilpark. Mrs Helen Welsh was a very capable and popular manageress who took to her new role with consummate ease. She dealt firmly but fairly with staff, had a good head for figures and mixed easily with the customers.

She had to make the complicated journey between Kelvindale and Possilpark and back every day the cinema was open. She had to carry the evening’s takings home with her each evening and one night in October 1942, she was the victim of a hold-up in Kelvindale Road. Three men were later arrested and a report of the Sheriff Court case appeared in the News of the World later that year. All three admitted assaulting Mrs Helen Welsh, wife of Mr James Welsh, a Glasgow Town Councillor, and threatening to shoot her. They also admitted assaulting the woman driver of Mrs Welsh’s car, and robbing Mrs Welsh of a handbag containing £96.[39]

The contribution made by our donor, James Welsh, to the world of cinema in Glasgow has been extremely impressive. Without a doubt, James Welsh’s and his colleague George Smith’s names will be among the pioneers of the cinema in this country.

The Final Years

On 2 September 1943, James Welsh was elected Lord Provost of the City of Glasgow.[40] He was the nominee of the Socialist Party. He remained Lord Provost until 5 November 1945 when he demitted his office at midnight of that day. However, The Glasgow Herald of 5 October 1945 reported this news, as well as the all the retiring councillors before the imminent council elections, on 6 November 1945.[41]

His wife, Helen, worked all her life and was always there supporting her husband, especially as the wife of the civic head of the City of Glasgow.  In later life, it was an easy transition for her to undertake the supervision of one of the cinemas in which her husband was interested. In the management, especially of the Mecca picture house, she found work agreeable. Mrs Welsh was remembered by the cinema goers as a well-dressed petite lady who wore a different hat every night.[42] Nell Greig Welsh died on 28 February 1945.[43]

Unfortunately, she died too early for her to see her husband receiving his L.LD from Glasgow University on 26 October 1945. The event was reported on page 4 of the Glasgow Herald of Monday, 28 October 1945.[44]

Our donor had long been interested in the Scottish Orchestra. He had also been especially concerned with the promotion of the cultural side of the civic activities, such as the development of music, open air theatres and the Glasgow Art Gallery as he had been the Convener of the Art Galleries. Therefore, almost a year later our donor was again honoured in October 1946 when he was appointed a Member of the Arts Council of Great Britain.[45]

In the announcement of Deaths column of the Glasgow Herald of 17 December 1969, a small notice had appeared announcing that James Welsh died on 16 December 1969 and would be cremated in Linn Crematorium on 19 December 1969.[46] On page 8 of the same newspaper[47] under the columns entitled Death of Lord Provost of Glasgow, an obituary is printed where a summary of his life and achievements are listed and the following sentence was also included:

He combined his work with assiduous attendance at evening classes, studious reading of history, economics and widening his acquaintance with the world of art which his natural taste for music was already a passport.

Acknowledgement

I should like to acknowledge and thank Mr David Welsh for his help and time in providing me with a wider perspective of the life of our donor, Dr James Welsh, his grandfather in producing this blog. He very generously gave me a copy of his Grandfather’s unpublished biography ‘Just call me Jimmy’ A portrait of my grandfather, Dr James Welsh that he had meticulously and engagingly researched.

References

[1] City of Glasgow Corporation Minutes 1946-1947, Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

[2] http://www.artbiogs.co.uk/1/artists/ancill-joseph.

[3] Private Correspondence with Mr David Welsh and his unpublished biography  of our donor “Just call me Jimmy” A portrait of my grandfather, Dr James Welsh.

[4] ibid.

[5] 1841 Scottish census.

[6] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[7] ibid.

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/victorian/trails_victorian_glasgow.shtml

[12] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[13] ibid.

[14] ibid.

[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_On_The_Green

[16 Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[17] ibid.

[18] Obituary of Mrs Helen Welsh The Glasgow Herald – Mar 1, 1945 p6.

[19] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Millicent_Fawcett

[20] ibid.

[21] https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=19131105&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[22] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[23] ibid.

[24] The Glasgow Herald – Oct 5, 1945 p.6.

[25] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[26] Honeyman, T J, Art and Audacity. Collins, 1971

[27] R.Marks et al, The Burrell Collection with an Introduction by John Julius Norwich. Collins, 1983

[28] Honeyman, T J. 87,135,171,223,229

[29] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[30] ibid.

[31] http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/50797

[32]http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/23293

[33] ibid.

[34] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[35] http://www.scottishcinemas.org.uk/glasgow/mecca_possil.html

[36] http://www.scottishcinemas.org.uk/glasgow/riddrie/

[37] http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/23293%20

[38] http://www.scottishcinemas.org.uk/glasgow/mecca_possil.html

[39] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[40] The Glasgow Herald – Sep 3, 1943 p.4

[41] The Glasgow Herald – Oct 5, 1945  p.6.

[42] Priv. Corresp. Op.cit.

[43]Obituary op.cit.

[44] The Glasgow Herald – Oct 28, 1945 p.4.

[45] The Glasgow Herald – Oct 26, 1946 p.6.

[46] The Glasgow Herald – Dec 17, 1969  p.8

[47]  ibid.