James Lindsay was an architect whose work consisted mainly of large commercial buildings in his home city of Glasgow. Although he rarely won major commissions, he regularly just missed out on the top awards.
He bequeathed the painting Head of Holy Loch by George Henry to Glasgow. Henry was one of the most influential of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ artists based in or associated with Glasgow. The painting is dated 1882 and was sold at an exhibition of The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art in that year for £25 and it is possible that the purchaser was James Lindsay.
James was born on 10th May 1857 to William Lindsay, victualler and Mary Duncan (1) . He attended St James Parish School and Glasgow High School. He was articled to the firm of Peat and Duncan, Glasgow for five years followed by three years as a draughtsman during which time he studied at Glasgow School of Art, and in 1876 he won the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Silver Medal. In 1880 he set up on his own at 196 St Vincent Street (where he also lived).At around this time James had become friends with James Sellars, one of Glasgow’s leading architects with many fine examples of his work surviving, and who won the competition to design The International Exhibition of 1888 in Kelvingrove Park (2).
In 1881 James was admitted as an Associate of RIBA, having been proposed by John Honeyman (whose partnership was later to include John Keppie and Charles Rennie Mackintosh), James Audley, and John Burnet. He was living at 8 Morris Place by then (3), situated to the east end of the city centre.
James married Jessie Millar Black in 1883. Jessie lived at 48 Caledonia Street, Paisley and was the daughter of Robert, a local spirit merchant (4). They had six children, three boys and three girls, and by 1891 the family was living at 48 Garnethill Street (5).James had business premises at 167 St Vincent Street in 1884 and moved to 248 West George Street around 1886 and remained there till his death in 1914 (6). James junior followed in his father’s footsteps as an architect and carried on the business at the same premises after his father’s death. James junior is probably best known for Walter Hubbard’s bakery, 508-510 Great Western Road, Glasgow, an art deco design which is currently a nightclub (7).
Among James’ many architectural commissions were several schools including Wellshot Secondary at Tollcross, Glasgow which became a primary school in 1970.
Unusual commissions were for the Glasgow Sausage Works at 240 North Woodside Road in 1895 and The City Manure Office in Parliamentary Road, Townhead (horse manure on city streets had become a major health problem in cities around the world). Possil Iron Works in 1889, Kames Free Church on the Isle of Bute of 1898 and the City of Glasgow Dyeworks of 1902 are further examples of his numerous commissions (8)
On a more ambitious scale he entered competitions for major city projects. In 1884 he submitted plans for the New Admiralty and War Office, Whitehall, London and although awarded a £600 ‘premium’ did not secure the job. In 1889 he reached second place to design Sheffield Municipal Buildings and won a £100 ‘premium’. In 1905 his design for Hutchesontown Library in Glasgow was not taken up, and in the same year he submitted a competition design for Kirkintilloch Town Hall which made second place (9).
In 1880 James submitted an entry for the new City Chambers in Glasgow. This was described at the time as a ‘mannerist Hotel de Ville with a roman temple front, huge angle mansards and a Greco-Roman tower which bears a striking, and more refined and satisfying, resemblance to that of William Young’s winning design’ (10).
He also entered the competition to design plans for the new Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum in 1891, won by the London firm of Simpson and Allen. Entries were received from many established architects, and some from ambitious youngsters including Charles Rennie Mackintosh (11).
Occasionally he designed private houses, one such being Ardenwohr at 233 Nithsdale Road, Pollockshields, Glasgow. It has been describedas ‘looking remotely Jacobean with a repulsive red rock-faced finish’ (12), perhaps a little unfair as it would probably be described now as a rather handsome Victorian villa.
The Lindsays moved to 11 Moray Place in 1896 (13). This fine terrace sits alongside 1-10 Moray Place which was designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, one of Glasgow’s most renowned architects. Thomson himself lived at number 1 from 1861 and the terrace incorporated some typical classical features e.g. the giant order of pilasters arranged along the frontage (14). The terrace which includes number 11 was added later and although sympathetic to Thomson’s work, was more eclectic in style.
Jessie Lindsay died in 1898 (15) and James continued to live at Moray Place till his own death in 1914 (16). At that time he was working on a successful commission to design The Netherton Institute (public baths and library) in Dunfermline, which was completed after his death (17). Although recognised as a talented architect who often came second best, it is ironic that success really came at the end of his life.
In the minutes of the Corporation of Glasgow on 28th March 1924, ex-Bailie Mr Charles Carlton (see Fig. 1) had offered to present to the Corporation an oil painting entitledThe Old Boating Station (1880) on the South Bank of the River Clyde, opposite Glasgow Green, by John MacNiven (1819-1895)RSW (as shown below in Fig.2). This painting is now called The Glasgow Regatta, The Closing Stages.
Our donor, Mr. Charles Carlton came from a large Glasgow family. His father, also Charles Carlton, was a Master Painter with his own Painter Decorator Company employing 25 men and 7 boys . In the 1871 Census, it is recorded that the family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Carlton and 7 children, including our donor who was 16 at that time. They all lived at 72 Bath Street, Glasgow. The Family also had a servant living with them.
After leaving school, our donor was trained as an apprentice clerk . At that time his father was in partnership in a Glasgow painting and decorating firm which was headed by Hugh Locke Anderson (c. 1818–1888) for 43 years. On 5th February 1883 it was reported in the Glasgow Herald  that the partnership of M.L. Anderson and Charles Carlton, House Painters and Decorators located at 141 St Vincent Street Glasgow, was dissolved . It was then our donor came into his father’s new firm, now named Charles Carlton & Son, Painters and Decorators . Our donor’s father had started his own firm of Painter, Decorator and Gilders in the1840s  and his son took over as sole principal in 1886.
In 1886 Charles Carlton was now a married man, after marrying on 23rd April 1885 Miss Jessie McLean, daughter of William McLean, a carting contractor, and his wife Janet McLean, as well as being the sole proprietor of a well-known painter and decorator firm. They celebrated their marriage at the Grand Hotel in Glasgow after which they moved to 2 Athol Gardens, Kelvinside, Glasgow .
One of the first big contracts after becoming the sole principal of the firm Charles Carlton & Son, was the contract for painting the dome and main avenue of the 1888  International Exhibition building. Another big contract came soon after for decorating the Industrial Hall for the 1901 International Exhibition in Glasgow . Other commissions included the redecoration of Ardrossan Parish Church and work on the Municipal Chambers, the Mitchell Library and the City Hall . Furthermore, it may be mentioned that Messrs Charles Carlton & Son were also responsible for decorative painting of the principal hotels and numerous halls, churches and mansions throughout the country .
In 1911 Charles Carlton was elected to Glasgow Corporation as a Council member for the Blythswood Ward, and served as convenor of the Committee on Art Galleries and Museums. He was also a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. He traveled widely on the continent, partially in connection with his work and he showed a keen interest in societies connected with his business. He was a Fellow of the Incorporated Institute of British Decorators, a former president and member of the Council of the Master Painters of Scotland, a member of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, and a director of the Glasgow Master Painters Association. He was Vice-President of the architectural section of the Glasgow Philosophical Society and acted as chairman of the Art Union in Glasgow. He was a member of the Conservative Club and also the Royal Clyde Yacht Club. Furthermore, he was on the Municipal Buildings Committee and the Parks Committee, where he did sterling work. His most prominent endeavour was for the preservation of the Tollbooth in Glasgow. It was while he was convenor of the Parks Committee that the Lynn Estate at Catcarth was acquired for Glasgow. As convenor of the Committee on Art Galleries and Museums he was instrumental in carrying through improvements at the southern front of the Kelvingrove Art Galleries .
According to the archives of the Glasgow Art Club  Charles Carlton was admitted as a lay member in 1886 and was elected Vice-President in 1916 and 1917. He was one of the first people admitted when the Club opened up for lay members. Prior to November 1886, only “artists” could obtain membership by being elected .
Furthermore, he was one of those people who, in 1891, appended their names to a list requesting that the Corporation of Glasgow buy Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No2, a portrait of Thomas Carlyle  who was a Scottish philosopher, writer, historian, mathematician and teacher. The Corporation had agreed that the painting be bought and it hangs now in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
The picture depicts a boat race with the winner at the closing stages. You can almost hear the crowds of people who have gathered on the banks of the Clyde cheering the winners. Judging by the size of the crowd in the picture, it is clear that the boat races were in those days extremely popular.
When you look at the painting above, it tells the story of the Clyde and the people who used it. The artist John MacNiven (1819-1895) was employed by the town council. His favourite subject was The Clyde and the busy traffic on it. The people travelled to their places of work on the Clyde using Clutha ferries . The Clyde Navigation Trust introduced the first ferries in 1884 to provide passenger services along the river. There were twelve ferries, operating by 1898, collectively known as Cluthas, stopping at ten landing stages between the city centre and Whiteinch. The service was withdrawn in 1903 because it could not compete with cheap and efficient tramway and railway services along the riverside.
Apart from commuting on the Clyde, the Glaswegians, in their free time, gathered in the rowing clubs scattered along the riverside. Rowing was a popular sport among the young. It is important to note that there was a very strong link with the rowing clubs on the Clyde and the birth of football. One of these clubs was the Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club and the early members of the club are credited with involvement in the formation of Glasgow Rangers Football Club. J Allan in his book The Story of the Rangers: Fifty Years’ Football 1873-1923 mentions that in the club minutes of the time, there are bitter complaints of the amount of football being played by members of Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club to the detriment of their rowing . Rangers Football Club acknowledges its rowing roots on a mural in Ibrox. In 1872 the nucleus of what was to become Rangers FC played their first match on the Flesher’s Haugh in “The Green”.
Allan further writes: “In the summer evenings of 1873 a number of lusty, laughing lads, flushed and happy from the exhilaration of a finishing dash with the oars, could be seen hauling their craft ashore on the upper reaches of the river Clyde at the Glasgow Green. As keen then was their enthusiasm for the sport of rowing as it became in later years for the game of football; for these lads were the founders of the Rangers Football Club.”
Mr Charles Carlton was the representative for the Blythswood Ward from 1911 until 1920 when he was defeated at the polls. When he retired he went to Boscombe in Wiltshire, England where he lived at Stresa, Chessel Avenue until his death on 28th December 1933 .
In the ‘Wills and Bequests’ column in The Times of Tuesday 8th May 1934 , the following was reported:
Mr Charles Carlton of Boscombe, late Glasgow, died on 28th December 1933 and he had an estate of £73,577. He is survived by his wife Jessie Carlton. His nephew was Dr W. H. McLean, M.P. for the Tradeston Division of Glasgow.
I should like to thank the project leaders, information officers and the liaison officers of the institution, business and club, as well as all the librarians and information officers for their help and kind permission for letting me use information for the production of the above blog.
Two paintings were donated to Glasgow Corporation in 1947 by “The Sir F. C. and Lady E. M. Gardiner Trusts”, per Messrs Brownlie, Watson and Beckett, 241 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. C.2. The Glasgow Corporation minutes record that “There was submitted a letter from Messrs Brownlie, Watson and Beckett, solicitors, intimating bequests by the late Sir Frederick Gardiner and Lady Gardiner of Old Ballikinrain, Balfron, of their portraits by Sir James Guthrie, and the committee, having heard a report by the Director, agreed to the bequests being accepted.” 1
Frederick Crombie Gardiner was born on the 10th of February 1855 at Kincardine Manse, Tulliallan, Perthshire where his father Dr. Andrew Gardiner was minister of the United Presbyterian Church.2 Frederick`s mother Jane Guthrie, was a sister of the Rev. Dr. John Guthrie father of the artist Sir James Guthrie. Andrew and Jane were married in 1842 and went on to have a family of six boys and two girls. In 1861 the family was living at the U.P. Church manse in Tulliallan.3 However, after serving for twenty years at Tulliallan, the Reverend Gardiner accepted the post of pastor at Dean Street Church, Stockbridge, Edinburgh. On the 26th of March 1863, the family, including Frederick then aged 8, moved to Edinburgh – first to 24 and then to 26 Scotland Street. 4,5
Elizabeth Morton Ritchie was born on the 28th of June 1861 at 14 Henderson Row, in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh.6 She was the only daughter of William Ritchie a “master bookseller” with the firm of Paton and Ritchie 7 and his wife Wilhelmina Morton.8 Elizabeth enrolled in the Mary Erskine School for girls in October 1870. This was in the year the school moved to Queen Street and became a day rather than a purely boarding school resulting in a large increase in the school roll.9 The following year the family was living at 12 Lonsdale Terrace with Elizabeth a scholar aged nine.10 Elizabeth may have remained at school as a “pupil-teacher” as ten years later aged nineteen she is still recorded as a “scholar”. 11
As a boy, Frederick Gardiner suffered from delicate health and indeed he was troubled with asthma throughout his life. Health problems interrupted his schooling – his attendance at the Edinburgh Institution was restricted to two years between 1868 and 1870 12 and was part of the reason he did not attend university. Some sources suggest that he was about nineteen when he travelled to New Zealand partly to see if the change of climate would improve matters. However, he was not with his family in the 1871 census suggesting that he may have travelled out much earlier – possibly aged sixteen. During his time in New Zealand he worked as a clerk in the firm of Oliver and Ulph.13, 14 His co-workers clearly thought highly of him as a report in a local newspaper of 1876 indicates.
“A pleasing ceremony took place at the warehouse of Messrs. Oliver and Ulph yesterday, when the employees presented Mr. F. C. Gardiner, who has long been a clerk in the employ of the firm, with a handsome gold albert and locket, as a memento of their respect for him on his leaving them for a visit to his native country.” 15
This further suggests a longer stay in New Zealand. Whatever the case, Frederick appears to have put the experience gained to good use as, returning to Scotland in 1880, he joined with two of his elder brothers, James and William to set up the firm of James Gardiner and Co., shipowners. The firm operated extremely successfully for almost forty years amassing a fleet of fourteen cargo vessels by the start of the first World War. 16
On the 15th of September 1887, Frederick married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Morton Ritchie whose father was now a “wholesale stationer” at her home, 6 St. Margaret`s Road, Edinburgh. Frederick`s father Andrew was the officiating minister. At the time, Frederick`s address was 15 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh.17 The couple settled in Glasgow and four years later were living at 1 Rowallan Quadrant, Kelvinside.18
Although not a university graduate himself, Frederick put great store by the benefits a university education could bring and in 1898, along with his brother William, he endowed two lectureships at the University of Glasgow; one in Organic Chemistry and one in the Pathology of Diseases of Infancy and Childhood. 19 The following year he was elected a member of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and became a Director ten years later.
Another interest of Frederick`s was electrical energy generation and in 1911 he became a director of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company. In the census of that year he was living at 5 Dundonald Road, Kelvinside with his wife Lizzie and three servants. In 1920 he became chairman of the company and under his leadership it increased its customer base to 130,000 and from the 1920s was linked to the National Grid. 20
The portrait of Elizabeth Gardiner was painted in 1914 and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy the following year. 21
During WW1, Frederick served on several war-related committees including the “Foodstuffs Requisition Committee” and the “Advisory Committee of the Admiralty Transport Department”. He was also a member of Lloyds and was Chairman of the Glasgow Lloyd’s Association.22 The company`s fleet of ships would have been invaluable in the war effort but at the end of the war, the decision was taken to dispose of the fleet and perhaps contemplate retirement. With this in mind, Frederick had earlier purchased the estate of Old Ballikinrain in Killearn, Stirlingshire. 23 The estate consisted of a mansion house, four houses, a sawmill, two lodge houses, a farm and separate fields, woods and shootings. His brother William also had a house on the estate.24
In 1919, he and his brother William continued their association with the University of Glasgow by each providing £60,000 to endow the “Gardiner Chairs” in Physiological Chemistry, Bacteriology and Organic Chemistry. In 1920 Frederick was awarded the degree of LL. D. by the University in thanks for his generosity.25 This was also the year that his portrait was painted by his cousin, Sir James Guthrie. Thanks to his services to the country during the war, Frederick Gardiner was knighted in 1921. In 1923 he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Glasgow and Lord Dean of Guild. The following year he was also appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Stirling.26
The firm of James Gardiner & Company was dissolved by mutual consent on the 31st of December 1924 when Sir Frederick C. Gardiner retired.27
Sir Frederick and Lady Gardiner spent a good part of their retirement in travelling. In 1925 they sailed aboard the Empress of Canada from the Philippines to Hong Kong and Japan and thence to Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria B.C. On this trip Frederick’s occupation was listed as “Naval Architect” 28 and “Civil Engineer”29. The following year they were in South Africa 30 and in 1932 they left Southampton for Colombo, Sri Lanka 31.
Sir Frederick and his brother William continued to make charitable donations. In
1926 they gave £20,000 to be distributed among youth organisations and charities in Glasgow and the West of Scotland including the Boys` Brigade, Boy Scouts, Girls Guides and Girls` Guildry and in 1928 they gave £12,000 to endow the Gardiner Chair of Music at Glasgow University as well as a lectureship in the “Pathology of Diseases of Infancy and Childhood”.32 In the same year the brothers presented a series of sixteen studies to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Another portrait study, that of William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand was presented to the National Portrait Gallery in London in 1930. These studies were made by their cousin Sir James Guthrie for his painting “Some Statesmen of the Great War”. 33
In 1927 Lady Gardiner was elected to the Board of Governors of the Atheneum School of Music in Glasgow. She served on a joint committee one of whose objectives was to establish a Chair of Music. The committee was formed from Governors of the Atheneum together with members of Sir D. M. Stevenson`s committee. Lady Gardiner was first present at the meeting of the 3rd of May 1927 and was present at the Finance Committee on the 3rd of June. She was a subscriber to the scheme to raise funds for the Music Chair and was involved in trying to elicit funds from others. At a meeting on the 2nd of August 1927 it was agreed that the name of the institution would be changed from the Atheneum to the Scottish National Academy of Music.34 In 1928 Sir Frederick and William Gardiner endowed the Gardiner Chair of Music with the incumbent occupying a dual role as Professor at Glasgow University and Principal of the SNAM 35. (This arrangement persisted until 1953)
Lady Gardiner was for some years President of the Nurses` Memorial to King Edward VII at Hazelwood House, Dumbreck, Glasgow.36 This house had been an auxiliary hospital during WW1 and was now a home for retired nurses.
In October 1931 a memorial exhibition of Sir James Guthrie’s works was held at Glasgow`s Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Sir Frederick contributed to the exhibition by lending the portraits of himself and Lady Gardiner. 37
In 1936, the year before his death, Sir Frederick donated £10,000 for the provision of the Gardiner Medical Institute at Glasgow University with the trustees of his brother William`s estate providing the same sum – William having died in 1935. After experiencing some years of ill-health, Sir Frederick Crombie Gardiner died on the 7th of August 1937 at Old Ballikinrain, Balfron. He was 82.38 He left an estate valued at £541,466. Among the bequests in his will were £7,500 to build and equip the Gardiner Medical Institute (the Institute was officially opened by Lady Gardiner in 1938), £3000 to the Glasgow Royal Cancer Hospital, £1500 to the Glasgow Western Infirmary and £1000 to the Royal Society for the Relief of Indigent Gentlewomen in Scotland.39 The funeral service was held at Landsdowne Church Glasgow of which he had been a member, followed by burial in the Necropolis.40
Lady Elizabeth Morton Gardiner died aged 85 on the 17th of May 1947 at Old Ballikinrain, Killearn. 41 She was buried beside her husband in the Glasgow Necropolis. The Minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama immediately after her death record the following:
“The chairman paid tribute to the late Lady Gardiner (died 17th May 1947) who had been a Governor since the inception of the Academy and had latterly been an Honorary Vice-President. She had always maintained a warm and practical interest in the work of the Academy and her kindly presence would be missed.”
A brief obituary also appeared in the Glasgow Herald.42
Glasgow Corporation Minutes 12th August 1947
Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
ancestry.co.uk, Scotland 1861 Census.
Askew, Bob George Gardiner, Early Days and Musical Influences; Hampshire Voices, September 2011
ancestry.co.uk, Scotland, 1881 Census
Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
Edinburgh Post Office Directory, 1860-61
Family Search, Scotland
Archives, Mary Erskine School, Edinburgh, Dorothy Sharp, archivist
Scotland’s People, 1881 Census
Scotland’s People, 1891 Census
Stewart’s Melville College Archives, Ian McKerrow, Archivist
The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Vol. 9, 1st August 1934
New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 133, p 422
Minutes of the Board of Governors Meetings, Glasgow Atheneum
Royal Conservatoire of Music, archives
Glasgow Herald, 19th May 1947, Obituary
Object File at GMRC
Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
The Scotsman, October 1937
Glasgow Herald, 9th August 1937, Death Notices
Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
Glasgow Herald, 19th May 1947, Obituary
The Gardiner Brothers owned several of Sir James Guthrie’s paintings. James Gardiner bequeathed The Highland Funeral to Glasgow in 1903 Acquisition Number 1060). Sir Frederick Gardiner owned The Garden Party (now in a private collection) and The Wash which was passed down through the family and is now in the Tate Gallery in London.
Oliver and Ulph were the proprietors of the first railway in New Zealand – the Port Chalmers to Dunedin line which operated from the 18th of September 1872. The firm was also involved in import/export and shipping.
In 1922, Mrs M D Lindsay (1) gave 5 paintings from the collection of Colonel Barclay Shaw to Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This painting, which hangs in the Glasgow Boys gallery in Kelvingrove, is Japanese Girl with Fan by George Henry.
Margaret Dykes Cook was born (2) on 14th November, 1857, in Tradeston, Glasgow, the daughter of Christine and James Cook, Master Brass Founder. On the 30th April, 1878, she married (3) Robert Barclay Shaw at her family home, Tinavale, Shields Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow.
Robert Barclay Shaw (4) was born in 1852.He was the son of William Shaw, and Janet Barclay. His father, a builder, was a prominent member of the Incorporation of Wrights in the Trades House and one_ time Deacon (5)(6). When Robert was young, the family lived in Pollok Street, moving to Valleyfield, Aytoun Rd about 1870. Robert Barclay Shaw was only 19 years old when, on the death of his father, he succeeded to the business, William Shaw and sons, Wallace St. Glasgow. His firm moved into speculative building, building the impressive tenements in Glencairn Drive known as Olrig Terrace. After he married local girl Margaret Dykes Cook at her home, Tinavale, Shields Rd, he and his wife lived in number 6, Olrig Terrace. Later he built a detached house in Pollokshields, 40 Dalziel Drive, known as Dykeneuk, and was living there in 1888. The development of Pollokshields (7 ) as a garden suburb saw many fine houses built in varied architectural styles, indeed no two houses are identical. Shaw built three houses in Dalziel Drive, Dykeneuk, Oak Knowe and Hazliebrae.
His firm moved into specialist building construction and became very successful. His first main contract was for the buildings for the 1888 International Exhibition in Glasgow. (8 ) The architect was James Sellars, building in the Moorish style known locally as “Baghdad by Kelvinside”. James Sellars unfortunately died in October,1888 reportedly of blood poisoning from standing on a rusty nail.
Robert Barclay Shaw was the builder and he was much praised in The Bailie(9), being credited with the exhibition’s finishing on time and on budget. The site covered 10 acres. Shaw employed 1,000 men on the contract, used 5 million bricks, 750 tons of iron, 700,000 cubic feet of wood and 250,000 square feet of glass.
This was his first connection with Kelvingrove and it was the success of the Exhibition and the profit from it that enabled Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to be commissioned. Both Barclay Shaw and Sellars are in this painting by John Lavery of the great and the good in Glasgow when Queen Victoria visited the Exhibition in 1888.
Shaw and William Smith later supervised the building, to the design of James Miller, for the Main Hall for the Glasgow Exhibition in 1901 and for the exhibition Concert Hall.
In 1895, he built the Kildrastan buildings with shops and adjacent tenements in Terregles and Glencairn Drives. In the valuation rolls for 1905 (10 ), Mrs Dykes Shaw is the proprietor of properties in Kildrastan Street which included shops and residential buildings. As well as the properties in Pollokshields, he built the Langside Tram Depot and stands at Hampden Football Park for Queens Park Football Club.
He was a sociable man. He followed his father as a member of Trades House- in the Incorporation of The Wrights- and was elected as Collector in 1888. (11) Why Colonel Barclay Shaw?
While he was still a lad he joined the 8th Lanarkshire Volunteers which became the 3rd Blythswood Volunteer Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry in 1887.(12) He was gazetted Colonel in 1904. (13)
In 1895, he purchased Annick Lodge(14 ) near Irvine, an imposing country house. The estate extended to 45 acres with 15 estate houses and a farm of 95 acres.
He died in 1905. His death is reported by Rev. William Lindsay, minister of Dreghorn.(15 )
After his death, his widow continued living at Annick Lodge. Valuation Rolls show that she ran the estate with a manager. In 1908 (16), she married the Reverend James Lindsay, M.A, B.Sc., B.D., D.D the minister of St Andrews Church of Scotland , Kilmarnock(17 ) and brother of the minister at Dreghorn, who had registered the death of Barclay Shaw. She continued to manage the estate. Dr Lindsay died in 1923 (18 ) but she continued to live at Annick Lodge, then administered by a Trust, (19) until it was sold in 1934 and she moved to Dalry. She died in 1942.(20 )
The Donated Paintings
The other oil painting in the donation is entitled The Storm by John Lawson.
The three others are watercolours.
The Kotoplayer Tokyo by George Henry
Minutes of Glasgow City Council, 1922.
National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1857
National Records of Scotland Statutory Marriages 1878
National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1852
The Bailie. The Man You Know. June 6th 1888. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
N.J.Morgan “Robert Barclay Shaw” in Slaven A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press, 1986. Pp164-167
Donor-Ronald McNeilage (1935-1959) and David Gordon Nicolson (1870-1952)
Calves in the Cabbage Patch by J Denovan Adam (1841-1896) Acc 3442
Donated in July 19491, the painting was bought from an auction held at the Crown Hall Auction Rooms in Glasgow on 8th April 1949 for £1.2 ( Today a Denovan Adam painting can fetch as much as £60003).
Joseph Denovan Adam was a Scottish painter specialising in the painting of animals, Highland landscapes and still life. In 1887 he set up a school of animal painting at Craigmill near Stirling which became the centre for a group of Stirling and Glasgow artists. It was based on Adam’s small farm where students were encouraged to paint his herd of Highland Cattle from life.4
The painting was exhibited at the Smith Art Gallery in Stirling in 1996 in an exhibition called, Mountain,Meadow,Moss and Moor.5
Ronald McNeilage (1935-1959)
The official donor of this painting is rather unusual as he was only 14 years old when he gave the painting to Glasgow. At the time of the donation Ronald was a patient in Killearn Hospital, Stirlingshire, suffering from a brain tumour. The brain tumour was pressing on an optical nerve and affected his eyesight. Killearn Hospital was a specialist hospital which dealt with brain injuries and illness which affected the brain. His parents were Alexander McNeilage, an electrical engineer, and Jessie Lowe Nicolson. They lived at 32 Alden Road Newlands, Glasgow at that time.
The Director of Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, Dr Tom Honeyman, wrote to Ronald thanking him for the painting . Ronald was so proud of the letter that he had it framed and showed it to all his visitors. Dr Honeyman even wrote again to Ronald who was still in hospital, in November 1949 to say that Ronald was still in the thoughts of himself and the staff of the Art Galleries.
As one might guess there was more to this story. In fact it was Ronald’s maternal grandfather, David Gordon Nicolson (DGN), who masterminded this donation. After acquiring the painting he wrote to Dr Honeyman explaining the circumstances of his grandson’s illness and asked him to write the letter of thanks to his grandson.6 As we already know DGN had bought the painting for £1 in at an auction in Glasgow in 1949 (buying and selling Figure 2. paintings at auctions was a hobby) and hatched the plan for its donation probably hoping this would cheer up his grandson who was in hospital for the greater part of 1949.
According to his younger brother, Alan, Ronald was in and out of Killearn for the next ten years . He had several operations and was under the care of neurosurgeon James Sloan Robertson. Ronald eventually went to work for the RNIB in Glasgow where he was a library assistant. Both Ronald and Alan were pupils at Glasgow High School.7
David Gordon Nicolson (1871-1952)
Thus our true donor is David Gordon Nicolson (DGN). He was born in Dunse, Berwickshire. His father, David William Nicolson, was a mariner and his mother was Mary Jane Whitelaw.8 The couple were married in Liverpool where Mary’s family ran a boarding house.9 Perhaps DGN’s father had been a lodger at the boarding house when his ship came to Liverpool? DGN had an elder brother William Darling and a sister Janet, known as Jessie. By 1881 the family had moved to Musselburgh. The father was not on the census and was presumably at sea.10
David was a pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School which was managed by the Musselburgh School Board. In July 1885 at the age of 14 he was employed as a pupil -teacher at the school. 11 At that time in Scotland and in England this was one road into teaching.
At the age of fourteen (after Standard III) the best pupils in a school were chosen to stay on as pupil-teachers. They remained as pupil-teachers until they were 18.
They were paid a salary starting at £10 per annum rising to £20. Schools were allowed to have one pupil teacher per 25 pupils and were paid to have pupil teachers. Pupil -teachers had to sit an examination every year and were annually inspected.12
David remained as a pupil- teacher until 10th September 1889 when he left the Musselburgh School to take up the post of uncertificated teacher at Brand’s School Milnathort in Kinrosshire.13 It was common for ex-pupil teachers to work as uncertificated teachers after completing their ‘ apprenticeship’. We know he remained at Brands School for 15 months.14
DGN was back in Musselburgh at the time of the 1891 Census, usually held in March. He was listed in the census as a ‘teacher of English’ while his sister Janet was a ‘certificated teacher’. It is unknown at this point in which school they were teaching. Mary, DGN’s, mother appears to have been running a boarding house as there were two more certificated teachers and one assistant teacher living as lodgers at the same address. Running a boarding house appears to have been a Whitelaw family business.
It is unknown at this time where DGN was between March 1891 and February 1892. There is a family story, backed up by a photograph of DGN in uniform that he served in the Boer War, however he does not appear in any of the military records.15 Information from Dr Patrick Watt of the National Museum of Scotland suggested the photograph was taken in the 1890s and identified the uniform as that of the Royal Scots, possibly a volunteer battalion. Perhaps DGN, like many other young men of that time had joined one of the volunteer regiments. The Royal Scots were the local Edinburgh Regiment based at Glencorse Barracks. The photograph may have been taken at the annual summer camp which was part of the commitment required of volunteer soldiers.
In February 1892 DGN began a course at the Church of Scotland Teacher Training College in Edinburgh. He was there for two years graduating in December 1893 25th out of a class of 13416. There is little information as to how teacher training was financed during the 1890s. Until the 1860s pupil -teachers could sit a competitive examination for a Queens Bursary of £25 per year for men (less for women) which would maintain them while at college. Presumably college fees would be paid as well.17 There is some evidence that these bursaries carried on after the 1872 Elementary Schools (Scotland)Act when there was a huge rise in demand for teachers. It is not known if DGN was in receipt of a bursary as the records of male students have been lost but the list of female students records some in receipt of a bursary.18
Until 1905 provision of teacher training was in the hands of the churches either the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church or the Episcopalian Church. The latter two were much smaller organisations. In Edinburgh the Church of Scotland Teacher Training College was first in Johnston Terrace and then in Chambers Street while the Free Church Training College was at Moray House. In 1905 teacher training was taken out of the hands of the churches and taken over by the Scotch Education Department as it was then known. The two Presbyterian Edinburgh Colleges amalgamated in 1907 and became Moray House Teacher Training College, one of four Provincial Training Colleges in Scotland, the others being in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.19
In January 1894 DGN began his first post as a probationary teacher at Grahamston Public School in Barrhead, Renfrewshire. The headmaster of the School was James Maxton, father of the James Maxton who became the ‘Red Clydesider ‘ MP in the 1920s.20 Even though he was in his first year of probation DGN was given Standards 1V,V and V1 to teach- in other words what would be known today as Secondary Education which had only been publicly funded since 1892. The 1872 Act had only provided public funds for elementary education before that date.21
.DGN’s appointment possibly came about as a result of comments made by the School Inspector during his annual visit to Grahamston School in 1893. When commenting on the Senior School, Standards 1V,V and V1 –“The staff of the senior department would require to be strengthened if these subjects are to be carried on to any further extent.”22
DGN seems to have settled in well as the log book entry for February 2nd 1894 states,” Mr Nicolson is promising very well and manages Standard 1V… very satisfactorily”. DGN completed his two year probation and became a certificated teacher in February 1896.23 As the log books show, at this time schools underwent an inspection every year and the results of that inspection affected the annual grant given by the SED.
In December 1896 DGN married Ellen Agnes Robertson in Musselburgh.24 DGN’s home before his marriage was in Albany Place Nitshill where he appears to have been a lodger. 25
DGN was obviously ambitious and keen to earn extra money as he quickly became involved in teaching evening classes at various schools under the Neilston Parish School Board. There are several entries in the minutes of the Evening Class Committees of the Neilston Parish School Board from 1895 onwards regarding DGN’s involvement in evening class teaching at Cross Arthurlie Evening School and Uplawmoor Evening School where he was described as ‘Chief Teacher’ of the evening school.26
On April 29th 1898 after four years at Grahamston Public School another entry in the log book tells us that on the order of the Neilston Parish School Board Mr DG Nicolson was to be transferred to another Barrhead School i.e. Cross Arthurlie Public School (also under the Neilston Parish School Board) as First Assistant27(Deputy Head today). The Nicolsons continued to live at Nitshill where in 1898 a daughter Ellen was born. Mary followed in 1900 shortly after which the family were living at 36 Carlibar Road Barrhead in a block of 3 storey tenements.28.
In 1902 the Nicolsons moved to Uplawmoor, Renfrewshire as on 8th September DGN took up his duties as headteacher of Uplawmoor Public School, living in the School House.29
DGN was a keen golfer and was one of the founder members of the Caldwell Golf Club, Uplawmoor, in 1903. The first meeting was held at the Old School House in the village, DGN’s home. He became the club’s first secretary and treasurer.30
While at Uplawmoor DGN was given leave of absence for two weeks to attend,” a course of instruction at the Royal College of Art ,South Kensington”. DGN had a keen interest and talent in artistic subjects. In the annual Inspectors Report in May 1904 DGN was praised for his teaching of the Supplementary Course in art subjects single-handed.31
In 1905 DGN was transferred to Neilston Public School as Headmaster, again living in the School House. This was probably because of the sudden death of the headmaster, Duncan Martin in February 1905. DGN’s salary was £200 per annum and use of the School House. Both Uplawmoor and Neilston schools were managed by the Neilston Parish School Board. The family lived at 47 High Street Neilston which was the School House.32 DGN is credited with starting the Neilston School Magazine.33
In 1908 another daughter, Jessie Lowe was born. She became the mother of our young donor Ronald.34
DGN remained at Neilston until 1924 when he was appointed Headmaster of Mearns Street School in Greenock.35 He was headmaster of Mearns Street School until his retirement in 1932.36
According to his grandson, Alan, DGN was a keen chess player and a member, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer for several years , of Glasgow Chess Club which met in the Athenaeum building in Glasgow. As we know he was a keen golfer. He was a keen angler too. His efforts were once reported in the press when he spent three hours on the River Stinchar bringing in a salmon with a trout rod. He used to go and stay at the Portsonach Hotel on Loch Awe and look after the fishing for hotel guests. His grandson, Alan, visited the Hotel in 1959 and found his grandfather’s handwriting in the catch record book.
DGN was a talented sketcher and loved carving items such as animals out of wood. As we have seen, a favourite hobby was going to art auctions and buying and selling paintings. On his retirement he presented a painting to Mearns Street School and as we know he bought a painting for his grandson to present to Glasgow.
DGN was a freemason, holding the office of Provincial Grand Junior Warden for Renfrewshire East based in Paisley. On January 1st 1932 for holding this office DGN was presented with a small wooden mallet made from the old rafters of Paisley Abbey.37
DGN’s retirement was not short of adventure. In July 1937, he and Ellen his wife, daughter Ellen and son-in -law John embarked on a road trip to Venice. Ellen chose Venice as she said she wanted to make sure, “it wasn’t just a Fairy Tale”. They travelled in a Hillman Minx-AGG 149- which the young people had just bought on HP. (see figure 2)
What was known as the Automobile Association in those days was extremely helpful providing them with routes and all the official documents they needed for the trip for the car and for themselves. The AA, as it is known today ,arranged the ferry crossing from Dover to Calais with AA representatives to smooth the path at the ports, all for £12/11/-(£12 and 11 shillings-£12 60 pence today). Each car had to be hoisted on board as there was no such thing as a roll-on roll-off car ferry in 1937.
There is no time or space here to go into too much detail of the trip but from the first stop of the trip outside Doncaster where bed, breakfast and supper for four at the Rosery Cafe was 30 shillings (about £1.25 today), they travelled to Dover where bed and breakfast and supper cost seven shillings each (about 70pence). They then drove through France, Switzerland and Italy to Venice where they spent only a few days before starting the journey home.
The party travelled back through Austria, Germany and Belgium where they spent time at the Great War Battlefields such as Ypres. The scrapbooks are fascinating to read. They tell of hair- raising climbs up mountain passes such as the Brenner Pass as well as friendly meetings with local people and visiting places of interest such as Versailles, Cologne Cathedral and St Marks in Venice.
The travellers had taken with them a small spirit stove and everywhere they went in all the countries they passed through, often staying only one night, they made tea and had lunch by the roadside on most days, eating locally bought provisions.
They were in Italy during the time of Mussolini and in Germany during the time of the Third Reich where they only once came into contact with,” that Heil Hitler nonsense “, as DGN put it. In all they covered 3,500 miles in AGGI 49 as the car became known, having developed a personality by the time the party had travelled in her for a while. The car never travelled above 55 miles an hour and never had a puncture.38
Ellen died in 194339 and eventually DGN went to live with his daughter Ellen in Hamilton from where he masterminded the donation of Calves in aCabbage Patch on behalf of his grandson Ronald. David Gordon Nicolson die on March 2nd 1952.40
And what of our young donor Ronald? Unfortunately at the age of 24, after years of being in and out of hospital for numerous operations, the brain tumour returned once again41 and, sadly, Ronald died in Killearn Hospital on September 13th 1959.42 At least his grandfather did not live to see that.
While researching David Gordon Nicholson, entries were found on the http://www.ancestry.co.uk website referring to photographs of one David G Nicolson. They were posted by Lorraine Whitelaw Speirs who lives in Vancouver. As Whitelaw was the maiden name of DGN’s mother the owner of these photographs was contacted in order to confirm that the posts referred to DGN. Mrs Lorraine Whitelaw Spiers revealed that she was a descendant of Robert, younger brother of Mary Whitelaw, mother of DGN. Lorraine knew nothing of the McNeilage side of the family but had visited Scotland several times researching her family. When Alan McNeilage, Ronald’s younger brother and grandson of DGN was informed of the existence of a branch of the family of which he was unaware he was delighted. By pure chance he and his wife Caryl had a holiday planned in July 2018 to Vancouver. Alan and Lorraine are now in touch by e-mail and plan to meet during the visit. Who says there is no such thing as co-incidence?
1.Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. Object Files. Adam, J Donevan.
Acc 3442 1/1/563 (GMRC)
4.Julian Halsby, Paul Harris. The Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600 to the Present. Canongate 2001 p.1
5.Glasgow Herald 7/7/1996
7.Interview with Alan McNeilage, grandson of DGN. 16/04/2018(A. McNeilage)
8.www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Statutory Births
9.www.ancestry.co.uk. Statutory Marriages
10.UK Census 1881
11.East Lothian Archives. SCH 34/1/1
12.Marjorie Cruikshank History of the Training of Teachers in Scotland.University of London 1979.p.56
13.East Lothian Archives SCH 34/1/1
14.Grahamston Public School Log Book 19/01/1894. Glasgow City Archives (GCA) REF. C02/5/6/4/1
16.Edinburgh University Library. Special Collections. REF GB237EUA 1N18.(EUL)
20.Grahamston Public School Log Book. 19/01/1894.GCA Ref. C02/5/6/4/1
22.Grahamston Public School Log Book. 06/05/1893.GCA Ref.C02/5/6/4/1
23. As above 02/02/1896
24. http://www.ancestry.co.uk.Statutory Marriages.
25. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Valuation Rolls 1895
26.Neilston Public School Board Minutes. GCA Ref.C02/5/3/14/11
27.Grahamston Public School Log Book 29/04/1898.Ref.GCA C02/5/6/4/1
28.UK Census 1901
29.Uplawmoor Public School Log Book 08/09/1902.Ref.GCA C02/5/6/78/2
30. Caldwell Golf Club:The First Hundred Years-1903-2003. Akros Printers 2003
31.GCA.Ref.C02/5/6/78/2. Supplementary Classes were classes aimed at the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate for pupils who stayed on after the age of 14. See Cruikshank.
32.Berwickshire News and Advertiser 11/04/1905 33.e-mail correspondence with Lorraine Whitelaw Speirs
34.UK Census 1910
35.Sunday Post 06/07/1924
38. To Venice and Back July 1937.Scrapbooks 1-4 A. McNeilage Family Papers.
39.www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Deaths
41. A McNeilage
42. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk Statutory Deaths
Many thanks to Alan McNeilage and his wife Caryl for their hospitality and for the supply of so much invaluable information from family papers and photographs. JMM
How does it come about that an English spinster lady, of no note whatsoever as was typical of most of her class at the time, donates a painting to Glasgow? The answer lies not with her father William Miller Coultate who was born in England but with her maternal great uncle James whose life, friendships and achievements were typical of the men who made the Industrial Revolution.
On the 13th November 1912 Miss Amy Esther Coultate of Colwyn Bay wrote to James Paton the Superintendent of Glasgow Corporation Art Galleries offering to Glasgow a portrait of the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell by the artist James Lonsdale. In a second letter to James Paton Miss Coultate stated that she had always understood the portrait had been painted at the request of her maternal great uncle James Thomson who paid the artist 500 guineas, and had been done at Primrose House, Clitheroe, the home of her great uncle, where the poet sometime stayed.
Miss Coultate was the middle child of three and was born in 1852 to William Miller Coultate and Eliza Jane Thomson, James Thomson’s niece, and was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Habergham Eaves, a suburb of Burnley in Lancashire. Her elder sister Marion Elizabeth and younger brother Arthur William were born in 1850 and 1856 respectively.
Her father, born in Clitheroe, Lancashire in 1813, was a surgeon and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England. He had been in practice in Burnley since 1836 after completing his studies in Dublin. He was also vice president of the British Medical Association in Lancashire and Cheshire and had at one time been surgeon of the Fifth Royal Lancashire Militia.
His wife Eliza Jane Thomson was born in 1821, the daughter of William Thomson, the brother of James, both of whom were calico printers. They married in 1849 and lived at 1 to 3 Yorke Street in Burnley for most of their married life and where William also had his practice.
Amy’s mother died at a relatively young age in 1871. As was typical for wives of the time perhaps she left very little, her ‘effects’ being valued at less than £20.
The family continued to live in Yorke Street and in the 1881 census, no occupation for any of the children is given despite them being well into their twenties. In subsequent censuses the sisters are recorded as living on private means, and Arthur is described as a gentleman when he marries in 1883.
Amy’s father died in 1882 from an apoplectic seizure. He left an estate valued at £4583 11s 11d, probate being granted to a fellow surgeon, Joseph Anningson, and Amy’s sister Marion Elizabeth.
The two sisters, who never married, by 1901 were living together at Cae Gwyn, Colwyn Bay. Marion died in 1902, leaving an estate valued at £3757 17s 2d, probate being granted to Amy.
Both sisters clearly led very uneventful, unremarkable lives essentially living on their inheritances from their father. Amy’s one departure from the ordinary appears to have been a trip she made on the SS Hildebrand in 1920. Its departure port was Manaos, Brazil. Her port of embarkation was Lisbon, arriving in Liverpool on 25th March. At this time she was living in Southport. She died on 29th October 1930 at the Barna Private Hotel, Hindhead, Surrey. She left an estate valued at £4155 0s 6d.
If Amy’s life was that of a typical Victorian spinster, her great uncle James’s life was that of an educated, entrepreneurial, enlightened male of the Industrial Revolution. He was born in 1779 in Blackburn to John Thomson, (a “Scotch” gentleman), and his wife Elizabeth. His father was an iron-liquor merchant, a fixing chemical used in the calico dyeing industry.
In 1793 he attended Glasgow University befriending Gregory Watt, the son of James Watt and the poet Thomas Campbell. At the age of sixteen he joined the calico printing company of Joseph Peel & Co in London remaining there for six years developing his knowledge and understanding of the chemical technology involved in the industry through study and friendships with scientists including Sir Humphrey Davy and William Hyde Wollaston.
Joseph Peel was an uncle of Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, and there is a suggestion, not proven, that James Thomson’s mother Elizabeth was a sister of Sir Robert. If true, that plus the fact of his father’s involvement in the calico industry would certainly have aided his employment with Joseph Peel.
He subsequently managed the company’s works near Accrington until 1810 at which time he set up his own calico printing company in partnership with John Chippendale of Blackburn, the new company eventually being established at Primrose near Clitheroe. He travelled extensively in Europe to further his business, his fundamental drive being to identify and implement scientific improvement to his printing processes. In 1821 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He supported schools of design and the extension of copyright periods for dress patterns as he believed this would establish and enhance standards for the industry as a whole. His skill as a chemist and his process improvements in design and printing led to him being referred to as the ‘Duke of Wellington’ of calico printing.
He married Cecilia Starkie in 1806 and had four sons and three daughters, which raises the question of how the painting came into Miss Coultate’s possession. With so many children the expectation would have been that one of his offspring would inherit. Unfortunately, this research has not established how it came to her; via her mother seeming the most likely route.
James was mayor of Clitheroe in 1836-1837 and became a JP in 1840. He died at home on 17 September 1850 whilst preparing for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He is buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Clitheroe.
The artist James Lonsdale was a friend of Thomson’s and was a frequent visitor to his home. He was a popular portrait painter of the day and painted many eminent individuals including British and foreign royalty. His portrait of Thomson is in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.
 Object Files at Glasgow Museum Resource Centre (GMRC), Nitshill.
 Baptisms (PR) England. Clitheroe, Lancashire. 8 August 1821. THOMSON, Eliza Jane. Register; Baptisms 1813-1829, Page 93, Entry 741. LDS Film 1278857. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project. http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Search/indexp.html
 Marriages (PR) England. Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire. 20 February 1849. COULTATE, William Miller and THOMSON, Eliza Jane. Collection: Lancashire, England Marriages and Banns 1754-1936. Reference Pr 3098/1/13. http://ancestry.co.uk:
 Testamentary records. England. 8 February 1872. COULTATE, Eliza Jane. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 293. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://ancestry.co.uk
 Marriages (PR) England. Burnley, Lancashire. 6 January 1883. COULTATE, Arthur William and BRIDGES, Mary Jane. Lancashire, England Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936http://ancestry.co.uk
 Testamentary records. England. 20 May 1882. COULTATE, William Miller. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 338. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://ancestry.co.uk
 Census. 1901. Wales. Llandrillo yn Rhos, Colwyn Bay, Caernarvonshire. RG13, Piece:5290; Folio:10; Page:11. http://ancestry.co.uk:
 Testamentary records. England. 19 December 1902. COULTATE, Marian, Elizabeth. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 169. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://ancestry.co.uk:
 Passenger List for S.S. Hildebrand arriving Liverpool. COULTATE, Amy Esther. 25 March 1920. Collection: UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1870-1960. http://ancestry.co.uk
 Testamentary records. England. 3 January 1931. COULTATE, Amy Esther. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p.791. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://ancestry.co.uk:
 Aspin, Christopher. (2004) Thomson, James (1779-1850). In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com
 Marriages (PR) England. Blackburn, Lancashire. 18 March 1806. THOMSON, James and STARKIE, Cecilia. Register; Marriages 1801-1809, Page 357, Entry 1419. LDS Film 1278807. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project. http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Search/indexp.html
John Stewart became a partner in a grain merchants business and had lifelong interests in family history, boating and photography, but it is Lochranza on the island of Arran which provides a common thread which brings together all of these topics. In 1928 John gifted a painting to Glasgow Loch Ranza by Andrew Black to Glasgow, who often depicted west of Scotland coastal scenes incorporating fishing and leisure boats.
John Stewart was born at 15 Willowbank Street, Glasgow on 23rd March 1877 to Alexander Stewart, a seaman first mate, and Euphemia Hamilton Allen, a dressmaker (1). They married in 1875 at a time when Alexander senior was second mate aboard SS County of Sutherland, following his fathers’ maritime occupation as a ships carpenter (2). John lived with his mother and her sister, Margaret together with his grandmother Jane Allen. According to the census of 1881 his mother had been widowed by that date.
John and his mother went to live with his uncle, William McHarg and aunt Margaret at Hillbank Cottage in Milngavie (3). William was a grain merchant with a large store at 104-112 Cheapside Street, Glasgow. Around 1890 John was employed as a clerk in the business and in the early 1900s became a partner in the business when the name changed to McHarg and Stewart, by then described as grain merchant and general storekeepers (4).
Interestingly the Cheapside Street building was designed by architects Honeyman and Keppie in 1892, who employed the young Charles Rennie Mackintosh as a draughtsman from 1889. Mackintosh submitted some drawings for the premises but it is not known if any of his work was included in the plans for the building. The design was influenced by northern Italian palazzi, with massive arches and pilasters. The northern third was designed for William McHarg and remained in the McHarg family till the 1950s when Samuel McHarg and Company were the owners. It was then used as a bonded warehouse storing large quantities of whisky and other spirits (5).
On 28th March 1960 a devastating explosion destroyed the building, the resulting fire killing fourteen members of the Glasgow Fire Brigade and five members of the Glasgow Salvage Corps. The date is commemorated in Glasgow each year.
In 1901 John was living with the McHarg family at 294 St Vincent Street, moving to 9 Clifton Street, Kelvingrove by 1909 (6).
John never married, and throughout his life maintained an interest in boats. In his early years he would accompany his mother to Arran, often in a small rowing boat. They especially loved Lochranza. Photography became a passion for John and he published a series of his work, mainly of west of Scotland scenes. One of these is titled ‘Fair Lochranza in the Isle of Arran’ which is dedicated ‘to my mother and happy memories of Loch Ranza in Victorian Days’,and includes images of boats and hills aroundthe castle of Lochranza (7).
Another is titled ‘Rosneath and Clynder Views’ which is introduced by Admiral Sir Angus Cunninghame Graham in 1958. The Cunninghame Grahams of Ardoch appear to have been family friends. He writes ’…the pleasing photographs reveal something of the generation which was concerned with the greatness of Glasgow and the Clyde.’(8)
When John retired, about 1940, he moved to a large house, ‘Bonaly’ in the village of Clynder on the Clyde and quickly became a well known member of the yachting fraternity and contributed articles on yacht design in Yachting Monthly, leading to speed improvements in racing yachts (9).His greatest passion however was family history. Again Lochranza is the starting point. In 1262 the castle belongedto Walter Stewart, third Steward of Scotland, gifted by the Earl of Menteith.
Walter and his wife were interred on the island of Inchmahome on Lake of Menteith and are represented by possibly the finest 14th century effigies in Scotland (10). Also interred on the island is Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936) who made his name in politics (he was the first president of the Scottish National Party), and spent time in Argentina as a rancher with the local gauchos.
John’s interest in the Stewart family led to him co-founding the Stewart Society in 1899 and he was an active member for nearly sixty years. He became known as John A Stewart of Inchmahome and is referred to as such in many of his publications. The Stewart connection with Inchmahome led to him purchasing the island in 1926, subsequently gifting it to The Stewart Society in 1948, and it is now administered by Historic Scotland on their behalf (10).
John also had an interest in heraldry and published ‘The Story of the Scottish Flag’ in 1925.
On his death John wished to be buried on the island and arranged for a small mausoleum to be built. He died on 28th February1962 and his funeral was held at Port of Monteith Church. Thereafter the funeral party crossed the icy lake to lay John to rest in his mausoleum (11).