In 1913 the artist Thomas Hunt donated to Glasgow Museums a painting, ‘Patchwork’, accession number 1325, by his late wife Helen Russell Salmon. This report contains biographical notes on both artists.
Thomas Hunt was born in Skipton, Yorkshire in 1854, the sixth child of ten,, of John Hunt and his wife Betty (nee Wood) who married in 1848. John’s main occupation was as a limestone merchant and canal carrier, and he had also been an inspector of tolls. In 1877 he stood for election as a Liberal candidate in the South Ward of Leeds, duly winning by 34 votes. He remained as a councillor until 1892 when he retired from politics. He died in 1900, age 81, leaving an estate valued at £1034 7s 3d, probate being granted to his sons Richard and Henry.
Thomas initially started out as commercial clerk probably working for his father, however by the age of 21 he had become a full time artist having been inspired to do so after attending an International Art Exhibition in Leeds at the age of 15. There is reference in a Scottish Art Dictionary to him studying in Paris under Raphael Collins, receiving an honorable mention at the Paris Salon in 1905, and that he attended the Glasgow School of Art and the Leeds equivalent. However there is no record of him attending the Glasgow school  nor has any better source been identified which confirms his connection with the Leeds School or Paris. By 1879 he was living at 113 West Regent Street in Glasgow, that address consisting of a number of offices, housing professional people such as architects, writers and accountants, and six artist studios, one of which he occupied. In 1884 another studio at that address was occupied by the artist Helen Russell Salmon, whom he eventually married a few years later.
Helen, born in 1855 in Glasgow, was the daughter of the architect James Salmon, whose company James Salmon and Son, between 1862 and 1903, was involved with the building of a number of public and professional structures in Glasgow and elsewhere, including schools, churches, banks and hospitals. He first made his name with the building of St. Matthew’s Church in Bath Street and building, for Archibald McLennan, an art warehouse in Miller Street. In 1854 Salmon was commissioned by Alexander Dennistoun to design the new east end suburb of Dennistoun, a design not fully realized, where, by 1871 the Salmon family were resident at 3 Broompark Circus. They were however unsuccessful participants in the competition for the City Chambers in George Square in 1880, and also for alterations to the Virginia Street side of the Trades House in 1882. James was the co-founder of the Glasgow Architectural Society in 1858 and was a Baillie of Glasgow between 1864 and 1872. His wife was Helen Russell whom he married in 1837 in Edinburgh.
In the census of 1871 daughter Helen Russell Salmon is recorded as a scholar living in the family home. In 1874 she is listed in the Glasgow School of Art student catalogue, during which year she won a local competition, ‘Stage 6b, figure shaded from flat, book prize.’ Where she was resident at that time is not listed in the school records however by 1881 she is living with her sister Margaret and her husband David Miller in Bridge of Allan and is described as an artist. Her father, now a widower, her mother having died in January 1881, continued to live at Broompark Circus with two of Helen’s siblings. Her usual residence for the next few years is unclear, however from 1882 to 1883 she had a studio at 101 St Vincent before moving to 113 St Vincent Street in 1884, which address she painted from until 1888. It’s quite possible that she also lived at these addresses at varying times however when she married Thomas Hunt on 27th October 1887, her usual residence was given as 3 Broompark Circus which is where her marriage took place.
In 1891 Tom and Helen were living In Garelochhead, where she died in August of that year having been ill with phthisis (tuberculosis) for two years. In the 1891 census her occupation is not recorded which perhaps suggests she had ceased to paint some time before then due to her illness. ‘Patchwork’, which was painted in 1888, and was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institutes of the Fine Arts in 1889 was one of her last works.
In a letter dated 29th January 1948 to John Fleming, Deputy Director of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, from Robert Lillie, founder of the Lillie Gallery in Milngavie, the subject is identified as Miss Annie Elizabeth Nisbet, the adopted daughter of John Nisbet, church officer of St John’s Church in George Street, Glasgow, and his wife Agnes. In the letter, which tells of her death, she is described as the ‘Belle of St John’s’. In 1900 she married Robert Arbuckle Mackie, her adoptive parents being deceased by then. She died, aged 80 in January 1948.
Helen had 23 paintings exhibited by the Glasgow Institute between 1882 and 1891, the last of which were three in 1889, and two, ‘Madge’ and ‘Wallflowers’ which were completed at her home in Garelochhead, in 1891.She also had her work exhibited by the Royal and Royal Scottish Academies between 1884 and 1890.
In 1935 the Catalogue of the Pictures in the Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, page 205, carried a short biography of Helen in which it stated she had trained in Paris. Also included were details of her painting ‘Patchwork’.
In 1982 an exhibition in the Collins Exhibition Hall of Strathclyde University was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Glasgow society of Lady Artists. The catalogue of the exhibition, which also took place at the Fine Art Society premises in Edinburgh later that year, included in page 23 a black and white illustration of one of Helen’s paintings.
Tom eventually moved back to Glasgow and by 1895 was living at 219 West George Street. Between then and his death he stayed at various Glasgow addresses including Holland Street, Bath Street, and finally Hill Street in Garnethill.
He was elected a member of the Glasgow Art Club in 1879 became vice president in 1883 and was club president in 1906-1907.
He exhibited at the club and elsewhere including the Burns Exhibition of 1896 in Glasgow where his paintings ‘A Winter’s Night’ and ‘Alloway Kirk’ were shown, the annual RSW shows, and also several times from 1881 at the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy. He also exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institutes of the Fine Arts yearly between 1879 and 1929 with a total of 138 paintings being shown during this period, the last three of which were posthumous.
The prices of his paintings during these exhibitions were anywhere between £30 and £300. His wife Helen’s were typically priced at under £30.
He was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1885 and was made an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy (ASRA) in 1929.
He is represented in the museums of Sheffield, Leeds, Perth and Kinross, Paisley, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire and the Hunterian in Glasgow. There are three of his paintings in Glasgow Museums: ‘Corner of Hope Street and Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow’, gifted 1917, accession number 1444, ‘A Few Remarks’ gifted 1939, accession number 2124, and ‘November, Braes of Balquidder’ purchased 1914, accession number 1343.
He died on the 13th March 1929 in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary of pneumonia, his usual residence being given as 156 Hill Street. His death was registered by E.E. Smith his niece from Leeds. His estate was valued at £1889 12s 3d and on the 15th August his fellow artists Joseph Morris Henderson and Archibald Kay, were confirmed as his executors.
Header image Courtesy of the Glasgow Art Club.
 Births (PR) England. Skipton, Yorkshire. 1st Qtr 1854. HUNT, Thomas. England & Wales Births 1837-2006 Transcriptions. www.findmypast.co.uk:
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.
The following notes describe his family background, his early life, and his career and painting activity. Inevitably they touch on his relationship with Mackintosh whose fame, some sources suggest, 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. He was aged about twenty four and worked as a gentleman servant, Mary was about 17 years old.
Between 1811 and 1836 they had five sons and seven daughters all born in Haddington. John Keppie’s father, James was born on the 19th October 1816 and baptized on the 3rd November. Grandfather John appears to have had a number of occupations being variously described as a labourer, carter and finally a farmer.
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.
In the following year James was working as a tobacco spinner in Glasgow, he and his wife living in Buchanan Court in the Gorbals. 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. Spence commenced trading around 1813 in Main Street, Gorbals moving to Stockwell Street in 1816 where he remained until 1848 when he ceased trading from that address. His company continued for another year from premises in the Trongate which he had occupied since 1842.
In 1848 James Keppie set up his tobacco business in the premises in Stockwell Street vacated by Spence, 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. 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.
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. Helen’s family came from Galston in Ayrshire where her parents, James Hopkins, a bookseller and Elizabeth Cuthbertson, had married in 1824.
James and Helen had eight children, five daughters and three sons, John, the eldest boy, being born on the 4th August 1862. 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 which James owned. This address became 42 St James Street with the street name changed late in 1887. 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.
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. At one point he employed two travellers, four spinners, two message boys and forty two boys in the workshop. 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. He died at home in 1889 from chronic bronchitis, his death registered by his son-in-law David Riddoch who had married John’s sister Elizabeth in 1887.
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.
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.
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.
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. His interest in the company was valued at $40,076.
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.
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. They were members of the same society as Keppie that set out to deal with smuggling and the adulteration of tobacco.
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 and set up the John Hodge Tobacco Co. in Madison, Kentucky. His younger brother Thomas (b.1859) joined him in 1880, 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.
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”. It therefore seems probable he had been working for Thomas Hodge and Co. whilst in Henderson County. He returned to Glasgow in 1890 and was living with his mother Helen, brother John and sister Mary at 42 St James Street in 1891. He died in Glasgow in 1918 having been in the Gartnavel Royal Lunatic Asylum since before 1901, his infirmity recorded as ‘lunatic’.
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. His interest in the Kentucky tobacco company equates to somewhere between £2m and £10m, using the 1889 exchange rate of $4.87/£1.
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. 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. During this time in 1879 he also attended Glasgow University for two sessions studying mathematics. 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.
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. He remained there for eighteen months, sharing rooms with fellow architects Frank Lewis Worthington Simon and Stewart Henbest Clapper.  In the autumn of 1886, he toured northern Italy with an artist friend. This tour produced sketches and watercolours of Lucca, Florence and Sienna  which were used to illustrate a talk called ‘A Tour of Italy’ he gave to the Glasgow Architectural Association in May 1887. The association published some of them in their sketch book of 1888, the year in which he became their president.
A watercolour of a Sienna street scene was also exhibited in 1888 by the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. 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. He was to repeat this success in 1887.
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. His final service to his old colleague and mentor James Sellars was to design his memorial which was erected in Lambhill Cemetery.
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. Mackintosh had served an apprenticeship between 1884 and 1889 with architect John Hutcheson and like Keppie had attended the Glasgow School of Art.
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’.
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).
Keppie had been elected an artist-member of the Glasgow Art club in 1888. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 
Keppie, as his career developed, joined a number 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.
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.
This would not be a passive role. In any collaborative process, the lead would be ensuring 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”. The Studio magazine of July 1893 stated “The architectural alterations……in fact all the details have been carried from the designs of Mr John Keppieand display much artistic taste” 
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. In the event the relationship came to nought with Mackintosh marrying Margaret McDonald in August 1900.
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. 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”
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.”
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 as “exemplary, leading to good air quality in the wards and quicker patient recovery.” 
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.
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.
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).
His stature as an architect growing, in 1904 he became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 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” In 1906 he proposed Mackintosh as a Fellow, which was approved in November of that year.
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. 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 severalmonths he had nothing to show.” Eventually the required design drawings for the demonstration school were done by Andrew Graham Henderson who had joined the firm in 1904. When the competition was won, despite these problems, Keppie sent Mackintosh a cheque for £250 as his share of the competition award.
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.
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. Keppie had also been warding off complaints from some of the business’s clientele, both issues making the continuation of the partnership untenable.
The partnership reverted to its original title of Honeyman and Keppie although John Honeyman had died in 1914. 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.
From that time until Keppie retired in 1937 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.
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.
In 1915 he had joined the Old Glasgow Club becoming a life member, and he continued with his involvement with the Glasgow Art Club becoming known as ‘King John’ to the members.
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.
It’s not clear when the original house was built however in 1804/05 the South front was added by architect James Gillespie Graham. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At various times he had travelled to Spain, Morocco, Italy, Holland, Belgium, France and Egypt, each trip providing subject matter for his watercolours. 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. He became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1920 and a full member in 1937.
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.
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. He died there on 28th April 1945, cause of death myocarditis. He is buried in Monkton and Prestwick cemetery, in the same grave as his sisters Jane (d. 1924), Mary (d. 1923), Jessie (d. 1951) and brother-in-law John Henderson who was the husband of sister Helen and had died in 1918.
He left estate valued at £40,931(around £8m today in economic power), bequeathing £2,000 to his partner Andrew Graham Henderson, and eleven paintings to Glasgow. Interestingly he left estate in Scotland and Wales, his sister Jessie and Matthew Wylie being granted probate in Llandudno in August 1945. All his sisters when they died left significant estates, and all had property in Scotland and England.
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.”
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. 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) 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. 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 hassuffered 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”.
* 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.
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.
Header image Courtesy of Glasgow Art Club.
My thanks also to Nevin McGhee, Glasgow Golf Club Archivist, for his help with John Keppie’s involvement with the club.
 Glasgow Museums, John Keppie object file at GMRC, South Nitshill.
 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:
 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.
William Burrell and Isabella Guthrie married in 1856[i] and had nine children, one of whom was to become Sir William Burrell (SWB), ship owner and art collector. There were three other sons and five daughters. Three of the daughters got married, one remained a spinster, and the fifth died at the age of six. But what of the brothers?
They were George Burrell, who joined with SWB in the Burrell & Son shipping business, Adam Guthrie Burrell, and Henry Stuart Burrell.
Note: to avoid confusion brothers George, Adam and Henry will always appear in bold. Sir William Burrell will always be referred to as SWB.
GeorgeBurrell was the first of the nine children, being born on the 19th November 1857 at 3 Scotia Street, Glasgow.[ii] In the 1871 census he and brothers Adam and SWB were recorded as attending school in Abbey Park, St Andrews.[iii]
He joined the family firm Burrell & Son in 1872, age fifteen[iv], being described as a forwarding agent’s clerk in the census of 1881[v] and was first listed in the Post Office Directories in 1884.[vi]George’s grandfather, also George, had started the business sometime in the early 1850s. From the time of his marriage in 1831 to 1855 he had been described as a clerk, in what business is not specified in any of the registration documents or censuses pertaining to him. However in his first entry in the P.O. Directory of 1856-57 he is described as a shipping agent,[vii] the following year’s directory containing the first entry of Burrell & Son, when son William (senior) joined him.[viii]
There is some evidence to suggest that grandfather George and William (senior) had been involved in the shipping business as early as 1851. In the census of that year a William Burrell is recorded as lodging with John McGregor, lock keeper on the Forth and Clyde Canal near Camelon. He was age 20, born in Glasgow, (William Burrell senior was born in January 1832 in Glasgow[ix]), and was a shipping agent, strong circumstantial evidence that this is George and SWB’s father William.[x] Additionally William senior’s brother Henry is recorded in the 1861 census as a ship agent in Grangemouth, providing the company with representation at both ends of the canal.[xi]
George married Anne Jane McKaig on the 19th December 1883 at the bride’s family home, 30 New Sneddons, Paisley. Her father was Thomas McKaig, a brick builder, her mother was Helen Hillcoat.[xii]George and Anne had five children, William, Thomas, Gladys, Isobel and Gordon, all born at Ravenswood House, Langbank between 1885 and 1895.[xiii]
His eldest son William was educated at Glasgow Academy and Uppingham, subsequently working for Burrell & Son. He was a keen rugby player and played with the West of Scotland Club. At the start of WW1 he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as a despatch carrier attached to the Motor Boat Service. Later that year on the 18th November, the boat he and three other officers were travelling in capsized on Loch Ewe and he and two of his fellow officers drowned.[xiv]
Thomas also played rugby and played a trial match for Scotland. He was perhaps better known as a golfer having won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Troon in 1923 and had played for Scotland against England in 1924.[xv] During the war he served with the Highland Light Infantry, attaining the rank of Captain.[xvi].
The youngest brother Gordon (middle name George but subsequently became Fitzgeorge), joined the RNVR in 1917 as a sub lieutenant, was assigned to various depot ships (Hermione, Egmont) heading for Port Said in Egypt, (not sure if he went there) and was demobbed as lieutenant in December 1918.[xvii]
Following their father’s death in 1885 George and SWB took over the running of the company business. It had been their father’s intention that his four sons would be involved in the company, and at least initially it seems all were.[xviii] However for a variety of reasons which will be examined later Adam was no longer with the company by 1892, and Henry left around 1897.
George was the technical man of the business whilst SWB took care of finance, their joint expertise significantly improving the company’s performance.
An interesting demonstration of their roles, and how they may be confused, occurred in a court case of 1897 when they sued the shipbuilder Russell and Co of Glasgow for £40,000. The case opened on the 24th June 1897 at the Court of Session, with Burrell & Son being represented by the Solicitor-General. It lasted almost 3 years, concluding with an appeal to the House of Lords.
In 1893/94 Burrell & Son contracted Russells to build four cargo ships. The contract specified straight keels, in the event the ships were built with cambered keels. The effect of this change was to increase carrying capacity, however it also increased draught, making docking of the ships problematic and dangerous, and in some cases impossible.
The shipbuilder’s position was that Burrell & Son had proposed or agreed the change to improve capacity. This resulted from conversations as to whether the shipbuilder’s initial planning and modelling of the ships would achieve the contracted cargo capacity. At a meeting with SWB (not George) they said that it would, SWB disagreed saying his expert (unnamed) indicated that there would be a capacity shortfall, that now was the time to increase the ships dimensions, and offered £4, a significant sum, for every ton the cargo capacity was increased.
The evidence given for the most part was very technical with both sides bringing forth expert witnesses. Additionally various Russell personnel stated that they had overheard cambering being discussed/instructed by both Burrells and their engineering superintendent James Stewart at various times and that as the ships were being built it was easy to see the cambering.
In the event judgement was given against the Burrells with the judge stating that they had presented a good case however he believed the shipbuilder’s employees evidence to be true as otherwise the managing partner Mr. Lithgow would have had to persuade a large number of people to lie and perjure themselves.
He went on to say that he believed SWB did not know of the cambering (thus ignoring SWB’s financial incentive which was not disputed) but GeorgeBurrell and his superintendent Mr Stewart did and that Russells acted in accordance with their instructions. Expenses were awarded to the shipbuilder.
Burrell & Son appealed, however on the 23rd December 1898 it was dismissed by a majority, one law lord dissenting. Burrell then appealed to the House of Lords and on the 2rd March 1900 judgement was finally given in their favour. One major reason given by the Lord Chancellor for the reversal was that he could not perceive any motive for Burrell and Son wanting to camber the ships keels and that the camber had been done by the shipbuilder because they had originally miscalculated. The Lords also chose to disbelieve some of Russell’s employees’ testimony, thus “removing the stain on Mr Stewart and George Burrell’s reputations”. Damages awarded were £16,000 with the defendants liable for all expenses.[xix]
In 1891 George and SWB applied to become members of the Merchants House of Glasgow. In the applications book there is a comment simply saying “Lord Dean to make enquiry”.[xx] In the event it appears neither became members. He did become a member of the Glasgow Art Club in 1891, remaining so until 1913. SWB joined the club in February 1893 but resigned in October of the same year.[xxi] He did however become an honorary member in 1946.[xxii]
George became a Justice of the Peace in 1896[xxiii] and by 1897 he and his family were resident at Gleniffer Lodge, Paisley, where he lived for the rest of his life.[xxiv] In 1899 the Glasgow Ship Owners and Ship Brokers Benevolent Association was formed which he joined later that year. Other Glasgow benefactors who were inaugural members were Leonard Gow and William McInnes.[xxv]
Like his brother he was also something of an art collector. He owned work by Degas, Crawhall and Melville, probably bought from Alexander Reid.[xxvi] He also supported the Paisley Art Institute annual exhibition held in Paisley museum. For the 1900 exhibition he loaned the Institute Melville’s ‘Dancing Girl’.[xxvii]
In 1925 the king approved his appointment as the new Austrian Consul in Glasgow, a post he held until he died.[xxviii]
George died on the 8th September 1927 at Ballycastle, County Antrim. His will dated 5th December 1921 named his wife Anne, sons Thomas and Gordon, and daughter Isobel, as his executors. His estate was valued at £253,475 13s 7d.[xxix]
Adam Guthrie Burrell
Adam was born on the 4th June 1859, also at 3 Scotia Street.[xxx] As previously indicated in 1871 he attended school in St Andrews with brothers George and SWB and by 1881 he was working as an engineer draughtsman[xxxi], presumably with the family shipping business.[xxxii] He appears not to have been particularly interested in this kind of career which disappointed his father to the point he was left less than his brothers when his father died in 1885. The father’s will specified that once all other bequests had been satisfied the residue of the estate would be divided between the brothers with Adam getting £2,500 less than the other three brothers.[xxxiii] He clearly was not happy with this situation and brought an action against his father’s trustees (his mother and brothers George and SWB), to determine what amount he should have been left (or £5,500), the case being heard in the Court of Session on the 17th July 1886.
Adam gave evidence to the effect that the trustees (effectively his brothers George and SWB) had understated the value of the estate by £90,380 9s 10d resulting in the estate’s residue being less than it should have been. He added that he had successfully managed his father’s ship building yard at Dumbarton from 1882 until 1885 thereby adding to his father’s wealth. During this time he had taken a limited salary on the understanding that the business would ultimately be his. In the event the shipping business in total went to George and SWB, and he received £2,500 less of the estate residue than they did. He stated that he had approached the trustees to try and resolve the situation and get what he felt was his due, however their offer of £500 and a further £2,500 over two years was not acceptable. They also required him and any children of his to forego any possible future claim on the trustees.
The trustees’ response was to disagree with the value of the estate Adam had stated and to say that not only had he a generous salary when running the Dumbarton shipyard, his board and hotel bills were paid as were his holiday expenses. They also said that his running of the yard was poor (injudicious and extravagant) and that he had greatly annoyed and distressed his father which resulted in him taking over the running of the yard. They also believed that their offer to him was greater than his due. The case was settled at the end of evidence by Adam accepting a payment of £3,000 in full.[xxxiv]
Why did the family behave in such a way towards Adam? Was he a reluctant engineer or did he make a hash of running the ship yard? Either way he clearly annoyed his father, with his two trustee brothers perpetuating the situation after their father’s death. Their motives may of course have more to do with money than anything else, which by different means, were not too different when dealing with their younger brother Henry.
One other event which may have added to Adam’s difficulty with his family was his marriage to Clara or Clarissa Jane Scott during the first quarter of 1886 in Ballina, County Mayo in Ireland. It was a civil ceremony with the religious background of either party not being recorded.[xxxv] None of Adam’s family attended the marriage which suggests he was marrying ‘outwith his class’ (Clara’s family background has not been discovered) or perhaps there was a religious issue.
In 1891 he and his family were living at 1 Athole Gardens Terrace in Hillhead.[xxxvi] He is described as a marine engineer which is somewhat at odds with the fact that he had passed his first exam in 1888 at Glasgow University whilst studying to be a doctor[xxxvii]. In 1892 he graduated MB CM (Bachelor of Medicine, Master of Surgery) with his graduation record showing that he had an association with Port Elizabeth, South Africa.[xxxviii] .
In 1893 he and Clara with their family, two sons George, age 6 and Robert, age 3, and daughter Isabella age 5, emigrated to the United States arriving in New York on the 30th May, their expected final destination being Wyoming.[xxxix] One source has it that he did not stay very long in the States but moved on to South Africa, hence explaining the South Africa connection mentioned above.[xl] He and the family then moved to New Zealand, when is not clear however in 1902 he registered as a doctor in the city of Dunedin.[xli]
There is a suggestion that a son, William, was born in Wyoming around 1896. No firm evidence has been established which confirms that, however, if true, it means the family went to South Africa sometime after that date. That view is supported as on the 5th April 1899 son Adam Guthrie Burrell was born in Cape Town. No direct source has been identified for that date however his birth in South Africa is confirmed in his affidavit as one of his mother’s executors in 1945[xlii], and in a trip he made to the United States in April 1960.[xliii]
Adam remained registered as a doctor in Dunedin at least until July 1905.[xliv] Towards the end of that year he moved to the district of Selwyn (East Oxford) in Canterbury where another son, Roderick Scott Burrell was born during the last quarter of the year.[xlv] He continued to live there until his death on the 15th February 1907.[xlvi]
It appears he died rather suddenly as his will was written in hospital in Christchurch on the 13th February 1907. Probate was granted to his wife Clara on the 26th February who inherited entirely. In her affidavit to the court written on the 19th February she declared that the value of the estate did not exceed £100. Originally her affidavit had included the words “in New Zealand” after the value, however they were scored out and the change initialled by her lawyer.[xlvii] Interestingly there is a record of his death in the Cape Estates Death Index in Cape Town dated 1908. This index was used in the general administration of deceased estates.[xlviii]Adam was buried at Sydenham Cemetery, Canterbury.[xlix]
His widow Clara married William Alexander McCullough in 1911.[l] She died on the 28th November 1944, probate being granted to her sons Adam and Rodrick, both of whom were bank officials. Her estate was valued at under £3,300, with sons George and Ronald being left £300 each, and Adam and Roderick sharing the residue of the estate. There was no mention of daughter Isabella.[li]
Henry was born on the 1st April 1866 at 2 Auchentorlie Terrace in Bowling, Old Kilpatrick.[lii] As he never married for most of his life he stayed with his parents, firstly at Auchentorlie Terrace until c.1874[liii], Clydebank House, Yoker until 1879[liv], Elmbank, Bowling until 1891[lv] and thereafter at 4 Devonshire Gardens with his mother and various siblings until 1913. More of why he left Devonshire Gardens later.
As indicated previously his father died in 1885 and in his will he named four trustees, three of whom were Henry’s mother Isabella, SWB and George. William (senior) stipulated that if George and SWB bought Burrell & Son (at a price to be agreed by the Trustees) which they did, then they must employ their brother Henry in the business until he was 24. On reaching that age he was to be allowed to buy into the business.[lvi] That meant Henry had to be working for Burrells until 1890. In the event it seems he started after his father’s death in 1885[lvii], continuing until 1897-98[lviii], the last year he appeared in the Post Office Directory in the employ of William Burrell & Son.
What he did in the following two years is not known however between 1900 and 1907 he successfully submitted seven patents, all of which dealt with aspects of ship building.[lix] They were:
7 March 1900 – Improvements in the Construction of Cargo Steamers.
17 November 1900 – Improvements in Loading/Discharging Equipment of Cargo Steamers.
24 August 1901 – Improvements in Cargo Steamers.
31 December 1903 – Improvements in Ship’s Hatchway Covers.
11 February 1904 – Hopper Bunker for Steamers.
3 August 1905 – Improvements in Cranes for Cargo Steamers.
6 June 1907 – Improvements in the Construction of Ships
When submitting his patent applications he described himself as a ship owner. His place of business was initially given as Devonshire Gardens, after 1901 it was at 73 Robertson Street.[lx]
He was re-listed in the Post Office Directory in 1903-1904 at 73 Robertson Street,[lxi] no occupation given until 1909-1910 when he was described as a ship owner[lxii]. From 1910-1911 he was listed as manager of the Straight Back Steamship Company.[lxiii] There is no evidence that he had any connection with Burrell & Son after 1898. Between 1894 and 1898 he had held one or two shares, sold to him by SWB, in twelve single ship limited companies which he sold to Thomas Reid, ship agent, in 1896.[lxiv]
On the 1st February 1912 the brothers’ mother Isabella Guthrie Burrell died of heart failure.[lxv] She died testate with her trustees being George, SWB and Charles John Cleland, the husband of the brothers’ sister Janet Houston Burrell. She left £19036 0s 2d movable estate and in her will dated the 16th December 1901 she gave each of her children a specific bequest with the residue of the estate, being shared by George and SWB. In Henry’s case he was left £2,500. Son Adam was left an annuity based on a capital sum of £2,500, which would be paid for life to him or his wife on his death. In the event a codicil dated the 16th May 1905 changed that to a straightforward bequest to Adam of £2,500. She also empowered her trustees to sell off her heritable property as they decided.[lxvi] That in due course was to be the reason for Henry moving from Devonshire Gardens.
Initially following his mother’s death Henry continued to live at 4 Devonshire, apparently as ‘allowed’ by her trustees. However they subsequently decided that he should leave the house, presumably to sell it, which Henry refused to do saying that he had made a tenancy agreement with his mother prior to her death. The trustees (George and SWB) took the issue to court and won their case, Henry, in the Sheriff’s opinion, not proving he had tenancy of the house. In October 1913 he appealed to the Court of Session without success, the court issuing an order for his eviction.[lxvii]
Henry thereafter is recorded as living at 73 Robertson Street, his place of business.
He was to take his brothers (as trustees) to court one more time, on this occasion the issue was the sale of ship shares. He contended that as trustees they had sold shares to their respective wives on the grounds that they had really been purchased by his brothers or that the sales should be set aside because they were made by the wives of two trustees. He lost and appealed to the Court of Session during January 1915. He lost his appeal and was required to pay expenses. The Judge hearing the appeal said that in each case the price paid was an adequate and even a full one and that the transactions were exclusive of the husbands. He added that no absolute law existed which made it illegal for the wife of a trustee to purchase trust estate.[lxviii] Nothing was said about the morality of the sales.
When you consider how Henry and Adam were treated by George and SWB there appears to be very little brotherly affection at play. It seems their joint objective was always to maximise their personal wealth, fine in business but perhaps inappropriate, even objectionable, at the expense of other family members.
Henry lived at 73 Robertson Street for the rest of his life. He died at the Nordrach-on- Dee tuberculosis sanatorium, Banchory on the 15th July 1924, cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis.[lxix]
He died intestate, leaving net estate valued at £732 0s 3d, SWB being confirmed as his executor dative in January 1925.[lxx]
As Henry left no will presumably all his siblings shared the estate equally.
[i] Marriages (CR) Scotland. Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire. 31 December 1856. BURRELL, William and GUTHRIE, Isabella. 503/00 0001. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
[xix]Glasgow Herald. Court of Session 25 June 1897 p. 2e,f,g,h, Court of Session 26 June 1897 p.3g,h.Court of Session 1 July 1897 p. 10g,h, Court of Session 2 July 1897 p.9i, Court of Session 22 July 1897, p.2h, Action against Clyde Shipbuilders 1 November 1897 p.9e,f,g,h, Court of Session 24 December 1898 p.8a,b,c,d, House of Lords 27 March 1900. p.4e, f. The National Library of Scotland. http://www.nls.uk
[xx] Merchants House of Glasgow: Applications Book 8 May 1891. BURRELL, George and William.
[xxi] Spoor, Freya (2011) Membership information for George and William Burrell. E-mails to George Manzor 17 August and19 July respectively. Glasgow Art Club: firstname.lastname@example.org
[xxii] Glasgow Art Club Membership Book (1954) William Burrell. Mitchell Library Reference:
[xxv] Glasgow Ship Owners and Ship Brokers Benevolent Association (1899) Minutes of meeting 5 May 1899 and 1899 year end Directors report January 1900, p.8.
[xxvi] Hamilton, Vivien. 2002 Millet to Matisse New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Appendix 3 p.199.
[xxvii]Glasgow Herald. (1900) Paisley Art Institute. Glasgow Herald 27 December. p.2c. The National Library of Scotland. http://www.nls.uk
[xxviii]The Scotsman. (1925) New Austrian Consuls in Scotland. The Scotsman 9 May. p.11h. The National Library of Scotland. http://www.nls.uk
[xxix] Testamentary Records. Scotland. 11 November 1927. BURRELL, George. National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories), 1876-1936. Volume 1927, p. B124. Mitchell library, Glasgow.
[xxxiv]Glasgow Herald (1886) Court of Session 17 July 1886. p.7a, b. The National Library of Scotland. http://www.nls.uk
[xxxv] Marriages Index (CR) Ireland. 1st Qtr. 1886. BURRELL, Adam Guthrie and SCOTT, Clara Jane. Collection: Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845–1958. Vol.4, page 3. FHL film number 101255. https://search.ancestry.co.uk
[xliii] National Archives at Washington, D.C. Passenger Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at San Antonio, Texas, 1893-1963. Adam Guthrie Burrell 18 April 1960. American Airways, flight number 630. https://search.ancestry.co.uk
[xliv] Directories. New Zealand. (1905) The New Zealand Gazette: Registers of Medical Practitioners and Nurses, 1873, 1882-1933. BURRELL, Adam Guthrie. p. 95. https://search.ancestry.co.uk
In 1944 ship owner, Sir William Burrell donated to Glasgow his collection of paintings, Japanese and Chinese ceramics, tapestries, sculpture, stained glass and many other artefacts, totalling some 6000 items. By the time of his death in 1958 the donation had grown to over 8000 items, probably one of the greatest collections ever amassed by an individual. The collection is housed in a dedicated building in Pollok Park and has a world-wide reputation for its range and quality.
Earlier that year, on the 19th March, another ship owner, William McInnes, died at his home in Mariscat Road, Glasgow. In his will he bequeathed his collection, some 700 items including over 70 paintings, to Glasgow. Compared to Burrell, McInnes is much less well known to the Glasgow public, however his French paintings, which include works by Degas, Renoir, and Matisse are amongst the finest in the Glasgow Municipal collection.
Undoubtedly McInnes is, correctly, overshadowed by Burrell. The following however is an attempt to appropriately redress the balance between the two men. Whilst there can be no doubt that Burrell’s gift is and will remain unsurpassed, McInnes’s significant contribution to Glasgow’s cultural life deserves broader acknowledgement than it has received so far.
William McInnes’s paternal family originated in Crieff, Perthshire. His grandparents William and Janet married in 1825 [i] and had eleven children, not all of whom survived childhood. William’s father John was the oldest child, born in Crieff at the end of December 1825.[ii] Seven of the children were born in Crieff or Comrie, the others in Glasgow after the family moved there sometime between 1841 and 1851.[iii] Grandfather William, John and his brother Alexander were all working on the railways by 1851, William as a labourer, John as an engine man and Alexander as a fireman.
Ten years later the family home was at 6 Salisbury Street in the Gorbals where John and his siblings lived with their parents. The three men continued to work on the railways, William now being a timekeeper. John’s three sisters, Jessie, Jeanie and Mary were milliners.[iv]
In 1867 John McInnes married Margaret McFadyen from Neilston on 28th June. At the time of his marriage he was working as a railway engine driver.[v] They lived at 6 Cavendish Street where their four children were born: son William on 13th September 1868[vi], to be followed by Finlay (1870), Thomas (1872) and Ann (1876).[vii]
Tragically, at the early age of 33, Margaret, died of plithisis (tuberculosis) in 1879 [viii] which resulted in John and the four children, who were aged between 3 and 11 years, moving to 6 Salisbury Street to live with his brother Andrew and sisters Jessie and Mary; where Jessie acted as housekeeper and surrogate mother to the children.[ix] This manifestation of strong family ties working to bring some good out of a bad and difficult situation I’m sure had a lasting impression on William. His friendships, particularly with the artist George Leslie Hunter and his support of family members in later life, provide evidence of that.
It’s not clear where William received his schooling although one source has suggested that he attended Hutcheson Grammar at the same time as the author John Buchan.[x] Having talked to the administration staff at the school this has not been confirmed.
In 1882 John’s sister Mary married Gavin Shearer in Glasgow.[xi] Gavin aged 44 was an Insurance Broker working for the Glasgow Salvage Company Ltd.[xii] whose business was marine salvage. The marriage was childless and short lived as he died in 1887 from tuberculosis. At the time of his death he was secretary of the salvage company.[xiii]
William was aged 19 at this time and probably had been in employment for some time. Was Gavin Shearer his entrée to the world of insurance when he was old enough? Considering how the family stuck together and supported each other it’s not unreasonable to think that his uncle helped him to get work, especially in an industry where he would have some influence. This is clearly conjecture as it’s not known what employment, if any, he was in at the time of his uncle’s death, however by 1891 he was working as a marine insurance clerk for P.H.Dixon and Harrison.[xiv]
Four years later the company merged with Allan C. Gow to form Gow, Harrison and Company. Allan Carswell Gow had established his shipping company in the early 1850s. In 1853 he was joined in the business by his brother Leonard who on Allan’s death in 1859 became head of the firm. His younger son, also Leonard, in due course joined the business which by this time had offices in London as well as Glasgow.[xv] Senior partners in the new company which was located at 45 Renfield Street were the young Leonard Gow and John Robinson Harrison; McInnes continued to be employed as a marine insurance clerk.[xvi] In 1899 the Glasgow Ship Owners and Ship Brokers Benevolent Association was formed, which Gow, Harrison and McInnes joined in its inaugural year. Another well-known Glasgow shipping name also joined later that year, George Burrell of William Burrell and Son, brother to the future Sir William Burrell.[xvii] McInnes possibly became a partner in the business in 1907, the first year he appeared in the Glasgow Post Office Directory, however it’s more likely to have been 1922 when John Harrison retired from the business and his son Ion joined it. In 1929 William became godfather to Ion’s son Iain Vittorio Robinson Harrison.[xviii]
Between 1899 and 1907 William’s brothers and sister married. Thomas married Jessie McEwan in 1899 at the Grand Hotel, Glasgow, there were no children of the marriage; Finlay married Agnes Hamilton at 95 Renfield Street on 15th February 1907, they had one son who was born on 8th December of the same year; Ann married William Sinclair on 27th February 1907 at 22 Princes Street, which was where the McInnes family then stayed.[xix] Shortly afterwards Ann and William emigrated to the United States and settled in Maine where their three sons William (1908), John (1912) and Andrew (1916) were born.[xx]
William McInnes never married although according to one source he was close to it. Lord McFarlane of Bearsden relates the story that his wife’s aunt and McInnes planned to marry but her father forbade it because he ‘didn’t have enough siller’.[xxi]
McInnes moved to 4 Mariscat Road, Pollokshields in 1909 and lived there for the rest of his life with his elderly father and his uncle Andrew and aunt Mary.
It’s not clear when he started his collection, however it’s likely that his collecting activity would be prompted, certainly influenced by his relationship with Gow who became a renowned collector in his own right, particularly of paintings and Chinese porcelain. You can also envisage that Gow was the means by which McInnes met Alexander Reid and hence Leslie Hunter. What is known is that he bought his first painting, ‘Autumn’ by George Henry from Alexander Reid in 1910.[xxii] His final purchase was ‘The Star Ridge with the King’s Peak’ (near Gardanne) by Cezanne, in 1942, from Reid and Lefevre, London.[xxiii] This painting eventually came into his sister-in-law Jessie’s (widow of brother Thomas) possession.[xxiv] In between those purchases he bought a number of significant paintings ranging from French Impressionists to Scottish Colourists. He bought works by Degas, Renoir, Picasso, and Matiss [xxv] and was the first Scottish collector to buy a van Gogh, (The Blute Fin Windmill, Montmatre) bought in 1921 for £550.[xxvi]
He also purchased, glassware, ceramics and silver which in due course, along with his paintings, formed the basis of his eventual bequest to Glasgow.[xxvii]
In a Kelvingrove museum publication of 1987 the then Fine Art keeper Ann Donald commented as follows: ‘The most important individual 20th Century benefactor to date has been William McInnes (1868-1944), a Glasgow ship owner who left to his native city his entire collection of over 70 paintings as well as prints, drawings, silver, ceramics and glass. The bequest included 33 French works (many of them bought from Alexander Reid) by key artists such as Monet, Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso, whilst the British pictures were mostly by the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists, of whom he was a regular patron. This donation firmly established the international importance of Glasgow’s French collection.’[xxviii]
McInnes is described by those who knew him as a modest, unassuming individual who did not seek attention or the limelight.[xxix]and may have found these comments not particularly welcome, despite them being highly complimentary. McInnes valued his friendships and his family, which is evident from the support he gave, and his ability to listen to the advice he was given. He was able to take the artistic guidance given him by the likes of Leslie Hunter, Tom Honeyman and others, and act on it if he thought it appropriate to do so, which wasn’t always. He bought paintings it’s said not only for his own pleasure but for that of his friends.[xxx] He gave unstinting support to family and friends, particularly Leslie Hunter and his closest family members.
As stated earlier, William lived with his father, and aunt and uncle, for a number of years at Mariscot Road, incidentally where most of his paintings were housed. His father died in 1911, aged 85, cause of death being senile decay and pneumonia. His uncle Andrew, aged 81, died in April 1930 from senility and glycosuria (untreated diabetes); his aunt Mary, aged 83, also died in 1930 (August) from glycosuria. Both died at home.[xxxi]
These are very distressing and difficult conditions, not only for the sufferers, but for those who have to care for them. When it is considered that he had a senior position in a significant shipping business, that he was a member and leader of a number of industry organisations and also of the Ship Owners Benevolent Association, in addition to whatever he had to do at home, it’s clear that William had a strong sense of service and duty, perhaps inculcated by his early family experiences. It seems reasonable to presume he found this to be more intrinsically rewarding than anything else. When his support of Leslie Hunter is taken into account, then that presumption gains credence.
The artist must have seemed to McInnes to be a vulnerable, possibly unstable individual, whose life style could be fraught and chaotic at times. This must have resonated with McInnes’s home life in that here was another person who needed care and support. This may be more fanciful than factual, however there does seem to be this pattern to how William lived his life.
Hunter and McInnes met before 1914 and are known to have been in Paris pre WW One along with John Tattersall, the trip expenses, according to Hunter, being paid for by his two friends.[xxxii] There are examples of how Hunter was helped and encouraged by McInnes and others in Tom Honeyman’s biography of him.[xxxiii] The most tangible evidence of McInnes’s support is, I suppose, the fact that his collection contains 23 paintings by Hunter.[xxxiv] There was one occasion apparently when McInnes commissioned a portrait of himself because the artist needed the money.[xxxv] The friendship between the two men was not a one-way street however. McInnes was in many respects helped and guided by Hunter in his artistic education; however the better part of the bargain must have what McInnes gave to Hunter in encouragement, friendship, and in helping to sustain his motivation and confidence. McInnes has been described as Hunter’s most important patron; that is true in a way that goes well beyond the expected understanding of the phrase.
After Hunter’s death in 1931 [xxxvi] McInnes continued to promote him by persuading Tom Honeyman to write his biography of the artist[xxxvii] and along with Honeyman and William McNair, by organizing a memorial exhibition of his work, which was held in Reid and Lefevre’s gallery in West George Street during February 1932. Mrs Jessie McFarlane, the painter’s sister, asked the group to decide which paintings to keep and which to destroy.[xxxviii]
McInnes and Honeyman met around the time Honeyman gave up medicine and moved into art dealership, probably through Leslie Hunter. It developed into a well bonded relationship, not only when Hunter was a common link between them but also after his death. Probably Honeyman is the only person to have recorded in any detail McInnes’s personality and interests which he did in his autobiography ‘Art and Audacity’. He is described as having a keen interest in classical music in which he indulged through his gramophone records and pianola, and his attendance at the Scottish National Orchestra’s Saturday evening concerts. He is said to have played the church organ in his younger days. Art and learning about paintings and artists was also a primary interest. It’s perhaps a moot point as to which he preferred. He also enjoyed travelling to the continent, during which time visits to the various museums and galleries would further develop his knowledge of art, art styles and artists, particularly when in the company of Hunter. Honeyman describes visits to the McInnes home as always stimulating and interesting.[xxxix]
In many respects because of his interest in painting in particular, McInnes was fertile ground for Honeyman in his quest to interest industrialists of the day in fine art and bring them to the idea of donating to municipal collections. I don’t believe this was a ‘corruption’ of their friendship but a celebration of its strength and depth. Between 1921 and 1943 he donated works by Hunter, Peploe and Fergusson and in 1940 William presented Matisse’s ‘Woman in Oriental Dress’ to Kelvingrove to commemorate Honeyman’s appointment as Museum Director.[xl]
In 1931 McInnes was nominated for the vice-presidency of the Ship Owners Benevolent Association and was duly elected. The rules of the Association meant that he would become president in 1932. However at the last board meeting of the year it was agreed that ‘having regard to the very serious time through which the country was passing the directors felt that the president and vice president should carry on for another year, especially as the honour to Mr McInnes was only deferred.’ In 1933 McInnes duly became president.[xli]
It’s clear from the minutes of the meetings held during his tenure that he played a full and influential part in the decision making process of the Association.[xlii] On his retiral from the post he donated £100 to the association funds, equivalent to £5000 in today’s money.[xliii]
William McInnes died at home on 19th March 1944 from a heart attack.[xliv] He was senior partner in Gow, Harrison and Co. at the time of his death, taking over from Leonard Gow on his death in 1936. In his will he left in excess of 700 items, including 70 paintings, to Glasgow. His bequest was made free of any legacy duty or any other expenses, his only stipulation was that his paintings would go on show at Kelvingrove. The same day his bequest came before a special meeting of Glasgow Corporation’s committee on Art Galleries and Museums it was accepted with ‘high appreciation’ following a report on the collection by Tom Honeyman, the Director of Art Galleries.[xlv]
His obituary in the Glasgow Herald stated: ‘McInnes was a man of cultured taste, he was keenly interested in music and art. He had brought together in his home a collection of pictures which was notable for its quality and catholicity.’ It adds finally ‘He was an intimate friend and patron of the late Leslie Hunter with whom he made several visits to the continent.’[xlvi]
In a sense William’s contribution didn’t stop there. In 1951 his sister-in-law Jessie donated Cezanne’s ‘The Star Ridge with the Kings Peak’ to Kelvingrove.[xlvii] In 1985 a portrait of McInnes by Leslie Hunter was sold to Kelvingrove by his sister Ann’s son Andrew McInnes Sinclair of Massachusetts, USA. The painting was handed over in person by Andrew and his cousin John McInnes, the son of William’s brother Finlay, on 9th July.[xlviii] The portrait had been commissioned by William for his sister to take back to America following a visit to Scotland in 1930[xlix]
[i] Marriages (OPR) Scotland. Crieff, Perthshire, 342/00. 1 May 1825. McINNES, William and McDONALD, Janet. GROS Data 342/00 0020 0113. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk: accessed June 2011.
[vii] Births. Scotland. Tradeston, Glasgow City, 644/09. 1 May 1870 McINNES, Finlay. GROS Data 644/09 0689. Births. Scotland. Tradeston, Glasgow City, 644/09. 2 June 1872 McINNES, Thomas GROS Data 644/09 0989.
Births. Scotland. Gorbals, Lanarkshire, 644/12. 22 October 1876, McINNES, Ann GROS Data 644/12 1367.
In 1945 Ernest Charteris Holford Wolff of Fair Oak Lodge, near Eastleigh, Hants, donated an oil painting, ‘Portrait of William Johnstone of Glenorchard’ by Sir Daniel Macnee, to Glasgow Museums.
The Wolff family originally came from Hamburg, Germany, Ernest’s paternal grandfather Arnold Julius Wolff being born there in 1798. He was the son of Carl Heinrich Wolff and his wife Maria Carolina Anna and was born at Ritzebuttel a town on the Elbe belonging to Hamburg where his father had been a protestant clergyman for over thirty years. He came to England in 1828[i] and subsequently married Lucy Taylor on 23 June 1831 in Manchester Cathedral (Church of St. Mary, St. Denys and St. George). She was a minor (age 17)[ii] and required her father’s consent to the marriage. Arnold was a merchant, both he and the Taylor family living in the township of Chorlton Row which was part of the parish of Manchester.[iii]
Arnold was employed by the cotton trading firm of James Holford & Co., who were the largest British exporters into Russia having branches in Russia, Britain, Germany (Hamburg) and the United States.[iv] It may well be that Arnold had been employed by the company in Hamburg and had transferred to their offices in Manchester, however whilst likely, there is only circumstantial evidence to support that.
He became a naturalized British citizen in 1840, having become a partner in the Holford business some time before that.[v] However the business had been experiencing liquidity issues which resulted in some of its branches being taken over by its employees or partners. In Manchester the business, operating as Holford, Sauer & Co., was dissolved in January 1840 and taken over by Wollf and another employee to become Wolff, Hasche & Co.[vi] It became a member of the Manchester Royal Exchange and continued to trade at least until 1853[vii] and probably beyond that date.
Arnold and Lucy continued to live in Chorlton in the Greenheys area after their marriage and by 1841 had four children, two girls and two boys,[viii] a third boy being born later that year.[ix] Incidentally Thomas de Quincey lived in Greenheys as a youth, his father building the area in 1791.[x]
The eldest of the three boys was Arnold Holford Wolff. He was born on the 8th December, 1834 and baptised on the 18th May 1835.[xi] By 1861 he along with his brother Ernest Julius were living in the family home at Greenhays and were in their father’s employ as clerks,[xii] presumably in his export business. He was still living there with his mother and sister Lucy Catherine in 1871,[xiii] his father Arnold Julius having died in 1866. Probate was granted to his three sons, the estate being valued at “under £60,000”.[xiv]
Arnold Holford Wolff, described as a ‘Russian merchant’, married Jane Johnstone Crawford on the 13th November 1872 in Edinburgh.[xv] It was through his wife they ultimately came to possess the painting of William Johnston of Glenorchard, he being the brother of Jane’s mother Mary Johnstone.
The Johnstone family originated in the parish of Baldernock, then in Stirlingshire, where Thomas Johnstone and Mary Baird were married in 1803.[xvi] They had six children all born in Baldernock including the aforementioned William (b.1805)[xvii] and Mary (b.1812).[xviii]
William married Agnes Ewing in 1846 at Dunoon Parish Church.[xix] He was a banker and had been an agent of the Commercial Bank of Scotland since 1845.[xx] In 1848 he and his wife were living in the Barony Parish of Glasgow at 5 Newton Place,[xxi] staying there until 1858-59.[xxii] They became tenants of Glenorchard House around 1855 but did not permanently reside there until 1859.[xxiii] He subsequently became the owner of the estate sometime between 1858 and 1861,[xxiv] living there, still with the Commercial Bank, until he died.[xxv]
He died in 1864, not at Glenorchard, but at 200 Bath Street, Glasgow, the home of James Campbell jnr. of J & W Campbell & Co., Warehousemen.[xxvi] The cause of death was recorded as apoplexy.[xxvii]
He left estate valued at just over £27,100 and had set up a Trust Disposition and Settlement early in 1863 which essentially took care of his widow, his siblings where they survived, and their children, there being no children of his own marriage.[xxviii] In particular his niece Jane (Johnstone) Crawford, the daughter of his sister Mary who had died in 1855[xxix], and who lived with William and his wife Agnes following her father John Crawford’s death in 1861[xxx], received initially £150 per quarter. On Agnes’s death he stipulated that Jane was to receive £3,000.[xxxi]
Jane was born on the 5th February 1849[xxxii], the last of four children. Her parents had married in 1842,[xxxiii] John being a grocer and spirit merchant in Shettleston.[xxxiv] She continued to live with her aunt Agnes following her uncle’s death, remaining with her at Glenorchard.[xxxv] Sometime after 1871 Agnes and Jane moved to Edinburgh living at 32 Moray Place which is where Jane’s marriage to Arnold Holford Wolff took place.[xxxvi]
Her aunt died on the 15th March 1873 leaving Jane £5,000 and some personal items.[xxxvii] Although the Macnee painting is not specifically mentioned it is clear it came into Jane’s possession either when she married or as a bequest.
Jane and Arnold had two boys, Arnold Johnstone Wolff (b.1873)[xxxviii] and Ernest Charteris Holford Wolff who was born on the 3rd July 1875.[xxxix] In late 1880 Jane was widowed when Arnold senior died at the age of 46 leaving her to bring up her two young sons.
By 1891, at the age of 17, Arnold jnr. was attending the Royal Military Academy,[xl] subsequently joining the Royal Engineers as a Lieutenant. He served in the Boer Wars between 1899 – 1902 gaining the Queen’s South Africa medal with clasps for the Orange Free State, Cape Colony and the Transvaal. He was also awarded the King’s South Africa medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902.[xli]
He saw further service during WW1 gaining promotion eventually to Lieutenant Colonel.[xlii] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in February 1916 at which time he was at his final rank on a temporary basis.[xliii] He retired from the army sometime after 1922 and by 1939 he and his wife Nora Gladys Platt, whom he married in 1905,[xliv] were living in Southampton[xlv]. He died there in 1941 leaving an estate valued at just under £27,500.[xlvi]
In 1891 Ernest was living with his mother in Edinburgh, still at school,[xlvii] subsequently going to Oxford where he graduated BA in 1897. He joined the colonial civil service that year with the Pahang Government,[xlviii] travelling in November to take up his post on the SS Himalaya to Colombo, Ceylon, then on the SS Thames for Malaysia.[xlix]
Pahang was part of the Federated Malay States (FMS) which also included Selangor, Perak and Negri Sembilan. Between 1897 and 1908 he held a variety of positions within FMS becoming secretary to the British Resident of Negri Sembilan in 1901, taking on additional roles in 1904 (Sanitary Board chairman, Seremban) and 1905 (District Treasurer of Telek Anson). By 1908 he was the secretary to the Resident General of the colony. In 1923 he was appointed by the King as an Official Member of the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements.[l]
He was also a very keen sportsman being on the committees of the Selangor Polo and Golf clubs in 1909,[li] and was captain of the golf club from 1907 to 1909.[lii] He won the club championship in 1907/08 and subsequently the Coronation Cup.[liii]
He married Mary Lilias Alison on the 6th December 1911 at Grange Parish Church of Scotland, Edinburgh. She was the daughter the Rev, John Alison of Edinburgh and Margaret McGeorge.[liv] They had two daughters, Stella (b.?) and Alison Jean (b.1914).[lv]
Ernest’s civil service career continued to progress and in 1924 he became the British Resident of Negri Sembilan, retaining that position until 1928 when he retired to Fair Oak Lodge, Hants,[lvi] where he lived for most of the rest of his life. In January of that year he was appointed Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.).[lvii]
He and his wife travelled home on the SS Empress of Canada, embarking from Hong Kong on the 6th April 1928 and arriving in Victoria, British Columbia on the 6th May for a month long tour of Canada. Following the tour they travelled home to Southampton where his brother Arnold lived at Bitterne Park.[lviii]
It’s not clear when the Macnee painting came into his possession. Did his mother Jane leave it directly to him or did it first go to his brother Arnold who bequeathed it to him on his death in 1941? However, on the 9th July 1945 Ernest presented the painting to Glasgow,[lix] just a few months before he died.
He died on the 23rd April 1946 at Cheniston Compton near Winchester leaving estate to the value of £12,420, probate being granted to his wife Mary and George Eaton Stannard Cubitt.[lx]
The Wolff family motto was “Res non verba” [lxi] which translates as “deeds not words”, which, it seems to me, all members of the family lived up to.
Note: Johnstone is spelled with or without an e in various records.
[ii] Baptisms (NCR) England & Wales. Manchester, Lancashire. 8 April 1814. TAYLOR, Lucy. Class Number: RG 4; Piece Number: 2009. Collection: Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970. http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[iii] Marriages (PR) England. Manchester, Lancashire. 23 June 1831. WOLFF, Arnold Julius and TAYLOR, Lucy. Collection: Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 (Cathedral). Archive Roll 699. http://www.ancestry.com
[xiv] Testamentary records. England. 10 April 1866. WOLFF, Arnold Julius. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 438. Collection: England & Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://www.ancestry.com
[xli] War Office (Great Britain). Record of Service. WOLFF, Arnold Johnston. WO100/157 page 56, WO100/314 page 58 FindMyPast Transcription. Collection: Anglo-Boer War Records 1898-1902. http://www.findmypast.co.uk
[xlii] War Office (Great Britain). Record of Service. WOLFF, Arnold Johnston. Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Engineers 1922.
[xliv] Marriages Index (CR) England & Wales. RD: Hampstead, London. Last Qtr. 1905. WOLFF, Arnold Johnston and PLATT, Nora Gladys. Vol.1a. p.1415. Collection: England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
[xlvi] Testamentary records. England. 2 September 1941. WOLFF, Arnold Johnston. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 432. Collection: England & Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://www.ancestry.com
[lviii] Passenger List for S.S. Empress of Canada departing Hong Kong WOLFF, Ernest Charteris Holford. 6 April 1928. Collection: Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 and Washington, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1965 http://www.ancestry.com
[lx] Testamentary records. England. 23 April 1946. WOLFF, Ernest Charteris Holford. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 585. Collection: England & Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966. http://www.ancestry.com
As most people know Sir William Burrell made a gift of his extensive collection to the City of Glasgow in 1944. What perhaps is lesser known is that for the previous eight years he tried to give it to ‘the Nation’ and have it sited in London. Part of that story is told in a series of letters held by the National Archives.
During 1935 Sir Eric Maclagan, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London visited Sir William Burrell at Hutton Castle. The object of the visit was to discuss Burrell’s proposed gift of his collection to the Nation. Subsequently on the 25th November of that year Burrell wrote to Sir Eric as he felt it necessary to clarify his intentions with respect to his collection. Essentially the letter contained a number of conditions that would have to be met. They included that the collection would be housed in London, it should be an entirely new museum and not be a part of any other, the Government should pay for the new museum’s upkeep, and that it should have its own staff headed by a director. Sir William also proposed to bequeath a large sum of money which would be used to buy additions to the collection. He finished by writing that if the collection was not accepted by the Nation (which meant agreeing to his conditions), he had made arrangements for it to go elsewhere.
As far as the letters in the National Archives are concerned that was that until 1942. On the 6th April Burrell wrote to the art and antique dealer Frank Partridge referring to a recent conversation they had. Partridge appears to have been used as an intermediary/negotiator between the government and Burrell as the letter refers to an enclosure which again contained the conditions attached to his gift, and a list of his collection’s locations which were generally in England. He asked Partridge to pass on this document to a Major Cazalet*, along with a photograph of Hutton Castle, so that he could have both on him when seeing “Mr. Eden or Mr. Churchill”. He added that he had spent £43,000 on the castle structure after he bought it.
The enclosure began by Burrell saying that he understood that the country was engaged in a life and death struggle and that the Prime Minister and the government were being overwhelmed with work and that his timing was inopportune. He added he had delayed for that reason for three years but was concerned that as he was now in his early eighties he would die before his gift had been accepted. He stated that he wanted the collection to stay in England and not to be sold off after his death, in particular to American museums.
As before he wanted the collection to be located in London as that would allow it to be seen by a larger numbers of visitors than it would be anywhere else. Whilst not mentioned, it is understood he still wished it to be housed in a new museum. He also indicated that he would bequeath the whole of his estate (the collection and everything else) to be managed by g0vernment trustees for the purchase of “fine things” for the collection. In an aside he stated that his daughter had already been provided for.
Finally he wanted to leave Hutton Castle and its 1,800 acres, with good partridge and pheasant shooting, as a holiday resort for Government Ministers.
At this time his collection was housed in various locations including the National Gallery, the Tate (300 pictures), the cathedrals of Salisbury, Ely, Winchester and Chichester, Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, and various other museums in places such as Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
On the 17th April a note (marked secret) was sent from the Treasury to C.H. Wakely, Inland Revenue Commissioner, requiring financial and taxation information to be established. The writer states that Sir Horace J. Wilson** of the Treasury believes the collection is valued at £1,000,000, he wants to understand the extent of Burrell’s wealth as shown by income producing assets, and the potential taxation and estate duty liabilities if any. He stated that certain artistic items would not attract estate duty, however was of the belief that there was no provision for relief from estate duty generally and that an estate valued at £1,000,000, liable for 60% would lose the Exchequer £600,000 and essentially that would mean they were paying for the bequest. Nonetheless Wakely, with others, was asked to determine the exact situation and identify the relevant estate duty provisions.
Sir Eric Maclagan wrote to Sir Horace Wilson on the 18th April referring to his meeting with Burrell in 1935. He indicated that he had advised Burrell that his conditions were likely to be costly due to the size of building required and its location in central London, and was unclear as to who was paying for it (hence Burrell’s letter of the 25th November 1935). He also was concerned about the number of staff required. Maclagan expressed the view to Burrell that he should consider linking any bequest to an existing museum, the Victoria and Albert say. As the letter of the 25th November indicates that was not acceptable.
Also on the 18th April an internal Treasury note (again marked secret) was sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Anderson, possibly from Sir John Henry Wood, Private Assistant Secretary to the Chancellor. In it the writer states that he had been given Burrell’s written proposal, as per the 6th April 1942, by Major Cazalet. He goes on to say that Cazalet (a friend and supporter of Churchill) believes the Prime Minister should write to Burrell accepting his offer. The writer of the note does not support that saying that there are complications and that he would investigate those. He also adds that he has consulted Sir Eric Maclagan, Sir Kenneth Clark (Director of the National Gallery and of ‘Civilisation’ fame)and Sir Alan Barlow (Treasury), who discussed the proposal with John Rothenstein (Director of the Tate Gallery). All of these individuals agreed that the collection included a number of fine objects but also had a considerable number of items that were not particularly noteworthy. In an attached handwritten note John Rothenstein is quoted as saying that of the paintings in the Tate, some are first rate but the majority are of a type and standard well represented in other London galleries and that they would be better off in provincial galleries. Building a museum which would house such paintings would be a waste of money.
The rest of the note repeats previous concerns about building costs and operating expenses, and taxation issues, and states that there is a general antipathy to the establishment of a separate museum or museums to house the collection. It concludes by saying that the Prime Minister should write to Burrell stating his appreciation of the offer but that some negotiation would be required to deal with points raised. The writer suggested Mr. R A Butler (Rab) should be the PM’s delegate in this matter.
On the 21st April C.H. Wakely wrote to Sir Horace Wilson detailing his answers to the questions raised in the Treasury note of the 17th April. He confirmed that pictures and other works of art that are bequeathed “for national purposes” are exempt from estate duty. He also confirmed that any monies bequeathed to establish and maintain an Art Gallery would not get estate duty relief. He added however that any gift made to the crown before death would be exempt. He also reiterated, as others had, that any exemption to estate duty made the Exchequer a ‘contributor’ to the purpose behind the exemption. A hand written comment on the letter stated that Burrell’s income producing assets were £600,000.
There followed three pages of detailed analysis of the treatment of death duties in a variety of circumstances.
In a letter of the 23rd April to Sir William the writer, having seen Burrell’s letter to Frank Partridge of the 6th April, offered to visit Hutton Castle to discuss what he described as “your magnificent offer”. He also said that if he would prefer to deal with a member of government then he would arrange it. This suggests the letter writer, whose address was given as The Dorchester, may have been Eric Maclagan or Kenneth Clark.
On the 11th May a note from the Inland Revenue to Sir Horace Wilson states that Hutton Castle and the estate are owned by the Hutton Estate Company Ltd. which was formed in 1921, practically all of the shares being held by Sir William.
Thereafter all is quiet until the 11th August when Sir Eric Maclagan writes to Sir Alan Barlow to say that he understood the Burrell affair had ended in silence. Barlow replies on the 13th August saying that no more has been heard about it and that the assumption is that the proposal is dead.
Well, not quite. On the 11th November Alan Barlow received a letter from A. R. Wood Comptroller of London County Council’s department of Subject and Policy in which he states that Burrell now appears to want to hand over his collection to the Council. Mr. Wood fundamentally repeats all the questions asked previously and seeks the Treasury’s view on tax and exemption. Sir Alan’s reply on the 12th was that if bequeathed to the council the collection would be free from death duties as would a gift if he died within twelve months. He also adds that for any associated endowment fund there is a prime facie case for assuming that fund income would not be taxed however a definitive answer would depend on the terms of the trust.
A. R. Wood responded to Barlow’s letter on the 24th November saying that the council had decided to accept a formal offer of the collection with the proviso that it did not entail an excessive charge on the rates. He also indicated that the Council would prefer that Sir William handed over his collection and greater part of his other estate to trustees and that after one year these trustees would offer the collection et al to London County Council. He also adds that if London did not accept it at this time the gift should be offered to other local authorities named in the Trust Deed so that it could be available for public view in one place or in several. He then goes on again to ask about death duties and other taxation, pretty much as before. He closes by saying that he hopes that contact will be made with Sir William through Sir Kenneth Clark.
On the 25th November Barlow wrote to the Chairman of the Inland Revenue Board Sir Cornelius Gregg stating the Burrell was now “coquetting” with London County Council. He refers to the letters sent to him by A.R. Wood on the 11th and 24th November and asks for advice on what to reply on the proposed Trust and its possible liabilities.
Gregg’s advice came on the 2nd December which was fundamentally no different from that given previously by other Treasury and Revenue personnel. The only additional point he made was that the Trust should not sin “against the rule against perpetuities”. He also adds, as others had, that the terms of the Trust need to be seen before finally deciding on the matter. Barlow in a letter to A.R. Wood on the 3rd December passed on all that Gregg’s letter contained.
The last entries in the Archives documents states the following: Undated but has to be circa December 1942 into early 1943 – ” No further developments, no obituary, no index reference. 11th November 1943 – as above. 9th February 1944 – as above.”
Archive References: T273/52 CS96662 and IR62/2054 C619691.
What came next was that on the 24th January 1944 a special meeting of Glasgow Corporation’s Art Galleries committee was convened to consider Sir William’s proposed gift/bequest of his collection to Glasgow. On the 2nd of February the same committee recommended that the Corporation should accept the offer. By the 18th April 1944 it was all done and dusted, with the completion of the Memorandum of Agreement.
Page 396 – 24th January 1944, Page 460 – 2nd February 1944, Page 816 – 18th April 1944.
Why did Burrell change his mind? He clearly wanted his collection to be regarded as, at least, of European importance, hence his desire to have it housed in London and in a specifically created museum. Time was clearly pressing for him because of his age and that may have created significant impatience with the whole London/taxation process. He was a difficult man to deal with anyway, his frustration would add to that, especially if he felt thwarted, he was a man who liked to get his own way by all accounts. The key issue seems to have been Glasgow’s willingness to be liable for all taxation/duty although the expectation was there would be none. The Corporation also became liable for all insurance, storage, and other expenses connected with the collection, from the date of the gift.
* Major Victor Alexander Cazalet was Conservative MP for Chippenham. Prior to WWII he had supported Winston Churchill against the appeasement of Germany. During the war he became the liasion between the War Office and the leader of the Polish Government in Exile General Sikorski. They were both killed, along with thirteen others, on the 4th July 1943 when their aircraft crashed taking off from Gibralter. He was a great friend of the parents of film actress Elizabeth Taylor and was her godfather. http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/fallen-alumni/colonel-victor-alexander-cazalet
** Sir Horace John Wilson was a civil servant who supported the Chamberlain government’s appeasement policy before the war, becoming a significant confidant of the prime minister. He was appointed permanent secretary to the Treasury and head of the civil service in 1939. When Churchill became prime minister he was banned from Number Ten because of appeasement and was eventually forced to retire in August 1942, having made enemies of Churchill and also Clement Attlee, because of his influence in rejecting the Labour party’s economic (Keynesian) policies of the late 1920s. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31844?docPos=1
In June 1945 Captain Campbell of Jura donated two paintings to Kelvingrove. The first by the Scottish portrait painter Colvin Smith was titled ‘Daughters of Colin Campbell of Jura’, the other by Scottish landscape artist Gourlay Steel was called ‘Deer Stalking on Jura’, painted circa 1870.[i]
The genus of Campbell control of Jura began in the 15th century when John McDonald entered into a treaty with Edward IV of England from which he anticipated he would become King of a large part of Scotland. This was not to be and the treaty proved to be undoing of Clan Donald paving the way for a long period of Clan Campbell control of Jura from the 17th century on.[ii] The first Laird was Duncan Campbell of the House of Lochnell. He was born in 1596 and died in 1695, being succeeded by his son John Campbell. There were to be 11 lairds in total from the early 1600s to 1971 when the last one died.[iii] The succession line was a mixture of father to son and brother to brother, particularly in the 19th century when three sons of the sixth Laird Colin Campbell inherited the title, their combined ‘tenure’ totalling fifty three years from 1848 to 1901.
Colin Campbell was born on the 8th November 1772[iv] to Archibald and Sarah Campbell.[v] He married Isabella Hamilton Dundas Dennistoun in 1806 and was described as a merchant in Glasgow.[vi] What his business activities were is not entirely clear however he was involved in the Caribbean sugar trade through Campbell, Rivers & Co.[vii] and is described as a ‘name partner’ in the research report ‘Legacies of British Slave-ownership’ by University College London.[viii] His father-in-law Richard Dennistoun is also named as partner in the company and was also a partner in George and Robert Dennistoun and Co and Dennistoun, Buchanan and Co., both companies heavily involved in the trade. [ix]
Colin’s sisters Anne Penelope and Barbara both married individuals who were shareholders or partners in companies involved in the Caribbean. In 1797 Anne married Robert Dennistoun, son of Richard Dennistoun.[x] He was against the anti-slavery movement and was a founder member of the Glasgow West India Association which was formed to resist that movement.[xi] When slavery was finally abolished his trust, he died in 1815[xii], represented by his widow, his brother in law Colin and others as trustees were awarded compensation of £12,545 14s 9d in 1836 for the freeing of 253 slaves on three plantations he or his company owned in Trinidad.[xiii]
Barbara married Alexander Campbell of Hallyards in 1800[xiv], a cousin of John Campbell senior and one of the original partners of John Campbell, senior & Co.[xv], a major Scottish company in the sugar trade.
There were eleven,[xvi] possibly twelve children of the marriage between Colin and Isabella, five or six sons and six daughters, three of whom are in the portrait by Colvin Smith.
Smith was born 1796 and between 1811 and 1822 studied at Edinburgh University, travelled to London, Antwerp and Paris, where he studied in the Louvre. In 1826 he was in Rome, returning to Edinburgh the following year. The painting must have been completed sometime after 1827 when Smith returned to Scotland and before 1875 when he died.[xvii]
The painting is of young ladies. Three of the daughters had married by 1838 and it seems unlikely that they are the subjects of the painting. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the painting is of the three unmarried daughters and was done after 1838 and probably before Colin’s death in 1848 at which time all three remained unmarried. I suspect it was probably painted around the early 1840s, say 1841, the age of the three daughters Mary Lyon, Ann Caroline and Barbara being at that time 21, 22 and 17 years respectively.[xviii]
One of these daughters, Mary Lyon Campbell did eventually marry in 1852[xix] Dr. James Loftus Marsden, a homeothapist and practitioner of water therapy to cure or prevent illness. Marsden was a widower with five daughters and was not without controversy. Nor was Mary Lyon. She had become a patient of his in 1851 after a bad fall from a horse in 1849 which apparently left her unable to walk. She was cured and it seems that subsequently they became lovers. This however was not the first time that Mary had an affair.
Her sister Isabella Dundas[xx] had married Lachlan Macquarie in 1836[xxi]. In 1841, age 21 years, whilst living with her sister and her husband on the Isle of Mull Mary was accused of sleeping with her brother-in-law. In January of the following year Lachlan was forced to write to his father-in-law denying the rumours blaming them on his in house medical advisor. However the gossip damaged her reputation within the close knit and interconnected Highland community and probably adversely impacted on her local marriage opportunities.[xxii]
Colin died on the 6th September 1848 having succeeded his elder brother James as laird in 1838.[xxiii] His estate was valued at £49,609,[xxiv] a considerable sum for the time, worth somewhere between £5m and £155m today dependant on the measure used.[xxv] In his Trust Deed and Settlement his trustees included his sons Archibald, an advocate, who as the eldest son succeeded him as Laird, and Richard, and George Scheviz, a partner in Campbell Rivers & Co.[xxvi]
Just over £20,000 of his estate was cash deposited with the Western Bank.[xxvii] This bank was formed in Glasgow in 1832 and in its short history, had several periods of liquidity problems resulting in it eventually collapsing in 1857 through bad management and three major customers defaulting on loans amounting to £1.2 million. At that time it was the second largest bank in Scotland with 1280 shareholders and 101 branches, the larger being the Royal Bank of Scotland.[xxviii]
Archibald Campbell was Laird for only three years, dying unmarried in 1851[xxix], age 43.[xxx] His estate was valued at £53,259, which included £218 cash deposited with the Western Bank, but more crucially 350 shares in the bank valued at £22,529.[xxxi] When the bank failed in 1857 its shareholders not only lost their paid up capital of £2 million but had to provide a further £1.1 million to pay off all its liabilities.[xxxii] That, in due course, became his brother, Richard Dennistoun Campbell’s problem, who succeeded him and was Laird for twenty seven years. [xxxiii] Whilst the Campbells remained a very wealthy family this event set in motion a train of events which saw them gradually divest themselves of their properties, the last of the Jura estate being sold in 1938 by the eleventh and last Laird of Jura Charles Graham Campbell,[xxxiv] who was the Captain Campbell who donated the paintings to Kelvingrove.
The painting by Gourlay Steel ‘Deer Stalking on Jura’ includes four figures, who are as follows, from left to right, Neil Clark, gamekeeper Angus McKay, the Laird Richard Dennistoun Campbell, and Angus McKay jnr.[xxxv]
In 1875 the Campbells owned twenty three properties on Jura including crofts, a distillery, the school house, shootings, Jura House, woodlands and pauper’s houses.[xxxvi] Richard died in 1878, unmarried,[xxxvii] the title passing to the fourth son James, born in 1818 in Glasgow[xxxviii]. The third born son Colin, died in 1827 aged 11 years.[xxxix]
James married Mary Campbell in 1848 at Treesbanks in Ayrshire.[xl] They had seven children, five daughters, two of whom were born in Germany, and two sons,[xli] the youngest boy dying aged two years in 1857.[xlii] James and his family lived at various locations between 1851 and 1901 including Edinburgh (with his mother Isabella at West Coates House[xliii]), Ayr,[xliv] Tunbridge Wells[xlv] and Kensington.[xlvi] They also lived in Germany for some time it would appear as two of their daughters Christiana and Jessie were born there in 1859 and 1863 respectively.[xlvii] He lived the life of a landed proprietor with no obvious occupation being recorded in any of the censuses between those years, generally being described as living off ‘interest from money’ or ‘holder of bank stock’.
He died in 1901 at 11 Cornwall Gardens, Kensington. The gross value of his estate was just under £73,000, his wife Mary and brother in law William Hugh Campbell, a colonel in the Royal Scot Fusiliers, being his executors.[xlviii]
Mary died in 1909 in Kensington leaving her estate to her unmarried daughters, of whom there were four, and to her youngest daughter Jessie[xlix] who had married Allan Gordon Cameron in 1885.[l] They had twin boys, Allan Gordon and James Frederick, in 1892[li] both of whom became officers in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Allan won the Military Cross in 1917,[lii] and James was awarded the Military Cross in 1916,[liii] and Bar in 1917,[liv] and finally the Distinguished Service Order in 1918.[lv]
James and Mary’s only living son Colin, who was born in 1851[lvi], succeeded to the title becoming the 10th and penultimate Laird of Jura. Between 1860 and 1862 he was a pupil at Loretto School [lvii] and, later on, attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.[lviii] He joined the 91st Highlanders serving in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland which was where he was resident when he married his wife Frances Monteath Sidey in 1876.[lix] She was born in New Zealand[lx] the daughter of Charles Sidey and Allison Isabella Walker who married in New South Wales in 1854.[lxi]
Both Charles and Allison were born in Perth, Scotland in 1823[lxii] and 1834[lxiii] respectively and according to the 1871 Scottish census had at least nine children, six of whom were born in New South Wales, two in New Zealand, and the last in Edinburgh, Charles being described as a retired settler in Australia.[lxiv] In 1881 he is a ‘retired squatter’[lxv], and by 1901, then resident in London, he is living on his own means.[lxvi]
Colin Campbell did not remain in the army for long as in the 1881 census he was described as a ‘late lieutenant in the 91st Highlanders’[lxvii]. The censuses following 1881 cite no obvious occupation for him except to refer to him as ex-army or, in 1911, when he and his wife were staying at the Pulteney Hotel in Bath, as a ‘Landed Proprietor’.[lxviii] He did however have other duties. He was a justice of the Peace, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Argyllshire (1914-1918), head coast watcher for Jura, and from 1890 to 1897 was Government Inspector in Technical Education in Agriculture.[lxix]
He and Frances had four sons and two daughters, born between 1877 and 1894.[lxx] The sons all saw military service in the army. The eldest James Archibald Lochnell Campbell (b.1879)[lxxi] joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1900 and served in South Africa, Northern Nigeria and Malta. In 1914 he went to France with the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders,[lxxii] subsequently being killed in battle at Neuve Chapelle in 1915, three days after his 36th birthday.[lxxiii]
The youngest son Ronald Walker Francis Campbell (b.1888)[lxxiv] also died during the Great War. He went to France with the Royal Fusiliers and was severely injured during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.[lxxv]He died of his injuries in a military hospital in Manchester later that year.[lxxvi]
The other sons were more fortunate. Charles Graham Campbell, the second eldest, was initially not accepted for military service as he had only one eye. Late in 1914 he was given a commission in the Royal Field Artillery and posted to East Africa where at some point he was attached to the headquarters of General Smuts. He served in Africa until 1917 at which time he was sent to France, remaining there until the end of the war.[lxxvii] The third son Colin Richard Campbell (1885)[lxxviii] also served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, eventually returning home at the end of hostilities.[lxxix]
Noblesse oblige indeed!
Colin Campbell died in Eastbourne in 1933 leaving £51,290[lxxx], having previously made the estate over to his son Charles.[lxxxi]
The eleventh and last Campbell Laird of Jura, Charles Graham Campbell was born in Edinburgh in 1880[lxxxii]. He was educated at St Paul’s School London, having previously attended Colet Court, the preparatory school for St Paul’s. He served an engineering apprenticeship with James Simpson and Co. of Pimlico from 1898 to 1900, then as a pupil with the same company from May 1901 until December 1902 when he was proposed for membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers,[lxxxiii] becoming a graduate member on the 16th January 1903.[lxxxiv]
The following years saw him travelling to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA where he undertook a variety of occupations including gold digging (Alaska), farming, and cattle, sheep and horse raising. He spent eighteen months in the Chilliwick Valley in British Columbia ranching and fruit packing eventually becoming an engineer to the first successful fruit cannery there. He returned to Scotland for a short period before returning to Australia where, in 1912, he bought his own station at Kooringarro, New South Wales where he raised horses.[lxxxv] In 1913 he was a registered voter for the district of Wollondilly, listed as a pastoralist at Kooringgarro[lxxxvi]. When war broke out he returned home and as described before, eventually joined the Royal Field Artillery. He left the army in 1920 and went on his travels again, visiting Australia, Canada, Java and New Zealand, returning home via the South Sea Islands and the Panama Canal.[lxxxvii]
He married Deborah Sylvester Lambarde at Eastbourne in 1930.[lxxxviii] She had been born in 1904 and was the daughter of William Gore Lambarde, Lord of the Manor of Ash and Ridley in Kent, and Florence Lucy Fetherstonhaugh, the family home being Bradbourne Hall in Kent.[lxxxix]
Charles sold the last of the Campbell’s Jura estate in 1938 to William Riley-Smith of Tadcaster, Yorkshire, the final impact of the Western Bank failure in 1857.[xc] He subsequently bought a small estate in Melrose where he and his wife lived. [xci] They continued to travel going to Ceylon in 1955 (Sri Lanka)[xcii] and South Africa in 1958.[xciii]. He died in St Marylebone, London in 1971[xciv].
Of the 10th Laird’s offspring only Charles and his brother James married, James marrying Dorothy Rosalinda Frances Black in April 1914 before he went France.[xcv] A month after James died in France his wife gave birth to a daughter Celia in London.
Charles Graham Campbell was therefore the last Laird of the line from Duncan Campbell in all respects, which is perhaps not surprising. Legend has it that one of his ancestors evicted an old lady from property on Jura who cursed him and his descendants by saying that the last of the Campbells will be one eyed. “He will leave the island and all that he will take with him will be carried to the ship on a cart drawn by a white horse.”
In the event that’s how Charles apparently left the island after he sold it, with his family possessions, presumably including the two paintings he donated to Kelvingrove in 1945, on a cart pulled by a grey horse that was turning white ! [xcvi]
[ix] It should be noted that there was another Colin Campbell, of Colgrain, son of John Campbell, senior, who was involved with these companies. Stephen Mullen (2015) ‘The Great Glasgow West India House of John Campbell, senior and Co’. In: Devine T.M. ed. Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past. p.124.
[lxix] Dunford, June C. (2017) Colin Campbell at Loretto School. E-mail to author confirming Campbell’s attendance at the school. 24 April, 09.49. email@example.com and Sinclair, Emma J (2017) Colin Campbell at Loretto School. E-mail to author confirming Campbell’s attendance at the school. 4 May, 14.22. firstname.lastname@example.org.
[lxxvi] Death Index (CR) England. Manchester, Lancashire. 3rd Qtr. 1916. CAMPBELL, Ronald Walker Francis. Vol. 8d. p. 194. Collection: England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[lxxxiii] Application for Membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. 1 December 1902. CAMPBELL, Charles Graham. Collection: Mechanical Engineering Records, 1847-1930. p. 40 no. 4531. Collection: Mechanical Engineering Records, 1847-1930. p. 40 no. 4531. http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[lxxxiv] Membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. 16 January 1903. CAMPBELL, Charles Graham. Collection: Mechanical Engineering Records 1847-1930, Register of Members. http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[xcii] Passenger List for S.S. Oranje departing Southampton. CAMPBELL, Charles Graham and CAMPBELL, Debora Sylvester. 7 January 1955. Collection: UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960.http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[xciii] Passenger List for S.S. Capetown Castle departing Southampton. CAMPBELL, Charles Graham and CAMPBELL, Debora Sylvester. 9 January 1958. Collection: UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960.http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[xciv] Deaths Index (CR) England and Wales. St Marylebone, London. 1971. CAMPBELL, Charles Graham. Collection: England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007.http://www.ancestry.co.uk
[xcv] Marriages (PR) England and Wales. Kensington and Chelsea. 23 April 1914. CAMPBELL, James Archibald Lochnell and BLACK, Dorothy Rosalinda Frances. Collection: Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921. http://www.ancestry.co.uk
I became interested in Charles Rennie Mackintosh when researching the architect John Keppie. (see John Keppie – Architect) Not in terms of his artistic prowess or architectural innovation but simply to find out what his family’s background was.
Where did Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s family originate from? Both his paternal and maternal lineages have proved difficult to fully establish however three of his four sets of great grandparents have, at least, been identified, but little else has been discovered about them. The information about his grandparents is also patchy with no direct evidence of his maternal or paternal grandparent’s marriages, both being indicated in census returns or deaths registrations only.
What is clear is that his forebears are a mixture of Irish and Scottish born individuals whose origins include County Cavan, Fife, and Ayrshire.
Generation 1. Parents: William McIntosh and Margaret Rennie.
William McIntosh was born in 1836 at Belturbet in Ireland.[i] His parents were Hugh McIntosh and Marjory (May) Morrice (Morris).[ii] In 1851 he was living with his parents at 94 Glebe Street in the Barony parish of Glasgow and was working as a store clerk.[iii] Seven years later on the 17th March 1858 he became a clerk with the Glasgow Police. The records indicate he was age 22 and was 5ft. 11in. tall.[iv] He continued to live in the family home in Glebe Street until his marriage to Margaret Rennie on the 4th August 1862 at 54 McIntosh Street, Dennistoun,[v] the home of his brother Thomas.[vi] In the registration document he is described as a mercantile clerk[vii] which is clearly an error as police records show he had unbroken service until his retirement.[viii]
Soon after joining the police he became an inspector, in charge of the Chief Constable’s office. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1864 and Superintendent in 1889, still within the Chief Constable’s office, his particular focus being the administration and organisation of the force. He had a keen interest in sport and was a founder member of the Glasgow Police Athletic and Rowing Club in 1882. He was a skilled rifle marksman and won trophies as a founder member of the 19th Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers. He was also captain of the Tug-of-War team and led the team in competitions at the 1888 Glasgow Exhibition and in Paris in 1889.[ix]
In January 2016 five silver tug-of-war medals he won were sold by Easy Live Auctions[x] to the Glasgow Police Heritage Society and are now on display in the Police Museum in Bell Street. (see figure 2) The awards were for 2nd or 3rd place at the Govan Burgh, Partick Burgh or Aberdeen Sports held between 1894 and 1898.
Margaret Rennie was born circa 1836 in Ayr, the daughter of Charles Rennie and Martha Spence. At the time of her marriage she was working as a muslin darner and lived at 121 Great Hamilton Street, Glasgow.[xi]
William and Margaret had eleven children:
Martha, born at 54 McIntosh Street on the 22nd March 1863[xii], died unmarried on the 16 August 1925.[xiii]
Isabella Marjory, born at 74 Parson Street on the 28th November 1864[xiv], married Robert Dingwall (commercial traveller) in 1896[xv], thought to have died in Darlington, England in 1946, no substantive proof.
William Hugh, born at 70 Parson Street on the 21st September 1866[xvi], died before 1908[xvii].
Charles Rennie Mackintosh 1868-1928
Margaret Rennie, born at 70 Parson Street on the 6th April 1870[xviii], married Robert Williamson Cleland (coal merchant then thread manufacturer’s clerk) on the 20th November 1906[xix], died on the 1st February 1924[xx].
Agnes Mary, born at 70 Parson Street on the 23rd November 1871[xxi], died in 1872[xxii]
Cecilia Bruce, born at 70 Parson Street on the 22nd June 1873[xxiii], died in 1877[xxiv]
Ellen Eliza Robinson, born at 2 Firpark Terrace in 1875[xxv], died in 1878
Thomas David, born at 2 Firpark Terrace on the 17th June 1878[xxvi], died in 1879[xxvii].
Ellen Eliza, born at 2 Firpark Terrace on the 4th February 1881[xxviii], married William Lamb Gibb (confectioner) in 1926[xxix], died in Glasgow, (lived in Milngavie) in 1965[xxx].
Agnes, born at 2 Firpark Terrace on the 2nd August 1883.[xxxi]
Margaret McIntosh died at 2 Firpark Terrace on the 9th December 1885, cause of death was cardiac hypertrophy and cerebral haemorrhage.[xxxii]Charles RennieMackintosh was aged 17 years, already an apprentice architect. Two of his sisters were under the age of 5 years.
In the preface to the first edition of his book on Charles Rennie Mackintosh Thomas Howarth states that he is “indebted to Miss Nancy Mackintosh, and Mrs Gibb, his sisters”, for conversations he had with them when writing his book. Later in the preface he describes Nancy as Mackintosh’s youngest sister. [xxxiii] I’m certain this is Agnes, Nancy being synonymous with, or a diminutive of, Agnes. It’s perhaps worth making the point that these two ladies, the only surviving siblings by 1946, would have no personal knowledge of Mackintosh’s childhood, therefore that period of his life could only be illustrated anecdotally by them. On the 5th April 1947 Nancy (Agnes) opened the Mackintosh Room in the Glasgow School of Art.[xxxiv]
William married again on the 8th June 1892 to 42 year old widow Christina Forrest (nee McVicar). [xxxv] At this time he was still living in Firpark Terrace with his five surviving daughters[xxxvi] which is where he continued to live with his new wife until late in 1892 when the family moved to 2 Regent Park Square.[xxxvii]
Circa 1894 they then moved to Holmwood Cottage in Langside Avenue which faced into the Queen’s Park.[xxxviii] (not to be confused with ‘Greek’ Thomson’s Holmwood House in Netherlee Road!). This cottage appears to have been built around 1884[xxxix], its owner being Alexander Morton, a messenger at arms and a private detective. It was from this gentleman that McIntosh rented the cottage.[xl] They lived there for just over two years, moving to 27 Regent Park Square in 1896 [xli] where William lived for the rest of his life.
He retired from the police on the 30th September 1899 after forty one years’ and was presented with the silver tray in the photograph to commemorate his dedication and service to the Glasgow Police Force.[xlii] He died from heart disease on the 10th February 1908[xliii], leaving an estate valued at £482 10s 7d, included in which was 50 shares in the Rangers Football Club Ltd., reference certificate 134, each share valued at 12s. His daughter Martha Mackintosh was his executor. His inventory indicates that that he was survived by five daughters and one son. They were CRM, Margaret Rennie, Martha, Isabella Marjory, Ellen Eliza (Mrs Gibb), and Agnes (Nancy)[xliv].
One final point; when did William McIntosh, (and his family) change their name to the anglified Mackintosh? In 1892 when he remarried; the last use of McIntosh was in the 1891 census. Having said that the original spelling was continued with in the Post Office directories until his retirement. In my view the reason for the change is not particularly clear, some sources think it was to move away from an ‘Irish’ spelling of the name, others because of an estrangement between CRM and his father. If CRM initiated the change maybe he just wanted to be different, adding to his ‘avant garde’ style and his growing reputation for artistic flair and innovation.
Generation 2. Grandparents: Hugh McIntosh and Marjory (May) Morrice (Morris).
Hugh McIntosh was born sometime between 1797 and 1801 in Paisley, Renfrewshire.[xlv] His parents were James McIntosh, a distiller, and Isabella Morrison.[xlvi] In the 1851 census Hugh is recorded as a distiller and is married to Marjory Morris. No registration of their marriage has been discovered.
They lived in the Barony parish of Glasgow along with three of their five sons and their daughter, all of whom were born in Ireland.[xlvii] They were as follows:
The family lived in Belturbet until 1844 when they returned to Scotland and settled in Glebe Street.[lvi]
Why the family was in Ireland from circa 1828 to 1844 is not particularly clear however Belturbet was the location of the distillery of Messrs Dickson and Dunlop and Co. which was established in 1825 and expanded in 1830, producing 90,000 to 100,000 gallons of whiskey per annum.[lvii] It seems reasonable therefore to assume that Hugh with Marjory moved there sometime between 1825 and 1828 because he found work at the distillery.
On the family’s return to Scotland Hugh McIntosh did not remain a distiller, becoming a clerk in an iron works sometime before 1861,[lviii] working as such for the rest of his life in various industries and being described as a mercantile clerk.
Marjory (May) Morris was born on the 16th December 1797 in Methil in the parish of Weymss, Fife. Her parents were Robert Morris (Morrice) and May (Marjory) Adamson.[lix]She died at 94 Glebe Street on the 18th August 1855, cause of death dysentery, having lived in Glasgow for eleven years with her husband and children, confirming the family return from Ireland in 1844. Her son Hugh registered the death.[lx]
Hugh McIntosh died at 208 Garngad Hill, Glasgow on the 28th June 1873, cause of death was recorded as “Age”.[lxi]
Generation 3. Great Grandparents:
James McIntosh and Isabella Morrison.
This research has not established any vital records for these names in Britain or in Ireland.
Robert Morris and May Adamson.
Robert Morris (Morrice) married May Adamson in Weymss parish on the 5th January 1790. He was a sailor.[lxii] They had seven children, six daughters and one son, the fourth of whom was Marjory (May).[lxiii] No other information has been established.
Generation 2. Grandparents: Charles Rennie and Martha Spence.
Charles Rennie’s birth and death dates have not been established. Using various search criteria forty nine births are recorded in the Old Parish Records (OPR) between 1553 and 1854, none of which occurred in Ayr, (see Howarth) some possibles exist between 1780 and 1795 but are unlikely as they relate to individuals born in Aberdeenshire or in the East of Scotland.
Nine deaths are recorded in the OPR, none of which are in Ayr. Similarly between 1855 and 1862 there are no Ayr deaths of that name in the Statutory Records (SR).There was one possibility who died in Bo’ness in 1859 however he was a labourer, who was a widower. 1862 was chosen as according to Margaret Rennie and William McIntosh’s marriage registration document he was already dead by that time. He was described as having been a coach proprietor in that document.
Re his marriage to Martha Spence (as per the marriage registration mentioned above) no such marriage can be found in any of the OPR, anywhere in Scotland.
No record of the Rennie family in any of the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses has been found.
Martha Spence’s family background has also proved difficult to definitively establish. However there are strong clues to who her parents were and when she died.
A search of OPR births produced fourteen results, eleven of which can be discounted as being too early or too late. Of the three that are left one is from Ayr which is, I believe, correct. The others are from Dunfermline.
The Ayr one indicates that Martha Spence was born on the 21st September 1812. Her parents were Peter Spence and Sarah Johnston.[lxiv]
A search of SR deaths for Martha Rennie between 1862 (she was alive at the time of her daughter’s marriage) and 1900 produced no acceptable results. However when a search was made for Martha Spence there was one only registration from Ayr (out of nineteen results). This document confirmed her parents as detailed above however it seems she had married (again?) as she was described as being the widow of William Godfrey, a cabinet maker. She died on the 19th December 1885, ten days after her daughter Margaret’s death, at 36 Main Street, Newton Ayr, cause of death was a carcinoma.[lxv]
Re her apparent second marriage I could not establish any marriage either before 1855 or after, between a Godfrey and a Spence, regardless of forenames.
Generation 3. Great Grandparents:
Peter Spence and Sarah Johnston
Peter Spence married Sarah Johnston on the 29th December 1802 at Newton on Ayr.[lxvi] A search of the 1841 census naming Peter and Sarah produced one result for the whole of Scotland and that was in Ayr. He was described as a cotton hand loom weaver, age 66 years, born in Ireland. Sarah was age 56 years also born in Ireland.[lxvii] When his daughter Martha was born in 1812 he was described as a soldier in the Ayrshire Militia,[lxviii] when she died in 1885 he was recorded as being a Sergeant in the Militia.[lxix]
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to the volunteer staff of the excellent Glasgow Police Museum (http://www.policemuseum.org.uk) and in particular to the curator Alastair Dinsmor for his help with William McIntosh’s police career. The photographs are my own by kind permission of the museum.
[i] Registry. City of Glasgow Police Force. Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Reference: SR.55. 3, page 38.
[xxxix] Its first appearance in the Valuation Rolls is 1885, Alexander Morton is shown as the proprietor/occupier. He is also listed at that address in the PO Directory of 1884-85 p.457. There are no entries for that address in the Directories before that date, Morton previously staying in Annette Street.
[xl] Valuation Rolls (1855) Scotland. Glasgow, Cathcart. William McIntosh and Alex. Morton. VR01020047-/428.
In 2014 the Underwood Trust donated £1,000,000 to the Merchants House of Glasgow to ‘establish an expendable fund to be used for the benefit of deprived people in Paisley and Glasgow’, the funds to be disbursed in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Trust.[i]
The Underwood Trust was founded on 1st August 1973 by Robert Clark and his wife Mary Black Lang Clark, and was named after Robert’s childhood home at 21 Underwood Lane, Paisley.[ii] Their respective family backgrounds, particularly in the case of Clark, were not well to do, but by the time the Trust was founded the family was worth several millions of pounds, their wealth coming from property, cinema, television, and investment activity.
Robert Clark’s grandfather, James, was born in Airdrie around 1829.[iii] He married Isabella Munn in Dalry, Ayrshire in 1851[iv] and was employed as an ironstone miner. Isabella had been born in Paisley also around 1829 [v] but at the time of her marriage both she and James were described as ‘of the parish of Dalry’.[vi] They lived in one of the six Peesweep Rows there[vii] which housed miners and their families and consisted of one hundred and twelve dwellings, some with two rooms, and others with one. What they all had in common however was little or no sanitation and inadequate fresh water supply. Five of the rows had no wash houses, the sixth had four for eleven houses. The rent for one of these dwellings was typically £3 12s per annum. In 1912 the writer who recorded the conditions detailed above finished his report by saying, “This finishes the description of the Peesweep Rows. We wish they were finished in the material sense as well, for the only thing more melancholy than the Peesweep Rows was the anxiety of some of the women to show us how well pleased they were with their houses, and the fear that the latter would be condemned and shut up”.[viii]
By 1871 they had four sons: Robert and John, both coal miners then aged 20 and 16 years respectively, James who at the age of 13 years was a furnace labourer, and Arthur aged 6 years.[ix] The census of 1871 also records that James the father was unfit for work and on the 10th December of that year he died from emphysema of the lungs, which he had suffered from for several years[x].
Isabella continued to live in the Peesweep Rows for the next ten years, latterly with sons James and Arthur (both miners) in Wee Peesweep Row[xi], probably the worst of all the Rows in that it consisted of ten single apartments, all measuring fifteen feet by eleven feet, with the floor level being about eighteen inches below the outside road surface[xii]. She died there in July 1881 of phthisis (tuberculosis).[xiii]
Her story does not quite end there as, surprisingly, considering the conditions in which she lived, she left personal estate to the value of £73 8s 11d, consisting of savings in the Post Office which arose from a single deposit of £30 Isabella made on 20th December 1880, plus interest, an insurance policy from the Scottish Legal Funeral Society worth £15 16s, and household furnishings and other items.[xiv] Using RPI changes from 1881 to 2014 that is equivalent to £6680 today. Other financial measures make it worth much more; economic power of that sum being equivalent to £110,000.[xv] Where this ‘wealth’ came from is not clear. James, who was confirmed as her executor, she died intestate, worked as a labourer at the time of his mother’s death[xvi] and it seems unlikely that his brothers were in any better financial situation. Son John, Robert Clark’s father, had married in 1874, and in 1881 was working as an iron miner, and living in one of the Peesweep Rows, Double Row, with his wife and two sons.[xvii]
Note; all financial comparisons in this report are initially based on RPI changes and then economic power.
John was born in 1855 in Dalry [xviii] and married twice, firstly to Jane Nelson or Neilson in 1874[xix] with whom he had several children.[xx] They lived in Dalry, John working initially as a miner and then by 1885 as a millworker. Between 1881 and 1885 they moved from the miners dwelling in Double Row to Smith Street in the centre of Dalry,[xxi] a clear improvement in circumstances.
Subsequently the family moved to George Street in Paisley which is where Jane died in 1894 from phthisis leaving John with five children of school age, plus the two eldest boys who were both working. By that time however he had improved his employment situation having become a wringing machine agent.[xxii] His second wife was widow Elizabeth Jamieson whom he married in 1898 in Glasgow, according to the forms of the Christian Brethren.[xxiii] She had four children aged from a few months to 10 years from her previous marriage.[xxiv]
The combined family in 1901 consisted of eleven offspring ranging from 4 years to 19 years all living with their parents in Clavering Street, Paisley, by which time John had become a sewing machine agent.[xxv] Three more sons were born to the couple, Walter in 1900,[xxvi] Joseph in 1902, [xxvii]and Robert, who would become co-founder of the Underwood Trust, in 1904.[xxviii] Sometime after Robert’s birth the family moved to 21 Underwood Lane which is where they were living by 1911.[xxix]
Robert left school aged fourteen and went to work as an office boy in the Glasgow law firm of Maxwell Waddell in Hope Street, Glasgow. The leading partner of the firm John Maxwell appears to have encouraged Robert to attend university, which he did, graduating from Glasgow MA, and LLB, after which he returned to Maxwell’s company as a fully-fledged solicitor.[xxx] During this period Robert’s father John died in 1920[xxxi] leaving an estate valued at £1297 18s 4d,[xxxii] a not insignificant sum (equal to between around £48,000 and £400,000 today depending on the measure used.[xxxiii]) considering his start in life in Dalry. A ‘rags to riches’ story in less than fifty years. As Robert’s life progressed there was to be an exponential change in that story as his career and business activities blossomed. Initially that was due to his relationship with John Maxwell whose interests went beyond that of practising law.
In 1912 Maxwell became part owner of a cinema in Glasgow. By 1922 he owned twenty and had set up Waverly Films, distributing films locally for Wardour Films of London. He took over Wardour in 1923 moving to London in 1925. Two years later he bought Elstree Studios and established British International Pictures (BIP) as a production and distribution company. In 1929 the company made Britain’s first talkie, ‘Blackmail’, directed by the young and upcoming Alfred Hitchcock. He continued to buy cinemas and in 1928 established Associated British Cinemas (ABC) which within a year had a circuit of 80 cinemas.[xxxiv] In 1929 at the request of Maxwell Robert Clark moved to London to become Maxwell’s assistant subsequently reading for the English Bar becoming a qualified lawyer in England as well as Scotland.[xxxv]
In 1930 his mother Elizabeth died at the family home at 21 Underwood Lane.[xxxvi] Two years later Robert, on the 10th September, married Mary Black Lang at Mossvale Church of Scotland. Mary was a school teacher and lived in Paisley, Robert lived in London at 101 Finchley Road.[xxxvii]
Mary’s family had been resident in Paisley since the early part of the 19th century. Her paternal grandfather Matthew Lang married Elizabeth Young in 1866, both residents of Paisley, he being a journeyman joiner, Elizabeth a threadmill worker.[xxxviii] Her maternal grandfather Joseph Black, a widower, married Janet Cooper in 1869, in the Paisley home of the bride. Joseph was a warehouseman and Janet was described as a warehouse worker.[xxxix]
It’s clear that Mary Black Lang’s family background, although working class, was better off financially than that of Robert’s which had centred on mining, living in miner’s rows in Dalry, and in conditions which were hardly basic. Her paternal great grandfathers’ occupations had been that of grocer and baker,[xl] whilst her maternal great grandfathers had been respectively a shawl weaver and cowfeeder, (stockman who rears cattle, selling them on for slaughter).[xli][xlii]
Her father William Lang was born circa 1871 in Paisley[xliii]. He initially worked as a commercial clerk[xliv] but in due course became a journeyman joiner like his father.[xlv] He married Mary’s mother, Mary Black, a threadmill worker, in 1893. [xlvi]
About 1904 Matthew Lang set up the joinery firm Matthew Lang and Sons situated in McGowan Street, Paisley, William working with his father in the company.[xlvii]
Mary Black Lang was born in 1905 at Buchanan Terrace, Paisley,[xlviii] the last of four children. Her mother unfortunately died 4 years later, age 37 years, from pernicious anaemia[xlix] leaving William to care for Mary, and her two sisters and brother, who was the oldest at 13 years.[l] In 1912 William married again, his second wife being Williamina Rose Milne who came from Dundee.[li]
In early 1913 grandfather Matthew Lang died at ‘Langholm’, 27 Greenock Road, Paisley, age 74 years.[lii] He left an estate valued at £3201 2s 6d, (between £284,000 and £2.4 million today).[liii] A trust was established, administered by his sons William and David and two others, which essentially gave liferent of household goods and their home plus income from the estate to his wife Elizabeth. Income from the estate was also given to Matthew’s four children.[liv]
Mary’s father William died at ‘Langholm’ in 1932,[lv] a few months before she married Robert Clark. He also left a significant estate valued at £3483 3s,[lvi] (between £200,000 and £1.5 million today).[lvii] As for the Clarks but much more significant, a picture emerges of the Langs growing in prosperity to such an extent that their personal wealth was much more than ordinary working class families would achieve or aspire to.
The basis of Robert and Mary’s wealth was therefore what had come to them through their respective families. However it is what they did as a couple and ultimately as a family that transformed their personal financial standing from the reasonably well to do, to being multi-millionaires.
In 1933 ABC, BIP, and Wardour Films were consolidated into a single company called the Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC).[lviii] Whilst Robert continued to work for Maxwell in the new company he also looked for opportunities on his own behalf and in 1935 he set up his own cinema distribution company in Scotland, Caledonian Associated Cinemas.[lix] In 1938 with his wife Mary, he established the Langholm Investment Trust (named after her childhood home in Paisley), whose objective was to invest in land, tenements and hereditaments.[lx] Mary was chairman and Robert the governing director.[lxi] As will be demonstrated later, investment in property was to be key to Robert’s success. In between this business activity two sons were born in 1935 and 1938, in Hendon, Middlesex.[lxii]
In 1940 John Maxwell died,[lxiii] after which, in 1942, Robert became a director of ABPC.[lxiv] He continued to progress with the company, taking charge of Elstree Studios five years later, eventually becoming executive director in charge of film production in 1949.[lxv] He also pursued his own separate business interests with Caledonian Associated Cinemas and the Langholm Trust, and in 1948 established Taylor Clark (Scotland) Ltd. whose registered office was, and is, 185 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, its business being the buying and selling of real estate.[lxvi] The company is a private limited company, now known as Taylor Clark Properties Ltd., wholly owned by Taylor Clark Ltd, the eventual name of the Langholm Trust, which became the Equity Trust Ltd in 1962 and finally its current name in 1988.[lxvii] In 2015 the Scottish company share capital was £17,500,000.[lxviii]
The purchase of the shares of a little known and poorly performing investment trust in 1951[lxix] was in time to be the main means by which the Clark family fortune was founded. The Stock Conversion and Investment Trust had been established in 1888 primarily to convert existing stock (mainly LMS railway stock) into more than one class of security.[lxx] It’s not particularly clear who purchased these shares but by 1953 Robert Clark is chairman of the trust and in partnership with estate agent Joe Levy (the eventual founder of the Levy Foundation)[lxxi]. Levy was initially the major shareholder, Clark’s shareholding was both personal and through his previously established companies. The trust became heavily involved in the London property market of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, particularly with office and commercial developments. This was not a universally popular activity as it often involved the demolition of serviceable housing stock. However the trust was so successful in this venture that the shareholders’ funds increased from £13,155 in 1953 to £45,559,000 by 1972,[lxxii] in terms of economic power worth over £1 billion today.[lxxiii]
Robert continued with his ABPC career and in 1955 ABC Television was established servicing Birmingham midweek and London at the weekends. [lxxiv] Three years later he relinquished his role as executive in charge of film production, but remained a director of the company[lxxv] eventually being appointed ABPC’s first chief executive in 1966.[lxxvi] During his time in charge of film production he made a number of very popular films including the Dambusters (Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd), The Hasty Heart (Richard Todd, Ronald Reagan and Patricia Neal), The Dancing Years (Dennis Price) and Ice Cold in Alex (John Mills and Sylvia Sims).[lxxvii]
Television was beginning to play a large part in ABCP’s activities, in 1961 contributing £2.5 million to company profits.[lxxviii] In 1967 the Independent Television Authority (ITA) required ABC Television and Rediffusion Television to merge, the new company becoming Thames Television.[lxxix] Thames when established was run by ABPC board members with Robert Clark being deputy chairman of both companies.[lxxx]
The growth and development of ABPC had for some time attracted interest from organisations wishing to buy the company. After a protracted, acrimonious take-over battle, and several offers which were rejected, EMI finally bought the company in 1969 for £63 million, equivalent to somewhere between £1 billion and £2 billion today.[lxxxi]
On the completion of the take-over Robert Clark left the company with no thoughts of retirement, “being firmly ensconced behind his desk at the explosive growth company Stock Conversion”.[lxxxii]
He also continued to be actively involved in the companies he or his family owned, and he and his wife Mary became directors of the Underwood Trust they set up in 1973.
The Clark ‘empire’ eventually consisted of the companies already mentioned, his share- holding in the Stock Conversion Investment Trust and a myriad of other subsidiary and associated companies mainly wholly owned by Robert and his family; his two sons now being senior partners, shareholders or directors in each enterprise. Other family members were also shareholders and in due course some would become company officers.[lxxxiii]
In February 1984 Robert was awarded a honourary LLD from Glasgow University.[lxxxiv] He died later that year at his home in London[lxxxv] leaving an estate valued at over £855,000 net (between £2.2 million and £4.6 million today)[lxxxvi], £250,000 of which he bequeathed to the Underwood Trust.[lxxxvii]
Some years later in 1997 the journalist Jack Webster wrote an article in the Glasgow Herald entitled “Lost in the confines of our mediocre obsessions”. In it he bemoans the fact that Robert Clark, despite his work with cinema and television, was largely unknown to the public. When he died there had been no obituary in the Times or any other London newspaper: nothing at all in the public domain which acknowledged his achievements, whilst others of lesser stature and achievement (he mentions Chris Evans and Anthea Turner), in his view, are lauded beyond comprehension.[lxxxviii]
Six months after Robert’s death the family sold their 22.4% (11.7 million shares) holding in the Stock Conversion and Investment Trust to Stockley property group realizing just over £70 million, (between £185 million and £365 million today).[lxxxix]
Robert’s wife Mary died in 1993 aged 87.[xc] She left an estate valued at over £3.1 million, (between £5 million and £8 million today),[xci] bequeathing all her shares in Taylor Clark Ltd to the Underwood Trust.[xcii]
From James Clark to Robert Clark occurred an amazing transformation. James lived in accommodation in a miner’s row in Ayrshire that was basic and insanitary, dying from a typical miner’s disease at the early age of 42. His grandson Robert lived in St James Square in Westminster, London SW1,[xciii] was at the heart of the British cinema and television industries, and was a significant player in the London property market in the 1950s to the 1970s. He died aged 80, a multi-millionaire, having also, with his wife Mary, set up a multi-million pound charitable trust to aid the less fortunate in Glasgow and Paisley.
Both the Trust and the Taylor Clark group of companies continue to operate successfully, the company’s latest returns showing shareholder funds at over £170 million.[xciv] Currently they are involved with BAM Properties in a £100 million development of Atlantic Square (Argyle Street /Broomielaw, James Watt Street/York Street) in the heart of Glasgow’s International Financial Services District. The development, scheduled to start in the autumn of 2017, will provide mainly office accommodation with some retail outlets and residential accommodation.[xcv]
Header and figures 1 and 2 from: Dalry Remembered. The Dalry Local History Group 1985.
What makes a successful and prosperous ship owner, also an assiduous and knowledgeable collector of art, become a Glasgow Corporation councillor? Is it a sense of civic duty, to give something back as it were? Is it to gain a different kind of influence, or to pursue a political view or philosophy? Or did it ‘just happen’?
Following his death in March 1958 the collector in question, Sir William Burrell, was quoted in an article in the Glasgow Herald by the then Lord Provost of Glasgow Andrew Hood as saying “I sold all my ships so I could become a councillor with the aim of helping to solve Glasgow’s slum housing problem”.[i]
He clearly became a councillor; being elected in 1899, however did he have a political objective and did he sell his ships to achieve it? Additionally by what process did he become a candidate in the municipal elections? Did he have any particular political viewpoint? Who or what influenced him politically?
The answers to these questions lie within the period 1897 to 1899 during which time all the events which resulted in Burrell becoming a councillor, occurred.
In 1899 two seemingly unconnected events happened, one planned, the other unforeseen, which, in combination, set the scene for Sir William Burrell (then plain mister) becoming a Glasgow Corporation councillor.
The last few years of the 19th century saw significant demand for ships coupled with high shipping rates. In keeping with their previous practise of buying ships when the industry was depressed and selling them in boom periods, Burrell and Son sold their entire fleet, some 25 vessels, between 1897 and 1899 most of which had been built between 1892 and 1894, when shipbuilding was in a slump. This was the second occasion they had sold their fleet in this manner and there was to be a third subsequent to the end of the Great War.[ii]
In a letter to his friend R.S. Dods dated 3rd January 1902 the architect Sir Robert Lorimer (who at that time was heavily involved with Burrell’s furnishing of his house in Devonshire Gardens) tells of Burrell explaining his company’s business tactic of buying and selling ships. Lorimer describes it as the nimblest he’s ever struck and quotes Burrell as saying he puts the money into 3% stock and “lies back until things are absolutely in the gutter” at which point he starts to buy new ships at rock bottom prices. Burrell described it to him as “making money like slate stones”. He also told him that he expected to be buying ships again in 1904,[iii] in the event it was 1905.[iv]
The sole purpose of the manoeuvre was to make money, and lots of it. Nothing wrong with that of course but there was clearly no intent to sell his ships for any other reason, it was purely a business imperative. That being so it’s difficult to accept he had any political objective in mind when he did so. Perhaps he came to that later.
The company continued to function as shipping agents and insurance brokers in the following few years and to charter ships whenever they secured cargo. Nonetheless compared to earlier years the company’s activities were clearly much reduced.[v]
Burrell continued to add to his collection, which already included paintings, tapestries, sculptures and ceramics, with more funds and at least initially, with more free time to do so.[vi]
The Municipal elections in 1899 were to be held on Tuesday 7th November. At that time there were 25 wards in the city and by the 1st October all the candidates for each ward had been identified and declared. Burrell’s name was not amongst them.
One of the candidates was Robert Murdoch, head of Robert Murdoch and Co., Iron and Steel Merchants, who was also one of three sitting members for Ward 10 (Exchange). He was the retiring member for 1899 and was standing again, unopposed for re-election.
Unfortunately for Mr. Murdoch, who had been a councillor for 10 years, on the 15th October he died suddenly at home, aged 75 thereby creating a vacancy in the ward.[vii]
Exchange ward was at the heart of the city and was the centre of the city’s business and commercial activity. It took in George Square, the City Chambers, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, the GPO, the Custom House, and at No.54 George Square, the Burrell and Son offices. In 1895 the city assessor James Henry in accordance with the City of Glasgow Act 1891 (Divisional Administration) presented a report proposing a rearrangement of the 25 municipal wards, primarily to ensure that any given ward in its entirety was in a single parliamentary constituency. After a period of debate the issue was finally settled in April 1896. Exchange ward boundaries were established to the north as Bath Street and Cathedral Street, its southern boundary was Clyde Street, and it was bounded east and west by Stockwell Street/Glassford Street/John Street and Jamaica Street/Mitchell Street/ West Nile Street respectively, all contained within the Central Parliamentary Division.[viii] Its electoral roll was 2087 and it had a rental valuation of £450,190, the smallest roll and highest rental (by a significant margin) of any of the city wards. [ix]
The ward contained some of the most influential and powerful people in the city and it would be expected that its representatives on the council would come from that community. In due course that’s what happened when Richard Hubbard Hunter was persuaded to come forward to fill the vacancy caused by Murdoch’s death.[x][xi] He was a wealthy business man who was the managing director and chairman of Hunter, Barr & Company, a company which had been started by his father in 1843. They were wholesale warehousemen dealing in textiles and had branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Leeds and Newcastle.
He was a man of strong religious conviction and had a background of philanthropic works and had, among other charitable activities, joined with William Quarrier in setting up the orphan’s home at Bridge of Weir. He also established the Sailors Orphan Society of Scotland, which continues to provide assistance to the children of seamen to this day.[xii][xiii]
At the Exchange Ward committee[xiv] annual meeting held on 25th October in the Lesser Trades Hall in Glassford Street, following accounts of Corporation business given by the other sitting councillors of the ward (Robert Graham and Thomas Watson), Hunter addressed the meeting saying he was concerned about the amount of money the city was borrowing, that he would not follow any particular party line but would use his judgement to determine matters in council. As reported in the Glasgow Herald it was a fairly brief statement. He was unanimously adopted as a ‘fit and proper person to represent the ward’.[xv]
Usually (but not always) that would have been that and Hunter would have been elected to the council without opposition.
However, that was not to be. On the 30th October the Glasgow Herald carried a short notice which said that on the preceding Saturday (28th) William Burrell had been ‘waited upon by a deputation from the electors of the Exchange Ward’ requesting him to put himself forward as a candidate for the ward vacancy. His answer was expected later that day.[xvi]
Who these electors were is not stated. Were they ward committee members despite the unanimous vote recorded for Hunter, or were they associates of Burrell (business or otherwise) who felt he would better represent their interests rather than the philanthropic Hunter?
At any rate Burrell gave his answer in the affirmative.[xvii] With one week to go to the election Burrell is now a candidate. Clearly not a pre-planned event unless he foresaw the unfortunate Mr. Murdoch’s demise!
Burrell’s decision to stand as a candidate in the election did not pass without response. Two letters to the Herald written on the 31st October and published on the 1st November gave divergent views on the situation. One was clearly in support of Burrell, the writer stating that he was glad there was to be a contest, that Burrell was Glasgow born and bred (Hunter was born in Inverkip) and that Burrell was a safe and competent individual to deal with ‘schemes’ which are ‘crowding’ on to the Town Council. The letter writer was not identified.[xviii]
The other, from ‘a large ratepayer’, basically criticised Burrell for creating a contest especially when he and Hunter were essentially saying the same thing, that Hunter was a larger ratepayer than Burrell, and had been endorsed by the Ward committee and a subsequent public meeting of electors. He encouraged voters to show their disapproval of Burrell’s candidature by voting for Hunter.[xix]
The election however did not go Hunter’s way with Burrell gaining 911 votes to his 522, thereby being duly elected to be the third member for the Exchange ward.[xx]
Why did he win? He was a latecomer to the contest and had no obvious political background. Was Hunter too much of a philanthropist for his fellow business ratepayers liking, was it local man versus outsider, bearing in mind that Hunter was born in Inverkip? Was there another reason?
If there was, it was probably related to Sir Samuel Chisholm and his politics. Chisholm was one of two candidates for Lord Provost that year (he was duly elected at the first meeting of the new council) and was a radical Liberal.[xxi] Thomas Gray, who was the Town Treasurer, spoke at Hunter’s pre-election meeting in the Merchant’s House on 2nd November suggesting the contest was not between Hunter or Burrell but which of the two would be more aligned to the politics of Chisholm. He felt Chisholm was being unfairly treated because of views being expressed that his appointment “would result in unnecessary and wasteful expenditure and that as he was an abstainer the city’s hospitality would suffer”.[xxii]
One individual in particular, to whom I’ll return to later, vigorously promoted these views over a number of years. Gray clearly was of the opinion that Hunter, perhaps because of his philanthropic activity, was more in tune with Chisholm than Burrell would be. The day before the election the Herald carried a notice from the Progressive Union, combining Christian, Philanthropic and Temperance agencies, supporting Hunter.[xxiii]
What were Burrell’s politics and influences then? His background would indicate he would at least lean towards the Conservative party. He was an extremely wealthy individual, was a successful business man, already had an extensive collection of artwork, and lived in Glasgow’s West End at 4 Devonshire Gardens with his mother and sisters Mary and Isabella.[xxiv] Additionally, his father William senior was described in his obituary in the Herald in 1885 as “a keen Conservative and active in a minor way in local politics in Bowling and Old Kilpatrick.”[xxv] It’s difficult therefore to see him having any contrary political views.
Another, perhaps more significant, influence was probably his brother in law Charles John Cleland who had married Burrell’s younger sister Janet Houston Burrell on 14th June 1888.[xxvi] Cleland worked for his father’s stationers company and in 1891 he was elected as one of three councillors for Glasgow Ward 25 (Maryhill). He had a deep interest in politics and was Vice Chairman of the Glasgow Conservative Association in 1909. He was also a member of the Conservative Clubs in the city.[xxvii]
In 1907 he was honoured with membership of the Royal Victorian Order (M.R.V.O.)[xxviii] and in 1917 was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire. (K.B.E.).[xxix] At one time he was also Deputy Lieutenant for the County of the City of Glasgow. He remained a councillor for Maryhill until 1907 when he retired from public office. However he stood for the Exchange Ward in 1929 and was duly elected subsequently becoming sub convener of the new Education Committee. He finally retired from politics in 1934.[xxx]
Cleland had three daughters, one of whom, Jessie Muriel Cleland, married Sir Richard Dawson Bates in 1920.[xxxi] He was an Ulster Unionist politician who was in the forefront of opposition to Irish Home Rule prior to the First World War and subsequently.[xxxii]
Cleland had significant influence as a politician and it’s probable that when Burrell was approached to stand as a candidate that he would seek advice from his brother in law and be guided by him, maybe even encouraged by him to stand.
One other influence on Burrell may have been the views of fellow business man and collector Arthur Kay. He was a director of Arthur and Co. whose offices were located at 78 Queen Street, approximately 350 yards from Burrell’s offices. He was also the individual referred to earlier who had a deep aversion to Samuel Chisholm and all he stood for.
Kay had much in common with Burrell in terms of collecting and had a similar approach in that he would rather trust dealers than academics when it came to seeking advice. Like Burrell he had started collecting early in life and was wary about alerting potential rivals to his interest in a particular item. It’s probable therefore they were acquaintances possibly even friends through their interest in art and their business activities. They would certainly mix in the same business circles and be aware of each other’s collecting activity and preferences,[xxxiii] an example of which is; around 1900 Kay bought Manet’s Un Cafe Place du Theatre Francais, which was eventually purchased by Burrell.[xxxiv] In 1907 they were founding members of the Provand’s Lordship Society in Glasgow. They therefore had a lot in common in business and art, and as I’ll show, their approach to civic governance.
Kay was the second largest ratepayer in Glasgow, after the railway companies and was vigorously against what he called Municipal Trading such as running tram systems, municipal telephone services, housing and so on, the sort of activities Glasgow’s citizens in due course readily accepted as municipal services. He also had concerns about the financing arrangements of the Council and the burden, actual and potential, it put on business ratepayers.[xxxv] He specifically was against the Housing Scheme proposed by Sir Samuel Chisholm which was in response to the Housing of Working Classes Act 1890, the scheme proposing a municipal solution to the problem.[xxxvi]
In general Kay was against the encroachment of the council into activities that he felt were the province of business, that the cost of doing this was being placed on the business ratepayers in particular, and that the debt caused by the council’s financial arrangements (stock issues) would ultimately default to the ratepayer. He was the founder of the Glasgow Ratepayers Federation and a member of the Citizen’s Union, both organisations being against Municipal Trading and all that it implied. He wrote pamphlets on the subject, delivered speeches to various bodies including the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, and on June 25 1903 gave evidence to a parliamentary committee during which he stated he is fundamentally against Municipal Trading and that ‘it is the opinion of a great many ratepayers – if all these undertakings are on the rates, a day will come when our representatives are not so reliable as they are at present – they may be socialists.’[xxxvii]
There is no evidence to suggest Burrell was a member of any of these organisations and there is no doubt most ratepayers (or council tax payers today) would support a reduction in their rates burden. However when Burrell spoke at his pre-election meeting at the Merchant’s House on the 1st November his ‘manifesto’ was very much in line with the essence and some of the specifics of Kay’s views.
Amongst those present at this meeting were Burrell’s brother George and his brother in law Bailie Charles Cleland. He opened by saying he ‘came before the electors neither as a stranger or an outsider’.
The key elements of his address dealt with Corporation finance as follows: expenditure, greatly increased in recent years due to municipalisation of the city, now time to call a halt as capital expenditure exceeded reserves; ratepayer burden generally increasing; flotation of stock to raise capital inefficient and excessive; Corporation would be better off paying attention to savings on large items rather than getting involved in ‘crotchets and fads’ such as the municipalisation of bread and milk, and the manufacture of policeman’s helmets; was against the Free Libraries Act as it would increase the rate burden on businesses in the city, from which they would get no benefit, (this at a time when Andrew Carnegie was building free libraries all over the world, including Glasgow); the Building Regulations Act imposed several unnecessary and oppressive restrictions on the erection of business premises and that some of the Act’s clauses should be eliminated and others amended.
A Mr. John Wilson asked Burrell why he had decided to stand for election without going to the Ward Committee either publically or privately. Burrell stated he had been pressed to do so and having agreed he would not turn back. A vote of confidence in Burrell was then proposed and seconded which was carried. Wilson had put forward an amendment to the motion saying there was nothing to suggest that Burrell would be better than Hunter, however it was not seconded.[xxxviii]
It may be that Burrell came to these views by himself, however what is not in doubt is that his comment that he had become a councillor to help solve Glasgow’s slum housing problem is not borne out by the facts.
He sold his ships for business reasons, no other. His candidature was pure happenstance. There was nothing in his ‘manifesto’ to demonstrate he wanted to help solve Glasgow’s slum housing problem. In fact he allied himself to the views of an individual (Kay) who was specifically against improving working class housing through municipal action.
There is one further question to be pondered, how effective was he as a councillor?
In the Herald article of 1958 Andrew Hood further quotes Burrell who told him that “after seven years as a member of the corporation I became so disappointed over my inability to realise my ambition.”[xxxix]
As ever with Sir William Burrell, there is probably more to it than that.
[xiv] In 1896 the Lord Provost of Glasgow Sir James Bell defined ward committees as voluntary bodies, the special functions of which were to deal with candidates for office and in a minor degree, with the elected and sitting representatives. They would also nominate or recommend a candidate for municipal elections which in practical terms would be a strong endorsement of the candidate to the electorate. Scottish Archive Network Ward Committees 1860 – 1974 Person code NA 18958 http://188.8.131.52/catalogue/person.aspx?code=NA18958&st=1&tc=y&tl=n&tn=y&tp=y&k=ward+committees&ko=a&r=GB243&ro=s&: accessed December 2013.
[xxvi] Marriages. Scotland. Old Kilpatrick, Dumbarton. 501/00. 14 June 1888. CLELAND, Charles John and BURRELL, Janet Houston. GROS Data 501/00 0036. http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk: accessed September 2012.
[xxxi] The Peerage, person page13507. ‘Jessie Muriel Cleland was the daughter of Sir Charles John Cleland. She married Sir Richard Dawson Bates, 1st Bt., son of Richard Dawson Bates and Mary Dill on 8 April 1920. She died on 31 October 1972.’http://www.thepeerage.com/p13507.htm: accessed October 2013.