The above formatting
is an approximation of the original.
N.B. To retain as much of the "feeling"
of the original as possible, words have been spelt exactly as they appear
in the original. The typewritten letter "f" has been used,
therefore, to replace the letter "s" where the old convention
dictated that "s" should be written in that style. The occupation
of saddler would therefore appear as faddler; masons
would appear as mafons; a flax-dresser would appear as
a flax-dreffer etc. At the end of the day, what you see is as
close as possible, using standard type, to what you would see had the
whole thing been scanned in as images (which would have been a lot easier
but (1) the text would not have been searchable and (2) the images would
take ages to download).
This copy of the Nathaniel Jones Directory is divided between three web
This page, comprising the(1887) Introduction to the
Nathaniel Jones Directory.
The Directory itself - an alphabetical
list of the "names and places of abode of the merchants, manufacturers,
traders and shop-keepers in and about Glasgow" (in 1787).
IN introducing the
little work of Nathaniel Jones, it may be advisable to give the reader
some idea of the condition and dimensions of our good city at the date
of its publication. It may also be worth while to look back through
the previous history of Glasgow, in order to note the state of manners,
and the rate of progression in numbers, wealth, and civilisation.
While doing so, I shall not attempt to penetrate the obscurity of the early
ages, or to inflict on the reader a true and particular account of St.
Kentigern's birth, parentage, and miracles. Neither shall I open
up the dreary roll of our Popish ecclesiastics, from Mungo to Archbishop
Beaten, as that would be entirely out of place in a new introduction to
an old Directory. I shall start with the Reformation, by stating
that the number of inhabitants in the city of Glasgow at that time did
not exceed 4,500, according to several authorities that need not be named.
In those days the majority of the houses were congregated about the
bishop's palace and the upper portion of the High Street; and the common
people are described as living in a state of ignorance, poverty, and semi-barbarism.
In troublous times men went about the streets constantly armed; and it
was not by any means uncommon for clergymen to appear in the pulpit fully
equipped with deadly weapons, in the shape of swords, daggers, and pistols.
Intestine feuds were every-day occurrences; and wrongs were righted on
the "good old rule," by blood-letting and knocking each other on the head,
in defiance of law or justice, except the law of self-preservation and
the wild justice of revenge. The reformation of religion unquestionably
led to a reformation of public morals, to a certain extent; but, owing
to the civil commotions which followed that important era in our history,
the progress of well-doing and well-being was necessarily slow.
The circulating medium was scant in the pockets of the people, and the
funds of the Corporation were also at a very low ebb. At a meeting
of Council held during the early part of 1609, Provost John Inglis took
the opportunity of informing his brethren at the Board that the city was
sorely pressed for a debt of a hundred pounds Scots, or £8 6s. 8d.;
that the magistrates were in danger of "horning" for the same; and as the
Corporation had not the means he had borrowed the amount required from
a well-to-do burgess named William Burn.
During the year 1652, and again in 1667, the city was devastated by
great fires, which reduced hundreds of houses to ashes in a few hours,
and almost ruined the half of the population. Towards the close of
the seventeenth century, and under the provostship of William Napier, merchant,
we find the magistrates granting an allowance to the jailer "for keeping
warlocks and witches imprisoned in the Tolbootlh, by order of the Lords
of Justiciary"- a pretty clear proof that learned judges and local Dogberrys
in those days were still subject to old-fashioned prejudices or superstitions.
At the time of the Union a census was taken by order of Robert Rodger,
the Provost, and the population was found to be 12,766; while the style
of living, as described by Mr. Dugald Bannatyne, was "of a very moderate
and frugal cast." The dwelling-houses of the highest class, as a general
rule, contained only one public room, and even that was seldom used except
for the entertainment of company. At other times the family took
their meals in a bed-room, without ceremony, or servants dancing about
them in attendance. After dinner - and perhaps a tumbler of rum-punch
- the head of the house went back regularly to his place of business, and
generally finished up the evening by a sederunt in some favourite tavern.
The gradual increase of wealth, however, by the opening up of the American
trade, led to a change in the habits of the better classes. Larger
houses were built, fine furniture was introduced, tea, card, and dancing
parties became fashionable; but, nevertheless, the ladies of those days
did not think it beneath them to ply the needle, to nurse their own children,
to make their own markets, or to superintend the cooking of their husbands'
In 1715 the city was much disturbed by the outbreak of the Rebellion;
but the soreness on account of the Union was almost worn off, and the citizens
did not fail to show their loyalty as well as their liberality. They
raised a regiment of volunteers about 6oo strong, which they drilled and
maintained at their own cost; and the city was fortified by a deep and
broad trench, as a measure of precaution against the inroads of rebels.
Ten years after this, the splendid mansion of Mr. Campbell, MP for the
Glasgow District of Burghs, was attacked and sacked by a mob, in consequence
of that gentleman voting for the extension of the malt tax to Scotland.
This fine house was situated on the present site of Glassford Street; and
while the mob were busy tearing it to pieces, the Provost, John Stark,
and his brother magistrates, were enjoying themselves very comfortably
in a public-house. A detachment of soldiers arrived from Dumbarton
Castle at night; and next day, as the rioting still continued, they fired
twice upon the crowd, and the result was that nine persons were killed
and seventeen wounded. Intelligence of these troubles was sent to
Edinburgh post-haste; when General Wade immediately started for Glasgow,
and took possession of the city with a strong force of cavalry, infantry,
and artillery. He was accompanied by Duncan Forbes of Culloden, the
Lord Advocate of the time; and, after a searching investigation, nineteen
persons were apprehended, bound with ropes, and sent off to Edinburgh to
await their trial. But even this was not considered enough to assert
or uphold the majesty of the law. The whole batch of Glasgow magistrates,
from Provost Stark to the Deacon-Convenor, were arrested, thrown into their
own Tolbooth, and afterwards sent to Edinburgh as prisoners of state.
After a day's detention in the capital, they were liberated on bail, and
ultimately absolved from the charges of negligence or incapacity; but the
city had to pay the piper, in name of damages, to the extent of £9,000.
Shortly after this, Mr. Campbell sold his city mansion; and with the price
obtained, and the compensation money, he purchased the entire island of
Islay, which his descendants have since permitted to slip through their
We now come to the year 1736, when old "John M'Ure, alias Campbell,
Clerk to the Registration of Seisins, and other Evidents for the District
of Glasgow," published his quaint history of the city. At this date
the population would not exceed 15,000 persons, living in ten streets and
seventeen lanes, and on an area of ground scarcely three quarters of a
square mile in extent. It was well provided with bridges, however,
there being twenty altogether, and of stone - twelve being within the liberties,
and eight without. Of these twelve, one was over the Clyde at the
foot of Stockwell Street, three over St. Enoch's Burn, and eight over the
classic Molendinar. M'Ure informs his readers, in glowing terms,
that the city was surrounded by corn-fields, kitchen and flower gardens,
and beautiful orchards, abounding in fruits of all kinds, "which, by reason
of the open and large streets, send furth a pleasant and odoriferous smell."
In a final burst of enthusiasm, the old historian says: "It is the most
beautiful city in the world for its bigness, and is acknowledged to be
so by all foreigners that come thither."
Among the principal buildings, after the Cathedral and the College,
mentioned by M'Ure, the most notable was the town's "great and magnificent
hospital," situated on the banks of the river a little to the west of Stockwell
Street, where the Fish Market is now situated. It is described as
superior to Christ's Church or the London Charter House; and nothing "of
that kind at Rome or Venice comes up to the magnificence of this building."
It was, in short, the admiration of all strangers, and without a parallel
in Europe. The Town-house or Tolbooth is also described as "a noble
and magnificent structure-sixty-six foot in length, and from the south
to the north twenty-four foot eight inches."
The reader may be a little surprised to hear that the Tolbooth was also
a public-house in the good old times, and that the jailer was in the daily
habit of leaning over his half-door, on the outlook for drouthy customers!
We have then a description of the "Bremmylaw harbour and cran," regarding
which the worthy Clerk says.-" There is not such a fresh-water harbour
to be seen in any place in Britain: it is strangely fenced with beams of
oak, fastened with iron batts within the wall thereof, that the great boards
of ice in time of thaw may not offend it; and it is so large that a regiment
of horse may be exercised thereupon."
Several sugar-houses, tan-works, lands, and lodgings are also described,
including "the great and stately tenement of land built by the deceased
Walter Gibson, merchant, and late Provost of Glasgow." This tenement occupied
the north corner between Prince's Street and the Saltmarket, and stood
"upon eighteen stately pillars or arches, adorned with the several orders
of architecture." Walter Gibson was the son of John Gibson of Overnewtown,
and rather a remarkable man in his day. He commenced business as
a maltster - made some money - took to herring-fishing and merchandising;
and at length freighted a Dutch ship with 3,600 barrels of herring, which
he sent to France, "and got for each barrel of herring a barrel of brandy
and a crown." He was also the first merchant that brought foreign iron
to Glasgow, and stood first on the list of the great company carrying on
trade "with Virginia and the Carriby-islands."
At the same period, the number of shopkeepers in the city did not exceed
155, including " Robert M'Nair and Jean Holmes in Company" - the worthy
partners of said firm being "sleeping partners" in another sense, or, in
other words, man and wife! From being small hucksters originally,
Robin and Jean became extensive merchants and sugar-boilers, and ultimately
owned the largest amount of house property in the city.
In 1745, when the rising in the Highlands took place under Prince Charles
Edward, the city of Glasgow raised two battalions of volunteers, each 6oo
strong, for the service of the Government. When the Pretender reached
Edinburgh in triumph, he made a demand upon the Glasgow magistrates for
all the arms in the city, and £15,000 in hard cash; but, through
the exertions of Provost Cochrane, this sum was modified to £5,000,
with about £500 worth of goods. After the romantic march into
England, and the disastrous retreat from Derby, Prince Charles, with the
main body of his army, made his appearance in the west of Scotland, and
entered Glasgow on Christmas-day. He took up his quarters in the
house of Mr. Glassford - the gutted mansion of Mr. Campbell-and remained
in the city for ten days. His Highland followers are described as
bare-headed and barefooted fellows, with matted hair, grizzly beards, tanned
skins, famished aspect, and peculiarly savage and ferocious looking in
their rags. After exacting heavy contributions in shirts, hose, short
coats, shoes, blue bonnets, and provender, the Prince took his departure;
and it is said that the city would have been sacked and burned to ashes
by the Highlanders, had it not been for the manly resistance of Lochiel.
Up till 1760, the severity of the ancient manners prevailed in full
vigour: no lamps were lighted on the Sunday evenings, innocent amusements
were denounced, and people were actually prevented from walking on the
day of rest. In order to enforce this regulation, the magistrates
employed certain persons named "compurgators," whose duty was to perambulate
the streets and public walks during divine service every Sunday, and to
take offenders into custody if they refused to go home when ordered.
A party of these men, on duty at the Green, thought proper to apprehend
Mr Peter Blackburn - a prominent citizen, and ancestor of Mr. Blackburn
of Killearn; and the result was that Mr. Blackburn prosecuted the magistrates
before the Court of Session, and put an end to the "compurgatory" system
of Sabbath-keeping. This Mr. Blackburn was a member of the famous
"Hodge-Podge" Club, along with the father of Sir John Moore, and other
celebrities, and figured in the rhyme-register of the club (written by
Dr. Moore) in the following fashion:-
Rough Peter's the next who is about to appear,
With his weather-beat phiz, and his heathery hair.
His humour is blunt, and his sayings are snell-
An excellent heart in a villanous shell!"
The Dissenters of those days were equally bigoted in opinion and intolerant
in their behaviour, when they had the power. A mason named Hunter,
who was a member of the Antiburgher congregation of North Albion Street,
was so far left to himself, or to the wiles of Satan, as to build the Episcopalian
Chapel at the Green in the ordinary course of his business; and as the
poor man refused to express sincere contrition for his great sin, he was
It may easily be supposed, therefore, that "play-acting" in those days
would be regarded by the "unco guid" as an utter abomination; and so in
truth it really was. No theatre existed in the city; but strolling
companies of players occasionally exhibited their histrionic powers to
the lieges in Burrel's Hall, situated in the upper portion of the High
Street. In the course of 1752, however, a wooden booth was erected
within the precincts of the Castle yard, and attached to the ruined walls
of the Episcopal Palace; but this unpretending temple of Thespis was afterwards
attacked by an excited mob, and almost battered to pieces with stones.
In fact, people going to the play-house at this period had to be guarded
home, to protect them from popular violence, if we may trust the evidence
In spite of this feeling, five gentlemen - viz., W. M'Dowall of Garthland,
W. Bogle of Hamilton Farm, John Baird of Craigton, Robert Bogle of Shettleston,
and James Dunlop of Garnkirk - agreed to erect a theatre at their own expense;
but not a single feu-owner within the city boundaries would grant a site
for such a purpose! The spirited projectors had therefore to cross
St. Enoch's Burn, and after considerable difficulty they obtained a piece
of ground in Alston Street; but the proprietor charged them a double price
for it, because it was intended for "the devil's temple!" In due time the
theatre was built, and was ready to be opened in the spring Of 1764, and
the celebrated Mrs. Bellamy was announced for the occasion; but, previous
to the opening night, the theatre was wilfully set on fire, and the whole
scenery, with Mrs. Bellamy's wardrobe and jewels (valued at £800)
About this time, and for a number of years afterwards, the "tobacco aristocracy"
were in the zenith of their fame. Not a few of these magnates had made
immense fortunes by the American trade, more particularly in tobacco, which
was imported in large quantities into Glasgow, and then dispensed over the kingdom.
They owned a considerable fleet of ships and
brigantines, about 200 tons burthen each, and something like the annexed figure
when in full sail. In the times preceding the American war of independence,
the "tobacco lords" were in the habit of "pacing the plainstones" on the north
side of the Trongate, clad in scarlet cloaks, cocked hats, bushy wigs, knee
breeches, and silk stockings, They were the "cream of the causeway;" and no
tradesman or shopkeeper dared to address them off-hand, or encroach upon the
promenade ground, without leave, under pain of the highest displeasure.
Red cloaks with hoods were also quite common with the ladies of those days;
while pattens and sedan chairs were used for purposes of locomotion. Every
now and then the public hangman might be seen whipping criminals through the
streets at the cart's tail; while the pillory and the scaffold were very frequently
When Nathaniel Jones published his first Directory, in 1787, the city
was still within very narrow limits, and the population could not have
exceeded 5o,ooo, being little more than a tithe of its present number.
The sites of Laurieston, Hutchesontown, Tradeston, and Bridgeton, were
cornfields or kitchen gardens; hares and partridges were occasionally shot
on Blythswood Holm and Garnet Hill; the site of the Edinburgh and Glasgow
Railway Station supported a thriving plantation and a rookery; and children
waded safely across the Clyde where the harbour now is, and where great
iron ships and steamers of more than 2,000 tons burthen are now riding
safely at anchor. In the business parts of the city, shops were lavishly
decorated with all sorts of sign-boards, and gilded articles representing
the wares to be had within. Golden fleeces, and fish, and boots,
and breeches dangled in middle air; and sometimes the lettering of the
signs was a treat to the curious. In the Gallowgate, for example,
there was stuck up the following intimation: "Messages run down this close
at 2d a mile!" A little further on might be seen: "New laid eggs every
morning, by me, Janet Stobie !" Over an eating-house in a sunk flat, hungry
passengers were invited to:
"Stop and read, to prevent mistakes,
Joseph Howel's beefstakes.
Good meat and drink makes men to grow,
And you will find them here below."
Among the inns or hotels of the period were the " Saracen's Head," Gallowgate;
the " King's Arms," Trongate; the "Bull Inn," Argyle Street; the " Crown Inn,"
Gallowgate; and the "Leaping Horse," on the south side of the Trongate.
The "Saracen's Head," in particular, was a favourite place of resort for travellers
and citizens of distinction. It was patronized by the Lords of Justiciary
on circuit, and by the nobility of several counties, including the sporting
Duke of Hamilton. It was in this famous hostelry that Dr. Samuel Johnson
took up his quarters after his tour through the Hebrides; and on his arrival,
after seating himself in front of the fire, he put a leg on each side of the
grate, and with a mock solemnity said: "Here am I, an Englishman, sitting by
a coal fire!" Coaches, flies, diligences, stages, and caravans started from
the different hotels for London, Edinburgh, Stirling, Paisley, Greenock, and
other towns, at various hours, and made the passages
with commendable regularity, considering the state of the roads. The Greenock
"Fly" (a woodcut of which is here given) took five hours in going - I can scarcely
call it running - from Glasgow to Greenock; while the Dumbarton coach made its
passage in about four hours.
Among the favourite "houffs" of the fuddling fraternity may be mentioned
"Lucky Black's" tavern, the "Three Tuns," the "Black Boy," and the "Boot,"
which is simply a corruption of "Bute," as the tavern was originally called.
Mrs. Black's tavern was situated down a long narrow close at the head of
the Gallowgate, and was a thatched house of two stories. She drove
a "roaring trade," especially in the winter evenings, and was famous over
the city for sheep's heads, black puddings, and "a skirl in the pan." The
"Black Boy" was also kept by a buxom widow, who ultimately doffed her weeds,
and became the landlady of the "Buck's Head," where an "ordinary" was kept
daily, at the moderate charge of eightpence per head. The landlord
of the "Three Tuns" was " honest John Greig," a character in his way; and
the same may be said of John Neilson, the Boniface of the Boot."
In looking over the tiny Directory of Mr Jones, many names will be found
just as familiar in the mouths of the citizens now as they were eighty
years ago. It will be seen, at the same time, that immense changes
have taken place during that period. The "merchant princes" have
deserted their domiciles in the business parts of the city, and have moved
towards the west, or into the country altogether. The population
has increased nearly tenfold; the city itself has invaded the country in
all directions, and by thousands of acres at a stretch.
But notwithstanding the increase of population, the multiplication of
public works, and the pollution of the river, the rate of mortality has
continued to decline. In 1787, the number of deaths within the city
boundaries amounted. to I,759, or one in every 28 of the population; whereas,
in 1866, the proportion was exactly one in every 34. In those days
small-pox was one of the most deadly scourges that afflicted humanity;
and accordingly we find that out of 1,759 deaths, during the year above
named, 383 resulted from small-pox alone, or nearly a fourth part of the
aggregate mortality. In 1866, out of 12,826 deaths, not more than
101 were the effect of small-pox, or one in every 127. The general result
shows, that in 1787 one person out of every 130 died from this terrible
disease; while in 1866 the proportion of deaths had declined to one in
Eighty years ago the General Post-Office was in a small shop in Gibson's
Wynd, or Prince's Street, and the business was conducted by one master,
two clerks, and two letter-carriers; while the number of the latter at
the present time is at least forty times more. The Custom House was
managed by two men, and the Tolbooth by the same number; and, to crown
all, the street Directory has swelled from 84 Pages to 85o, and has increased
in weight from a little over one ounce to nearly two pounds and a quarter!
It would be quite superfluous to go more particularly into the contents
of "Jones's Directory," as it is now before the reader, and he may prefer
to make his own comparisons. It may not be out of place, at the same
time, to add a few notes regarding some of the names to be found in the
pages of Jones, and to mention the simple fact that my information has
been chiefly drawn from the works on Glasgow written by' M'Ure, Cleland,
Reid (Senex), Pagan, and Dr. Strang.
Was a native of Stewarton, and commenced business on his own account as
a hawker or pedlar. Then he opened a shop in the High Street of Glasgow,
at the yearly rent of five pounds; the half of which he sublet to a watchmaker
for fifty shillings! In these small premises he contrived to carry
on a profitable and yearly increasing business in French yarns particularly,
until he was appointed agent for the Royal Bank of Scotland, when the watchmaker's
half of the High Street shop was converted into a bank office. Some
time after this, Mr. Dale erected the cotton mills at Lanark, went into
turkey-red dyeing, weaving, and other enterprises; in all of which he was
remarkably successful. From less to more he realized a handsome fortune-became
a preacher of the gospel in the "Candle Kirk," father-in-law of Robert
Owen, and a Glasgow magistrate. He lived respected by all who knew him,
and died universally lamented as an able merchant, a just magistrate, and
one of the most benevolent of men.
DR. WILLIAM PORTEOUS
Was the son of a Perthshire minister, and became pastor of the Wynd Church
in 1776. He was blamed for taking a share in the anti-popish agitation
of those days, which resulted in the destruction of a Catholic chapel and
a considerable amount of property. He was a tall, dark-complexioned
man, with a commanding appearance and an enormous wig, and he made himself
somewhat unpopular among the poorer classes, by looking strictly after
parties claiming relief at the Town's Hospital. At length the worthy
doctor got the cognomen of Buff the Beggars," and the common cry in the
streets was "Porteous and the deil, Buff the beggars weel!" During
the excitement of the French Revolution, Dr Porteous preached a sermon
before the Glasgow Volunteers, in which he compared the orgies of the revolutionists
to scenes in the bottomless pit, "when Satan gave the signal and all hell
rose in a mass!" He was the first minister of St George's Church, and got
for a second wife, the aunt of General Sir John Moore.
JOHN ORR OF BARROWFIELD
Was Town Clerk of Glasgow from 1781 till 1803, and for several years Captain-Commandant
of the Light Horse Troop of Volunteers. When a very young man, Mr
Orr fell in love with a beautiful young lady, the intimate acquaintance
of his sister, and a very ardent correspondence was the immediate result
- the lover concluding, one of his epistles by signing himself "Your
affectionate husband, John Orr." Years passed on, and Mr. Orr ceased
to talk of marriage. An action in the Court of Session was raised
against him; and, after a protracted litigation, the lady was declared
his lawful wife. He steadily refused to live with her, however, or to acknowledge
her as his wife. She entered the Court of Session once more, obtained
a divorce, and got married a second time; while Mr Orr remained single
throught life, and died in 1803, in the fifty-ninth year of his age.
A gallant old soldier who had seen a good deal of service in foreign parts,
and who was much given to fighting his battles over again. It was
his daily habit to "promenade the plainstones" opposite his own house in
the Trongate, clad in a suit of snuff-coloured brown, his long, spare limbs
incased in blue striped stockings, knee breeches, shoes and buckles.
He sported a long queue, a kold-headed cane, cambric ruffles, powdered
hair, and a cocked hat, which he always took off with French politeness
when saluting a friend. He was commonly called "the Beau," and was
esteemed by all who knew him as "a prince of worthy fellows, and a pretty
man also." He lived with two maiden sisters, was a regular member of the
Coffee-room, and dearly loved a bowl of good punch, seasoned with limes
from his own estate in Trinidad. At last he sickened and died; and
John Wilson in the Noctes sang of him thus:-
"Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!"
ROBERT DREGHORN OF RUCHILL
(Or "Bob Dreghorn," as he was called all over the city) occupied a large
house fronting West Clyde Street, and was in the daily practice of walking
up Stockwell Street to the Cross. He was a tall, gaunt figure, dreadfully
marked by small-pox; with a large crooked nose, and a pair of eyes that
looked in opposite directions. He had a great antipathy to mischievous
boys whom he belaboured with his walking-stick whenever any of them came
within reach of the "Dragon's" arm; and had as great a partiality for servant
girls with bare feet! He was, in short, the embodied ideal of ill-nature
and ugliness: mothers used to frighten their children by the mention of
his name; and yet he was known to be a kindly-disposed man. One morning
in 1806, he was missed from his usual walking-ground; and on inquiries
being made, it was discovered that poor Bob had died by his own hand.
The story ran that his house was haunted; and so strongly did this feeling
prevail, that it remained empty and forsaken for many years afterwards.
PROFESSOR JOHN YOUNG
Was generally regarded as one of the most accomplished scholars that ever
occupied the Greek Chair in the Glasgow University. He expounded the ancient
classics with an enthusiasm that has never been surpassed; and, moreover,
he was an ardent admirer of the drama and of Edmund Kean. The learned
professor was the son of a cooper, and the students on that account dubbed
him "Cocky Bung." While in the theatre one night, he became so absorbed
by witnessing Kean's "Shylock," that he also commenced to act the part
in dumb-show, to the amusement of the audience; and a witty ex-Provost
made note of the circumstance in rhyme, as follows:
The very Jew I've surely seen
That Shakespeare painted, played by Kean,
While Plaudits loudy rung;
But what was all his acting fine,
To the diverting pantomime
Displayed by Cocky Bung?"
This notability kept a rum-cellar in Wallace's Closs, Bell's Wynd, and
was known in the city by the sobriquet of "The General," on account of
his tall, erect figure, and "lordly bearing" on the streets. He was
one of the founders of the Camperdown Club, and was never known to change
an opinion which he had once fairly adopted. He detested changes
and innovations of all kinds, even in dress, and stuck to knee breeches
and white worsted stockings long after the oldest man in the city had discarded
them. In 1803, the "General" was appointed Master of the Glasgow
Police, an office which he held for two years. He was much respected
by his fellow citizens, and died in the eighty-seventh year of his age.
A "merchant councillor" in 1787, and Lord Provost of the city in 1793.
During the reign of Mr. Hamilton, a monetary panic overspread, the country:
banks failed by the score, firms broke down by the hundred, and the greatest
distress prevailed everywhere. In this emergency Provost Hamilton
went to London, and applied for Government aid, to save the manufacturers
of Glasgow from ruin, and the application was successful. He was
a thin, spare, skeleton of a man, a real scarecrow provost; and when arrayed
in his dark velvet suit, it was said of him that he "looked like Death
running away with the mortcloth!" While in London on his benevolent mission,
he was held to be a palpable evidence of a famishing city; and having accomplished
the object of his journey, the worthy chief magistrate returned and adopted
measures for relieving his distressed fellow-citizens. During Mr
Hamilton's tenure of office, the Tron Church was rebuilt, and the ancient
Cathedral was repaired and re-seated.
JOHN GORDON OF AIKENHEAD
A successful West India merchant, a leading partner in the great firm of
Stirling, Gordon, and Company, a high Tory, and first president of the
celebrated "Pig Club." - Mr. Gordon was a jolly-looking well-made man,
of a lordly bearing; and, like the "General," he long stuck to knee breeches
and worsted stockings. He occupied a large mansion and fine garden on the
site of the Prince of Wales buildings in Buchanan Street, where he
surrounded himself with a cricle of the leading Tory gentlemen or the period,
and dispensed a princely hospitality. Mr. Gordon was emphatically
a citizen of credit and renown; and, after a long life of mercantile activity,
political consistency, and wide-spread benevolence, he died on the 2nd
December, 1828, universally lamented in spite of his political opinions.
ROBERT CARRICK OF BRACO
Was the son of Robert Carrick, minister of Houston, and entered the counting-house
of the "Ship Bank" at the age of fifteen, under the auspices of Provost
Buchanan of Drumpellier. Step by step, slowly but surely, Robin Carrick
rose to be managing partner of the concern, and one of the most important
personages in the city of Glasgow at the time. He was a short, dumpy man,
in his latter days with thin grey hair, tied into a pigtail behind and
with a keen scrutinizing expression of countenance. His every-day
attire consisted of a long blue coat hanging down to his heels, a striped
woollen waistcoat, knee breaches, white ribbed stockings and a pair of
capacious shoes. He sat behind his desk on a three-legged
stool, in the "sweating room," or manager's sanctum where he received his
customers with a bland smile, even when refusing to discount their paper.
On these occasions the invariable saying was, "it's not convenient;" and
once uttered, it was never known to be recalled. Mr. Carrick was
elected Dean of Guild in 1803, and died in 1821.
REV. JOHN M'LEOD
Was minister of the Chapel of Ease in the latter part of the last century,
and was rather a notable sort of character. He is said to have had
a specific grace for every sort of dinner; and when the spread happened
to be sumptuous, he usually began with "Bountiful Jehovah!" Mr M'Leod had
an arch way of telling a story; and when Dr. Chalmers came to Glasgow,
and was in the heyday of his popularity, he remarked: "Weel, I mind mysel'
when I cam first to the Chapel o' Ease, folk were paying tippence a piece
for a seat on the poopit stairs - every dog has its day."
A leading Glasgow merchant, father of, Kirkman, and grandfather of Mr A.
Finlay of Castle Toward, late M.P. for Argyleshire. During the progress
of the American war, Mr. James Findlay, in conjunction with ex-Provost
Ingram and Mr. Gray of Carntyne resolved to raise a regiment of volunteers
in Glasgow for the service of the Government. With this object in
view, the trio met somewhere in the Gallowgate, and proceeded as a recruiting
party towards the Cross. Mr. Gray walked in front, as the sergeant,
wielding a formidable sword; Provost Ingram brought up the rear; while
Mr. Findlay marched in the centre, playing the bagpipes! On reaching
Peter M'Kinlay's tavern, the party marched up stairs, and were soon joined
by a number of their friends from the Coffee-room, anxious to learn their
success in the recruiting line, when Mr. Ingram remarked, "there's a sergeant
and a piper, but I am the regiment!" The recruiting was continued, however;
and before many days elapsed, the "regiment" turned out 1000 strong, and
afterwards became the 83rd of the line.
A merchant councillor, a popular member of the "Hodge-Podge Club," a poet
of no mean order; younger brother of James Dunlop of Garnkirk, and son
of Colin Dunlop of Carmyle. In 1794, Mr. Dunlop was elected Lord
Provost of Glasgow, and afterwards became Collector of Customs at Port-Glasgow,
where he died in 1820. He was the author of the two beautiful songs,
" Here's to the year that's awa," and "Dinna ask me gin I lo'e ye," besides
other pieces of considerable merit. In 1778, while still a Glasgow
town councillor, he took an active part in the promotion of a New Police
Bill, and was lampooned by a local satirist in the following style:-
The plan was in the Council moved
By an effected fop,
Who came from off the Turkish Dun,
And so nicknamed Dunlop;
Who struts still in the foremost rank,
Dull councillors among;
Because he apes the turkey's dance,
And eke the peacock's song."
DR. ALEXANDER RANKINE
Was minister of the Ramshorn Kirk, or St. David's, from 1785 till his death,
in 1827. He was an eloquent preacher, a modest, kind-hearted man,
and the author of several works, including a "History of France," of which
he was not a little proud. Being anxious to ascertain what other
people thought of his favourite work, the worthy doctor stepped into Stirling's
Library one day, where he was not known, and addressing Mr. Peat, the librarian,
said, "Pray, Mr. Peat, is Dr. Rankine's History of France in?" Mr. Peat
turned round on his seat and very curtly replied, "It was never out!" The
Doctor took the remark in good part, and went home to his "lodgings" a
sadder and a wiser man.
DR. CHARLES WILSONE
A physician in extensive practice at the head of Stockwell Street, in 1787,
and was the grandfather of Charles Wilsone Browne, the husband of the widow
Swinfen. On the 10th January, in the year above named, Dr. Wilsone
was knocked down in Argyle Street at night, and robbed by two men named
Veitch and M'Aulay, who were tried and sentenced to death for the crime.
At two o'clock on the 30th of May, they were taken out of the Tolbooth
at the Cross, and up the High Street to the place of execution in the Castle
Yard; but so great was the crush of people on the street, that a halt was
made, and refreshments served out to the prisoners at the "Bell of the
Brae," and a whole hour was spent in reaching the Castle Yard. Both
prisoners were duly executed, along with a man named Gentles, who suffered
death for robbing a bleachfield.
DR. JOHN BURNS
Was minister of the Barony for sixty-nine years; and for twenty-five years
of that long period he preached to his congregation in the crypt of the
Cathedral - a spectacle which Scott graphically describes in his "Rob Roy"
In 1787, Dr. Burns lodged in Castle-pens Land, on the east side of the
High Street, and died in 1839, at the advanced age of ninety-five.
An eminent merchant, and one of the most popular Lord Provosts that Glasgow
ever had. At this time he resided in the second floor of an old tenement
in Argyle Street; and yet he was rather proud of himself as a provost.
On one occasion, while apologizing for some mistake on the part of an official,
his lordship said, "even I myself have made a mistake!" a saying that was
not soon forgotten. Mr Colquhoun was the originator of the Chamber of Commerce,
in 1783; and in 1789 he settled in London, where he became Chief Police
Magistrate of the metropolis.
DR. ROBERT FINDLAY
Was appointed Professor of Divinity in the College about 1783; and his
lectures were considered remarkable for their learning, liberality, and
prolixity. One of his students, on being asked what he had heard
during a certain session, replied, "The illustration of an attribute and
a half;" while a second youth remarked that the Doctor had "hung nearly
the whole session on one horn of the altar!" Dr. Findlay had a thin,
attenuated figure; but his appearance was venerable and striking, especially
on the streets, as he was invariably dressed in clerical attire, surmounted
by a cocked hat and a full storied wig. He died in 1814, at the great
age of ninety-three.
An engraver in the second flat of Craig's Land, at the head of the Old
Wynd, was the father of the late Provost Lumsden, and grandfather of our
present chief Magistrate. In 1797, James Lumsden, junior, was erected
a knight companion of the "Coul Club," under the title of Sir Christopher
Was a merchant bailie in 1787, and Lord Provost of the city in 1790.
It was chiefly through the exertions of Mr. M'Dowall that the Royal Infirmary
was erected, and the industrial prison, or Bridewell, established in the
city. It was also during his reign that the Trades' Hall was built,
and the Flesher's Haugh, as well as John King's Park, was added to the
JOHN AND WILLIAM TAYLOR
Were teachers of writing, &c., in Buchanan's Land, Trongate, and stood
in the relationship of uncle and nephew. John, the uncle, was a bit
of a poet, and among other productions wrote a poem entitled "Nonsense,"
which was declared by Professor Hamilton to be destitute of a single idea
- a feat which gained for the author a leaden crown from the members of
the "Accidental Club." When Mr. Taylor died, and was carried to the High
Kirk burying-ground for interment, it was discovered that the undertaker
had forgotten to order the preparation of a grave! In this emergency,
the corpse was deposited in she south aisle of the Cathedral, and the funeral
party adjourned to a public-house in Kirk Lane, and enjoyed themselves
until the gravedigger did his duty. It is not a little singular that
Mr Taylor had strong presentiment that "something would go wrong at his
William, the nephew (or the "Cub," as he was called by his companions),
was much given to sarcasm or acidity in his talk - a habit which he carried
to great lengths, even with his pupils. On one occasion, the day
before Christmas, a boy went up to Mr. Taylor in school and said, "I suppose,
Mr. Taylor, we'll hae the play the morn to eat our goose?"
The dominie at once replied, Oh ay, Robin; but there's been sic a slauchter
o' thae animals, I wonder that you hae escaped!" Mr. Taylor was in
the habit of getting "jolly," and sometimes "glorious," on the Saturday
nights, and occasioially forgot the name of the next day. One Sunday
morning after a "booze," he awoke in bed, rung the bell violently, and
ordered in his shaving water at once, as time was up for school.
The servant girl, rather astonished, said, "Oh! Mr. TayIor, it's
the Sabbath-day!" "The Sabbath-day!" exclaimed the 'Cub,' "glorious
institution the Sabbath!" as he turned round for another snooze.
Teacher in Buchanan's Court, and afterwards head master of the Grammar
School - a man of immense proportions, and known by the nickname of "Gutty
Wilson." He was a member of the corps of volunteers designated the "ancients,"
on account of their personal appearance; and on one occasion, while being
dressed in line by an Irish drill-sergeant, the latter exclaimed, "Very
well in front; but, holy Moses! what a rear!')
Accountant in the Ship Bank, under the redoubtable Robin Carrick.
Mr. Marshall is described as a cadaverous-looking personage, with a whisky-painted
nose. gaunt in figure, and about six feet in height. He was in the
habit of taking burnt cake to kill the smell of the meridian drams; and
when he first made this important discovery, he entered the bank in triumph
with a bit, of the brown cake in his hand. Coming behind a bottle
companion at the desk (as he believed), Mr. Marshall gave him a hearty
slap on the back, and, presenting the piece of cake, exclaimed, "here,
my old cock, is one of Robin's deceivers for you!" The "old cock" was Robin
himself! The rest is left to the reader's imagination.
Better known as "Bauldy Wright," was an old Highlander, and kept a small
shop in the Trongate, where he sold drugs and garden seeds. He was
also the proprietor and sole inventor of "Wright's Powders," the virtues
of which have been described in the following fashion.-"If they did nae
harm, they could do nae guid!"
Another old Highlander and druggist in the Trongate, who also dealt in
silver plate, hardware, toys, tea, and quack medicines, including the famous
"Balm of Gilead." Angus kept a shop-man or porter named Murdoch M 'Donald,
who, according to the advertisements had been cured of every disease incident
to humanity by a liberal use of his master's drugs.
Was originally a shoemaker, and ultimately keeper of the Coffee-room at
the Cross, and of the "Servants' Register Office, second stair, left hand,
Presbyterian Closs, Saltmarket." Mr. Jones was also the editor or compiler
of the following Directory, and grandfather of Mr. Jones, late librarian
of the College.
An ironmonger in the Trongate, and known in the "Beefsteak Club" - of which
he was a long time president - as "Tinkler Wilsone." At a meeting of the
club, on a particular occasion, Mr. Wilsone observed a member tossing off
a glass of whisky, and following it up immediately by a bumper of brandy.
The witty president at once exclaimed, "Good God, sir! what are you about?
You have disgraced yourself and the club, by putting a fiddling Frenchman
above a sturdy Highlander" The copper-nosed delinquent instantly started
to his feet, swallowed another jorum of Ferintosh, and laying his hand
upon his heart, said, "brand me not with being, a democrat, sir; for now
I've got the Frenchman between two fires!"
Editor and printer of the Glasgow Advertiser (published every Monday evening),
Saltmarket, No. 22. This journal was transformed into the Glasgow
Herald in 1803, under the direction of the celebrated Samuel Hunter. Mr.
Mennons, it will be observed, was also the printer of Jones's Directory.
Loch-head's Closs, High Street; better known by the appellation of "Bell
Geordie," and one of the old Glasgow celebrities whose names will not
be soon forgotten. Geordie was a stout, burly man, full of caustic humour
and fond of whisky - a habit which ultimately cost him his gaudy red coat.
After losing his situation, poor Geordie lost his sight, and was led about the
streets by a little girl, begging his bread on the scene of his former glories.
Such is life!
End of "Introduction" section
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This page: comprising the (1887) "Introduction" to
the Nathaniel Jones Directory.