First Glasgow Directory 1787 Introduction

Category: Lanarkshire Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August 2014 Written by Nathan Zipfel



Reprint of Jone's Directory; or, Useful Pocket Companion For the Year 1787.
With An Introduction, and Notes of Old Glasgow Celebrities, by The "Rambling
Glasgow: William Love, 226 Argyle Street, Printed by R. Anderson, 22 Ann
Street. 1887.

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 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 civilization. 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 Beaton, 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 exceec 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
occurances; 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
pounds 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 devasted 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 Tolbooth, 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 sevants 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' dinners. 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 600 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, M.P. 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-Convener, 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 pounds. 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 fingers.

We now come to the year 1736, when old "John M'Ure, alias Campbell, Clerk of
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 comes 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 lookout 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 deceast 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,
adorn'd 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 600
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 pounds in hard cash; but, through the
exertions of Provost Cochrane, this sum was modified to 5,000 pounds, with
about 500 pounds 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 bare-footed 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 a 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 humor 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 formally
excommunicated. 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 historic 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 of
tradition. 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 900 pounds) were

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 be seen whipping criminals through the streets at the cart's tail; while
the pillory and the scaffold were very frequently in use.

When Nathaniel Jones published his first Directory, in 1787, the city was
still within very narrow limits, and the population could not have exceeded
50,000, being little more than a tithe of its present number. The sites of
Laurieston, Hutchesontown, Tradeston, and Bridgeton, were corn-fields 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 1,759, 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 every 4,336. 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 850, 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
"Jone'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 5 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
watchmakers half of the High Street shop was converted into a bank office.
Sometime 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.

Was the son of a Perthshire minister, and became pastor of the Wynd Church
in 1770. He was blamed for taking a share in the antipopish 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 street 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.

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
accquaintance 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 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 through 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 the
blue stripped stockings, knee breeches, shoes and buckles. He sported a long
queue, a gold-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 Coffeeroom, 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!"

(Or "Bob Dragon," 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-natured 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.

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, and office which he
held for two years. He was much respected by his fellowcitizens, 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 reseated.

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 circle of the leading Tory gentlemen of the period, and
dispensed a princely hospitality. Mr. Gordon was emphatically a citizen of
credit and renown; and, after a long like of mercantile activity, political
consistency, and wide-spread benevolence, he died on the 2nd December, 1828,
universally lamented in spite of his political opinions.

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 breeches, white ribbed stockings, and a pair
of capacious shoes. He sat behind his desk on a high 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.

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 hayday 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 conjuction 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 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."

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.

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 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

Was minister of the Barony for sixty-nine years; and for twenty-five years
of that long period he preached to this 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. Colquhound was the originator of the Chamber of
Commerce, in 1783; and in 1789 he settled in London, where her became Chief
Police Magistrate of the metropolis.

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

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 elected 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 Green.

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 the south aisle of the Cathedral, and the funeral party
adjourned to a public-house in Kirk Lane, and enjoyed themselves until the
grave-digger did his duty. It is not a little singular that Mr. Taylor had a
strong presentiment that "something would go wrong" at his funeral.

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, "Ou 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 occasionally
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. Taylor, it's the Sabbath-day!" "The Sabbath-day!" exclaimed the
"Cub:" "glorious institution the Sabbath!" as he turned round for another

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 shopman 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 to 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 Jone'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 humor, 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!

This out of copyright material has been transcribed by Brenda Pickard This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and has kindly given permission for this to be published here.

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