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Location: Home - Info+ - Famous Glaswegians: Cronin to Graham  

Famous Glaswegians (and those who became famous in Glasgow)<<

Cronin, Archibald Joseph[Born: 1896, Cardross - Died: 1981]

Famous Glaswegian: Archibald Joseph CroninArchibald Joseph Cronin (1896 - 1981) was a Scottish novelist and an accomplished storyteller. Trained in medicine, graduating from Glasgow in 1919 but gave this up to become an author. Best known for "Adventures in Two Worlds" (1952) which gave rise to the radio and TV series "Dr Finlay's Casebook".

He produced several best sellers with social concern or based the stories on his experiences as a doctor. Cronin continued to write until he was in his eightieth year. His books also gained a wide audience through film and television.

Cronin was born in Cardross, Strathclyde, as the only child of Jessie (Montgomery) Cronin and Patrick Cronin. His childhood was shadowed by the death of his father and poverty. Cronin was educated at Dumbarton Academy at his uncle's expense. In 1914 he entered the Glasgow University Medical School, graduating in 1919. During World War I Cronin served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy.

After the war he worked as a ship's surgeon on a liner bound for India, and then served in various hospitals. In 1921 he was commenced practice in South Wales. Three years later Cronin investigated occupational diseases in the coal industry. In 1925 the University of Glasgow awarded Cronin his M.D. and subsequently he started to practice in Wales and in London.

Cronin's heath broke down in 1930. Whilst convalescing in the West Highlands of Scotland, he wrote his first novel Hatter's Castle (1931). The story depicted a Scottish hat-maker that is obsessed with the possibility of his noble birth. After its publication accusations were made, that Cronin had plagiarised George Douglas's novel The House with the Green Shutters (1901). However, the book was an immediate success and allowed him to give up practising medicine in favour of writing.

In 1939 Cronin moved to the United States with his family. He wrote THE KEYS OF KINGDOM, a story of a Roman Catholic priest, whose years on the mission field in China taught him tolerance which the institutional Church finds difficult to deal with. After World War II Cronin travelled with his family in Europe. By 1958 the sales of Cronin's novels amounted to seven million in the United States. Cronin's humanism and social realism also made him popular in the Soviet Union.

Many of Cronin's books have been adapted for films or television programs. The television series Dr Finlay's Casebook (1959-66, new adaptation 1993) was based on his stories. For the last 35 years of his life Cronin lived in Switzerland. He died on January 9, 1981, in Montreaux, Switzerland.

Cullen, William[Born: April 15, 1710, Hamilton - Died: February 5, 1790, Edinburgh]

Famous Glaswegian: William CullenWilliam Cullen was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 15 April 1710. His father was a lawyer, on special retainer to the Duke of Hamilton; his mother was of the Roberton family of Whistlebury. He attended the Hamilton Grammar School, and in 1726 began an arts course in general studies in the University of Glasgow. Following an interest in medicine, he apprenticed himself as surgeon apothecary to John Paisley of Glasgow, spent 1729 as surgeon to a West Indies merchant vessel, and 1730 and '31 as assistant apothecary to Mr Murray of Henrietta Street, London, and in 1732 he started general medical practice in Shotts, Lanarkshire. A small legacy in 1733 financed more private study in general literature and philosophy and sent him to Edinburgh University for formal medical classes. He returned to Hamilton in 1736, a physician and surgeon, and by 1740 held a Glasgow medical degree at last.

He married in 1741, started his family, and settled into terms as a town councillor and magistrate. He also became ordinary medical attendant to James, 5th Duke of Hamilton (1703-43), and his family, and his livestock. Cullen had been interested in chemistry since Edinburgh, and the Duke intended to equip a laboratory for him, and to make him superintendent of the Palace gardens. But the Duke died in 1743, and in the next year the Cullens moved to Glasgow, where father practised physic and lectured extramurally in physiology, botany, and materia medica. Dr Johnstone, Professor of Medicine, let him teach chemistry as its own subject, a novel idea, and by 1747 there was money for the first independent lectureship in chemistry, occupied by Cullen and one John Carrick, assistant to Robert Hamilton, Professor of Anatomy; Carrick died soon after, and was not replaced.

In 1751 Cullen took the chair of medicine vacated by Johnstone, continuing with chemistry lectures as best he could, then leapt to Edinburgh in 1755, when Dr Plummer, his old chemistry lecturer, died. In 1766 he succeeded Robert Whytt in the Edinburgh chair of the Institutes (theory) of Medicine, later sharing lectures with John Gregory in alternate years in the practice of physic, into whose chair he moved in 1773. Cullen was a fine administrator, who helped found the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Medical Society (Edinburgh). For all his academic leadership he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London 1777, though he never signed the roll attesting formal admission. He died in Edinburgh on 5 February 1790, and lies interred nearby in the village of Kirknewton.

Cullen the chemist was unoriginal but enlightened. His papers, none ever published, show that he was willing to distinguish acids and alkalis from "salts", to acknowledge the legitimacy of Boyle's atoms, and to give symbolic precision to the affinity tables then in widespread use. Cullen the man of medicine, who published only marginally, was reasonably forward-thinking as well, especially in matters of nosology. It was Cullen the teacher who shone brightest. He was deeply entrenched in Lockean empirical philosophy, and his practical lectures, in accessible English, with student-led, hands-on demonstrations, made his courses famous as far away as Philadelphia. He evangelized for chemistry as its own academic subject, and stressed its practical applications to mining, agriculture, and manufacture. Cullen's empirical practicality finally made him famous as a general scientist too. His only important paper was the write-up of his 1756 demonstration of someone else's postulated usefulness of the cold that accompanies evaporating fluids. He froze water to prove that the principles worked.

Dalglish, Kenny[Born: March 4, 1951, Glasgow]

Famous Glaswegian: Kenny Dalglish Kenneth Mathieson "Kenny" Dalglish (born March 4, 1951) was a Scottish international football player who was born in Glasgow, Scotland. A prolific goal scorer, he was famous for his successes in the 1970s and 1980s, with Glasgow Celtic and with the English club Liverpool, and is widely-regarded as the greatest British player of his generation. More recently, he has also enjoyed success as a club manager: he is one of only a handful of people to have won the English League Championship as a manager with two different clubs.

Dalglish built his reputation with Celtic, winning the Scottish Championship in five consecutive seasons in the early 1970s. He then moved to Liverpool in 1977, for a then-record £440,000 transfer fee, to replace Kevin Keegan, who left to play for Hamburg in Germany. In his first season, Dalglish scored the winning goal in the European Cup final, against the Belgian club F.C. Bruges. He went on to become arguably the most influential member of the most successful club team in English football history, winning further League Championships and European Cups in a period stretching to the mid-1980s.

After the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, in the wake of the resignation of manager Joe Fagin, Dalglish became player-manager of the club; he coached them to their first-ever "double" — winning the League Championship and F.A. Cup in the same season — in his first season, 1985-86. He continued as manager when he retired as a player, winning the League again in 1987/88 and 1989/90, and the F.A Cup in 1988/89.

Dalglish was also in charge of the club at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, in the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. He won many admirers for his exemplary dignity during this tragedy, and is still well-regarded by Liverpool supporters for this reason as much as for his on-field successes; ultimately, though, the trauma took its toll on his health, and he resigned as manager of Liverpool in 1991.

Dalglish returned to management after a short break, with Blackburn Rovers, whom he led into the English Premiership in his first season. After winning the Premiership in 1995, Dalglish "moved upstairs" to become Director of Football at Blackburn; this was a largely-symbolic role that freed up his time for golf and TV punditry. He parted company with the club at the end of the following season.

In Spring 1997 he took control at a third top-flight English club, once again replacing the departing Kevin Keegan, this time as manager of Newcastle United. Despite an initially strong performance, Dalglish's dismantling of one of the most exciting footballing sides in the Premiership lost him the support of the fans, and he was sacked by Newcastle early in the 1997/98 season.

His most recent role to date was as Director of Football at Celtic, but he resigned after one disastrous season which saw Celtic knocked out of the Scottish FA Cup by Inverness Caledonian Thistle and finish 21 points behind their arch-rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.

Dewar, Donald[Born: August 21, 1937, Glasgow - Died: October 11, 2000, Edinburgh]

Politician and the first Premier of the modern Scottish Parliament. Born in Glasgow, Donald Dewar was educated at the Glasgow Academy and then the University of Glasgow. He practised as a solicitor in the city before being elected as a Member of Parliament, initially for Aberdeen South (1966-70), then Glasgow Garscadden (since 1978). An active member of both the Scottish and National Labour Party, Dewar was elected to the Shadow Cabinet in 1984, rising to hold the post of Shadow Social Security Spokesman.

Following the 1997 Labour victory, he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland by Prime Minister Tony Blair (b.1953). Determined to conclude John Smith's 'unfinished business' Dewar guided the devolution process through to the Scotland Act and the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament, adjourned almost 300 years before.

At the Scottish Parliament election on 6 May 1999, Donald Dewar was elected as the MSP for the constituency of Glasgow Anniesland with 16,749 votes, a majority of 10,993. A week later, at its meeting on 13 May 1999, the Scottish Parliament elected him First Minister of Scotland, with 71 votes. The following day, he signed a "Partnership for Scotland", establishing a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and his nominations as Ministers and Junior Ministers were agreed by the Parliament on 19 May 1999.

In 2000, Dewar underwent major heart surgery in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, but recovered and quickly returned to his post. However, only months later, while leaving a cabinet meeting, he suffered a brain haemorrhage, a consequence of the drugs he was taking after his surgery. Tragically, Dewar died the following day in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. His funeral service was held in Glasgow Cathedral.

Although often criticised for his unkempt appearance, he is remembered as an honest, caring and intelligent politician, who worked hard for his constituents and the people of Scotland. He is remembered by the 'Donald Dewar Room' in Queensberry House, part of the Scottish Parliament complex at Holyrood, which includes a substantial collection of his books.

Elder, John[Born: March 8, 1824, Glasgow - Died: September 17, 1869, London]

Famous Glaswegian: John ElderMarine engineer and ship-builder. Born in Glasgow, with Charles Randolph, Elder founded the noted ship-yard of Randolph, Elder and Co in Govan. This became one of the best known yards on the river and helped establish 'Clyde-built' as a brand of quality and reliability.

Elder developed the use of the compound steam engine for ships. These were much more efficient than previous engines, significantly reduced fuel consumption and thus allowing longer voyages. He was regarded as a progressive employer, especially in terms of his attitude towards industrial relations.

He died in London, but is remembered through several benefactions by his widow, including a park and statue in Govan and the Chair of Naval architecture at the University of Glasgow. After his death his company was run by his widow Isabella (1828 - 1905) and renamed John Elder & Co in his memory.

Ferguson, Sir Alex[Born: 1941, Glasgow]

Famous Glaswegians: Sir Alex FergusonBorn in Govan, Glasgow, Alexander Chapman Ferguson was an apprentice tool-worker on the cold hard-working shipyards of the Clyde until he was 23, during which he played part time for Queens Park and St Johnstone. He turned professional and joined Dunfermline in 1964 playing as a centre forward. Here he attracted the attention of his boyhood idols Glasgow Rangers and was bought for a then record £65,000 in 1967. However his time at Rangers was not a success and he moved to Falkirk in 1969 and eventually Ayr in 1973.

Eventually he gave up playing in 1974 to become manager of East Stirling where he was quickly spotted by St Mirren, whom he managed for 3 years until 1978. He had done well at St Mirren with limited resources but was surprisingly sacked after falling out with the chairman. Aberdeen soon took advantage of his availability and the Ferguson managerial legend began.

Again with limited resources, he turned the average Aberdeen into a team that dominated Scottish football during the early 1980s and broke the traditional iron stranglehold of the Glasgow "Old Firm" giants of Rangers and Celtic. Aberdeen were the team to beat in the early 80's and Ferguson capped it all by taking them to a glorious 2-1 victory over mighty Real Madrid in the 1983 European Cup Winners Cup, the last European trophy won by a Scottish team to date.

His exploits attracted covetous glances from the football world and after taking temporary control of Scotland for the Mexico 1986 World Cup, due to the death of manager Jock Stein, he rejected lucrative offers from Barcelona, Arsenal, Rangers and Tottenham to take control of Manchester United on November 7, 1986.

'Sir Alex' is the man responsible for making Manchester United the British team of the 1990s. Ferguson has established himself as the most successful British manager of all-time and in doing so has made Manchester United, the long time under-achievers that couldn't win a League title for 26 years, into one of the best football team in the world. Honest, fierce, driven, obsessive, charming, humorous, stubborn, aggressive - all of these words could describe the man who epitomises the heart and soul of Manchester United football club.

In times when managers frequently come and go, Alex Ferguson is the immovable object, no matter what happens 'Fergie' and United are at the top.

Foulis, Robert
(Grandfather of RF below)
[Born: April 20, 1707, Glasgow - Died: June 2, 1776, Edinburgh]

Famous Glaswegian: Robert Foulis - PrinterRobert Foulis was a printer whose work had considerable influence on the bookmakers of his time. He was apprenticed to a barber; but his ability attracted the attention of Dr Francis Hutcheson, who strongly recommended him to establish a printing press. After spending1738 and 1739 in England and France in company with his brother Andrew, who had been intended for the church and had received a better education, he started business in 1741 in Glasgow, and in 1743 was appointed printer to the university.

In this same year he brought out Demetrius Phalereus de elocutione, in Greek and Latin, the first Greek book ever printed in Glasgow; and this was followed in 1774 by the famous 2nd edition of Horace which was long but erroneously believed to be immaculate: though the successive sheets were exposed in the university and a reward offered for the discovery of any inaccuracy, six errors at least, according to T. F. Dibdin, escaped detection. Soon afterwards the brothers entered into partnership, and they continued for about thirty years to issue carefully corrected and beautifully printed editions of classical works in Latin, Greek, English, French and Italian. They printed more than five hundred separate publications, among them the small editions of Cicero, Tacitus, Cornelius Nepos, Virgil, Tibullus andPropertius, Lucretius and Juvenal; a beautiful edition of the Greek Testament, Herodotus, Greek and Latin, Xenophon, Greek and Latin; Gray’s Poems; Pope’s Works; Milton’s Poems. The Homer, for which Flax-man’s designs were executed, is perhaps the most famous production of the Foulis press.

The brothers spared no pains, and Robert went to France to procure manuscripts of the classics, and to engage a skilled engraver and a copper-plate printer. Unfortunately it became their ambition to establish an institution for the encouragement of the fine arts; and though one of their chief patrons, the earl of Northumberland, warned them to “print for posterity and prosper” they spent their money in collecting pictures, pieces of sculpture and models, in paying for the education and travelling of youthful artists, and in copying the masterpieces of foreign art. Their countrymen were not ripe for such an attempt, and the ”Academy “ not only proved a failure but involved the projectors in ruin. Andrew died on the 18th of September 1775, and his brother went to London, hoping to realize a large sum by the sale of his pictures. They were sold for much less than he anticipated, and Robert returned broken-hearted to Scotland, where he died at Edinburgh on the 2nd of June 1776. Robert was the author of a Catalogue of Paintings with Critical Remarks. The business was afterwards carried on under the same name by Robert’s son Andrew.

Foulis, Robert[Born: May 5, 1796, Glasgow - Died: January 28, 1866, New Brunswick, Canada]

Famous Glaswegians: Robert Foulis - EngineerRobert Foulis, engineer, artist, entrepreneur, and inventor was born in Glasgow in 1796. Foulis was a contemporary of Michael Faraday, the famous English scientist, and those who knew them both as young men considered Foulis the greater genius. Foulis studied surgery at the University of Glasgow but abandoned the medical field because of ill health and apprenticed to an engineer. As a journeyman he went to Belfast where he worked as a painter and where he met his first wife; she died shortly after their daughter’s birth in 1817. Foulis decided to begin a new life in America and intended to settle in Ohio. Rough weather forced his ship ashore on the coast of Nova Scotia and he made his way to Halifax in 1818 where some Scottish friends persuaded him to remain. He earned a living at Halifax as a portrait painter and as teacher of painting at “Mrs. Burns’ English and Commercial Academy.” In 1822 he moved to Saint John where he worked as a civil engineer.

A man of many talents, in 1825 he started New Brunswick’s first iron foundry at Saint John (which he sold in 1835), and in 1826 he was commissioned by the provincial government to survey the Saint John River from Fredericton to Grand Falls. He was also responsible for fitting up the John Ward, the second steamboat to ply the river. Active in the cultural activities of his adopted city, he was a frequent lecturer in chemistry and other subjects at the Saint John Mechanics’ Institute, which he helped to organize. In 1838 he established a “School of Arts” to bring educational opportunities to the residents of Saint John and to supplement his income. The school’s programme included “instruction of Youth in the rudiments of Mechanical and Experimental Philosophy and the Fine Arts; [and] for instructing by popular Lectures and Experimental Illustration, an Evening Class for Artizans, where the practical application of the Sciences to the useful Arts will be demonstrated.”

Foulis is credited with inventing an apparatus for decomposing coal to make illuminating gas. He is also said to have invented an electric dynamo, but to have made no use of the invention. In 1853 he conceived the idea for what was undoubtedly his greatest invention, a steam foghorn, and a year later a committee of the New Brunswick legislature reported favourably on this invention. From time to time between 1854 and 1859 he agitated for the installation of his fog-horn on Partridge Island in Saint John harbour, but no action was taken by the assembly. In 1859 T. T. Vernon-Smith obtained Foulis’ plans and was granted permission to erect a steam foghorn, the first to be installed anywhere in the world, on the island. Foulis petitioned the assembly and in 1864 the house passed a resolution recognizing Foulis’ claim as inventor of the foghorn and of the coded system of telegraphing associated with its use. However, this was the extent of the recognition granted to him and he has not been credited with the invention, which is ranked by later historians as one of the most outstanding in the development of navigation aids.

The coded steam fog-horn was evidently later patented by an American who realized its financial potential. Business naïveté or preoccupation with other projects may explain why Foulis failed to patent such an obviously important invention. He died in poverty in Saint John in 1866. He had been truly a man of great genius, but unfortunately the Saint John environment did not nurture scientific and technological endeavour. Exchange of ideas with peers and financial support – the necessary stimulants for the development of scientific excellence – were lacking.

Graham, Thomas [Born: December 21, 1805, Glasgow - Died: September 1869, London]

Famous Glaswegians: Thomas GrahamThomas Graham was born in Glasgow in 1805. His father, a textile manufacturer, was convinced that he should enter the church, but Graham resisted and in 1826 graduated from Glasgow University. This was followed by postgraduate study in Edinburgh, where he presented his first lectures in chemistry.

In 1828, Graham returned to Glasgow to work as an industrial consultant, before being elected to lecture in chemistry and mechanics at the Glasgow Mechanics Institution the following year. Then, in 1830, he became the one of the first professors of the Andersonian University, taking up the Chair of Chemistry.

Graham's lectures were, unfortunately, not particularly enlightening as far as his students were concerned. He is reported to have been awful at teaching elementary classes - he couldn't keep discipline, and he was hopeless at explaining his subject to an audience. Where he did excel, however, was in practical laboratory work. Graham was a brilliant experimentalist, who had the ability to inspire his students to do excellent research.

Graham was fascinated by the motion of atoms in gases and liquids, and spent most his time studying the diffusion of gases, and undertaking a study of the nature of phosphates. This work won him the Keith medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1833, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1838, and later led to him being elected for fellowship.

His work on the diffusion of gases was used in 1868 to discover the chemical formula for ozone 03. Graham's investigations of the behaviour of crystallised compounds passing through membranes, as a method of separating large molecules from similar compounds, led to the technique of dialysis. Graham's method is still in use in hospitals today, for purifying the blood of patients with kidney failure.

Info+: Glaswegians Adam to Connolly<<Info+: Glaswegians Hamilton to McCoist


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