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Location: Home - Info+ - Famous Glaswegians: Hamilton to McCoist   

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

Hamilton, David[Born: May 11. 1768,  - Died: December 5, 1863, ]

Famous Glaswegians: David Hamilton - Plan

Widely renowned as the 'father of Glasgow's' architecture, David Hamilton started worked as a mason prior to joining the architectural profession in his thirties. Working as an assistant to the well-known city architects Robert and James Adam, he helped on many of their Glasgow works, including the Trades House in Glassford Street (1794). It was his outstanding work on the Hutchesons' Hospital in Ingram Street (1802-5) though which helped establish him as one of the city's emerging architects. Boosted by his early successes he went on to become a prolific designer of country houses, where he made a name for himself with Scotland's aristocracy, including the Duke of Hamilton, for whom he enhanced Hamilton Palace (1825, demolished 1928). Continuing on his established theme, he went on to design country retreats for many of the city's growing and aspiring merchant class. Later, while still working for the same customer base, he diversified into working on luxurious commercial premises, town houses, stock exchange and theatre.

Like so many of his contemporaries - and indeed successors - the majority of his best work in the city has been destroyed, thus denying future generations the product of his prodigious talent. Included in these losses are:

  • British Linen Bank, 110 Queen Street (1838-9, demolished 1967-8)
  • Gorbals John Knox Church, 25 Carlton Place (1806, demolished 1968?)
  • Gothic alterations to the Tolbooth (1814, demolished c. 1921)
  • Scotstoun House, Dumbarton Road (1825, demolished c. C.19th)
  • St Enoch's Parish Church, St Enoch Square (1827, demolished 1925)
  • Theatre Royal, Queen Street (1804, demolished 1827)
  • Union Bank, Ingram Street (1841-2, now Corinthian).

Thankfully some of his works can still be viewed in their near-original splendour around the city, such works include:

  • Camphill House, Queen's Park (1810)
  • Cleland Testimonial Building (1834)
  • Gates and 'Bridge of Sighs,' Necropolis (1833, with James Hamilton)
  • Mosesfield, Springburn Park (1838)
  • Nelson Monument, Glasgow Green (1805-7, restored 2002)
  • Royal Exchange (now the renowned Gallery of Modern Art) (1827)
  • Western Club House, Buchanan Street (1840).

Hamilton had a keen competitive streak and was known to enter many of the prestigious local and national design competitions which were prevalent at the time. For one such competition in 1809, he designed an elegant, but ultimately rejected, design for Glasgow's Municipal Buildings, Courthouse and Jail in the city's Saltmarket district. Another of his aspiring outputs at that time included a bold design for the Houses of Parliament, London (1836), which gained a creditable third place among strong competition. Later he encouraged his sons James, William and John to follow in his footsteps and they were to join him in his practice. Probably the most professionally successful of his three sons was James, who went on to become his partner in 'David & James Hamilton'. John became the manager of the family's marble firm, which was a business partnership with the locally renowned William Mossman I and his partner James Cleland.

Beyond his sons, he also educated and inspired other younger architects including Wilson, J T Rochead and Thomas Gildard, who - to varying degrees of success - went on to continue the philosophy and style of their mentor into another generation of city works.

Hamilton went on to become one of the city's architectural fashionable favourites; he was a member of the Dilettante Society and played host to many of the visiting celebrities who flocked to the city during the period. In 1840, in recognising his undoubted contribution to the city's growing importance and international recognition, his contemporaries held a civic dinner in his honour, during which he was gifted a gold casket containing £500 (a considerable sum at that time!). He was remembered after his death through his works and was also subsequently portrayed in the sculptural works of more than one of the city's building.

Hamilton succumbed of an 'attack of paralysis' in 1863 and is buried in the new burial grounds of Glasgow Cathedral.

Hutcheson, Francis[Born: August 8, 1694, County Down, Ireland - Died: 1746, Dublin]

Famous Glaswegians: Francis HutchesonFrancis Hutcheson was born on 8 August 1694 in the north of Ireland. The son of a Presbyterian minister whose own father was an emigrant from Scotland, he entered the University of Glasgow in 1710, and took his MA in 1712. Hutcheson returned to Ireland in 1718 where he was licensed as a minister and accepted an invitation to start a dissenting academy in Dublin, where he remained for the next ten years. In1725 he published his best-known work, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, revised editions of which appeared in 1726, 1729 and 1738. In 1728, he completed An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations upon the Moral Sense, which was issued in a revised form in 1742.

The widespread interest these works generated led to Hutcheson's being elected Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow in 1729. He had great impact as a teacher, Adam Smith among others recording warm affection for the "never to be forgotten Dr Hutcheson". In the late 1730s and 1740s, Hutcheson met and corresponded with Hume, who presented some challenging criticism of his work. Hutcheson in turn stimulated the development of Hume's philosophical position but he did not support his bid for a professorship at Edinburgh in 1745. In 1742 his Philosophiae moralis institutio compendiaria appeared along with the Metaphysicae synopsis, later revised in 1744 as Synopsis metaphysicae. The Compend, as the Latin work on moral philosophy and natural law is commonly known, appeared in a new edition in 1744, and in a translation after his death in 1747. Hutcheson's Logicae compendium also appeared after his death. His last efforts were devoted to completing A System of Moral Philosophy, which his son published posthumously in 1755, Hutcheson having died on a visit to Dublin in 1746.

Kentigern, SAINT[Born: c. 518, Culross, Fife - Died: January 13, Glasgow 603]

Famous Glaswegian: St Kentigern & MyrddinGrandson of the British prince Lothus. Hermit. Monk. Missionary to Scotland, beginning at Cathures. Bishop of the Strathclyde Britons in the area of modern Glasgow in 540. He taught and led there for 13 years, living in great austerity. Exiled in 553 during an anti-Christian uprising by local pagans, he fled to Menevia, Wales, where he stayed with Saint David of Wales. He founded a monastery at Llanelwy, and served as its first abbot. He returned to Scotland in 573, evangelizing the areas of Galloway and Cumberland. He returned to Glasgow in 581 and led his people there for his remaining 22 years. Apostle to northwest England and southwest Scotland.

Glasgow's Coat of Arms includes a bird, a fish, a bell and a tree, the symbols of Kentigern.

  • The Bird commemorates the pet robin owned by Saint Serf, which was accidentally killed by monks who blamed it on Saint Kentigern. Saint Kentigern took the bird in his hands and prayed over it, restoring it to life.
  • The Fish was one caught by Saint Kentigern in the Clyde River. When it was slit open, a ring belonging to the Queen of Cadzow was miraculously found inside it. The Queen was suspected of intrigue by her husband, and that she had left with his ring. She has asked Saint Kentigern for help, and he found and restored the ring in this way to clear her name.
  • The Bell may have been given to Saint Kentigern by the Pope. The original bell, which was tolled at funerals, no longer exists and was replaced by the magistrates of Glasgow in 1641. The bell of 1641 is preserved in the People's Palace.
  • The Tree is symbol of an incident in Saint Kentigern's childhood. Left in charge of the holy fire in Saint Serf's monastery, he fell asleep and the fire went out. However he broke off some frozen branches from a hazel tree and miraculously re-kindled the fire.
Laing, RD[Born:  October 7, 1927, Glasgow - Died: August 23, 1989, St. Tropez, France]

Famous Glaswegian: RD LaingRonald David Laing was a psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness and particularly the experience of psychosis. He is noted for his views, influenced by existential philosophy, on the causes and treatment of mental illness, which went against the psychiatric orthodoxy of the time. He is often associated with the anti-psychiatry movement although, like many of his contemporaries also critical of psychiatry, he himself rejected this label.

Biography Laing was born in the Govanhill district of Glasgow, Scotland and went on to study medicine at Glasgow University. He spent several years as an army psychiatrist, where he found he had a particular talent for communicating with mentally distressed people. In 1953 Laing left the army and later went to study at the Tavistock Clinic in London, widely known as a centre for the study and practice of psychotherapy (particularly psychoanalysis).

Laing was troubled by his own demons, suffering both from alcoholism and clinical depression though periods of his life. He died of a heart attack whilst playing tennis at the age of 62.

Laing's view of madness Laing argued that the strange behaviour and seemingly confused speech of people undergoing a psychotic episode were ultimately understandable as an attempt to communicate worries and concerns, often in situations where this was not possible or not permitted. Laing stressed the role of society, and particularly the family, in the development of madness. He argued that individuals can often be put in impossible situations, where they are unable to conform to the conflicting expectations of their peers, leading to a 'lose-lose situation' and immense mental distress for the individuals concerned. Madness was therefore an expression of this distress, and should be valued as a cathartic and transformative experience.

This was in stark contrast to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the time (and is still contrary to the majority opinion of mainstream psychiatry). Psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers had previously pronounced, in his seminal work General Psychopathology, that the content of madness (and particularly of delusions) were 'un-understandable', and therefore were worthy of little consideration except as a sign of some other underlying primary disorder. Laing was revolutionary in valuing the content of psychotic behaviour and speech as a valid expression of distress, albeit wrapped in an unusual personal symbolism. According to Laing, if a therapist can better understand the person they can begin to make sense of the symbolism of their madness, and therefore start addressing the concerns which are the root cause of their distress.

It is notable that Laing never denied the existence of mental illness, but simply viewed it in a radically different light from his contemporaries. For Laing, madness could be a transformative episode whereby the process of undergoing mental distress was compared to a shamanic journey. The traveller could return from the journey with important insights, and may even have become a wiser and more grounded person as a result.

Laing is often regarded as an important figure in the anti-psychiatry movement, along with David Cooper, Thomas Szasz and Michael Foucault. However, like many of his contempories, labelling him as 'anti-psychiatry' is a caricature of his stated views. Laing never denied the value of treating mental distress, but simply wanted to challenge the core values of contemporary psychiatry which considered (and some would say still considers) mental illness as primarily a biological phenomenon of no intrinsic value.

Lipton, Sir Thomas[Born:  May 10, 1850, Glasgow - Died: October 2, 1931, London]
Famous Glaswegian: Sir Thomas LiptonOn the 8th January 1930, the tea tycoon Sir Thomas Lipton gifted some £10,000 to the city of Glasgow. This was his native city and in memory of his own mother, the money went towards the relief of poor mothers and their children.

Born in a tenement in Gorbals in 1850, of Irish parents, Tommy Lipton left school at ten and at 15 was in America. He had stowed away in a ship. Initially he worked as a farm labourer in Virginia and South Carolina, later working in a grocer's shop in New York. He must have absorbed American business flair, for five years later he was back in Glasgow opening what was to be the first shop in an extremely successful retail empire.

In ten years he was a millionaire, acquiring tea estates in Sri Lanka and meat processing factories in America. His business philosophy he summed up as, "Work hard, deal honestly, be enterprising, exercise careful judgement, advertise freely but judiciously." In the tea business, particularly, he was innovative, selling different tea blends to different countries and using containers to help preserve freshness. It was Lipton who was the first to package tea in small, convenient tins to keep it fresh, preserve the flavour and guarantee that customers received the correct amount of tea. By the turn of the century, tea was a popular beverage on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1904, two interesting developments happened almost simultaneously that would broaden tea's appeal even more. In New York, a tea and coffee merchant named Thomas Sullivan decided to package loose tea in small, hand-sewn silk bags as an inexpensive and convenient way to distribute tea samples to his customers. To his surprise, his customers brewed the tea in the tea bags rather than removing the contents and so was born the now ubiquitous tea bag.

The Thomas J. Lipton company further improved upon this invention with the introduction of the Flo-Thru Tea Bag in 1952. With four brewing sides, rather than two, boiling water reached the tea more easily, releasing more of the Lipton "BRISK" tea taste. Lipton's relaxation was sailing and he used his fortune to enter a succession of boats (all named 'Shamrock') in the Americas Cup. In all he raced five times but never won. He was such a good loser however, that America presented him with a gold cup anyway!

Lipton never forgot his native city and on his death he bequeathed to Glasgow his extensive personal collection of newspaper cuttings, photographs and memorabilia, now housed in the Mitchell Library. There are over 100 large volumes of press cuttings from 1877 until his death. They cover all aspects of his business and social life but particularly concentrate on his five unsuccessful challenges for the America's Cup. There are over 2,000 photographs in 48 volumes, which were preserved in part due to financial aid from Unilever, who now own the Lipton brand.

On his death in London, in 1931, Sir Tommy Lipton left no family, bequeathing his estate to Glasgow. His portrait on his brands of tea had become part of the social fabric of the times. Queen Victoria knighted Lipton, both for his commercial success as well as his philanthropy. During the Spanish-American war and later during WWI, Lipton gave money and services to aid the wounded.

Lister, Joseph[Born:  April 5, 1827, Essex - Died: February 10, 1912, Kent]

Famous Glaswegians: Joseph ListerJoseph Lister is alongside the likes Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, Alexander Fleming and Edward Jenner in the work he did to further medical knowledge. Joseph Lister did not discover a new drug but he did make the like between lack of cleanliness in hospitals and deaths after operations. For this reason, he is known as the ‘Father of Antiseptic Surgery’.

Lister was born in 1827 and died in 1912. As Professor of Surgery at Glasgow University, he was very aware that many people survived the trauma of an operation but died afterwards of what was known as ‘ward fever’.

Work on ward cleanliness and the link between germs and good post-operative health had already been studied by a Hungarian doctor called Ignaz Semmelweiss. He argued that if a doctor went from one patient to another after doing surgery, that doctor would pass on to the next visited patient a potentially life threatening disease. He insisted that those doctors who worked for him wash their hands in calcium chloride after an operation and before visiting a new patient.

Deaths on the wards Semmelweiss was in charge of fell from 12% to just 1%. But despite this, he came up against the conservatism of those who dominated Hungarian medicine and his findings were ignored. Semmelweiss died in 1865 of blood poisoning.

In 1865, Lister read about the work done by Louis Pasteur on how wine was soured. Lister believed that it was microbes carried in the air that caused diseases to be spread in wards. People who had been operated on were especially vulnerable as their bodies were weak and their skin had been cut open so that germs could get into the body with more ease. Lister decided that the wound itself had to be thoroughly cleaned. He then covered the wound with a piece of lint covered in carbolic acid. He used this treatment on patients who had a compound fracture. This is where the broken bone had penetrated the skin thus leaving a wound that was open to germs. Death by gangrene was common after such an accident. Lister covered the wound made with lint soaked in carbolic acid. His success rate for survival was very high.

Lister then developed his idea further by devising a machine that pumped out a fine mist of carbolic acid into the air around an operation. The number of patients operated on by Lister who died fell dramatically.

Logan, Jimmy[Born:  April 4, 1928, Glasgow - Died: April 13, 2001, Clydebank]

Famous Glaswegian: Jimmy LoganJimmy Logan was born as James Allen Short to the Scottish variety artists Jack Short and May Dalziel on 4 April 1928. Their "act", with all five children, was known professionally as "The Logan Family". Breaking away, Jimmy Logan developed into an accomplished musician, comedian, legitimate actor and impresario.

His varied career included more than thirty pantomimes, the radio show It's All Yours, the sophisticated Five Past Eight Show at The Alhambra, and an acclaimed film debut in Floodtide. At his peak Logan adopted a luxurious lifestyle with an apartment in Culzean Castle and a Rolls Royce. In 1964 he purchased the New Metropole Theatre and attempted to establish a theatre for family plays and shows. Initially successful, this failed financially and his career took a downward turn.

Characteristically resilient, Logan devised a one-man show based on the life of Harry Lauder which re-established him. His extensive collection of Lauder memorabilia was gifted to the Scottish Theatre Archive. He enjoyed critical praise as a straight actor playing in The Entertainer, Uncle Vanya, Death of a Salesman, The Celtic Story and The Ship.

Logan died of cancer on 13 April 2001. After a funeral service in Glasgow Cathedral, he was cremated at Clydebank. During his lifetime he was known for his charitable works. Admired and respected by his colleagues, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and awarded the OBE in 1996. His first three marriages were dissolved. He is survived by his fourth wife, Angela.

Lynch, Benny[Born:  April 12, 1913, Glasgow - Died: August 6, 1946, Glasgow]

Famous Glaswegian: Benny LynchBenny Lynch is widely regarded as one of the finest boxers that Britain has ever produced. His explosive punching power, immaculate timing, and prolific skill ensured that he had no equals among his contemporaries in the flyweight division.

Born in the Gorbals in Glasgow on April 12th 1913, the young Lynch grew up in the squalor of one of the most overcrowded immigrant ghettoes in Europe. He loved life in this cosmopolitan melting pot and soon established himself as one of the community’s favourite sons. Having turned professional in 1931 at the, Benny honed his prodigious natural talent by demolishing all before him on the boxing booth circuit. Under the expert, avuncular stewardship of his trainer and manager, Sammy Wilson, the boy from Florence Street won the Scottish title from Jim Campbell in May 1934. In March 1935, he drew with reigning British, European and World flyweight champion Jackie Brown over 12 rounds, setting up a title-fight re-match six months later.

The second fight, in Manchester, was watched by hundreds of travelling Scottish supporters; their faith was to be rewarded as Lynch demolished Brown in an outstanding display of power punching that saw the English opponent and undisputed world champion for three years on the canvas a total of eight times in just two rounds. Scotland’s first ever world boxing champion returned to Glasgow to be met by a joyous crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who lined his triumphal route from Central Station to his home in the south side of the city. The city fathers of Glasgow Corporation denied him a formal welcome, but the people of Glasgow turned out to pay tribute the likes of which had never been seen before and would never be seen again: one of them who had denied all the odds to rise to the very apex of his profession.

Unfortunately, fame did not sit easily on Lynch's frail shoulders and his battle with the bottle and his personal demons proved to be more difficult to overcome. Lynch regularly struggled to make the 112lb weight limit and lost his title on the scales in 1938, stripped for being an astonishing six-and-a-half pounds overweight for a defence against Jackie Jurich. He was knocked out for the only time by journeyman Aurel Toma in October of that year. Although he was only twenty-five, it was the final contest of Lynch's career. His alcoholism worsened and he died of pneumonia on 6 August 1946.

McCoist, Ally[Born:  September 24, 1962, Bellshill]

Famous Glaswegian: Ally McCoistAlistair 'Ally' was born in Bellshill, Scotland on 24 September 1962. Ally's famed footballing career took him from Fir Park Boys Club to St Johnstone (1978-1981), Sunderland (1981-1983), Rangers (1983-1998) and Kilmarnock (1998-2001).

From his time with Rangers, he has 10 championship winners medals, one Scottish Cup medal and nine League Cup medals. He won the Golden Boot twice (1992, 1993) and was named Scotland's Player of the Year in 1992. Capped 61 times for Scotland, he scored 19 international goals and is one of only 23 players inthe SFA Hall of Fame. He was given the MBE for his services to football in 1996.

In 1996, he became a team captain on BBC1's A Question of Sport and, each week, delights in embarrassing host Sue Barker as much as possible, particularly about her love for French charmer, David Ginola. He is also a regular football pundit for ITV, covering both the World Cup and the Premiership, on which he has a weekly "Ally's Golden Slot" slot.

In 2001 he won the Television Radio Industry Club's Sports Presenter of the Year award. As befits a man who has always enjoyed an adoring female fanbase, he was included in Company Magazine's 100 Sexiest Men of the Millennium Although he only reached number 87 (three behind Darren Day!), this ranks him higher than both Pierce Brosnan and Ben Affleck.

In 2000, he made his acting debut in Robert Duvall's film A Shot At Glory, originally known as The Cup. In it, Ally ironically plays a former Celtic star, Jackie McQuillan, who is called upon to lift no-hopers Kilknockie to the heights of the Scottish Cup final. The Herald praised McCoist for "a surprisingly impressive debut".in which he "positively sweats on-screen charisma." High praise, indeed. The film was released in the UK in 2001 and in the US in 2002.

Info+: Glaswegians Cronin to Graham<<Info+: Glaswegians MacIntosh to Simpson

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