Saturday, 29 October 2011

Frederick Pattison Pullar, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire

The following is a transcription of an article written by James Chumley, (Challenger Office, Edinburgh) Secretary to Sir John Murray on 27th February 1901.


A melancholy interest attaches to the paper on the Scottish Lochs which appears in this number of the Geographical Journal and Scottish Geographical Magazine, owing to the tragic death of one of the authors, Mr F. P. Pullar, since the paper was passed for press.

On February 15, while several hundred persons were skating on Airthrey Loch, in the grounds of Airthrey Castle, near Bridge of Allan, the ice suddenly gave way, and a number of people were precipitated into the water. Mr Pullar, who was a strong, muscular young man and a powerful swimmer, at once rushed to the rescue of those who were immersed, plunging into the water and floating ice with his skates on. He successfully assisted three of them to land, and then went to the succour of a young lady who was in an exhausted condition. It is confidently asserted by spectators, some of whom were submerged in their efforts to assist, that he might easily have saved himself had he relinquished his burden : this he refused to do. He supported the young lady for some time, but before help reached them his strength failed, and they both sank, their bodies not being recovered till three-quarters of an hour afterwards. This sad event cast a gloom over the whole district, and great sympathy was expressed for his bereaved parents, and for his only sister, who had just left the ice before the accident occurred. On February 19 he was buried in Logie Churchyard, attended by an immense concourse of mourners, and amid every expression of sorrow and sympathy.

Frederick Pattison Pullar was born at Bridge of Allan on the 20th December 1875, and was the only son of Laurence Pullar, Esq., of The Lea, Bridge of Allan and his wife Ellen Ferguson Pattison, and was a nephew of Sir Robert Pullar of Perth. In his earlier years he was rather a delicate child, and much of his education was conducted at home under private tutors. Later on his health improved, and his education was continued at the Stanley House School, Bridge of Allan, and the High School of Stirling. Afterwards he attended the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College in Glasgow, where he exhibited a marked ability for mathematics, mechanics, and applied science generally. He ultimately entered his father's business, but devoted a good deal of his time to scientific pursuits and studies. By his frank and genial nature he became endeared to the large number of workpeople employed by the firm of Robert Pullar & Sons.

About five or six years ago, while cruising in his father's yacht, the Freya,, he, under the guidance of Sir John Murray, commenced to take an interest in oceanographical observations and problems, exhibiting a lively devotion to the practical work carried on at the Marine Biological Station, at Millport. He enthusiastically embraced the study of meteorology, and established at his father's residence at Bridge of Allan a complete meteorological observatory, his instruments including deep earth thermometers. He became a member of the Royal Meteorological Society and of the Scottish Meteorological Society, sending in reports regularly to the last-mentioned Society during the past five or six years. He presented a complete set of meteorological instruments to the Scottish Hospital which proceeded to South Africa last year under Professor John Chiene. A room in his father's house was fitted up as his own private workshop, in which he had many ingenious and interesting mechanical, electrical, and photographic contrivances, together with considerable geological collections. He was an enthusiastic cyclist, and within the last year or two had three or four kinds of motor vehicles. He had an intimate knowledge of these machines, and his advice was frequently sought by automobilists; indeed, he proceeded to the scene of the disaster in a motor car, which was standing at the side of the loch when he met his death. He was an Associate of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and an active member of the Automobile Club.

About three years ago, in conjunction with Sir John Murray, he undertook a systematic bathymetrical survey of all the lochs of Scotland, and here his mechanical knowledge and inventive genius were at once exhibited by the improvements he made in the apparatus for taking the soundings. A portable machine was constructed from his designs, which could be firmly and rapidly fixed to the gunwale of the boat from which the soundings were to be taken. He also carried out many improvements in the methods of taking temperatures by means of deep-sea thermometers, in the plungers used for procuring samples of the deposits, and in the apparatus for the capture of organisms at intermediate depths. At the time of his death, among other improvements, he had in contemplation the construction of a motor engine which could be applied to the propulsion of both a car and a boat, so that he might carry with him from his home a boat for taking soundings, transfer the engine to the boat, and re-transfer it when the work was finished to the car again.

The publication of the results of the researches in the Scottish lochs was commenced last year, the first instalment, dealing with the lochs of the Callander and Trossachs district, being published in the Geographical Journal and Scottish Geographical Magazine in April last; and the present number contains a further instalment, dealing with the remaining lochs in the Forth basin. The survey of some other lochs has been completed,but the results are not yet in a state for publication.

In September last Sir John Murray left Britain for the purpose of carrying out explorations on Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, and it was arranged that the paper in this Number should be put into form and passed for press by Mr Pullar, with assistance in the Challenger Office. Sir John Murray returned to London on the evening of February 16, and on arrival at his hotel was handed a telegram announcing the death of his young friend on the previous day. They had made arrangements to devote most of the coming summer to the sounding of the lochs, with a view to the speedy completion of the entire survey : this important work will necessarily be interrupted by Mr Pullar's lamented death.

Mr Pullar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1896, and he was also a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society ; last month he was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Mr Pullar was beloved by all who knew him. He was a man of great bodily and mental activity, lively disposition, generous and brave, knowing no fear. His friends were justified in believing that a great future lay before him. His promising career has been cut short by an act of devotion. He sacrificed his life in an heroic endeavour to save the life of another.

His life was gentle ; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ' This was a man !'

Logie Kirk

The Memorial Bronze on the Pullar stone in Logie was by Sir G. A. Frampton, R.A.

Further information on the Bathymetrical Survey of the Fresh-Water Lochs of Scotland
can be found at the National Library of Scotland, see:

Friday, 28 October 2011

Thomas Ellis, North British Iron Works, Coatbridge

Thomas Ellis was born on the 30th December 1818 in Whittingham, Shropshire.

Little is known about his early life, although his Obituary states that he was left an orphan from ‘early age’ and that he came to Scotland around 1842.

By the time of the 1851 Census, he was married to Sarah Leonard, had an 8 month old daughter, Sarah Leonard Ellis and was living at English Row, in Gorbals Parish, Glasgow. His occupation in listed on the census as ‘Iron Roller’, employing 3 men. Living with them was also Sarah’s younger brother, Moses Leonard age 20.

Ten years later, in 1861, not only had Thomas, now age 42 & Sarah’s family grown, but they had moved eastward and were living at Phoenix Cottage, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. On the 1861 Census, his occupation is listed as an Iron Manufacturer and in his employment were 30 men and 10 boys. His place of business may have been ‘Ronald’s Forge’ which had originally been erected in 1840 and on conversion to a malleable iron-work was locally known as ‘the Phoenix’, possibly named after Phoenix Cottage, but around 1870 was changed again - to the North British Iron-Works.

The 1861 Census verifies Sarah’s parents and one sister as they are listed as ‘in-laws’ at Phoenix Cottage. Her father was James Leonard age 72, mother Sarah age 74 and sister Elizabeth age 46

Thomas & Sarah’s children were as follows:

Elizabeth Ellis, born 28th February 1847 at Glasgow
Sarah Leonard Ellis, born c1851 at Glasgow
John William Ellis, born c1854 at Glasgow
Thomas Leonard Ellis, born c1862 at Coatbridge

Moses Leonard, Sarah’s brother had obviously decided to settle in Coatbridge as he also can be found in the 1861 Census living at Main Street, Coatbridge with his wife Margaret (nee Chalmers)
who was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire.
His occupation, like his brother-in-law Thomas Ellis is listed as Iron Manufacturer.
It is unknown whether Moses and Margaret had any children.

Moses died on the 3rd of May 1879 aged 49 years. His wife Margaret outlived him by 14 years
and can be found on the 1881 & 1891 Census still living in Coatbridge.
Margaret died at Coatbridge on 13th January 1893.

Thomas and Sarah continued to live in Coatbridge and in 1871 at the age of 52,
Thomas was listed as ‘Iron Master’ on the 1871 Census.
Daughter Sarah Leonard Ellis age 20 and sons John William, age 17 and
Thomas Leonard Ellis age 9 were still living at home with them.

John William Ellis is listed as an Art Student at Glasgow University.

In letters dated 12th November 1878 (described in Thomas’s Will), he made the following statement:

By 3rd/4th April 1881, the date of the 1881 Census, Thomas and Sarah were enumerated Whittington Lodge in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, daughter Sarah Leonard Ellis and son Thomas Leonard Ellis now with ages listed on the census as 28 and 19 respectively, were still with their parents. Whittington Lodge was a second property owned by Thomas, the other being Dudley House in Coatbridge.

Thomas Ellis died at Whittington Lodge on 28th July 1884.

The Glasgow Herald of 29th July 1884 printed the notice of his death.

The following transcribed Obituary was contained in the same issue:

Death of Mr. Thomas Ellis, Coatbridge

Mr Thomas Ellis, the sole proprietor and originator of the North British Iron-Works, Coatbridge died at his residence at Bridge of Allan yesterday morning. The deceased had been in feeble health for some time past, and within the past few days his illness became so serious that his demise was looked for at any moment, and it took place about half-past one o’clock in the morning.

Thomas Ellis was the son of a cabinet maker, and was born in Whittingham, Shropshire, in 1818, so he attained his 66th year. At a very early age he was left an orphan, and was living near Wrexham, when his natural inclination led him to enter an iron-work as a mill boy. He also learned the puddling branch of the trade.

He came to Scotland about 1842, and entered Dixon’s work at Govan as a mill roller. Shortly afterwards he became manager of the Dundyvan Iron-works, in which capacity he had ample opportunity for indulging his desire for further knowledge of his business.

He returned to Dixon’s again s a merchant bar roller, and his next step was in starting with his brother-in-law, the late Mr. James Leonard, of a small malleable iron-work which is now known as the Phoenix. This was about 1856; and the firm next took a lease of the Globe Iron-works, and during the three years in which they held that lease Mr. Leonard died. The lease of the Globe having expired, Mr. Ellis feued a piece of ground on the Dundyvan estate, and upon this he has reared that great iron-work which is known all over the world. The North British Iron-works, by which name this remarkable work has been known, was founded in 1870, Mr. Ellis being himself the sole partner. It was necessarily a work of comparatively small pretentions. It was the first of the kind in Coatbridge, and was destined under the indomitable perseverance and shrewd business qualities of its projector to take the lead in the malleable-iron trade exported from Scotland.

It started with an output of 40 tons a-month, and the name and class of the iron soon claimed a high position in the home and foreign markets. It was known as the N.B. Crown Brand, and only two years ago the enterprising proprietor purchased the sole right to use the Govan Star Brand – these two brands being well-known throughout the world, large quantities of the iron with these brands having especially gone to India, Australia, and other colonies. From 40 tons a-month 13 or 14 years ago, the output of the North British Works now averages 2000 tons monthly. The number of men employed is considerably over 500, and the coal consumed every 24 hours is about 180 tons.

Mr. Ellis was a man of exceptional energy and perseverance, and worked on the principle of doing everything well that was worth doing. His success in business is probably due to the fact that he worked himself up from the lowest position to the highest, and thus had a practical and thorough knowledge of all its workings. Having been a workman himself he took a deep interest in all that concerned the men in his employment, and was always ready to deal amicably in cases of dispute, over dealing magnanimously and with characteristic generosity in cases where he recognised the men’s interests to be really affected. He did not, however, approve of the union principle, and union men have never, since the last strike, been accepted as workmen in the North British. In politics Mr. Ellis did not figure conspicuously on public occasions, but was known to lean to the Conservative side, although he also accepted a good part of the Liberal creed. In religion he was a member of the Wesleyan Society, and his interest in that body in Coatbridge is best shown by the liberality with which he built the present handsome edifice of St. ThomasWesleyan Church, which cost him a sum of £4000. Up until the time of his death he held the office of Circuit Steward in St. Thomas’ Church.

Mr. Ellis was married to a daughter of the late Mr. James Leonard, Gateshead, by whom he has had a large family. He is survived by a widow, two sons and a daughter, all of whom are grown-ups. Another daughter, who died two years ago, was married to the Rev. Mr. Chambers, late incumbent of St. Thomas’s Wesleyan Church, Coatbridge.

In an extract from his will, Thomas said:

Seven years after the death of Thomas, the 1891 Census finds Sarah Ellis (widow of Thomas), daughter Sarah and son Thomas boarding at the ‘Hydro’ in Logie Parish, Perthshire. This is more than likely to have been the Spa at Bridge of Allan which would have been relatively close to Whittington Lodge.

The following two images show how the Spa appeared in the 1930’s.

Sarah Leonard, widow of Thomas Ellis died 4th February 1895.

Elizabeth Ellis, eldest daughter of Thomas and Sarah married Wesleyan Minister Jabez Chambers shortly after the 1871 Census. They can be found on the 1881 Census living at the Wesleyan Manse in Coatbridge with 3 sons: Albert Ellis Ernest Chambers age 10 (born c1871), Thomas Chalmers age 9 (born c1872) and Ernest Harold Jabez Chambers age 2 months (born 1881). Elizabeth died on 27th June 1882 age 35.

They had another two children, Leonard John Chambers born 29th December 1876 and Sarah Ellis Chambers born c1878. Both these children were with their grandparents Thomas & Sarah Ellis at Whittington Lodge in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire at the time of the 1881 Census.
Leonard John died 18th January 1882 age 5 years 11 months.

After the death, of his wife and child, Jabez Chambers moved away from Coatbridge and was enumerated on 1891 English Census with children Sarah and Ernest at Grantham in Lincolnshire. By 1901, had moved to Devon and had remarried.

Sarah Leonard Ellis, Thomas & Sarah’s 2nd daughter is enumerated on the 1881 Census as both Sarah Millet and Sarah Ellis, age 28. This indicates that she had been married and was possibly a widow back living with her parents. Her year of birth would have been around 1852 which is a close match with the Sarah Leonard Banner in the following photograph

John William Ellis, eldest son of Thomas and Sarah was a Student of Arts at Glasgow University in 1871. He was the son whom his father wished not to have anything to do with the Management of the North British Iron-works (see previous extracts from Thomas’s will).
He is listed on the 1881 Census as living at John Street, Coatbridge with his wife Jane,
their son John W. L. Ellis age 3 and daughter Jane P. L. Ellis age 1.

Strangely, his occupation is listed as Ironwork Manager – of course he may have been a Manager in one of the neighbouring businesses rather than the North British!

John William and Jane’s eldest son was Thomas Ellis,
who died on the 4th February 1881 aged 4 years and 10 months.

Like his mother Sarah, sister and brother (Sarah and Thomas), John and his family were boarding at the ‘Hydro’ in Logie Parish, Perthshire in 1891. His occupation is listed as Ironmaster. The individuals are all listed as ‘Boarders’ and no family relationships appear, but  there are 2 Ellis children alongside John and Jane - John W. L. Ellis age 13, known to be their son and a Sarah L. Ellis age 8, probably their daughter. Their third son James Leonard Ellis who was born c1884, and would be around 7 years old is not with the family.

John William Ellis died on 28th November 1891 aged 38 years and as can plainly be seen from the following photograph – he seems to have had a definite connection with the North British Iron-works!

Thomas Leonard Ellis, second son of Thomas and Sarah was born c1862 and died at
Whittington House, Dunbeth Avenue, Coatbridge on 27th March 1897 aged 35.

He married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ritchie Lindsay at Gartsherrie Parish Church on 18th April 1893
Lizzie was the daughter of John Lindsay, Portioner and Jane Lindsay nee Pettigrew of Rosslyn House, Coatbridge.

His occupation on the 1881 Census is listed as Clerk in Iron Works, in the 1891 Census as Iron Manufacturer and as Ironmaster on his marriage and death registration.

The Ellis Family Lair in in Section 19 of Old Monkland Cemetery, Coatbridge.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sylvester Douglas Stirling

Stirling Families of Glenbervie & Tarduf

Sylvester Douglas Stirling, 12th Child and 7th son of John Stirling and Mary Graham of Kippendavie.

Born 3rd February 1803 and christened 24th February 1803 at Dunblane (Perthshire).

Married Anne Patricia Craigie Connell 7th September 1830 at Larbert.
(Anne was born 31st August 1811, daughter of David Connell)

Bought ‘Woodside’ Estate in 1832, changing the name to ‘Glenbervie’.

The couple went on to have 5 (known) children:

Isabella C. H. Stirling
Born 1831, died 1862

Anne Douglas S. Stirling
Born 1834, died 29th March 1867 at Edinburgh
(Married Major William Stirling, 2nd June 1864)
Anne Douglas Stirling, born 1865
Charlotte Dorothea Wylie Stirling, born 1867

*Mary Catherine (or Katherine) Stirling
Born c1833, died 28th July 1915
(Married William Stirling, her first cousin, 26th July 1855 at Glenbervie)

*More on Mary Katherine and her family later in article

Charlotte Jane Stirling
Born 1838, died 1866

Charles Douglas Stirling
Born 18th May, 1840, died 29th April 1856

The 1841 Census finds the family living at Glenbervie
Head of Household: S.D. (Sylvester Douglas) Stirling, age 35
A.C. (Anne Craigie/Connell) Stirling, age 29, Wife
I. G. H. (Isabella G. H.) Stirling, age 9, Daughter
M. K. (Mary Katherine) Stirling, age 7, Daughter
A. D. (Anne Douglas) Stirling, age 6 Daughter
C. J. (Charlotte Jane) Stirling, age 2, Daughter
C. D. (Charles Douglas) Stirling, age 1, Son

The Glasgow Herald, 4th September 1846 (Page 2)
Prints the death on 2nd September 1846 of Sylvester D. Stirling, Esq. of Glenbervie.

The Glasgow Herald, 7th September 1846 (Page 4) prints an Obituary

After her husband’s death, Mrs Stirling built the ‘new’ Glenbervie
and the previous Glenbervie was demolished.

The 1851 Census finds the family living at Glenbervie House
Head of Household: Anne Craigie Stirling, age 39, Landed Proprietor
Anne Douglas Stirling, age 16 Daughter
Charlotte Jane Stirling, age 12, Daughter
Charles Douglas Stirling, age 11, Son … not there

Son Charles Douglas Stirling died 29th April 1856

The 1861 Census finds the family living at Torquay in Devon
Head of Household: Anne C. Stirling, age 49
Isabella G. H. Stirling, age 29, Daughter
Anne Douglas Stirling, age 26 Daughter
Charlotte Stirling, age 22, Daughter

Daughter Isabella G. H. Stirling (wife of Major William Stirling) died 1862

Daughter Charlotte Jane Stirling died 1866

Stirling Family Enclosure in Larbert Old Parish Churchyard

The 1891 Census finds Anne living at Glenbervie House
Head of Household: Anne C. Stirling, age 79, Landed Proprietor
Anne D. Stirling, age 25, Grand- Daughter

Ann Stirling died 1899 and the trustees sold the Glenbervie Estate to James Aitken of Darroch
(of Russell & Aitken, Solicitors, Falkirk)

*Mary Catherine (or Katherine) Stirling, daughter of Sylvester Douglas and Anne  Stirling
Born c1833, died 28th July 1915
(Married William Stirling, her first cousin, 26th July 1855 at Glenbervie)
(Known) Children:
Mary Graham Stiring, born 1857, died 1923
Elizabeth Barrett Stirling, born 1859, died 1923
William George Hay Stirling, born c1862
Sylvester Douglas Stirling, born 1863, died 1924
Sylvia Anne Stirling, born 23rd February 1864, died 31st January 1866
Charlotte Douglas Stirling, born 2nd May 1866, died 12th June 1935
Rose Isabel Stirling, born 30th August 1868, died 4th January 1893
James David Stirling, born 11th December 1873, died 11th March 1910 (India)

The 1881 Census finds the family living at Tarduf Mansion in Muiravonside, Stirlingshire
Head of Household: William Stirling, age 59, Magistrate & West India Merchant
Wife: Mary Katherine Stirling, age 48
Mary Graham Stirling, age 23, Daughter
Elizabeth Barrett Stirling, age 22, Daughter
William George Hay Stirling, age 19, Son, Lieutenant, Highland & Border Militia
Sylvester Douglas Stirling, age 7, Son
James David Stirling, age 7, Son

The following photographs are of the Stirling Enclosure in Muiravonside Churchyard.

To the loved memory of WILLIAM STIRLING …..? died 28th March 19?? aged ..? years
And MARY KATHERINE his wife died 28th July 1915 in her …? year

SYLVIA ANNE born 23rd February 1864 died 31st January 1866
ROSE ISABEL born 30th August 1868 died 4th January 1893
Laid in Abney Park Cemetery, London

In loving memory of Capt. JAMES DAVID STIRLING
D.S.O. Wildes Rifles Frontier Force, Indian Army, 3rd son of William Stirling of Tarduf
Born December 11th 1873 killed in action on the North West Frontier of India
March 11th 1910 and laid in the Cemetery at Bannu, faithful unto death
And of ELIZABETH BARRET STIRLING born 1859 died 1923 laid in New Kilpatrick
MARY GRAHAM STIRLING born 1857 died 1923 laid in Warriston
SYLVESTER DOUGLAS STIRLING born 1853 died 1924 laid in Warriston
CHARLOTTE DOUGLAS STIRLING born May 2nd 1856 died June 12th 1935
Laid to rest in Warriston

The Aitken Family who purchased Glenbervie after the death of Anne Stirling have an impressive memorial in Camelon (Falkirk) Cemetery.

JOHN AITKEN, L.L.D., F.R.S., born 18th September 1839
Died at Ardenlea, Falkirk 13th November 1919
ROBERT AITKEN, born 4th December 1840
Died at Rosemount, Colmonnel, Ayrshire 4th May 1907

WALTER AITKEN, Major in the 42nd Regiment “The Black Watch”
Born 10th April 1842, killed at the Battle of Tamai, (Tamanieh) Egyptian Sudan, 13th March 1884
JESSIE AITKEN of Glenbervie, Larbert, daughter of Henry Aitken, Writer, Falkirk
Born 4th September 1843 died at Glenbervie 29th October 1923

ROBERT WALKER AITKEN son of James Aitken, Writer, Falkirk
Born 13th February 1811 died at Edinburgh 22nd February 1872
RUSSELL AITKEN, Civil Engineer, Bombay and London
Born 23rd July 1837 died at London 8th April 1915

JAMES AITKEN, Writer of Darroch and Glenbervie, eldest son of Henry Aitken, Writer, Falkirk
Born 26th November 1834 died at Darroch 17th December 1911
HENRY AITKEN, Coalmaster, Falkirk born 4th July 1838
Died at Darroch 21st November 1903

Glenbervie House is now a hotel.

Monday, 17 October 2011

John Henry Alexander

Actor, laterally owner and manager of the Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street, Glasgow was born in the
seaside town of Dunbar in East Lothian, Scotland.

The IGI (www.familysearch) lists his birth as 30th July 1796 (christening on 7th August 1796)
The same source lists his parents, John Alexander and Margaret  Pitcaithley
as having an additional 3 sons:
William Alexander, born 17th June 1791, christened 19th June 1791 at Perth
William Stewart Alexander, born 18th August 1794, christened 24th August 1794 at Dunbar
Charles Alexander, born 19th October 1798, christened 28th October 1798 at Dunbar

(His obituary states that he was one of five sons)

John married Elizabeth Riddell, daughter of George Riddell, Coach Builder and Mary Learmonth
at Edinburgh in May 1817 and went on to have 5 (known) children:
George Russell Alexander, born 11th December 1820 at Edinburgh
(Died 17th June 1901)
Elizabeth Alexander, born ?, christened 29th October 1826, at Dumfries
Margaret Alexander, born 3rd January 1829, Glasgow
Janet Eliza Alexander, born 4th August 1833, Glasgow
Elizabeth Riddell Alexander, born ?, christened 19th October 1836, Glasgow.

My sincere thanks to Matthew Lloyd, great, great grandson of Horatio Lloyd
for the above excepts from original posters from the Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street.

Images of the complete posters, plus many others, can be seen here:

Some of John Henry Alexander’s ‘antics’ have been mentioned in Chapter 11
in the autobiography of H. F. Lloyd ‘The Life of an actor‘, see:

The Glasgow Herald of Tuesday, February 19th 1849 carries a lengthy article headed as
“Frightful Accident at the Theatre Royal, Dunlop Street,
sixty-five lives lost.”
The article contains a list of persons killed and injured, listing their age, places of residence and where they died if not at the theatre (the fire had been on the night of Saturday 17th February).

On the 1851 Scottish Census, John is living at 198 Pitt Street, Glasgow.
His occupation is listed as Manager & Proprietor of Theatre Royal, Glasgow.
Also living there were wife Margaret, age 44
and daughters Margaret age 21 and Jessie age 16

(Jessie would most likely have been daughter Janet, born 1833)

John Henry Alexander died later the same year on 15th December 1851 aged 55 years and his monument in the Glasgow Necropolis must be one of the most ornate there.

The monument was designed by James Hamilton and sculpted by Alexander Handyside Ritchie.

John Henry Alexander’s Monument is located on Section ‘Omega’ of the Necropolis.

The Glasgow Herald of Friday morning, December 19th, 1851
printed the following on their front page:

On page 5 of the same issue, followed a lengthy obituary

The following is a transcription of the article:

Death of Mr. Alexander, of the Theatre Royal

The public will learn with much regret, of the death of Mr. John Henry Alexander, the proprietor of the Glasgow Theatre Royal. Mr. Alexander only retired from active life as Manager of the Theatre at the beginning of the present season, when Mr. Simpson became the leasee of the establishment. Freed from the pressure of his managerial duties, he proceeded on a visit to London about two months ago. Here he was suddenly taken ill, and as his malady, which at the out-set was jaundice, did not yield to medical treatment, he became anxious for removal to his own home, and was accordingly brought to Glasgow about three weeks ago. He gradually became worse, however, and finally sank under his ailments on the morning of Monday last at the comparatively early age of fifty-five. We say “comparatively early,” for Mr. Alexander has occupied a most prominent position before the Glasgow public for more than a quarter of a century; and while retiring in full mental and physical vigour, he might fondly look forward to a lengthened period of ease and contentment. But he has been summoned to his account almost without tasting the sweets of retirement which he had earned by a long life of industry and anxiety.

Mr. Alexander’s public character will be variously estimated. But we believe every one will readily concede to him the character of an honest and industrious man, and an able member of his profession. Doubtless he had certain eccentricities, which were sometimes exhibited to the amusement of his audience, but these did not in any degree mar his general merits as an excellent performer. It may be said by some that Mr. Alexander did little to elevate the character of the Glasgow stage, and that his company might have possessed a wider range of talent than it could usually boast of. Before we can speculate on this point, we would require to be in possession of information generally only known to the manager himself; and it must not be forgotten that theatricals, to be managed profitably, must be conducted like any other mercantile undertaking. Mr. Alexander afforded the Glasgow public the opportunity of seeing, at convenient seasons, the best talent which London could produce; and it is a matter of fact that his establishment was at all times conducted with the strictest regard to purity and decorum. His exertions were rewarded with complete success in a pecuniary point of view; and his name will long be remembered in Glasgow, as having erected in it the finest theatre in the British dominions, London only excepted.

Mr. Alexander commenced his theatrical career in Glasgow about 1822, when he became leasee of part of the old building which stood on the site of the present magnificent house. At the period to which we refer, the Theatre Royal, under the management of Mr. Seymour, occupied the upper floor of these premises. Mr. Alexander, in the then state of the patent laws, could not style his establishment a theatre, he therefore called it the “Dominion of Fancy”. He continued to conduct dramatic entertainments there until the opening of the Theatre Royal in Queen Street, when he became tenant or proprietor of the whole tenement in Dunlop Street.
His house was then known as the Minor Theatre. During this time he was leasee of the Caledonian Theatre in Edinburgh, the theatres of Dumfries, Carlisle and others. At the Minor Theatre in this city he gave melo-dramas, farces and operas; and we have to state that during this period he gave a set of musical performances, which, we believe, may be placed amongst the first operas ever represented in Glasgow. We do not clearly remember whether the French Operatic Company which performed in Queen Street were immediately before or after this period; but we distinctly remember that amongst other pieces “Der Freischutz” and “Oberon” were put on the stage. The principal vocalists were Messrs. Horncastle, Edmonds and Reynoldson, and Miss Horncastle. Following them came a rapid succession of English singers, who appeared in such pieces as “Rosina”, “Love in a Village”, “The Maid of the Mill”, and “The Quaker”. The singers who sustained the principal parts were Horn, Binge, Williamson, Shirvall, Miss Paton, Miss Eliza Paton, and the Misses Smith.

Amongst the characters in which Mr. Alexander appeared to great advantage, and in which we feel inclined to believe he had few equals and no superiors, we may mention “Jemmy Mammoth” in Douglas Jerrold’s farce of “Law and Lions”, “Adam Brock” in “Charles the XII”, which the late Mr. R. Hardy, one of his most constant castigators admitted was many degrees better than the same part as performed by Mr. Liston of London; “Demetrius” in “The Evil Eye”, “Colonel Dumas” in “The Lady of Lyons, “John Thornberry” in “John Bull”, besides many others which the old playgoers of Glasgow may remember, but which we need not particularize. His performance of “Dandie Dinmont” in “Guy Mannering” more than once received commendations from Sir Walter Scott, and in many of his other Scottish parts we are not sure that a considerable portion of the praise which has been bestowed on Mr. McKay would not, twenty years ago, have been as well applied to the subject of our memoir. In late years the multiplicity of characters, and the very different nature of the talent necessary properly to represent them, very materially altered the style of his acting. His low comedy had become broad rather than humorous, and the short time he had for study forced him sometimes to interpolate words of his own fault of those written by the author.
John Henry Alexander was born in the town of Dunbar in East Lothian, in the year 1796. His father was a respectable watchmaker in that town, and for some time conducted the establishment of a Mr. Davidson, and on that gentleman’s retiring to Dunse he succeeded to the whole of his business, which he prosecuted with success for some years; but circumstances of an adverse nature, occasioned by the pressure of the times, having overcome his efforts, he resigned his prospects in that town and came to Edinburgh, in which city he remained for some years, and from thence retired to Glasgow.

The subject of this memoir is the second son of five. Having received the principal part of his education in Edinburgh, he commenced and was intended to pursue his father’s profession; but on arrival in Glasgow he was placed in the shop of his uncle, Mr. Hugh Proudfoot, then an extensive hosier and glover at the foot of the Candleriggs, where he continued for some time as assistant shopman, to the satisfaction of his relative. But having considerable time upon his hands in the situation which he filled, he here imbibed a predilection for the stage by reading the memoirs of Garrick, Macklin, Barry, Mossop, and other eminent members of the historic art; and last, not least, his afterwards manager, Mr. Henry Johnston, whose biography met his eye in the Monthly Mirror, and, being a Scotchman, national feeling and enthusiasm at once determined him in making the stage his profession, and now busied his thoughts on the means of accomplishing his design – the fruit of which was an appearance with a party of theatrical heroes, who sallied from Glasgow to an adjoining country town, and here he made his debut as “Frederick” in the play of “Lovers’ Vows”, and “Scout” in the farce of the “Village Lawyer”. In these his success was such as to realise all the expectations he had formed of being an actor.

He afterwards, in a similar exhibition, enacted “Lady Randolph” and “Williams” in the farce of the “Register Office”, for his clear enunciation of which, and his general perfectness in the text, he was particularly noticed, and his juvenile mind was sufficiently buoyed up with applause, to confirm his choice of profession. At this period he was not more than fourteen years of age, and being in the habit of frequenting the office of the late John Tate, then printer in Glasgow, for the purpose of superintending the printing of the bills, for the above exhibitions, he there attracted the notice of that gentleman, who afterwards introduced him to Messrs. Bartley and Trueman, then managers of the Queen Street Theatre, who, perceiving something of the ‘vis comica’ in his composition, allowed him an appearance on the same evening that the son of Mr. Bartley made a similar debut – Mr. Alexander singing the comic song of ‘London is the Devil’, and Mr. B. ‘Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled’: the juvenility of the heroes being such, as created a powerful sensation amongst the inmates of the theatre; the wings and stage doors were crowded to hear the result of their efforts, which were highly relished by the audience, and Mr. Alexander being encored in his song, he repeated it with similar success for several evenings. After this he continued to visit behind the scenes, and to prepare himself in characters, when a maturer age might fit him for their representation. On the retirement of Messrs. Bartley and Trueman from the Glasgow Theatre, he procured an engagement from their successor, and here began to distinguish himself by giving out the performances at the end of the play, and addressing the audiences in cases of emergency. Adverse circumstances having obliged Mr. Montgomery to relinquish the theatre, he at last met with the object of his early adoration, Mr. Henry Johnston, who immediately engaged him; and he made his first appearance in the town of Ayr as Laertes in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Johnston playing the part of Hamlet. On the second night, Dan in ‘John Bull’, and throughout the season, an extensive range of business of equal consequence – versatility of talent, which has since distinguished his efforts, appearing even at those early years. He now returned to the Queen Street Theatre under the auspices of Mr. Macready, who had then become leasee of the theatre. His entrĂ©e into that establishment was as Frank Rochdale, in ‘John Bull’, and continued till the end of the season playing a variety of business, and finished as Colonel Lambton in the ‘Royal Oak’, to Master Betty, the ‘Young Rosciue, Charles the Second’, when he was despatched with a party to open the Newcastle Theatre, where he continued several seasons, gradually working himself into favour with the audience.

He then visited Carlisle with the same company, where he became an established favourite, and has since continued to retain the favour and good opinion of that audience. While in Carlisle he received a favourable offer from Messrs. Anderson and Falconer, then managers of the Scarborough Theatre, which he accepted; but, in the interim, having been recommended by some private friend, he received a flattering invitation from Mr. William Murray to join him at the commencement of his management of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh; having always entertained a high opinion of the respectability and excellence of this establishment, he experienced some regret at not being able to accept the offer at this time, but, in his reply, requested that the gentleman to honour him with a communication at the end of the Scarborough season, which, being complied with, after an excellent benefit in Scarborough, with equal professional success, he joined the Edinburgh company, where he continued about ten years, occupying a vast multiplicity of characters, tragic and comic; in many of which he was eminently successful, such as Dandie Dinmont, Ralph Hempseed, Jem Ratcliff etc., combining with them such characters as Pizarro. Moustache (Henri Quatre), Bertrand (Foundling of the Forest), Timour the Tartar, Zembuco etc, in all of which, the kindness of the audience was always proverbial. He took much pains and pleasure in his dressing, and discharge of his duties before the public; and the kind and continued favours bestowed upon him by an Edinburgh audience has left a strong impression upon his mind, even to this hour.

He was married in the year 1817, to the present Mrs. Alexander, who is a native of Edinburgh, when only twenty years of age; and became so extensively connected and favoured with the public, that his benefits annually produced £147. On these occasions he assumed the following important characters, - Othello, Alexander the Great, Fitzharding (Curfew), Robert Tyke, etc., etc., in all of which he raised himself still higher in the general important situation he held in the theatre; and by his industry, contrived to amass a considerable sum, such as might be termed to so young a person, and in a precarious public profession, a tolerable independency. Keeping in view his future endeavours, upon the capital of which he commenced his management, and invested his family in some property of importance on that city.

Although ten years in the Edinburgh Theatre, he quitted it for a short period, to accept of an invitation to be the stage manager of the Aberdeen Theatre, then under the auspices of Mr. Ryder, and made his first appearance in that town as Othello. Mr Alexander’s time of joining this establishment being near the close of the season, he finished that campaign, and proceeded to Perth with the company, where he again received an invitation from Mr. Murray, and once more joined that gentleman’s establishment, then in Glasgow, and re-appeared on the Glasgow stage in Rashleigh Osbaldiston in ‘Rob Roy’. During the whole of the season in that theatre he continued to sustain his former routine of business, such as Timour the Tartar, Zembuco, Pizarro, etc., with a large portion of the low comedy.  He then returned with the company to Edinburgh, where he continued, until invited to the management of the  Theatre Royal, Newcastle, in the absence of Mr. Decamp, then engaged at the Haymarket Theatre, and made his first appearance  to the late Stephen Kemble’s Falstaff, in the character of Hotspur, in Shakespeare’s ‘Henry the Fourth’; on the following night, Lancelot Gobbo to his Shylock; afterwards, Sir David Daw to his Penruddock; Dennis Brulgruddery to his Job Thornberry; and throughout the season, besides the management of the theatre, combined the singular versatility of sustaining the first tragedy and low comedy, which was appointed to him by Mr. Duncan, without solicitation, having only viewed his versatile powers while on a visit to Edinburgh.
Previous to this period, after an absence of a number of years, during one of the Edinburgh vacations, he had visited the old and favoured scene of his youth, the city of Carlisle, where, in a temporary engagement for a fortnight, he met with so hearty a welcome from his old friends (having made considerable progress in his profession), as induced the manager to re-engage him for a further limited period; and the theatre being then to let, the inhabitants considered him the most competent person to become the tenant, for the assiduity he had displayed for the interest of his then employer. He at once accepted the invitation, and, amidst a host of competitors, he became the tenant; and at the close of the Newcastle season, he opened the Carlisle Theatre, in 1821, with Mr. Decamp’s company and terminated a most successful season in that city; and which he has since continued to govern with equal success, for a period of twelve years.

During his sojurn in Carlisle, he received an invitation from the proprietors of the Dumfries Theatre to become their tenant. He proceeded to that town, and though he had many difficulties to encounter, from previous bad tenants, yet, by perseverance and attention, he continued to govern it for ten years, and to gain the good opinion of the inhabitants of that town. After the first season in Dumfries, not having towns of equal respectability with that and Carlisle, he broke up his company and retired to Edinburgh, where he lay upon his oars for a few weeks, and then made his first managerial essay in Glasgow in the summer of 1822; in an after season at the old Minor Theatre, which had been occupied several seasons by a Mr. Kinloch, and which stood on the site of the present Theatre Royal, but on a smaller scale. Here his success was equal to his previous managerial career in other towns, and he resolved to continue it, but found great obstruction and difficulty from the rights of the patent of the Queen Street Theatre; and not being thoroughly acquainted with dramatic laws, and several persons having occupied the premises before him, he considered, as minor theatres were allowed in L0ondon, he had a right to pursue the same system in Scotland, not knowing at that period that the London minor theatres were licensed by Act of Parliament. After defending himself through hosts of enemies of the opposite party, and resisting various prosecutions, at an enormous expense, in the Supreme Court, he at last grew weary of this life of jeopardy, and at the burning of the Queen Street Theatre he resolved (Having already expended several hundred pounds on the property he then occupied, and which he was conscious would have been devoted to the service of his enemies) t embark the earnings of his laborious life in taking some interest in the present Theatre Royal and it’s patent. The circumstances which took place during these painful and almost incredible proceedings would occupy volumes to detail, and hereafter may furnish materials for a continuation of the history of the Scottish Stage.

Since the possession of the Patent Theatre, Mr. Alexander has fully realized his previous exertions, and has evinced a degree of professional knowledge which fully proves that he has been nursed and cradled in the bosom of the drama. He is the only man who, for thirty years, has been enabled to place the theatricals of Glasgow in a paying or lucrative condition, and it is now said, that money is to be made in Glasgow by such speculations. Let those who do not possess the same resources and versatility try the scheme (even were they to obtain a license), and then speak of the result. We fear it would be in unison with those who, when they got rid of a theatrical property, would not venture it a second time. The great secret of Mr. Alexander’s success in this – he goes through the work of six men daily – he employs no stage manager – no amanuensis – he constructs and lays out his own scenery – puts into the hands of his painter the whole of the work which has appeared in this theatre for years – selects a great portion of his melo-dramatic music – superintends and directs the business from the commencement of his rehearsals day, and takes an equal active part in two and three dramatic pieces each night. Now, all this paid by deputy would soon convince theatrical speculators of their error in theatrical profits.

Mr. Alexander’s parents are respectable, and have conducted themselves through life, in a manner which reflects credit on themselves, and the present subject of this memoir. He has also many highly respectable relations: his uncle, Capt. Charles Alexander, who was present at the battle of Alexandria, and several successful campaigns, is now enjoying the winter of his life on full pay, in the town of Perth, of which place his father and mother are natives.

The Monument is located in 'Omega' Section.

John Henry Alexander’s widow Elizabeth outlived him by just over twenty years.
She died on the 8th April 1872 aged 71 at 8 Shaftesbury Terrace, Glasgow.