William E Allenby

Sunday, March 17th, 2024

By Morag T Fyfe

William Everette Allenby, a 56 year old artist, died from typhus fever and was buried in common ground in compartment Iota in May 1847. His forenames suggest he belonged to a Lincolnshire family of Allenbys but he has not been positively identified. His widow Susan and three children can be found in the 1851 census living at 16 Havannah Street, off High Street. Susan was supporting herself and her children by working as a straw bonnet maker. Her occupation and address suggest the family were in poor circumstances and makes one wonder what kind of ‘artist’ William Everette had been; he has not been found in internet searches. There are faint traces of the children in the following censuses until Ann, the elder daughter, is found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses settled at Findlay Street. She died in Stobhill Hospital in 1923 and her death certificate confirms her father as William Everitt (sic) Allenby.

Joseph Hume, MP by William Allenby

Joseph Hume, MP by William Allenby

The facts about William Everette Allenby recorded above have now been supplemented by further information provided by Sean Paton. It turns out Allenby was a minor portrait artist and sillhouettist who worked in London in the 1820s and 1830s. By the late 1830s competition from early photography was beginning to affect his business. According to his adverts Allenby left London and focussed his efforts in the provinces and later Ireland. In the early 1840s he returned from Ireland and made his way to Scotland where adverts have tracked his travels to Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee and finally Glasgow where he died. He was married at least twice though there is a lack of documentary proof for the second marriage and he fathered at least five children.

James Adams

Sunday, January 14th, 2024

by Morag T Fyfe

James Adams was buried in a common grave in compartment Eta on 11 March 1861. The burial register recorded his place of death as ‘The Brigantine Tanner of Brookhaven of New York lying in Glasgow Harbour, South Side’ and this information was enough to identify a short newspaper article.

SUDDEN DEATH ON BOARD SHIP – On Sunday evening, about ten o’clock, a seaman named James Adams, employed on board the brigantine Tanner, of Brookhaven, became suddenly unwell, and dropped upon the deck. He was immediately carried to the cabin, and Dr M’Farlane, Dundas Street, Kingston, who was sent for, was speedily in attendance. The poor man never rallied, however, and expired yesterday morning shortly after twelve o’clock. Deceased, who was a native of Dublin, was 50 years of age. Apoplexy is supposed to have been the cause of death.

Glasgow Herald 12 March 1861

Adams’ death certificate confirms the details given in the newspaper report and adds that he was unmarried, and his parentage was unknown to the master of the ship, George Hodgkinson, who registered his death. His death had occurred at 20 minutes past midnight on 11 March and he was buried later that day.

Forty years later the Tanner went aground near Port Townsend, Washington State, USA.

She survived this grounding but in 1905 her crew abandoned her when she became waterlogged. They were picked up by the British steamer Queen City and taken to Victoria, British Columbia while the abandoned hulk was later towed into Port Townsend.

It can be difficult to find out much about people in the unmarked graves of the Glasgow Necropolis. However we feel it is important to publish what we have been able to discover to date. We would be grateful for anyone with further information on any of these people to contact us. research@glasgownecropolis.org


Peter Aikman and family

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

By Morag T Fyfe

Visitors to compartment Omega in the Necropolis may notice a standard gravestone that records the loss of six children in 1857.


Peter Aikman and Family

Peter Aikman and Family

In memory of /JESSIE aged 8 years/ANNIE aged 6 years/ARTHUR aged 4 ½ years /CHARLES aged 3 years /FREDERICK aged 1 ½ years /ALEXANDER aged 4 weeks /The beloved children of /PETER AIKMAN, /Grosvenor Terrace Glasgow.

“Lovely and pleasant in their lives /and in their death they were not divided. /They all died in one fortnight and /are interred here in the same grave. /Even so Father as it seemed /good in Thy sight


The burial registers and other sources have allowed us to flesh out their story. Baby Alexander was the first to be buried, by his father, on the 10th March 1857. He was followed six days later by Jessie, Annie and Frederick. The last two surviving children, Arthur and Charles, were buried together on the 24th March. Peter Aikman organized the first two funerals but when it came to the third the boys were buried by their grandfather.

The deaths of so many children in such a short space of time warranted sympathetic comment in some of the local newspapers and it is from these notices that we learn that all the children died from whooping cough. On obtaining the death certificates of Annie and Jessie it turned out that their cause of death was more complicated than that reported in the newspapers. The official cause of death was ‘Rubeola followed by Pertussis and consequences from 29th January 1857’. Rubeola is measles as opposed to Rubella which is the less serious German measles. It seems that one of the side effects of Rubeola is to suppress the immune system and lay the patient open to other infections of which whooping cough is the most likely in the nineteenth century.

In addition to coping with the deaths of six children in 1857 Peter Aikman also had business worries. He and his uncle Thomson Aikman were partners in the firm P & T Aikman formed in 1841. The firm were ship owners and shipping agents, owning outright or with shares in three ships built by Walter Hood & Co., Shipbuilders, Footdee, Aberdeen. In 1858 the partners became involved in two bankruptcies as creditors and in 1859 P & T Aikman themselves became bankrupt. By October 1859 the house in Grosvenor Terrace had been sold.

A second panel on the monument records the death of Peter Aikman in London in 1862 and of his wife Janet A Cochran also in London in 1911.

By 1861 Peter and Janet Aikman were living in Islington, London with three young daughters (Caroline, Elizabeth and Evelyn). Peter was still a ship broker. He died the following year aged only 41 and was buried at Christ Church, Forest Hill, Kent. By 1871 Janet had returned home to her mother and she and her daughters can be found at Kirktonfield House, Neilston. The family had moved to Partick by 1881 but by 1891 it has split with Elizabeth being married and living in Acton, Middlesex and the two remaining sisters living in Cathcart. Mother Janet is found in the census with Elizabeth in Acton that year but it is not clear whether she is visiting or living there permanently. By 1901 Janet and Evelyn are back in Ealing, Caroline having married in the meantime and it was there that Janet died in 1911. Evelyn had predeceased her dying in Edinburgh in 1907 and it may be because she died in Scotland that Evelyn was buried alongside her six older brothers and sisters in the grave in Compartment Omega in the Necropolis.


Sir Arthur Allan

Thursday, February 4th, 2021


Saturday, December 5th, 2020

Written by Ann O’Connell and Morag T Fyfe

Robert Easton Aitken

Robert Easton Aitken

Robert Easton Aitken, often referred to as Colonel R E Aitken, was a well known citizen of Glasgow in the second half of the 19th century thanks to his position in the Glasgow Stock Exchange and as a member of the Volunteers. He was a burgess of the City of Glasgow like his father, grandfather and great grandfather before him.

He was born in Glasgow on 27th December 1842 the second child and eldest son of Robert Aitken and Catherine Mary McNish. He had two brothers and three sisters. His younger brother, George David Aitken, born in 1846, died young. His youngest brother, Charles King Aitken (1848/54-1940), was a member of to the Glasgow Stock Exchange Association like his father and elder brother. Aitken’s three sisters were Catherine M Aitken, born 1841, Agnes J Aitken, born 1851 and Margaret E Aitken, born 1854.

R E Aitken attended the Grammar/High School which between1821 and 1878 was located in John Street. He was in Fletcher Low’s 1852-1857 class. Some sources claim he attended Glasgow University but there is no evidence that he graduated, though it is possible he attended some few classes and left without graduating.

Aitken trained as an accountant in his father’s firm Aitken & Mackenzie. He is also said to have trained as a civil engineer including twelve months in Berlin. In 1869/70 he was admitted a member of the Institute of Accountants and Actuaries in Glasgow (IAAG), and of the Glasgow Stock Exchange Association. When his father retired in 1870 he replaced him in the firm which eventually became Aitken, Mackenzie, & Clapperton, and of which he became senior partner in 1880. Although trained as an accountant Aitken, like his father before him, was best known as a stockbroker. He was a member of the Stock Exchange for thirty-nine years, and was elected chairman five times, in 1889, 1890, 1891, 1898, and 1903. He was also a director of several public companies, and a J.P. for the County of the City of Glasgow and for Dunbartonshire.

The Glasgow Stock Exchange

The Glasgow Stock Exchange on the corner of St George’s Place (since 1986 Nelson Mandela Place) and Buchanan Street, c 1900. The Exchange was founded in 1844. The architect John Burnet designed this building in the Venetian Gothic style. It was erected 1875-1877 and an extension was added in St George’s Place in 1906.
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections

A keen weekend soldier, Aitken served with the local Volunteers for many years. He is said to have spent two years in the Queen’s Edinburgh Rifle Brigade, before joining the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers (1LRV). He was commissioned Lieutenant in 1LRV in December 1869, Captain in February 1871, Major in January 1880 and Lt Colonel in December 1881. He retired in 1888 with the rank of Honorary Colonel, which he retained by permission, and in November 1892 was one of the first recipients of the Volunteer Decoration.

Aitken can be traced in most of the censuses living at first at the family home in Bath Street (identified in the 1871 census as number 201). At the time of the 1861 Census he was there with his parents, brother Charles, sisters Catherine, Agnes and Margaret, two unmarried Aitken aunts and four servants.

201 Bath Street (2020)

201 Bath Street (2020)

In the 1871 Census Aitken, two unmarried sisters (Agnes and Margaret) and three servants were still living in the Bath Street house but their parents were not present as they may have retired to Largs by then.

On 7 March 1872 Robert Easton Aitken and Olivia Augusta Jones married in Marylebone, London where Olivia was living at the time. Olivia, born in Glasgow on 18th January 1845, was the only surviving daughter of Jesse Jones, a British subject born in Bermuda in 1815 who settled in Glasgow as a West India Merchant, and of Christina Croil originally from Glasgow.

5 Somerset Place (2020)

5 Somerset Place (2020)

By 1881 Aitken and his wife can be found at 5 Sumerset (sic) Place, Glasgow with two daughters Olivia and Eleanore and three servants.

Lansdowne Park, Victoria Road, Helensburgh, now demolished.

Lansdowne Park, Victoria Road, Helensburgh, now demolished.

Olivia died on 7th August 1890 aged 45 and it turned out that sometime between 1881 and her death in 1890 the family had moved out of Glasgow to Lansdowne Park a large detached villa in Helensburgh. Aitken himself was not at home on the night of the census but his three children (a son, Seymour, aged four had joined the two daughters) were being cared for by two McBride cousins of the family. There seems to be a family connection with Rothesay considering that Seymour was born there, the two cousins come from there as do two further visitors. The family had three indoor servants and a gardener.

In the 1901 Census Aitken, was still living at Lansdowne Park, Victoria Road, Helensburgh with his twenty three year old daughter Elenore. Seymour who would be about fifteen by this time is not there but at Uppingham School. There were now five servants employed in the house.

During his life Aitken found time to travel widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe and this may explain why he was not at home on census night 1891.

In politics he was a Liberal Unionist, serving as vice-chairman of the Dumbartonshire Liberal Unionist Association in 1900.

When resident in Glasgow, Aitken was a member of Free St. Matthew’s Church, Bath Street although it is not known whether he was ever an elder. In the early 1900s newspaper reports show that he opposed the union of the Free Church with the United Presbyterian Church to form the United Free Church which took place in 1900. In the prolonged wrangling and court cases which followed he used his financial expertise to support the minority part of the Free Church which remained outside the union and sought to reclaim many of the assets taken over by the United Free Church at the Union.

He died at Helensburgh on 4th January 1923 aged 81 and is buried in Glasgow Necropolis Compartment Epsilon. The lair seems to have belonged to his father in law, Jesse Jones, who is buried there along with his wife. Aitken was predeceased by his wife Olivia and a three year old daughter Evelyn Mary Gibsone who died in 1879,

He left an estate to the value of £20,982 : 14 : 7 in 1923 terms.

Robert Easton Aitken - Grave

Robert Easton Aitken – Grave

Sacred to the memory
born at Somerset Bermuda
20th October 1815
died at Wiesbaden Germany
6th July 1872
Also of his son
born at Demerara 12th July 1843
died at Brooklyn, New York
8th December 1881
born 29th December 1821
died 28th August1886
last surviving child of
born at Glasgow 18th January 1845
died at Helensburgh 7th August 1890
born at Glasgow 27th December 1842
died at Helensburgh 4th January 1923

daughter of
born 22nd June 1875
died 9th May 1879

The Aitken family’s burial place was in the Ramshorn churchyard where Robert Easton Aitken and Robert Crichton Seymour Aitken restored the grave stone in 1907. The stone commemorates Aitken’s grandfather, another Robert, who died on 5th July 1833 aged 68 and his wife Agnes Easton died 1847 at the age of 77. This Robert Aitken was a cloth manufacturer and manager of the Bank of Scotland in Glasgow when the head office was successively in Miller Street and Ingram Street, He was also an original member of the Western Club, and was intimately acquainted with the leading city men of his day. The military tradition of the family may have started with this Robert whose gravestone states that he was first lieutenant in the First Regiment of Royal Glasgow Volunteers 1797.

Aitken’s father, yet another Robert Aitken (1806 – 1890), was in 1844 an original member of Glasgow Stock Exchange, and was for three years chairman of that institution. The IAAG formation records indicate that he entered public accountancy practice prior to 1841 and initially partnered IAAG founder Thomas Gray Buchanan in Glasgow. It is said his father served in the Glasgow Sharpshooters about the time when it was disbanded. If so he must have been a young man at the time as this is the regiment raised in 1819 and disbanded in 1824 and commanded by Samuel Hunter, editor of the Glasgow Herald. The Ramshorn gravestone records that this Robert Aitken was buried in Sighthill Cemetery in 1890 along with three of his sisters but there is no mention of his wife, and R E Aitken’s mother, Catherine McNish.


Glasgow Stock Exchange Reference: Glasgow University Library Special Collections, e190
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
Seekers of Truth: The Scottish Founders of Modern Public Accountancy by T.A. Lee (Studies in the Development of Accountancy Thought vol 9), 2006
The Town School, A History of the High School of Glasgow by Brian R. W. Lockhart . 2010
Who’s who in Glasgow in 1909

Bannatyne v. Overtoun: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Church_case#:~:text=Bannatyne%20v%20Overtoun%20AC%20515%20%28also%20called%20General,union%20%28see%20Free%20Church%20of%20Scotland%20%28post%201900%29%29.


Ronald Sydney Arend

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

William Anderson

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Robert Coventry Anderson

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Charles Coventry Anderson

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Norman Macleod Adam, MC

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
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