Thomas Dobbie

Sunday, March 17th, 2024

By Morag T Fyfe

On 8th March 1801 a British expeditionary force under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Abercromby landed at Aboukir Bay to the east of Alexandria and defeated the French force opposing the landing. The Brigade commanded by Major General John Moore was allocated a position on the right of the British line.

Soldiers of the 40th, 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and 28th Regiments were the first ashore, led by Moore himself. On Moore’s left, the 42nd or Royal Highlanders Regiment landed with the 58th in support. The Highlanders formed up and loaded, in time to meet an attack by French cavalry, which they repelled with volleys. They suffered 21 men killed and 8 officers and 148 soldiers wounded in the action.

Landing at Aboukir Bay – Map

One of the soldiers wounded in the action was private Thomas Dobie and he was discharged to pension on 25th August 1802 at Edinburgh Castle aged 26 years due to a wound to the left leg sustained that day. At the time of his discharge he was serving with the 42nd or Royal Highlanders Regiment but his discharge document shows he had originally enlisted (underage) in the 97th Regiment nine years previously.

Dobie gave his birthplace as Barony parish when he enlisted and his trade as a weaver. He seems to have returned to his place of birth as he died at Glasgow in 1846 after drawing his pension for forty four years. He was buried in a common grave in Compartment Iota of the Necropolis on 28 December 1846.

An entry in the 1841 census for 100 Havannah Street may relate to him and suggests he was married with a daughter and a grand-daughter.  Apart from that nothing has been found about him except his military records.

Alexander Dennistoun (1790-1874)

Friday, November 10th, 2023
Alexander Dennistoun

Alexander Dennistoun

by Colin Campbell

He was born on August 14, 1790, the eldest of eight children and the grandson of a farmer from Campsie, also Alexander. His father, James, a successful businessman and banker, bought the Golfhill property in 1802 and Alexander inherited it in 1835 after the death of his father.

Alexander was educated at the Glasgow Grammar School (now Glasgow High School) and he matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1803 at the age of 13.

He joined the family firm of J&A Dennistoun in 1815 (founded by his father and uncle) and it is known that in 1820 he was in New Orleans where the firm had established a branch to manage their interests in cotton. Also, in that year he returned to this country in 1820, where he took charge of the Liverpool office and resided in Cheshire.

In 1822 he married Eleanor Jane Thomson of Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas (15 years his junior) who was living in Liverpool at that time. They were to have a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters, four of whom were not to live to adulthood.

Alexander went on the manage the offices in Le Havre and Paris.

He is listed as having been admitted as one of the Burgesess and Guild Brethern of Glasgow on 24 March 1824, his father and uncle also being members.

He returned to Glasgow in 1833 to take up residence initially at Germiston House in the Barony. As well as being a director in the family business, he also went into banking becoming a director of the Union Bank of Scotland.

He became the MP for Dunbartonshire in 1835 but did not take to Parliamentary life and soon gave it up.

The Census of 1841 records him living at Golfhill together with Eleanor his wife and five of his surviving children.

His wife died in 1847 at Golfhill House from Consumption shortly after nursing her son Walter who had also died from consumption. From then on Alexander divided his time between his country retreat, Lagarie Villa at Gareloch and Golfhill.

The Census of 1851 records him living at Golfhill with two of his children and a nephew.

He survived the failure of the Borough Bank of Liverpool in 1857 in which he and others in the family were major shareholders and all creditors (to the value of £3,000,000) were repaid with interest within a year.

Alexander had begun, during the 1850’s, to acquire various parcels of land around Golfhill (Craigpark, Whitehill, Meadow Park, Broom Park, Annfield, Bellfield and Wester Craigs) as he had seen the potential in the growth of the City of Glasgow in that direction. Other landed proprietors around the burgeoning City were to do the same.

He began the creation of the suburb known as Dennistoun in 1861, with James Salmon being engaged to prepare a fueing plan for the development.

He died on 15 July 1874 at Lagarie at the age of eighty-four. He was said to have been, “Affable and courteous to all, he was endeared to his intimate friends by his high-toned honour, his kindliness of disposition, his clear head, and his capacity and willingness to give sound advice to all who asked for it.”

(Ack: Memoirs and Portraits of one Hundred Glasgow Men, the Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, Glasgow’s Benefactors, ScotlandsPeople, Parkhead History & Ruth Johnston)

Henry Dyer (1848-1918)

Saturday, January 13th, 2018


Henry Dyer

Henry Dyer

Henry Dyer was a Scottish Engineer who played a major part in the industrialisation of Japan in the latter half of the nineteenth century through his capacity as founding Principal of the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo. He was born in 1848 in what is now Bellshill about eight miles east of Glasgow. Henry was one of three children of John and Margaret Dyer. After the family moved to Glasgow about 1865 Dyer became an apprentice engineer and attended classes at Anderson’s College, now the University of Strathclyde.

From 1868 until 1873 Henry Dyer attended the University of Glasgow where he graduated with an MA, BSc and CE (Certificate of Engineering). At the age of 24 Dyer received an invitation to become Principal of the Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) being set up in Tokyo by the Japanese Ministry of Public Works. Having accepted the invitation he set sail from Southampton to Japan. A year later he was followed by his wife to be, Marie Ferguson. While in Japan Henry and Marie had five children, the eldest of which died in infancy.

The courses given at the ICE had a strong practical element, the last two years of a six-year course being spent entirely on practical work. The courses were revolutionary at the time and much credit for the rapid industrialisation of Japan at the end of the nineteenth century has been attributed to the work of Dyer’s College as it was often known.

After almost ten years in Japan Dyer resigned from his post at the ICE for personal and family reasons, and on July 14 1882 the family returned home to Glasgow via San Francisco. Before leaving Japan, Dyer was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for his work in the country and appointed Honorary Principal of the College.  Later when the College became part of the University of Tokyo, he became an Emeritus Professor of the University.

Henry Dyer, still a young man, devoted the rest of his life to a number of activities of an educational and cultural nature. In particular he was a life governor of the Royal Technical College in Glasgow (now the University of Strathclyde) and Chairman of the Glasgow School Board for many years. Throughout the rest of his life he took a strong interest in all things Japanese and befriended many Japanese students who came to study in Glasgow. The University of Glasgow honoured him by awarding Dyer both a DSc and an LLD.

Dyer brought a number of artefacts back from Japan with him, many of which were donated by him or his daughter to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Mitchell Library (both in Glasgow) and the Edinburgh Central. Library. Throughout his life he published many books and papers details of which can be seen in the links below.

Henry Dyer died on 25th September, 1918, aged 70, and was buried in the Necropolis, later to be joined by his wife and daughter.

Henry Dyer - Necropolis

Henry Dyer – Necropolis

For more about Henry Dyer’s life please see

Hunter, R, (with a Foreword by Lesley Hart), Henry Dyer, A Scottish Engineer in Japan, published by Amazon in ebook and paperback, 2017.

Rev Herbert Dunn

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

William Duff

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

John Mitchell Duff

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Charles Eric Douglas Dubs

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Andrew Marshall Downie

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Alfred Donaldson

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Robert Dodds

Saturday, June 28th, 2014
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