David Robertson (1795-1854)

David Robertson

David Robertson

by Colin Campbell

DAVID was born in the parish of Kippen, Stirlingshire, in 1795 the son of a farmer. After being educated locally, he was apprenticed to William Turnbull, bookseller, Trongate, Glasgow in 1810. After Turnbull’s death in 1810, Robertson carried on the business for several years, in partnership with Thomas Atkinson.

In 1830 this partnership was dissolved, and Robertson opened new premises at 188 Trongate with his house at 51 South Hanover Street.

His gift of storytelling, his love of Scottish poetry, and his tact and shrewdness soon won him valued friendships and success, and his place of business became a rendezvous for local poets, writers and artists. In addition to bookselling, he began publishing.

In 1837 he was appointed Her Majesty’s Bookseller in Glasgow.

His obituary in the Glasgow Herald read,

“Death of David Robertson, Esq. – Few of our fellow-citizens were better known; none were more respected and beloved………….. and his place of business in Trongate continued, until the day of his demise, the resort of many of our local celebrities. His love of Scottish song was intense, while his exquisite sense of the ludicrous imparted a peculiar unction to his relish for wit and humour…………… He was one of the most kind-hearted, upright, and lovable of men….”

© 2022 Glasgow’s Cultural History – Designed and Developed by Soapbox Digital Media

In 1826, he married Frances Aitken, daughter of a prominent Glasgow builder. They had three sons and a daughter.

He died on 6 October 1854.

(Ack: National Galleries of Scotland (Image), Glasgow’s Cultural History, the Glasgow Herald, Literary Landmarks of Glasgow, 1898 by James A. Kilpatrick)

David Robertson monument

David Robertson monument

Back to top