Rev. Dr J. Logan Aikman

By Ruth Johnston

Sigma 16

Rev. Dr J. Logan Aikman, Moderator of the United Presbyterian Church and minister of Anderston U.P. Church, Glasgow. His death occurred at his residence in Glasgow at 31 St Vincent Crescent. On Sunday the 5th September Dr Aikman had conducted three services in his own church. Since then he had been unwell and he died of a heart attack at four o’clock on the following Saturday 11th September 1885 at the age of 65 years.

He was born in Lanark, where his father was a merchant. He was educated at his local Grammar School and afterwards studied at the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Berlin, where his fellow-students were Cairns and Graham, known as Principal Cairns, of Edinburgh, and Professor Graham, of London (formerly of Mount-pleasant Presbyterian Church). He learned his theological studies under the great Neander (Johann August Wilhelm Neander (1789-1850), a German theologian and church historian.) and was ordained to the ministry in 1845. He was called to St James’ Place congregation, Edinburgh, from which, in 1856, he was transferred to Glasgow as colleague and successor to Dr Struthers. Two years later, on the death of Dr Struthers, he took on all the duties until his death. He carried out his duties well and was much appreciated by the congregation of Anderston church. It was an historical church, its centenary having been celebrated in November, 1870 when Dr Aikman was presented with a silver salver and £400 by his congregation.

There had been some suggestion to Dr Aikman to have the church removed to the suburbs, but he refused to leave the district of Anderston, with which the church had been identified for such a long period. He preferred to improve the church and a fine organ was installed and they had a trained choir.

For nearly thirty years he was one of the best-known ministers in the city of Glasgow. He took a strong interest in all its philanthropic institutions, especially the City Mission and the Association for the Benefit of the Deaf and Dumb; despite the claims of a large church he found time to make the following contributions to theological literature:-—”The Cyclopaedia of Christian Missions,” “Evenings at Calvary,” “Mornings at the Sepulchre,” “The Cross and the Sepulchre,” &c. In recognition of his literary distinction, the University of the City of New York conferred upon him, in 1869, the degree of Doctor in Divinity. There swiftly followed a similar degree conferred on him by the University of Glasgow,

But a higher honour awaited him. At the meeting of the United Presbyterian Synod held in Edinburgh the Church conferred upon him the highest honour by unanimously electing him Moderator. The was proposed by Dr Andrew Thomson, who spoke of the ministry of Dr Aikman, extending over forty years, and the many and varied services he had rendered in the interests of religion, education, and philanthropy during that long period alluding to his public as distinguished from his pastoral work, in connection with the United Presbyterian Church. He was one of the peacemakers of the Church with his tolerance and wide sympathies and his spirit of conciliation and compromise.

In taking the chair, he recalled the interesting circumstance that a century before—namely in 1785—the then minister of Anderston Church was Moderator of Synod in that section of the Church which was ultimately amalgamated with the United Secession Church.

As a citizen of Glasgow, Dr Aikman gave his services on behalf of philanthropic and educational agencies and he devoted a great deal of time to his duties as a member of the School Board. He was elected to the first Board in 1873, and remained a member till 1882, when he retired. His last public appearance was when he attended the funeral of Bailie Jackson. His wife and a family of two sons and two daughters survived him.


The history of Anderston Church goes back to 1770. Its first pastor, the Rev Joseph Neil, had a short ministry—namely, from 1770 to 1775. He was followed by the Rev. James Steuart (1775- 1819), after whom came the Rev. Dr Gavin Struthers (1817-58), succeeded by Dr Aikman. During all these years the pastorate of the church has been unbroken; now at last the pulpit must remain vacant until Dr Aikman’s successor shall have been appointed.


Religious services were conducted at the house and in Anderston U.P. Church.    At the close of the services in the house, the body, which was enclosed in an oak coffin covered with wreaths of flowers, was removed to Anderston U.P, Church and placed in front of the pulpit, The services in the church were conducted by the Rev. Dr Anderson, moderator of the U.P. Presbytery {North}, assisted by Professor Dickson, Rev. Dr Pulsford, and the Rev. Mr Bonar. The interior of the church was draped in black. There was a crowded attendance of the congregation, members of Presbytery, and ministers. Mr Patrick Aikman, a son, two daughters of the deceased, and Chas. B. Aikman, his brother, attended the service in the church, but Mrs Logan Aikman was unfortunately unable to be present. Among others present were deputations from the session of St James’ Place Church, Edinburgh, consisting of the moderator and six elders; from the Glasgow School Board, and the Glasgow Deaf and Dumb Mission. The coffin was placed in the hearse after the benediction was pronounced, the general body of the congregation remaining seated until the chief mourners, office-bearers, kirk-session, and management had left the church. The cortege, consisting of the hearse drawn by four horses, accompanied by six pall-bearers and followed by between 30 and 40 carriages, was then formed. The procession, as it slowly filed out of Church Place, and on the route up North Street and along Bath Street to the place of interment at the Necropolis, was witnessed by a large number of spectators. A short service, conducted by the Rev. Dr Joseph Brown, was also held at the grave. The funeral arrangements were conducted by Messrs Wylie & Lochhead, under the supervision of Mr Hogg.

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