Bellahouston Trustees

Funders

The Bellahouston Trustees were a group of Glasgow businessmen and public officials who managed an estate of nearly 500,000 bequeathed in 1892 by the little-known Steven siblings for 'the relief of poverty and disease'. 1

Moses Steven (1748–1831), a farmer's son from Drymen, Stirlingshire, was a successful linen wholesaler who purchased Polmadie estate, south of Glasgow. His children, Moses Junior (1806–1871), Grace or Grizel (d. 1888), and Elizabeth (d. 1892), by inheritance and judicious purchase, came to possess over 400 acres around Bellahouston in the south of the city. None of the three siblings married. 2

The Trustees were Sir James King (Lord Provost 1886–9 and chairman of the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition); John Ure (Lord Provost 1880–3, owner of Regent Flour Mills and a public health campaigner); Sir William Renny Watson (of engineers Mirlees Watson & Co. and chairman of the Victoria Infirmary governors); James Simpson Fleming LL.D. (chief cashier at the Royal Bank of Scotland and former secretary of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce); Robert Berry (Sheriff of Lanarkshire and former Regius Professor of Law at Glasgow University); and solicitor Andrew Mitchell (whose firm Mitchells, Johnston & Co. represented Glasgow University). 3

In 1894 the Bellahouston Trust contributed towards an engineering laboratory and chair of geology at Glasgow University, gave 5000 towards the new Queen Margaret College Medical School Building, and granted Glasgow & West of Scotland Technical College 25,000 towards its new building. 4 In 1895, they sold the 178-acre Bellahouston Park to the city (at a heavily a discounted rate) and donated 6000 for a new medical dispensary on the south side of the Clyde. 5 In 1897 10,000 was donated towards the construction of the new Glasgow School of Art and a further 2,500 in 1926 for extensions to the school. 6

Notes:

1: Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1892, p. 6; 28 March 1892, p. 13; 8 April 1892, p. 4.

2: Birth, death and will information, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 16 October 2012]; J. G. Smith and J. O. Mitchell, ch.10, 'Bellahouston', in The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1878, unpaginated; Glasgow Herald, 28 March 1892, p. 13; 24 July 1895, p. 7.

3: Listed in Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1892, p. 6; 8 April 1892, p. 4; 'Sir James King, Bart' in Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century, Glasgow: Photo-Biographical Publishing, 1900, pp. 54–5; George Eyre-Todd, 'Sir James King', Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, unpaginated; 'John Ure, Lord Provost of Glasgow 1881–1883', in Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century, Glasgow: Photo-Biographical Publishing, 1900, pp. 52–3; Derek A. Dow, 'Sir William Renny Watson', in A. Slaven and S. Checkland, eds, Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography, vol. 1, Aberdeen: University Press, 1986, pp. 194–5; 'Robert Berry', University of Glasgow Story, Archive Services 2006–8, www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk [accessed 16 October 2012]; 'Andrew Mitchell', Biography, University of Glasgow Story, Archive Services 2006–8, www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk [accessed 16 October 2012].

4: Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 13 January 1894, p. 7; 14 March 1894, pp. 4, 6; Glasgow Herald, 21 April 1894, p. 9, 19 April 1894, p. 8.

5: Glasgow Herald, 24 July 1895, pp. 6, 7; 2 August 1895, pp. 4, 6; 6 December 1895, p. 8.

6: Scotsman, 2 February 1897, p. 8; 27 October 1926, p. 10.