John Finlay Maclaren

Client

John Finlay Maclaren (1868–1908) of Westbourne House, 985 Great Western Road, Glasgow, was a partner in 'Robert Maclaren & Company ... engineers and cast-iron pipe manufacturers', of Eglinton Foundry. 1 He was the second son of Robert Maclaren (1817–1889), the founder of the business, and grew up in affluent Pollokshields, with William McOnie, of major sugar-refinery engineers P. & W. McOnie, as his next-door neighbour. 2

Maclaren graduated from Glasgow University with a B.Sc. in Engineering Science in 1888, and by 1890 had joined the family firm. 3 During his tenure, they worked on Edinburgh's first municipal street lighting (1894–5), 1000 tons of iron pipes for Glasgow's public water-supply (c. 1898), and various large Chilean, Brazilian and Argentinian mining and industrial contracts. 4 Maclaren also became a director of James Dunlop & Co., of Clyde Ironworks shortly before he died. 5

In 1893, Maclaren married Clara Hillhouse, daughter of a senior railway manager, and they had three sons. 6 Between around 1900 and 1902, the family lived in the impractically large Scottish baronial Corraith House, Ayrshire, but had relocated to Westbourne House by 1903. 7 This move led, indirectly, to his death: in 1908, seventeen 'well-to-do people ... in self-contained houses' in the affluent Kelvinside area contracted typhoid from contaminated milk, supplied by a farm where a woman 'lay ill in the kitchen' with typhoid. 8

Maclaren was interested in music and dramatic art, and attended the Musicians Benevolent masque in 1892, as actor David Garrick, while his sister-in-law was a more daring 'vivandière', or female camp-follower, wearing 'Turkish' trousers. 9

Notes:

1: Edinburgh Gazette, 19 September 1905, p. 913; birth and death data, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 5 April 2013].

2: John Henderson, Great Founders of Falkirk and Glasgow, undated online document, www.electricscotland.com/poetry/henderson/, pp. 5–6, 8 [accessed 5 April 2013]; Glasgow Herald, 3 April 1889; p. 1, 16 April 1889, p. 6; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1855–1910; census data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 5 April 2013].

3: Scotsman, 23 November 1888, p. 4; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1890–1, p. 415.

4: Scotsman, 10 April 1895, p. 9; 16 September 1898, p. 7; 26 June 1907, p. 12.

5: Glasgow Herald, 10 January 1908, p. 10.

6: Marriage and census data, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 5 April 2013].

7: Michael C. Davis, The Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire, Ardrishaig: Privately Published, 1991, p. 211; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1855–1910; census data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 5 April 2013].

8: Scotsman, 10 January 1908, p. 6.

9: Glasgow Herald, 10 December 1892, p. 9.