George Outram & Co.

Client

Although it bore the name of its fifth editor, George Outram & Co., the parent company of the Glasgow Herald, had earlier antecedents. 1 The firm was founded by printer and editor John Mennons in 1783 as the Glasgow Advertiser and his successors included Samuel Hunter (editor 1803–36). George Outram became editor in 1837 and held the position until 1856). It was said that his 'principal achievement [was] that he became eponymous'. 2

On 19 July 1839, the paper bore the imprint 'George Outram & Co.', signifying his already-existing partnership with (originally two) fellow shareholders. 3 The demands of increasing circulation, caused by the Herald's direct access to London-based reporters via telegraph, necessitated a move in 1868 to larger offices at 65 Buchanan Street, with Mitchell Street to the rear. 4 These premises were suitably remodelled by John Baird (1870), and then by James Sellars (1879–80). 5

Innovative James Pagan (1811–70), a keen antiquarian, was the paper's first professional journalist, and initiated daily instead of thrice-weekly publication. 6

From 1875, the editor was James Hastie Stoddart (1832–1888). On his death his deputy, Charles Gilchrist Russell (1840–1916) succeeded him. He in turn was replaced in 1906 by his own assistant, William Wallace (1843–1921). 7 Russell, who was described as 'a great Scottish editor', saw the Herald publish notable literary reviews, commercial, political and London cultural news. 8 Russell was initerested in design: he introduced varied typefaces and abandoned 'long, unbroken columns' of print. He and leader-writer Wallace supported Glasgow’s Fine Art Institute, and the Corporation’s purchase of Whistler’s portrait, Thomas Carlyle. 9

Robert Gourlay (1840–1916), banker, major shareholder and chairman of George Outram & Co., oversaw the firm’s restructuring as a limited liability company in 1903. He prudently paid small dividends and strengthened company reserves, creating a cushion against inflation during World War I. 10

Notes:

1: Joe Fisher, The Glasgow Encyclopedia, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 1994, p. 243.

2: Hamish Whyte, 'John Mennons (1747–1818)'; H. C. G. Matthews, Samuel Hunter (1769–1839)'; Rosemary Scott, 'George Outram (1805–1856)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, www.oxforddnb.com [accessed 8 June 2013]; Alastair Phillips, Glasgow's Herald 1783–1983, Glasgow: Richard Drew, 1982, pp. 20–1, 29–34, 46–8.

3: Glasgow Herald, 19 July 1839, p. 4; Alastair Phillips, Glasgow's Herald 1783–1983, Glasgow: Richard Drew, 1982, pp. 52, 168.

4: Alastair Phillips, Glasgow's Herald 1783–1983, Glasgow: Richard Drew, 1982, pp. 69–72.

5: 'Glasgow Herald Building', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 8 June 2013].

6: James MacLehose, Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, Glasgow: James MacLehose & Son, 1886, pp. 255–7; G. Stronach, H. C. G. Matthew, 'James Pagan (1811–1870)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, www.oxforddnb.com [accessed 8 June 2013]; Alastair Phillips, Glasgow's Herald 1783–1983, Glasgow: Richard Drew, 1982, pp. 55–60.

7: George Eyre-Todd, Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, pp. 184, 210–11; statutory register of deaths, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 8 June 2013]; Joe Fisher, The Glasgow Encyclopedia, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, 1994, p. 248.

8: The Times, 23 December 1916, p. 9; Scotsman, 23 December 1916, p. 6; Glasgow Herald, 23 December 1916, p. 6.

9: Glasgow Herald, 23 December 1916, p. 6.; Alastair Phillips, Glasgow's Herald 1783–1983, Glasgow: Richard Drew, 1982, pp. 104, 107; George Eyre-Todd, Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, Glasgow: Gowans & Gray, 1909, pp. 210–11.

10: Nicholas J. Morgan, 'Robert Gourlay', in A. Slaven & S. Checkland, eds, Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography, 2, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1990, pp. 197–9.