Great Scots Aberdeenshire

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Great Scots Aberdeenshire

(1) Academics

(a) Thomas Reid (b. Strachan, Kincardineshire) 1710-1796

Philosopher – a professor at both Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities – writer – Father of the Common Sense school, that argued against the contentions of Hume, that the existence of anything out-with the mind cannot be proved. His viewpoint became dominant in Scotland, and very influential in England and the US. His works included Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man in 1785.

(b) Lord James Burnett Monboddo (b. Monboddo House, Kincardineshire) 1714-1799.

Judge and Philosopher. Origin and Progress of Language. Postulated a relationship between humans and monkeys before Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

(c) Sir Patrick Geddes (b Ballater) 1854-1932.

Biologist, Sociologist, Geographer, Philanthropist and pioneering Town Planner – renowned for his innovative thinking in the focus of Urban Planning and Sociology.

(2) Actors and TV / Radio Personalities

(a ) Andrew Cruickshank (b Aberdeen) 1907 – 1988

Famous for his role as Dr. Cameron in the TV Series Dr. Finlay’s Casebook

(b) Robbie Shepherd (b. Dunecht) 1936 –

The Voice of Scottish Country Dance Music – a fluent Doric speaker and has written several books on the subject. He has also written books on Scottish Country Dancing and the Music. He took over as the Presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Take the Floor

(3) Artists and Painters

(a) George Jameson (b. Aberdeen) 1588-1644.

Britain’s first portrait painter.

(b) Sir John Steel (b. Aberdeen) 1804-1891

Artist and pre-eminent sculptor of the Victorian period in Scotland viz the Marble of Sir Walter Scott on the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, Queen Victoria at the Royal Scottish Assembly and the Duke of Wellington in front of Register House, Edinburgh.

(c) James McBey (b. Nr Aberdeen) 1883 – 1959.

Produced etchings and watercolours of Venice and Tangiers where he finally settled.

(4) Architects and Builders

(a) William Schaw of Sauchie (d.1602.)

Royal Master of Works from 1583 – organised the Royal Return Ceremonial for James V1 and Queen Ann of Denmark. Carried out major rebuilding additions at Dunfermline Palace. In 1599 he rebuilt the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle – also Seton Palace and the Danish inspired Scots Renaissance seen at Heriots Hospital in Edinburgh,together with the North Range of Linlithgow Palace. He was the founder of Freemasonry in Scotland, introducing the first statutes.

(b) Archibald Simpson (b.Aberdeen) 1770 – 1847

Trained in London – green revival designer.His works in Aberdeen include the Music Hall (1820-22), the Athenean (1822) the old Royal Infirmary (1822-40) and Marischal College (1837-44.)

(5) Botanists

(a) Alexander Garden (b. Birse) 1730-91.

The Gardenia flower is named after him – he lived most of his life in S.Carolina, studying flora and fauna in Cherokee country. He introduced the first electric eel to Britain.

(b) Francis Masson (b.Aberdeen) 1741 – 1805

Plant collector – Gardener in Kew and collected from S.Africa, Madeira, Azores, Canaries and Tenerife. Overall he introduced 500 new species to Britain.

(6) Founders

(a) James Taylor ( b. Laurencekirk) 1835 – 92.

Tea planter – involved in the earliest experiments,and set up the first Tea Factory in Ceylon and invented a Tea – Rolling machine.

(b) Thomas Blake Glover (b.Fraserburgh) 1838-1911

Started out a Tea Trader with Jardine Matheson, and posted to Nagasaki in Japan.He had a genius for spotting and importing key technologies to Japan for the emerging Industrial Superpower. He introduced Coal-mining to the country and started the first Drydock in Nagasaki,a venture that launched the powerful Mitsubishi conglomerate. He founded also the Kirin Brewing Company, and introduced telegraphic technology. He imported the the first steam engine ,and brokered Japan s first 3 Naval ships built in Aberdeen. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan s highest honour in 1908,the first foreigner.

(c) John Reith,1st Baron of Reith of Stonehaven (b.Stonehaven) 1899-1971

First G.M. of the BBC, then Director General 1927-38. Pioneering figure in Broadcasting and his censoriousness set the tone within the BBC for decades. Minister of Works and Buildings 1940- 42, and later Chairman of the Commonwealth Communications Board in the immediate post-war years.

(7) Heroes and Heroines

(a) Mary Slesser (b. Aberdeen ) 1848 – 1915

Missionary – A mill worker and Sunday School Teacher in Dundee,she became a missionary in Calabar, Nigeria – she showed great respect for tribal traditions,whilst working against real cruelty and hardship. She adopted many orphans herself, although never married.

(8) Industrialists and Inventors

(a) James Gregory (b. Drumoak, Aberdeenshire) 1638 – 75.

An achiever of a long list of theories and discoveries in mathematics,astronomy and physics. However best known for his construction of the famous Gregorian telescope, to which he gave his name and as the man who first distinguished between convergant and divergent series.
He advanced our knowledge in the area of trigonometry when he discovered the ‘infinite series’. By 29 he had established himself amongst the intellectual elite, and after some time in Italy, was immediately elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in his return to England in 1668. Indeed Charles 11 created a position for him at St. Andrews University as first Regis Chair of Mathematics, and later on to Edinburgh University.
Gregory also became famed for his work on ‘diffraction grating’, and was in correspondence with Isaac Newton. He was also known for his work on calculus.
He died so young, after producing 3 children, and the genes would produce much further talent. He died doing what he loved, viewing the moons of Jupiter through a telescope with his students in Edinburgh.
Today  he is remembered by two neighbouring craters on the far side of the moon. ‘Gregory K’ is 26km in diameter and the larger’ Gregory Q’ as around 68km across.
The James Gregory telescope,which was constructed in 1962 by the University of St. Andrews, is the largest working telescope in the UK.

(b) Peter Williamson (b. Aberdeen) 1730 – 99

Introduced the Penny Post and the first Edinburgh Street Directory

(c) Robert William Thomson (b. Stonehaven) 1822 – 1873

First inventor of the Pneumatic Tyre.

(d) Sir David Gill (b. Aberdeen) 1843 – 1914

Took the first ever photograph of the moon

(9) Journalists, Publishers and Writers

(a) Lord George Byron (b.London) 1788 – 1881

Mother was a Gordon, he grew up near Ballater. Dark Lochnavar set to music by Beethoven, a major inspiration for Queen Victoria to come to Deeside.

(b) Bertie Charles Forbes (b. New Deer) 1880 – 1954

Started up the Forbes Magazine in N.Y. in 1917.

(c) Alan Massie (b. Singapore) 1938 –

Journalist brought up in Aberdeenshire.

(d) Nan Shepherd (1893-1981) b. Peterculter

Novelist and Poet – a major contributor to the early Scottish Modernist literature. Her novels included “The Quarry Wood“, “The Weatherhouse” and “A Pass in the Grampians“. Her novels dealt with the clash between the demands of tradition and the pull of modernity.

Her poetry includes “In the Cairngorms” and the non fiction “The Living Mountain“.

She is commemorated in Makar’s Court outside the Writers Museum in the Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, and in April 2016 her image was selected to appear on the £5 pound note issued by the RBS.

(10) Musicians and Singers

(a) James Scott Skinner (b. Banchory)1843 – 1927

Great fiddler and prodigious song writer.

(b) Elvis Presley

The famous American singer had family roots from Aberdeen.

(b) Annie Lennox (b.Aberdeen) 1954 –

Singer

(11) Ornithologists

(a) William MacGillivray (b. Aberdeen) 1796 – 1852

Father of British Ornithology

(12) Physicians

(a) Sir Patrick Manson (b.Aberdeenshire) 1844 – 1922

Mosquito Manson – Parasitologist – Pioneer in Malaria research with Sir Ronald Ross, he helped found the London School of Tropical Medicine

(13) Politicians and Statesmen

(a) William Farquhar (b.Newhall) 1774

First British Governor of Singapore fm 1819 – 23. An emissary of Sir Stamford Raffles and part of the negotiating team of the Singapore Treaty, which saw the island become a British settlement and Trading Post.

(b) George Hamilton – Gordon (b.Aberdeen)

British P.M. from 1852-55

(14) Scientists

(a) Michael Kosterlitz b Aberdeen (1942 – )

Awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics together with David Thouless and Duncan Haldane for work on condensed matter physics.

(15) Sportsmen

(a) Donald Dinnie (b Aboyne)

Great 19th century Highland Games Competitor and Champion, who became one of the first Professional International Sportsmen.

(b) Denis Law (b Aberdeen.) 1940 –

Footballer and known simply as The King.