Great Scots Dumfries and Galloway

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Great Scots Dumfries and Galloway

(1) Academics

(a) Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl Of Selkirk: (1771-1820) b. St. Marys Isle, Kirkcudbrightshire

Philanthropist – he settled Highland immigrants on Prince Edward Island in 1803, and later in the Red River settlement of Manitoba on land bought by the Hudson Bay Co.

(2) Actors/TV Personalities

(a) John Laurie: (1897-1980) b. Dumfries

Actor most renowned for the role of ‘Fraser’ in Dad’s Army

(b) Kirsty Wark: (1955- ) b. Dumfries

Journalist and TV Presenter

(3) Authors/Writers

(a) James Crighton: (1560-82) b. Eliock Dumfriesshire

The Admirable Crighton – Poet who spent time in France and Italy, celebrated for his linguistic, intellectual and athletic abilities.

(b) Thomas Carlyle: ( 1795-1881) b. Ecclefechan

The Sage of Chelsea – historian/writer one one of the most influential of his age.

(c) Hugh MacDiarmid: (1892-1978) b. Langholm

Poet – he wrote in English and Scots and was the key figure of the Scottish Renaissance of the mid 20th Century. He made an important contribution to the development of literary Scots, not least in his early lyric poetry. He was a Scottish Nationalist and Communist.

(d) Gavin Maxwell: (1914-69) b. House of Elrig, Wigtownshire

Author of ‘Shaken by the Wind‘, ‘The Marsh Arabs of Iraq‘ and ‘A Ring of Bright Water‘, which also turned into a very successful film.

(4) Botanists

(a) William Wright Smith: (1875-1956) b. Lochmaben

In charge of the Government Herberium in the Calcutta Botanic Garden in 1902, and was Director of the Botanist Survey of India. He became Deputy Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. His specialities were rhododendrons and primulas.

(5) Explorers

(a) Sir John Ross: (1777-1856) b. Inch Manse, Wigtownshire

Sailor and Explorer – From 1812 he led surveys of the White Sea and the Arctic. He also conducted expeditions in search of the North West Passage and discovered King William Land, the Gulf of Boothia and the Boothia Peninsula.

(b) Hugh Clapperton: (1788-1827) b. Annan

As a young midshipman in the Navy, was first in the breach at the storming of Port Louis, Mauritius, where he handed down the French flag. Later he was an explorer in Central and West Africa, and in the first group to see Lake Chad. He exceeded the spot reached by Mungo Park on the Niger ,and eventually died of dysentery near Sokoto.

(6) Founders

(a) William Paterson: (1658-1719) b. Skipmyre near Lockerbie

Banker – in 1691 he proposed the idea for a Bank of England, which he co-founded in 1694. He was a leading supporter of the Darien Expedition, and took part in the first voyage, losing his wife, son and much of his fortune. A supporter of the Union, as Scotland was almost bankrupted by the fiasco. He set about drafting the trade and finance articles of the Union, so that Scottish investors in the Darien Scheme received compensation from London for their losses, which they did to the tune of every penny of their investments plus 5 per cent interest!. Much of this money was later invested in the Royal Bank of Scotland. He became MP for Dumfries in the first Union Parliament in 1707.

(7) Industrialists

(a) Thomas Telford: (1757-1834) b. Westerkirk near Langholm

Civil Engineer – he built the Caledonian Canal (1803-23) and many roads, harbours and bridges, including the Menai Suspenson Bridge, St. Katherines Docks in London, and drainage projects in the Fens. He was the principal designer of the Gota Canal, which links the East and West coasts of Sweden. He was the first President of the Institute of Civil Engineers in London.

(b) Doctor William Jardine: (1784-1843) b. Lochmaben

He established together with James Matheson the famous Jardine Matheson Trading Company in 1828 -89.Initially they exported opium from India to China to fund the purchase of tea at Canton for the British market. They opened a warehouse in Hong Kong and dealt in a wide range of imports. The trading network has diversified and expanded to become a major conglomerate based in Asia and other markets.

(8) Inventors

(a) Kirkpatrick Macmillan: (1812-78) b Thornhill

Maker (and possibly inventor) of bicycles. A blacksmith and may have been the first to develop a rear-wheel-driven safety bicycle. A plaque on his smiddy home says ‘builded better than he knew’.

(9) Military Men

(a) John Paul Jones: (1747-92) b. Kirkbean, Dumfriesshire

Settled in Virginia to escape criminal charges, and became a supporter of the American Revolution; he carried out daring raids against British Shipping around the coasts of Britain, and became known ‘The Founder of the American Navy’.

(b) Lord Hugh Dowding: (1882-1970) b. Moffat

He was Air Chief Marshall during the Battle of Britain in World War 2.

(10) Physicians

(a) Doctor James Clark: ( 1730 – 1814) b. Kirkbean, Dumfriesshire

Friend and physician to George Washington, and became General Physician to the US Army.

(11) Sports People

(a) David Coulthard: (1971 – ) b. Twynholm, Dumfriesshire

Former British Formula 1 Racing Driver – Won 13 Grand Prix over a career spanning 15 seasons, including winning twice in Monaco. He helped establish the Red Bull Team after driving with team driver Mika Hakinen for McLaren Mercedes. He was 2nd in the World Championship of 2001. He is now a BBC pundit and commentator.