Ochil Hills from Stirling Castle

Great Scots Perth Stirling and Kinross

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Great Scots Perth Stirling and Kinross

1) Academics

a) Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) b. Logierait, Perthshire

The eighteenth century “Father of Sociology.” A Gaelic speaker, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University (1759) and of Moral Philosophy from 1764-85. His “Essay in the History of Civil Society” (1767), laid the foundations of Sociology, and a big name in the Scottish Enlightenment movement of the 18th century.

b) Patrick Matthew (1790 – 1874) b. Scone, Perthshire

Landowner and fruit farmer, who contributed to the understanding of horticulture, silviculture and agriculture, with a focus on maintaining the British Navy and feeding new colonies. He published the basic concept of ‘Natural Selection’ as a mechanism of evolution. The question is – did Darwin feed on Matthews’ earlier work?

He became passionately interested in New Zealand, and was instrumental in setting up a “Scottish New Zealand Land Company”. At his urging, two of his sons, James and Charles, emigrated to New Zealand, where they set up one of the earliest commercial orchards in Australasia, with seeds and seedlings from his farm in Gourdiehill. Another son, John, sent botanical tree specimens back to his father from America.

2) Actors

a) Ewan Mcgregor (1971-) b. Crieff, Perthshire


3) Architects and Designers

a) James Gillespie-Graham (1776-1855) b. Dunblane, Stirlingshire

Architect who designed the Moray Estate in Edinburgh’s New Town, St.Andrews Catholic Cathedral in Glasgow, and Duns Castle. In his later year he collaborated with AWN Pugin, notably on the interiors of Taymouth Castle and the Victoria Hall in Edinburgh (later Tolbooth St.Johns Church, now the Hub. )

b) Alexander Thomson (1817-75) b. Balfron, Stirlingshire

“Greek Thomson” was an Internationally renowned Architect who developed an individual style from pure Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian and Indian elements. He was responsible for St. Vincent St. Church in Glasgow (1857-9), The Egyptian Halls Union Street (1873), Moray Place (1859), Great Western Terrace(1869) and Holmwood (1857) in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, all in Glasgow.

c) Sydney Mitchell (1856-1930) b. Larbert, Stirlingshire

Responsible for the Hospital Buildings (Craighouse) in Edinburgh, Crighton Royal in Dumfries and the United Free Church in Edinburgh.

d) James Miller (1860-1947) b. Auchtergaven, Perthshire

His career started with the Caledonian Railway, and he designed several important stations. He was the dominant architect in Glasgow in the early 20th century, designing the Royal Infirmary, the North British Locomotive Company Offices (now Springburn College) and the Union Bank. He also built the Turnberry Hotel and the Peebles Hydro, whilst also planning the Gleneagles Hotel.

4) Authors/Writers and Poets

a) John Buchan 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940) b. Perth.

Great writer and novelist including “39 Steps“(1915), “Greenmantle“(1916), “Island of Sheep” (1936) and “Witch Wood” (1927). He also wrote biographies of Sir Walter Scott and the Marquis of Montrose. In 1935, he was appointed Governor General of Canada, which inspired his last novel “Sick Heart River“. He lived a lot of his life in Peeblesshire, and there is a Museum to him now in Peebles.

b) Alan Sharp (1934-) b. Alyth, Perthshire

Novelist and screenwriter – though his first novel “A Green Tree in Gedde” was successful, he left London for Hollywood, where he scripted “The Hired Hand” (1971), “Night Moves” (1975) and “Rob Roy” (1995.)

5) Botanists

a) Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) b. Weem, Perthshire

Surgeon in the Royal Navy, he collected plants as well as being skilled in treating scurvy using spruce beer. He introduced the first monkey-puzzle tree.

b) David Douglas (1798-1834) b. Scone, Perthshire

Son of a stonemason, he trained as a gardener before studying at the Botanical Garden, Glasgow. He undertook 3 journeys in 1823, 1824-5 and 1829-24, to N. America as a collector for the Royal Horticultural Society. He introduced the conifer, now known as the “Douglas Fir”, into Britain together with 50 trees and shrubs and 100 herbaceous plants. In the Sandwich Islands, he fell into a pit and was gored to death by a wild bull. The David Douglas Memorial stands in the grounds of the old church at Scone.

c) George Sherriff (1898-1967) b. Larbert, Stirlingshire

A plant collector over 30 years, with 7 expeditions in Bhutan and Tibet. Many new species of rhododendron and primulas were introduced during this time. One of their more productive expeditions included Sir George Taylor and led to the introduction of “Meconopsis Sherriffii.”

6) Explorers and Pioneers

a) Thomas Mitchell, Sir Thomas Livingstone (1792-1855) b. Craigend, Stirlingshire

Surveyor-General of New South Wales from 1828, he made 4 major expeditions, mapping Eastern and Tropical Australia, and was probably the first white man to understand the Aboriginee.

7) Film Directors

a) Norman McLaren (1814-87) b. Stirling

One of the most awarded film makers in the history of Canadian cinema, and a pioneer of both animations and film making. His early experiments in animation included actually scratching the film-scroll itself, and he did not have ready access to a camera. The Canadian Film Board recognised his legacy by naming the CFB HO Building after him.

8) Founders

a) Mary Erskine (1629-1707) b. Clackmannanshire

Businesswoman and philanthropist – from her second marriage to a chemist, one James Hair of Edinburgh, who died early in their marriage, she used what he left her very wisely, namely the Foundation of the Mary Erskine School for daughters of Edinburgh Merchants; it began in the Cowgate, but has relocated several times including to the West End and now in Ravelston.

b) John Smith (1724-1814) b. Strathblane

Bookseller and Founder of John Smith and Son in Glasgow. He also established Glasgow’s first circulating library in 1753.

c) George Younger 1st Viscount Of Leckie (1851-1929) b. Alloa

Brewer and Politician, a nephew of William McEwan, he ran the Younger Brewing firm, which merged with McEwans in 1931.

d) Louis Dickson (1880-1960) associated with Bo’ness

Trained as an electrical engineer, and entered the cinematograph trade in 1899, and was a keen Cameraman. In 1908,he was appointed not of the official “Kinematographic”, with the Scottish National Exhibition in Edinburgh. In 1912, he opened Scotland’s first purpose built cinema, the “Hippodrome.”

e) John Grierson (1898-1972) b. nr.Doune,Perthshire

Film producer and pioneer of documentary film-making in Britain and Canada. His work included “The Drifters” (1929), an innovative film looking at North Sea Herring fishing. He presented “This Wonderful World”, a series featuring different documentaries for Scottish Television. He also established the National Film Board of Canada, and became Head of Film with UNESCO in 1946.

f) Brian Souter (1954-) b. Perth.

Together with his sister Ann Gloag, founder of the Stagecoach Transport Empire.

(9) Inventors

a) James Smith (1789-1850) b. Perthshire

Agriculture Reformer – a wealthy cotton mill manager at Deanston Nr Doune, he developed good sub-soil drainage in the 1830’s, which was effectively deemed the “Second Agricultural Revolution.”

b) Robert Stirling (1790-1878) b. Cloag, Perthshire

Invented the hot air engine, followed by sons Patrick, James and Grandson Patrick, all notable locomotive engineers

c) Sir James Dewar (1842-1923) b. Kincardine on Forth.

Invented the vacuum flask.

10) Military Men

a) Arthur W. Lord Tedder (1890-1967) b. Glengoyne, Stirlingshire

Airforce Commander in the Middle East during World War 11, cooperating closely with the 8th Army in N.Africa. He became Eisenhower’s Deputy Supreme Commander, and in 1945 became Air Marshall of the RAF.

b) Colonel Sir Archibald David Stirling (1915-90) b. Lecroit, Perthshire

Scottish Mountaineer and World War 11 British Army Officer – founder of the Special Air Services (SAS).

11) Musicians

a) General John Reid (1721-1807) b. Perthshire

Composer/soldier – took part in the ’45, being taken prisoner at Prestonpans. He composed 12 flute sonatas which are still popular. His “The Garb of the Old Gaul” is the slow March for all Scottish Battalions. He left his money to endow a chair of music in Edinburgh University with a concert, including some of his own music, to be held on his birthday.

b) Niel Gow (1727-1807) b. Perthshire

“The Father of Scottish Fiddle Music.”

c) Nathaniel Gow (1766-1831) b. Inver Nr. Dunkeld, Perthshire

Great fiddler and son of Niel.

d) Dougie MacLean (1953-) b. Dunblane, Stirlingshire

Folk singer and composer.

(12) Physicians

a) Sir Robert Muir, FRS, FRSE, FRCP, FRCPE, FRFPSC (1864-1959) b. Balfron

A physician and pathologist who carried out pioneering work in Immunology, and was one of the leading figures in medical research in Glasgow in the early 20th century.
Educated at Hawick High School and Edinburgh University. He became a member of the Royal College Of Physicians In 1894, and then lectured in bacterial pathology at Edinburgh University .He became the first Professor of Pathology at St. Andrews University ( Dundee), but spent most of his career as Professor Of Pathology at Glasgow University from 1899-1936, where he became recognised as one of the leading world authorities in Pathology, especially in blood cell disorders and breast cancer.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1911 and the Royal Society Of Edinburgh in 1916, being Vice-President from 1950-3.
He was knighted in 1934.

b) John James Rickard MacLeod FRS (1876-1935) b. Cluny Nr. Dunkeld.

Educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and Aberdeen University, he emigrated in 1903 to the US, and in 1923, was joint winner of the Nobel Prize for his discovery of insulin and work on diabetes.

13) Professionals

Andrew Fairlie (1963-2019) b. Perth

Began his chef training in Perth and at 20 was awarded the first Roux scholarship, giving him the chance to train with French chef Michel Guerard at Les Pres d’Eugenie in Les Landes.
He was appointed Head Chef at One Devonshire Place in Glasgow in 1994, and won his first Michelin Star there.
He then opened up his own restaurant at the Gleneagles Hotel in 2001, and received a Michelin Star within 8 months,and again another Michelin Star In 2006.
He was renowned for his fish dishes,and for the  use of exotic fruits.
He topped the Sunday Times Food List of the top 100 restaurants in the UK.
Surely the greatest Chef ever produced in Scotland.

14) Politicians

“a) George Drummond (b. Blairgowrie 1688 d. Edinburgh 1766)

He was Accountant-General of excise in Scotland and a local politician, and elected Lord Provost of Edinburgh a number of times between 1725-1764.
Educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Stongly ante Jacobite, he fought at Sheriffmuir against the Jacobite army of the Earl of Mar in 1715, and in 1745, he raised a company of volunteers to try and defend the City of Edinburgh against Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army.
He first joined the Edinburgh Town Council in 1716, and raised funds to build William Adam’s Royal Infirmary in 1738, which quickly became one of the world’s foremost teaching hospitals.
In 1760, he was responsible for commissioning the Royal Exchange, which later became the Edinburgh City Chambers.
He was also a great supporter of the University of Edinburgh, encouraging its enlargement and establishing five chairs of Medicine.
However he is best known as the driving force behind the building of Edinburgh’s New Town. In 1766, he persuaded the Town Council to support an ambitious plan for a grand extension to the City on its north side, and to hold a competition for its design, won by the 21 year old James Craig.
In 1759, he had the Nor Loch drained and identifies the need for the North Bridge as the Gateway to the New Town, laying its foundation stone in 1763.
He was a Freemason, and served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1752-3.
Drummond Place in the New Town is named after him, near the location of his then country house.
He is buried in the Canongate Kirk in the Old Town.
He will be remembered though, as the man who was the real founder of Edinburgh’s New Town, that brought about, not only a whole new beginning to the City of Edinburgh, but as it’s capital, to the whole of Scotland.

b) Alexander Mackenzie (1822-92) b. Logierait Nr Dunkeld.

Emigrated to Canada in 1842 to follow his sweetheart, working as a stonemason, later a journalist. He became Liberal Party Leader in 1873, and Canada’s 2nd PM in 1874. He refused the offer of a Knighthood 3 times.

c) George Younger – 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie (1931-2003) b. Gargunnock, Stirlingshire

Secretary of State for Scotland 1979-1986 and Defence Secretary 1986-9.

15) Scientists

a) Dr. John Robison (1739-1805) b. Boghall, Stirlingshire

Physicist – Lecturer of Chemistry at Glasgow University in 1766-9, friend of James Watt, and lecturer to John Rennie. He contributed a supplement on Mechanics to the 2nd Edition of the “Encyclopaedia Brittanica”.

16) Sportsmen

a) Billy Bremner (1942-97) b. Stirling

Charismatic football captain of Leeds United and Scotland.

b) Andy Murray (1987 -) b. Glasgow but spent all his childhood in Dunblane

Scotland’s greatest ever tennis player, and possibly may become the greatest British tennis player of all time.

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