John McNaught Campbell


John McNaught Campbell, a very prominent Freemason in Glasgow, Provincial Grand Secretary of Glasgow, was employed as a Curator at the first Museum created by Glasgow Corporation and then at Kelvingrove. The article gives some background to Museum history in the City and to McNaught’s professional association with James Paton. This forms part of a more extensive article about Campbell.


Kelvingrove House - Built in 1873


In 1782 Lord Provost Patrick Colquhoun bought the lands of Woodcroft and renamed it Kelvingrove. The original name still exists in the West End of Glasgow in the Broomhill District - Woodcroft Avenue. The House was built in 1784 and gardens were also laid out. There is a suggestion that the design of the House might be attributed to Robert Adam.

 Less than 20 years later, in 1792, the estate was sold to John Pattison, who ambitiously increased the size of the estate by adding lands to the north of its boundaries. In 1795, he sold the property to the merchant, Richard Dennistoun. His family retained ownership of the estate until 1841 when it was sold to another merchant, Colin McNaughton.

Clearly this area of the city was developing fast and becoming a very fashionable district in which to live and have opportunities for spending leisure time. Glasgow Corporation with great foresight purchased the estate and made several additions to it in 1852- for example, the Woodlands area and other land. This enabled the Corporation to create the " West End Park", known by most now as Kelvingrove Park. The City Industrial Museum, the first Museum under the authority of the Corporation, opened in 1872 and extensions made only 4 years later.Such was the success of the Museum and the need for a larger building and one in which the range of exhibits could be increased that the former Museum was demolished in 1899 and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was built to replace it. The Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888 helped to fund the new project.


James Paton(1843-1921)                                                                                                     

The GlasgowStory provides a brief description of Paton's life. Paton was born at Auchtergaven, Perthshire, on 15 April 1843. His family background included such names as Robert Nicoll, the poet, and Robert Burns. He was the City's first Superintendent of Museums, having previously been Assistant Keeper  at the Edinburgh of Science and Art. Prior to becoming Superintendent, Paton had been in Glasgow responsible for the Corporation Galleries of Art (better known as the McLellan Galleries) and then the City Industrial Museum. His speciality lay in the field of art and he toured Europe visiting many of its most important art galleries. He contributed to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Chambers’, and the Globe. He was the author of Scottish National Memorials, the Book of Glasgow Cathedral.

Paton's pamphlet of 1886 pointed out deficiencies in museum provision in the city and certain concerns - lack of space to display exhibits, fire risks at the McLellan Galleries.  His concerns were accepted by the Town Council, which agreed that a new building should be provided. A sum of £40k, which was the profit from the International Exhibition of 1888, was to be earmarked for a new building. However an appeal for public support permitted the Council to allocate £120k for the new museum. Paton was intimately involved in drawing up plans for the museum. 

Paton and Campbell of course worked closely with each other over many years.They were also involved outside of their day to day responsibilities in The Museums Association. Indeed he was President in 1896.Additionally, the Town Council of Glasgow should be complimented on their far sightedness in establishing such a Museum. This was just one example of the many public schemes embarked upon in Glasgow, for example the provision of water to the city from Loch Katrine.

 


 

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