Number 34 - Information on residents

1817 – 1833 James Gillespie and Margaret (neé Graham) Graham

James Gillespie Graham (portrait from Modern Athenians by Crombie) was one of Edinburgh’s leading architects. He designed and built Number 34 for himself and his wife.
He was born about 1777, at Dunblane in Perthshire, to a solicitor called Gillespie. However, when Margaret, the heiress of William Graham of Orchill, Perthshire, and he succeeded to the estate on her father’s death they assumed the name of Graham.
James began his career as a joiner, but soon began working as an architect. By the time he moved to Albany Street he was already well-established, having designed a range of buildings including St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow and St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh. In 1816, he had been elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
While living in Albany Street he designed a wide range of projects including Edinburgh’s Highland Tolbooth Church (now The Hub), the Gothic remodelling of Duns Castle and the splendid rotunda stable block at Prestonfield House. He also designed new areas of the New Town; the most renowned being Moray Place, here seen as originally envisaged by Graham. Commissioned in 1822 by the Earl of Moray as an expansion of the New Town on land the Earl owned, the plots were sold with the condition that each town house followed strict regulations of style and finish. Each façade was specified with drawings provided by Graham, including classical details and a central private garden with ‘retaining walls and iron railings in a suitable and handsome manner’.
In 1830, Graham met Augustus Pugin, the English architect, in the most unlikely manner. See Architects for an account.
Graham was particularly noted for his work in the Scottish baronial style, but he also worked in the Gothic Revival style, heavily influenced by the work of Augustus Pugin, whom he worked with on various projects, and the neoclassical style.
The Grahams moved to Duke (Dublin) Street.

1835 - 1854 Marion Rennie 
Mrs Marion Rennie was the widow of George Rennie of Phantassie (portrait by Sir Henry Raeburn). George Rennie’s father was a keen farmer on his Phantassie Estate, and at sixteen, George was sent to Tweedside to make a survey of a new system of farming. On his return he became superintendent of a brewery on his father’s estate, but after his father’s death focused on developing the farmland at Phantassie. Under his stewardship, it became one of the finest farms of East Lothian. Turnips became a special crop, and Rennie also bred award-winning cattle. Coach travellers on the post-road were struck on seeing the immense and beautiful grain stacks in Phantassie barn-yard. The farm had a windmill for thrashing until steam-power superseded it. Rennie’s farm-servants and stewards were always accounted the best in the country for skill and intelligence in their work. Many young men bred at Phantassie obtained excellent and trustworthy situations in England and abroad, taking his methods of working far afield, and Rennie was often called on for advice by the Board of Agriculture. Phantassie was visited regularly by agriculturists from home and abroad, interested to see the improved mode of farming. The farm continues to this day, providing organic produce for the city.
George Rennie’s brother John became one of the most important civil engineers in Britain in the early part of the 19th century, building canals, defence projects during the Napoleonic Wars and bridges, including London’s Waterloo Bridge.
In 1854, Mrs Rennie subscribed to a number of charitable campaigns. While she and others are content to have their subscriptions noted, in other instances anonymous donations were linked to non de plumes such as: ‘A Trifle in Honesty to Help; A Conservative half-crown; A Hard Up Auld Cobler; A Friend to a Great and Noble Cause; and A Poor Printer’s Pop at Protection. She died that same year.

In 1854 the house was advertised for sale by public auction as being: ‘built by an eminent architect for his own occupation and fitted up in the most complete manner, in a highly ornamental style and is in excellent order.’

1856 - 1876 John and Isabella (neé ?) Boyd
John Boyd ran a firm that combined cabinet-making, upholstering and appraising. He also was an undertaker, and later advertised as a House Agent. It appears that he inherited the business, based in York Place, from his father. In 1859, he successfully stood against eight opponents, for election to be the Albany Street ward representative on the Board of Supervision for Relief of the Poor in Edinburgh.
He also was a Major in the Edinburgh City Artillery Volunteers. See Scotland's Volunteer Force. John Boyd was a Captain in Unit 2 and John Park, who lived at Number 55, was a Second Lieutenant in Unit 5. The units were combined as the one brigade. The first headquarters were at 21 Castle Street, and the corps used the Argyle Battery in the Castle, armed with 12-pounders, for drill, and a 32-pounder battery at Leith Fort for practice, pistol shooting being carried out at Hunter's Bog. The Volunteer Artillery Corps had, as their first responsibility, the manning of the batteries erected for the protection of coast towns. Their members were recruited from local men who were tied to the city by business or a little less fit for army, and who were prepared to find time to learn ‘how to work a great gun mounted in their immediate neighbourhood.’ The Artillery units were often smaller than the rifle corps. One man was appointed ‘captain of the gun’ and all the others were required ‘that they should be able to prove, on a half-yearly inspection, that they had duly profited by the instruction given, and had qualified themselves for the important trust reposed in them.’
Each of the units in Scotland was issued with 16-pounder or 40-pounder guns, and the Edinburgh Volunteers shared two. The units received an annual allowance towards the cost and in return each battery had to be fully equipped with horses, and turn out at least four times a-year on four separate days, one the annual inspection. They had to drill for at least two hours. In 1882, all the Scottish artillery corps were affiliated to the Scottish Division of the Royal Artillery, whose depot was at Leith Fort, and whose 1st Brigade of nine batteries was composed of regular garrison artillery.
Although throughout the last half of the 19th century the majority of artillery and rifle volunteers were never called upon to repel invaders, or fight in any war, the volunteer forces helped save lives in peacetime, as this report of a dangerous fire in the Old Town notes: ‘The Lord Provost and Magistrates, the constables ordinary and extraordinary, the firemen, etc. were early on the spot. The Commander in Chief and several officers belonging to his staff were also present during the greater part of the night. General Lay, Royal Artillery Captain Buckle of the Adamant, and a detachment of the 1st regiment of Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, together with many gentlemen of the city, were also present, and distinguished themselves by their example and exertions…spectators of all descriptions were busily employed in bringing continuous supplies of water.’
In 1876, fire might well have destroyed John Boyd’s workshop too, had it not been for the lucky event of his foreman returning after the workshop had been closed for the night to retrieve a notebook. He discovered the workshop ablaze, but was able to control the flames sufficiently with the workshop hose to allow the firemen to douse it completely and save the workshop. Perhaps the foreman who saved Boyd’s business was Robert Dodds. He certainly is reported as having been in charge of Boyd’s workshop for many years before leaving in 1881 to start a rival company in Thistle Street Lane. This did not dent Boyd’s business as the company was still trading in 1900.
While living here the Boyds had five children. they moved to Abercromby Place.

1876 – 1877 Daniel Macpherson
In 1874, Daniel Macpherson and James Craigie dissolved their partnership in their Straw Hat Manufacturing and Wholesale Warehousemen business. Presumably Macpherson continued the business on his own for a time, as he had agreed to pay all the debts due to the company at the partnership winding up date. However, he disappears from view after 1877.

1878 - 1879 Mrs W S Riddell
Nothing traced.

1880 – 1881 Mary (neé Arnot) Arnot
Mary Arnott, aged 80, was the widow of the Reverend Dr David Arnot, who had been minister in Dundee, and latterly of the High Kirk in Edinburgh. Arnot published a number of books, including The Witches of Neil’s Glen, and was an accomplished painter and musician.
David and Mary married in 1846. Mary was the young widow of Lieutenant Edward Bayley, an officer in the Royal Navy, whom she had married in 1826, and David also was a widower, his first wife having been Helen Smith who died in 1843. From the first marriage was a daughter, Agnes who married Walter Scott Riddell, of the Hong-Kong and China Bank. The daughter of the Riddells, Janet Riddell, was staying in the house with her step-grandmother, along with her four children, all of whom were at school. There also were two borders, both women living on annuities. There were three servants.

1881 – 1895 John and Mary (neé Gordon) Shand
For a time John Shand had been an army surgeon and having returned to Scotland married Jane Gordon in 1854. Jane was one of the daughters of Sir William Gordon, 6th Baronet of Earlstown. While a young lieutenant Sir William was one of those who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, and one of the few to survive. In later life he joked that he had come out of the charge ‘carrying his head under his arm.’ A friend of the family, Alice Anne Bailey, wrote in her autobiography about Sir William: ‘I have often, as a child, felt the gold clasps which the surgery of that time had inserted in his skull.’
In 1890, Shand wrote a letter to The Lancet supporting the use of chloroform based on his experience of using it the year after Simpson had introduced it into medical use: ‘Sirs, - This being a most important subject, I feel morally called on, as one who has had nearly fifty years' experience in practice, to express my dissent from two at least of the conclusions arrived at by the Chloroform Commission. I may premise that I used ether first with satisfaction till chloroform appeared, and saw it extensively employed in 1848 on the wounded from the various engagements on the advance of the Prussian troops to the relief of Radstadt and the restoration of the Grand Duke of Baden. So I was the first English doctor (and from Scotland too) who saw chloroform used in gunshot wounds. With regard to the second conclusion, namely, the necessity of recumbent position in inhaling chloroform, I beg to state that two of my most satisfactory operations were performed many years ago under chloroform in the sitting position. One was a gunshot wound of the right hand, which so smashed all the metacarpal bones that it was only possible to preserve the thumb and forefinger. The gentleman is in London at present, and could exhibit the claw - as he terms it –with which he writes and shoots as of old. I saw him soon after the accident, and with the assistance of a butler placed him in an arm-chair, chloroformed him, and performed the operation. …I give you these two cases in respect to position. A large percentage of people respire more freely in that position than in the recumbent one; and although I do not think the heart's action is to be neglected, yet even for its benefit the respiration is the key. …I have administered sufficient chloroform several times to keep the patient asleep for about twenty-four hours right off, and without accident.’
The eldest son of John and Mary, Alfred, worked in insurance and at least one of the other two sons also became a doctor.
Mary died in 1890. In 1895, the Shands moved away, possibly back to Kirkcudbright where they had previous lived.

1898 Andrew Simpson
Andrew Simpson was Clerk to the Leith Parish Council and he died the same year he moved here.

1899 – 1907 William and Agnes McLeod
William McLeod worked for the British Linen Bank at South Bridge.

1896 to 1898 William Kinnaird Rose
William Kinnaird Rose (photo c. 1880) was born in Glasgow. He became a journalist and worked for Ayrshire papers before joining The Scotsman as its war correspondent, reporting alongside the Russian army on the Russo-Turkish War. During this time he was wounded several times.  He then returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh and successfully studying for the Bar, becoming an advocate, although he never practised in Scotland. In 1879, he was sent as a special commissioner to inquire into the condition of the Christian population in Roumelia, Macedonia, Albania and Armenia, and his report formed a subject of debate in both Houses of Parliament. 
In 1884, he moved to Queensland, Australia, and there was admitted to the Australian Bar. He was one of the commissioners appointed by the Australian Government to inquire into the Polynesian labour traffic in 1885, and was fiercely critical of the way they were being used as labour on the Queensland sugar plantations. 
In 1887, he was back in Europe, reporting on the Greco-Turkish War; his experiences becoming a book, With the Greeks in Thessaly. In the preface he offers advice on the best outfit for such activity: ‘The area experiences sudden variations in temperature. During one day of the battles round Muti, we noted a fall of twelve degrees Fahrenheit in ten minutes; and between midday and night the range was sometimes no less than fifty-five degrees. Under the advice of Mr Donald C. Frazer, manager of a well-known form of outfitters, Charles Baker & Co. Ludgate Hill, I took with me a riding-suit of Scotch Tweed – in colour a light-brown white mixture. If sometimes a little warm at midday, when the thermometer would run up to eighty-nine and ninety degrees, it was a complete protection at night against chills and fevers in the plains and in the lofty table-lands and mountains, as well as in open boats at sea. I could recommend nothing better for travellers or campaigners in similar climates.’  
A review of the book in The Spectator concluded: ‘We quite agree with the moral which Mr. Rose draws from his story. The vacillation of the European Concert constitutes a great danger. And of all pernicious nonsense the worst is the counsel that we must speak with bated breath lest we should inflame the fanaticism of Islam. The best thing that we can do is not, indeed, to use hard words, which after all are of little use, but to coerce the Sultan. Nothing would so calm Mahommedan passion as to learn that the Caliph had had to sue for peace. Force is the only argument that Islam heeds or understands.’
Rose returned to Australia in 1888, where he was appointed editor-in-chief of The Brisbane Courier, but after three years returned to reporting in Britain. He covered Lord Kitchener's Sudan campaign, and at one point in his travels was imprisoned in Rome on a charge of possessing forged notes which had been foisted upon him by a dealer in antiquities. When he came back to Scotland in the 1890s he first lived in Edinburgh. In 1894, he stood as Councillor for the Broughton Ward. ‘When I go to the City Chambers (laughter from the two hundred people he is addressing) I mean to see about the standing grievance of Lower Broughton Road.’ However, he did not get selected, so never made it to the City Chambers. Instead he continued in journalism, spending time in London reporting from the Press Gallery of the House of Commons.
When the First World War broke out he was writing for War Illustrated and living in Glasgow. At the age of seventy two he was appointed a Commissioner on Civil Liabilities in Glasgow, where he heard applications from those requiring support because of the war. In 1917, he interviewed a woman seeking assistance as her husband was in France. He asked if she had any children and she said no. He then asked if she planned to have any. Again she said no. Rose then asked her why she was not working, in a tone that the woman found objectionable, and so she replied ‘And why is your wife not working?’ at which point Rose slapped her face. He was charged with assault and paid £20 damages.
He died in 1919.
Comments