Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
William Scott
(fl. 1881-1939)

Based at Cathcart Cemetery, 310 Clarkston Road, in what was then known as New Cathcart; William Scott’s firm of monumental sculptors was a major contributor to Glasgow’s south side graveyards and burial grounds.

Cathcart Cemetery is particularly rich in their monuments, which were predominantly carved in granite.

In 1888, Scott collaborated with the architect Alexander Skirving in the restoration of the 17th Century Martyrs’ Stone in Old Cathcart Church graveyard, which commemorates the local Covenanters, the Polmadie Martyrs, executed in 1685.

A grander form of 17th Century Scottish funerary monument provided the model for the firm's large-scale James Finlayson Monument in the Western Necropolis (1906), which derived from examples such as the Minto Monument, of 1605, and the Thomas Hutcheson Monument, of 1641, at Glasgow Cathedral.

For the Necropolis, Scott produced the monuments to the Adamson Family, a pink granite cross with anchor (1892), and Sam McCalden (d. 1986), which features a relief of a speedway rider and the message See you later glamour boy (the stone itself dates from 1915).

Examples of Scott’s work outside Glasgow include the pink granite monument to Walter McGibbon, in Paisley’s Woodside Cemetery (1883), and the monument to Robert Brown, the Inspector of the Poor for Dundonald Parish, in the Old Parish Churchyard, Irvine (1890).

By 1924, Scott had opened a branch workshop in Netherlee Road, and by 1926, the firm was in the ownership of A.R. Muir, who kept the name Scott going at Cathcart Cemetery until 1939, when both firms were finally wound up.

A. R. Muir (fl. 1919-39) had operated his own sculpture yard directly opposite Scott's at the gates of Cathcart Cemetery from 1919, becoming his greatest rival. After aquiring Scott's yard in 1926, and the yard of William Robin at Craigton Cemetery, in 1927, he quickly consolidated his effecive monopoly over the production of monumental sculpture for the city’s south side by opening yards at Eastwood Cemetery, the Linn Cemetery, and at Hawkhead in Paisley.

Whilst keeping Scott and Robin’s names going at their former workshops, Muir's business was renamed A.R. Muir & Sons, later becoming A.R. Muir & Co., in 1933, when it opened a head office at 51 St. Enoch Square in Glasgow’s city centre.

Like several of their competitors in the years after World War I, the Muirs received commissions for war memorials, such as the granite Celtic cross in St. David’s Memorial Park Church, Kirkintilloch (1922). Amongst their prodigious output of cemetery monuments is the monument to Alexander McLean, in the Necropolis (1932).

Muir’s empire folded in 1939, taking Scott and Robin's names with it from the city's Post Office Directory.

Sources:

  • PODs : (William Scott) 1919-39;
  • PODs : (A. R. Muir) 1919-39;
  • The Govan Press: The Martyrs’ Stone, Cathcart, 10th November, 1888, p. 5.
 
Works in our Database:
1: Brown Street (Anderston),
Kentigern House
The Symbols of St Kentigern (1985-6)
Sculptor: W Scott; Architects: Property Services Agency
 
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