A summary of the history of the Western Scientific Association is available on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).
The members of this all-male group wrote down the papers that they gave at the meetings into a society year book. Thomas Lugton (the attributed author of the 1907 newspaper article from which this information comes) seems to have a copy of the group’s 1894 volume to hand, as he gives details on the contributors, a bit of their respective histories subsequent to their membership in the association, and critiques each contribution. (For more information about Thomas Lugton, see ‘Additional Notes’ below.)
According to the article, there are 78 articles in the 1849 volume. Most of these seem to be essays, fiction and non-fiction, but there are also a few poems. The volume also includes artwork, of which there is at least one illustration and one etching.
Lugton tells us there are 63 signed and 15 unsigned articles, and in the case of some of the latter pieces, he is able to work out who the author was, and it seems this group had some remarkable members. The contributors to the society year book went on to become notable figures in Glasgow and beyond. To give a couple of examples, the first essay, described by Lugton as ‘[a] short and lively tale with a long title’ called ‘The House on the Hill, or The Fratricide, a Tale of the 17th Century,” was written by one John Trayner, who was later to become Lord Trayner LLD (1834–1929). (For more information on Trayner see ‘John Trayner, Lord Trayner‘ on Wikipedia, the entry for ‘John Trayner‘ on The University of Glasgow Story website, and a painting entitled ‘John Trayner (1834–1929), Lord Trayner‘, which was painted by George Reid (1841–1913) on the ArtUK website.)
The author of another article entitled, ‘History’, who had his own tripartite classificatory system of ‘the fabulous’, ‘the doubtful’, and ‘the authentic’, signed himself ‘M.G.’. Lugton identifies this as Matthew Gass. Gass (1830-?) was a Georgeite reform agitator. Influenced by Chartism in his youth, in his adult life, he was renowned for his influential speeches on Glasgow Green and the many pamphlets he published calling for labour and land reforms. (For more information on Gass, see ‘Testimonial to a Veteran Reformer’, The Single Tax, Vol. VI, No. 69, February 1900, pp. 130-1. See ‘Additional Information on The Single Tax.)
Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine
Western Scientific Association (Glasgow)
Date of Existence
Date of Magazine
Number of Issues
1 (unknown if still extant)
Contents and Contributions
Art/illustrations (original); Articles (non-fiction); Essays; Fiction/Narrative; Poems (original)
(Currently unknown if any copies extant)
Thomas Lugton was a member of the Old Glasgow Club in the early twentieth century. This group first met in 1900, and is still running. Members still meet twice a month to read papers and discuss the history of Glasgow. Some of these papers (including Lugton’s) have been published. See the club’s new website here: Old Glasgow Club. As a member of this club, Lugton himself would have been a scholar of the history of the city. You can see examples of the papers he gave in a list of the Transactions of the club between 1903 and 1908 on the club’s old website here: ‘Transactions Volume 1 – Numbers 1 to 5 (1903 to 1908)’, Old Glasgow Club.
For more information about The Single Tax, see ‘The Single Tax‘ on Wikipedia. This newspaper has not yet been digitised by the British Newspaper Archive. Copies are available at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow and the British Library, London.