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Glasgow in 1901

'James Hamilton Muir'
new introduction by Perilla Kinchin

the authors  |  bibliographic details | reviews

One hundred years after its acclaimed publication this idiosyncratic and entertaining little book, packed with interest for any lover of Glasgow, is at last available again.

Celebrating Glasgow at the dawn of the 20th century, it vividly evokes a smoke-hazed and sombre city, ringing and thundering with shipbuilding and other industry, not beautiful but alive and splendid. The book makes piquant reading today, after a century of painful deindustrialisation.

But while the city's finest institutions receive their due ­ the account of Corporation's dynamic intervention in the provision of public services is particularly thought-provoking ­ Glasgow in 1901 also presents a more unexpected and problematic view of the human and environmental cost of the city's industrial pre-eminence.

The young authors are passionately engaged with their subject and write with the humour and affection common to natives of the city. From the colourful drop-outs of the quays, to the exhausted workers in their dreary crowded tenements, to the ever-active 'city man', the pages are alive with keenly observed Glasgow types.

An introduction presents new material on the authors, discusses their surprising account of Glasgow, and briefly traces the city's changes in the last century.

'In 1901 "James Hamilton Muir" published such a graphic and faithful account of the city as was never seen before, and is never likely to be bettered. Glasgow in 1901 is now a classic. Astute collectors will gladly pay a guinea for a reasonably clean copy.' Neil Munro, 'prince of Glasgow journalists', writing in 1928.

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James Hamilton Muir was three talented young Glasgow men in their twenties.

Bone (1872-1962) worked in a shipping office before joining his father as a journalist on the North British Daily Mail. At the end of 1901 he moved to London to begin a distinguished career with the Manchester Guardian, becoming its London editor from 1912 to 1945. His publications included Edinburgh Revisited and The London Perambulator. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1947.

Archibald Hamilton Charteris (1874-1940) studied law at the University of Glasgow, where his father was Professor of Medicine. In 1901 he was a practising lawyer, and from 1904 a lecturer at the University, though he also had literary aspirations. In 1920 he emigrated to a chair of international law at Sydney University. He published in 1932 a book on Scottish humorous writing, When the Scot Smiles.

Muirhead Bone (1876-1953), also a gifted writer, grew into one of Scotland's leading artists, an important figure in the revival of etching. The year1901 established his reputation, and he moved to London, though always retaining his links with Glasgow. In 1911 he published Glasgow, Fifty Drawings. He became in 1916 the first official war artist, and was knighted in 1947 for many services to art.

Perilla Kinchin
is the author of several books including Glasgow's Great Exhibitions: 1888, 1901, 1911, 1938, 1988 and Tea and Taste: The Glasgow Tea Rooms, 1875-1975.

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ISBN 1 873487 09 6 £20 (p&p free)
328 pp, 65 b&w ill. , 178 x 119 mm, bibliog., index , map 
Published in 2001        

Very few copies left: available only to individuals by direct order

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'It is a wonderful rediscovery.... A large amount about the city and its people in Glasgow in 1901 is recognisable today.' (The Guardian)

'This attractive facsimile edition contains some sixty illustrations by Muirhead Bone ... Perilla Kinchin's introduction is informative about both the book and its three-faced author.' (Times Literary Supplement)

'The book is an impressively comprehensive account of Glasgow at the turn of the last century ...The authors write with affection and dry humour.' (The Tablet)

Some Press Opinions from 1901

"The book is not merely a piece of good descriptive writing and strong characterisation of local scenes and people, it is a piece of genuine literature. The first part of it will bear comparison with Stevenson's 'Picturesque Notes on Edinburgh'." - Scotsman

"It would be unfair to give the impression that 'Glasgow in 1901' is a mere guide-book We have found its pages so pleasantly suggestive that we could readily commend it as a helpful companion to a stranger Mr. Muir has a swiftly appreciative eye for the picturesque values of light and atmosphere in a city for which some critics, more candid than kind, tell us nature has done little and art less, and his writing is full of vivid and charming pictures" - Glasgow Herald

"Mr. Hamilton Muir is a writer of such remarkable insight, with so broad a grasp of the picturesque, and such undeniable distinction of style, that we think it right to call attention to this little book.' - Spectator

" a decidedly enthusiastic description of the city, a matter-of-fact summary of its history, and a series of spirited sketches of the manners and customs of its inhabitants." - Manchester Guardian

"an excellent bit of work, quite unique of its kind." -
Glasgow Evening News

"It is a good book, well-informed and vivacious Mr. Bone's drawings are extremely fine." - Glasgow Daily Record and Mail

"A delightful book The book is many-sided and charming in every aspect" - Glasgow Evening Times

Quoted from a promotional sheet issued by John Smith & Son, Glasgow.