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Famous Scots - James Whitton

James Whitton, Superintendent of Public Parks Glasgow

James Whitton was the Superintendent of the Public Parks of Glasgow . He was born at Methven Castle Perthshire, where for fifty years his father was head gardener. After receiving a sound training in "the oldest profession on earth," and acting for some years as foreman at Glamis Castle, he spent eleven years as head gardener with Mr. Houldsworth at Coltness, in the parish of Cambusnethan.

He returned as head gardener to Glamis and in 1893 and was appointed to the position of Superintendent. Mr Whitton had under his charge no fewer than 1,230 acres of open spaces and to this have recently been added the grounds at Thornliebank and the great estate of Ardgoil (14,650 acres) on Loch Long, which have been presented to the city by Mr. Cameron Corbett, M.P. These pleasure spaces include fifteen public parks, sixteen minor open spaces, and six ancient burying grounds.

The parks, with their areas and dates of acquisition, are as follows: - Glasgow Green, 136 acres, 1662-1792; Kelvingrove, 66 acres, 1852-4; lands of Clayslaps, Overnewton, and Kelvinbank (now part of Kelvingrove), 9 acres, 1881; Queen's Park, 90 acres, 1857; Camphill (now part of same), 58 acres, 1894; Alexandra Park, 74 acres, 1869; lands of Kennyhill (now part of same), 40 acres, 1891; Cathkin Braes, 49 acres, 1886; Botanic Gardens, 21 acres, 1891; banks of Kelvin (now part of same), 18 acres, 1892-96; Maxwell Park, 21 acres, 1891; Springburn Park, 56 acres, 1892; Maryhill, 5 acres, 1892; Ruchill, 53 acres, 1892; Govanhill Grounds, 4 acres, 1894; Bunhouse Grounds, 6? acres, 1895; Bellahouston, 178 acres, 1895; Tollcross, 84 acres, 1897; Richmond Park, 44 acres, 1898.

Among these grounds Mr. Whitton  had the task of laying out Maryhill, Springburn, Ruchill, Camphill, Richmond, and Tollcross Parks. He has also restored Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park to artistic conditions after the railway excavations, and of returning the grounds of Kelvingrove into their original order after their complete dishevelment for the Exhibition of 1901. During the same year the Botanic Gardens were put under his management. In later years Mr. Whitton developed the display of gardening under glass in the Botanic Gardens.

The earliest adventure in this direction, the large block of propagating houses at Camphill, these proved popular with as many as seven thousand visitors frequently passing through the houses in a day.  They were also profitable as a means of raising plants for the open air. This was followed by the winter garden of the People's Palace on Glasgow Green, opened by Lord Rosebery in 1898. The glass houses in Tollcross Park came next; and they were followed by the splendid gift, by Messrs. Reid of Hydepark Locomotive Works, of the winter garden in Springburn Park.

Besides these must now be counted the oldest of all, the fine Kibble Palace and conservatories in the Botanic Gardens.  He managed this with a staff of 285 men who had to cope with work relating to the International Exhibition, for example, the department had to instal and keep up the horticultural embellishment of Kelvingrove and entertain for special displays which were sometime on a very large scale. 

Queen Alexandra, saw the splendours of floral decoration within the City Chambers in May. 1893, she expressed the feelings of many a humble visitor in the exclamation, "How beautiful! how marvellously beautiful!"

Headstone Photograph

Further Information

Firstname: JAMES


Date of Death: 30th Oct 1925

Age at Death: 74

Cemetery: Craigton

  Berryknowes Road

Town: Glasgow

Region: Glasgow and Clyde Valley

Country: Scotland


Please Note, the marker on this map indicates the Cemetery location, not the location of a particular grave. is a privately owned website with no affiliation to any Local Councils.