William Douglas


William Douglas, house-painter and wallpaperer, first appears in the Glasgow Post Office Directory in 1880, trading from 26 West Campbell Street, in a fairly upmarket area of terraced townhouses interspersed with businesses. Douglas was the son of a farmer from Countlich, Dowally, in rural Perthshire, and trained as a house-painter during his teens in Blairgowrie. By 1871, he and his widowed mother had moved to the Gorbals, Glasgow, probably in search of better employment prospects. 1

By 1881, he had built up a business employing seven men and two boys, 2 and was the decorator used by McKissack & Rowan for their Mure Memorial Church, Baillieston, in 1882. The scheme – 'in pleasing tones, and with suitable ornaments' – seems to have been quite plain, appropriately for a budget-conscious, working-class congregation. 3 The masons who worked on this building, R. Aitkenhead & Son, were also used by Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh.

Douglas steadily prospered, as shown by his home addresses, finally moving c. 1909 from a broad street of lower middle-class tenements to a recently-built suburb of red sandstone villas set in their own gardens at Newlands, overlooking the City. In memory of his birthplace north of Dunkeld, he named his new house Countlich. 4

William Park Douglas, his son, was active in professional and trades associations connected with pay and training, such as the Incorporated Institute of British Decorators. 5 He was still trading from the firm's premises at 242 West George Street in 1941. 6


1: Census 1841, 1861, 1871, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 10 May 2012].

2: Census 1881, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 10 May 2012].

3: Glasgow Herald, 13 October 1882, p. 9.

4: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1890–1, 1898–9, 1907–8, 1909–10.

5: Scotsman, 11 February 1924, p. 5; 8 February 1930, p. 14.

6: Scotsman, 13 December 1941, p. 3.