James Glass Esquire
James Glass, hailing from Edinburgh, came to Dundee as a young man. Remaining a single man, he devoted 39 years of his life as a teacher at the Public Seminaries/High School in Dundee.
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Personal details and history
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Career and worklife
Place of work
High School of Dundee
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James Glass came to Dundee in 1850, a young man of 21/22 years of age. He was recorded in the 1851 census as having been a teacher of Writing and Arithmetic, at the Public Seminaries, Dundee. He lodged centrally at 36 Perth Road. A Royal Charter was granted to the Public Seminaries in 1859, when the school became the High School of Dundee and James remained in its employ. The 1861 census listed James Glass as a teacher of Arithmetic.
As a young man, he arrived in Dundee to take up a teaching position at the Public Seminaries. His younger sister, Elizabeth also lodged with him in Dundee until her marriage to a schoolmaster in 1861.
For over 30 years, James Glass daily made the short walk from the west end of the Nethergate to his place of work at the High School. It would appear that he led a very quiet life – almost unremarkable, except for the memories of his pupils. He was described as ‘a character who seemed to be remote from colleagues and pupils, but who, nevertheless, was well liked.’ This statement was confirmed when an ‘old boy’ who met his former teacher remarked:
‘Who does not recall the rapidity with which he used to skip down the tables and the promptitude of his discovery of blots or careless calligraphy?’
He went on to say:
‘I am sure that there are many former pupils who would gladly go to school again, for a day or two, if ‘Glassie’ would promise to come skipping and whistling down the tables, aye, even although some of us could count upon a rap from a black ruler!’
Allegedly, his penmanship was very beautiful and formed the model which High School scholars tried hard to copy.
James Glass was appointed a Director of the school in 1883 and remained there until his retirement in 1889. Both he, and his colleague George Dott, tendered their resignations in June of 1889, Glass having served 39 years at the establishment.
On his retirement, James Glass returned to Edinburgh. His death in 1914 showed the value of his personal estate amounted to £91,657. It would almost appear, for a man who presented as being ‘remote,’ that his teaching career offered amusement, while his real interest lay in the dabbling of stock and shares, of which he had countless – the practical usage of his book-keeping skills perhaps.
- Old Parish Registers. St Cuthbert's. Births. (1828). 685/2 340 214. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. Edinburgh. Morningside. Deaths. (1914). 685/6 66. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1851). 282/2 2/9. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Scottish Post office Directories. Dundee, 1858-59. p.134. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-62. p.146. national Library of Scotland website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1861). 282/2 7/ 26. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser. 10th September. 1850. British newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser. 10 September 1850. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Statutory Registers. Edinburgh. St Andrew's. (1861). 685/ 2 3. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Evening Telegraph. 23 January 1914. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Evening Telegraph. 31 March 1905. p.4. British newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee People's Journal. 24 January 1914. p.10. British newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 4th September 1883. British newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Advertiser. 5th July 1889. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. 5 July 1889. p.7. British newspaper Archive website.
- Legal Records. Wills and Testaments. Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories. (1914). SC7/ 0/ 1/ 550. ScotlandsPeople website.
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