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Glasgow: 6 Buchanan Street for Robert Dennistoun, 1798-1800 (35)


Robert Dennistoun (1756-1815) was a partner in the firm of George & Robert Dennistoun, West India traders and one of the prime movers behind the formation of the Glasgow West India Association in 1807, formed to represent the interests of Glasgow’s West India merchants and said to be the most powerful West Indian society outside London. He married Anne Penelope, the daughter of Archibald Campbell of Jura and they had eight sons and six daughters. The family owned land and enslaved poeple in Trinidad and St Kitts.

Dennistoun bought the plot for his house No.6 Buchanan Street in 1798, the plot to the south (No.5) being bought by Charles Stirling. Buchanan Street was being laid out at this time and each house was to be 'one storey half-sunk between two square stories and garrets and no more and of such a length as to leave proper entry to the background at the southend therof and shall erect a neat gateway for filling up the vacant space left for such entry' (quoted by G.Stamp, op.cit. below, p.184). This Glasgow tradition of arched entrances in the spaces between merchants town houses was adhered to by Soane. He had also to comply in the use of 'good ashler work' and with slates for the roof.

Soane did not visit Glasgow and the building work was presumably supervised by a local clerk of works. Dennistoun died in 1815 and as Gavin Stamp writes 'what happened to his mansion afterwards has been difficult to establish'. It seems to have disappeared by about 1842 but may have been an hotel for some previous years.

Literature: G.Stamp, 'Soane in Glasgow', The Georgian Group Journal, volume XIII, 2003, pp.181-200; Legacies of British Slavery database, UCL: www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs

Jilll Lever
September 2015



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Contents of Glasgow: 6 Buchanan Street for Robert Dennistoun, 1798-1800 (35)