Ancestry UK

Sailors' Orphan Society of Scotland Homes, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland

The Sailors' Orphan Society of Scotland was established in 1889 by three of Glasgow's leading shipowners: Richard Hubbard Hunter, Alexander Allan and George Smith. Its object was 'to feed, educate or otherwise provide for the orphans or fatherless children of sea-faring men throughout Scotland, who have been left in destitute circumstances'. Funded by voluntary subscriptions and donations, it initially provided financial support to widows, allowing children to stay with their mothers. It also began to provide residential accommodation for orphans, occupying houses at 5 Thistle Street and 2 Elmbank Street in Glasgow, and another at an old mansion known as Mount Blow (or Mountblow), near Dalmuir. The Elmbank Street premises (later renumbered as number 10) also acted as a receiving home for new admissions.

In 1897, a gift of £10,000 by Charles William Cayzer, MP for Barrow in Furness and wealthy owner of a shipping company based in Glasgow. The money enabled the Society to build its own permanent establishment at Kilmacolm which opened in 1899.

The Elmbank Street premises then continued in use as a Working Boys' Home, providing hostel-style accommodation for boys from Kilmacolm taking up employment in Glasgow. The Home could accommodate up to 12 boys, aged from 14 to 18 years at their date of admission. It was in operation up until the Second World War.

The Society still exists and continues to give financial support to dependents of seafarers. None of its Glasgow/Dalmuir premises survives.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Glasgow University Archive Services, 13 Thurso Street, Glasgow G11 6PE, Scotland. Holdings: Minute Books (1889-1957); Annual Reports (1900-62); Case Histories (1889-1919); Scrapbook (1900-38).