John Galt (1779-1839) is perhaps one of Greenock's most
famous inhabitants - chiefly known as a novelist and poet.
Although he was born in Irvine, his family moved to Greenock
when he was young, and he died here after a life spent in many other parts of
Britain and abroad.There are several
plaques commemorating him in the town.
This plaque is on the wall of a building on the corner of
Westburn Street and West Blackhall Street and marks the place where the house
in which he died once stood.
John Galt is buried in the Inverkip Street Cemetery in Greenock.This plaque is at the entrance to the
cemetery.He is buried along with other
family members - his parents and sister.
The grave is beautifully kept.
Galt is also commemorated by a fountain on the Esplanade at
the bottom of Roseneath Street .This
was the idea of Allan Park Paton, former librarian of Greenock.
This is what should be in that space!
Unfortunately, the metal plate of his profile has been
stolen by vandals.Let's hope that a
replacement will be put in place soon.
John Galt was a remarkable man.I'll be writing much more about him in later
Great to see that the
Greenock Burns Club have been given a grant to help restore the Highland Mary
monument in Greenock Cemetery.
(Mary Campbell) was the love of Robert Burns life.They were due to sail away to start a new
life in Jamaica.Before he could meet
with her at their port of departure in Greenock, Mary died of a fever in 1786.
Quintin Leitch of Greenock
was a man who took full advantage of the town's good Atlantic trading position on the west coast of Scotland, the new shipbuilding endeavours in Greenock and his family's trading links to make a name for himself as a successful townsman.Born to
merchant James Leitch and his wife Mary Orr in 1774, Quintin was the eldest of the
family.He had three brothers - James,
Robert and William who all became successful businessmen in Greenock.He also had a sister, Mary.This is a memorial to him in the Wellpark Mid
Kirk in Greenock.
elegant monument to the memory of Quintin Leitch, an amiable and highly gifted
individual, who was for six years Magistrate of Greenock, and who saw executed,
during this short period, the greatest improvements which Greenock can boast
Previous to becoming a town official,
Quintin Leitch went to sea in command of his own brig Clyde, built by Steele & Carswell at their yard in the Bay of
Quick in Greenock in 1796.
In the early days, his family
were involved in trade with the West Indies importing mahogany (amongst other
things).By 1805, he is listed in the local
trade directoryliving at Nicholson Street
in Greenock. By 1815 he is listed as being
in business with this brother,
and also among the list of
magistrates of Greenock.
Quintin Leitch was a friend
of the great Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson and was with him in 1815 at the
laying of the foundation stone of Corsewall Lighthouse near Stranraer.Stevenson also named part of the Bell Rock
"Leitch's Ledge" after a visit there by him in 1818.
He was heavily involved in
local affairs and saw many changes and improvements to the harbours of Greenock,
including the construction of the new Custom House, being present at the laying
of the foundation stone in 1817. From Views and Reminiscences of
Old Greenock (1891) -
"the handsome Greenock Customhouse fronting
the Old Steamboat Quay, the foundation stone of which was laid on the 2nd of
May, 1817. It is interesting to note that “the ceremony was performed with
Masonic honours by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Bart, [father of the present lord
of the Manor], Provincial Grand Master of Renfrew and Dumbartonshires, in
presence of Quintin Leitch and
Robert Ewing, Esqrs., the Magistrates of the Burgh, and a large concourse of
the inhabitants.” (Published by James McKelvie & Sons)
Customhouse Quay, Greenock
After many years of service
to the town, Quintin Leitch died on 21 September 1827 aged 55.His brothers and their children continued as
merchants and public officials of the town for many years to come.
It is fitting that his memorial can still be
seen today in the Wellpark Mid Kirk Church in Greenock.