James Gilchrist (1832-1894)

James Gilchrist (1832-1894)

Violin maker

James Gilchrist was an engineer and scientific instrument maker, who taught himself to make stringed instruments. He and Matthew Hardie, another violin maker were known as 'The Scottish Stradivari'.

Birth in 1832

James Gilchrist was born on 25 May 1832, the son of Allan Gilchrist, mason and Agnes Boyd. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Rothesay, Bute gives the date of baptism as 19 June.

Baptism entry for James Gilchrist

Birth and baptism entry for James Gilchrist (16 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 558/4, page 45

Marriage in 1863

James Gilchrist married Catherine McIntyre on 7 August 1863. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for the Central District of Glasgow shows they were married according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland and that his occupation was tinsmith, journeyman.

Marriage entry for James Gilchrist

Marriage entry for James Gilchrist (46 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1863/644-1/218

1841 to 1891 censuses

In 1841 James Gilchrist, aged 8 was living with his family at High Street, Rothesay (1841/558/11, pages 20-21).

In 1851 he was aged 18 and a visitor in the household of James Bowie in Glasgow (1851/644-1/83, page 14).

In 1861, he was 28 and in the household of Jim Bowie in the Central District of Glasgow. This time his relationship to the head of household is given as nephew rather than visitor (1861/644-1/12, page 15).

In 1871, he was 39 and living with his wife and children in the Hutchesontown District of Glasgow (1871/644-10/68, page 14).

In 1881 he was 48, a brazier employing four men and two boys in the same district (1881/644-11/10, page 9).

In 1891 he was 58 and living with his wife and children in the district of Cathcart. For the first time his occupation is recorded as violin maker.

1891 census entry for James Gilchrist

Detail from the 1891 census showing the household of  James Gilchrist (44 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1891/560/6, page 46

Death in 1894

James Gilcrhist, violin maker, died on 16 April 1894 aged 61. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of Kelvin in Glasgow shows that the informant was his son James.

Death entry for James Gilcrhist

Death entry for James Gilchrist (47 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1894/644-9/415

Testament of James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist left a will. The inventory was registered in Glasgow Sheriff Court on 30 April 1894.

Detail of inventory of James Gilchrist

Detail of inventory of James Gilchrist from page 220 (65 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, SC36/48/146, pp 220-222