Chapter 42 – Dean of Guild

The hall clock strikes 7 chimes. I head to the kitchen and find the stove already lit by Agnes; our Housekeeper. Our Smith & Phillips range is a workhorse, constantly supplied from the Tradeston Gas Works and exhibits our modern Victorian living. 

Today’s destination is the Chambers of Commerce Hall in Virginia Street. The street is named after Glasgow merchants, who at one time traded three-quarters of the tobacco consumed in Europe. I explain this double-edged history to my lieutenants, Robert and James, as today, after months of negotiations, we sign our contract with the Dean of Guild.

As we enter the building, we come face to face with a delegation. This group is led by Thomas Fortis; a fearsome character, exceptionally articulate and immaculately dressed, and Arthur Cary, a smaller man with penetrating eyes clad in gold-rimmed spectacles. Fortis waves his contract and says, “The City is shared this time, but history will record it being the last”. Without hesitation, I reply, “Well; we will just see about that”. 

With the duel over, we walk upstairs and sign the contract. The mapping of Glasgow South commences on 1 March 1871: a momentous occasion for our company.

Time for a break. Tomorrow I leave for London. I have received a football invitation: England v Scotland at the Oval.

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