Every week we’ll highlight famous Glaswegians...

1. Isabella was born in 1827 in Hutchesontown. In 1857, she married John Elder, a pioneering marine engineer whose company at the Fairfield Shipyard in Govan, was recognised as one of the world’s leading shipbuilders. When he died, Isabella ran the company successfully for nine months, until it was transferred to a partnership led by her brother.

2. Isabella was wealthy, and after her husband’s death, chose to spend her money on good causes in Govan, and the promotion of education for young women. In 1884, she bought North Park House near the Botanic Gardens, and gave the building and financial support to the newly founded Queen Margaret College, the first institution in Scotland to offer further education to women. Isabella founded its first medical school and after it merged with Glasgow University, she worked hard to ensure female students did not receive an inferior education to men.

3. In Govan, she established a School of Domestic Economy, where poor girls and women were taught about nutrition and cooking, as well as the importance of cleanliness, ventilation, prevention of the spread of disease and the care of children; and she also provided the area with a library and a cottage hospital.

4. In 1901 the Duchess of Montrose founded the Cottage Nurses Training Home to bring the village system of nursing, which had proved so successful in England, to Govan. Isabella provided this project with its first home.

5. She donated 37 acres of land opposite Fairfield’s shipyard for a public park (named Elder Park) which opened in 1885. She was the first woman to be awarded an honorary LLD by Glasgow University, and in 1906, the year after her death, a statue of her was unveiled in Elder Park.