1 If you enjoy your local library, or ever take a stroll around a Glasgow museum on a Sunday, you have Sir Daniel Macaulay Stevenson to thank, at least in part. The ‘municipal socialist’, engineer and politician was dedicated to improving the lives and broadening the horizons of Glaswegians and among the many causes he promoted were Sunday openings for galleries and museums, the introduction of a free library service, the creation of a telephone service under civic ownership and corporation subsidy to music.

Glasgow Times: Daniel Stevenson

2 Born in 1851, Stevenson established a coal-importing business as a young man and later became an influential member of Glasgow Corporation. He served as councillor for the Woodside ward from 1892 and as Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1911 until 1914. He was a considerable philanthropist, and his lifetime’s benefactions totalled around £400,000.

3 Although not a graduate of the University of Glasgow, he donated substantial sums to it, and several chairs were created in his name. He gave money to expand Engineering, fund chairs in Spanish and Italian and bringing Philosophy, Economics and Politics into the ambit of the Citizenship Trust Fund. He was elected as Chancellor in 1934, when he was 83.

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4 In January 1961, Sir Hector Hetherington, principal of Glasgow University, formally opened the Stevenson Physical Education Building in Sir Daniel’s honour. Almost half of the £260,000 cost of the building had come from the philanthropist’s trustees. Stevenson was responsible for the Scottish Ambulance Unit's formation, which went to assist in the Spanish Civil War.

5 Stevenson died in 1944, aged 92, at home in Cleveden Road. His Glasgow Herald obituary noted his huge role in Glasgow public life and that he had travelled widely, eager to foster international friendship and peace. He had been received by, among others, Hitler, Mussolini and Hindenburg.