The Thirteen Club (aka The Glasgow Thirteen)


From the start, this club was intended to have a small, exclusive membership limited to 13 members. Discussions were to be on literature and art. The first meeting was held on Friday, 15 January 1891 at Moir’s Restaurant on West Nile Street. Attendees at the meeting included A. Mudie, G. Deans, Lou McEwan, David Fulton, George Forbes Dawson, and William Young.

The group appears to have been an informal social club, and there is no evidence for minutes being kept at the meetings, which were held in different restaurants in the city centre where the members met for dinner. Details of the meetings can only be gleaned from the ephemera and newspaper clippings in Young’s Scrapbooks (see below). In addition to the dinners, the club had an outing every year to various sites in the region.

A newspaper clipping from the ‘News’ (presumably the Glasgow Evening News) from 16 January 1904 lists the following members: ‘Bailie [Robert] Sorley; F. T. Barrett, the City librarian; Mr John W. Fraser, formerly of the Baird Trust; the Rev. Alexander Macarthur, of Strone; Mr Neil Munro, the novelist; Mr William Young and Mr David Fulton, artists; three well-known local journalists — Mr Thomas Reid, chief reporter of the “Herald,” Mr Andrew Moodie, and Mr George Deans; Mr D. Thomson, architect; Mr Andrew Wells, art designer; and Dr George Neilson [lawyer and historian].’

(Newspaper clipping, annotated:) (The Thirteen Club) ‘News. 16 Jany. 1904’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 8, p. 34))

William Young (1845-1916), a Glasgow artist, was one of the original members. The numerous scrapbooks in which he collected an eclectic range of materials, particularly on the cultural and social life of Glasgow during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, includes many mementos, ephemera and newspaper clippings on this club.

Date of Existence

20 December 1890-?

Source of Information

1. Dawson, George Forbes Dawson, letter to William Young, 29 December 1890, MS (letter on ‘start of “The Thirteen”‘) (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 1, [p. 21 ], 8a);

2. (Newspaper clipping:) ‘The Glasgow Thirteen Club’, (annotated:) ‘Citizen, 14 May 1892.’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 1 (unpaginated, p. 35));

3. (Newspaper clipping:) ‘The Looker-On’, (annotated:) ‘Evening News. 1 May 1899.’ (‘The Looker-on’, Glasgow Evening News, 1 May 1899, p. 2) (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks Vol. 2, p. 90; Glasgow Scrapbooks, Vol. 2, pp. 38-39);

4. Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century (Glasgow: The Photo-Biographical Publishing Co., [1901]), p. 78 (MLSC, Mitchell (GC) 920.04 GLA 499009);

5. (Two newspaper clippings, annotated:) a. (The Thirteen Club) ‘News. 16 Jany. 1904’, and b.(Glasgow 13) ‘Citizen. 16 Jany. 1904’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 8, p. 34);

6. (Newspaper clipping, annotated:) (Thirteen Club) ‘News. 24 Mch. 1904’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 8, p. 65);

7. (Newspaper clipping, annotated:) (Glasgow Thirteen Club) ‘Citizen. 14 Jany. 1905’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 9, p. 75);

8. (Photograph of “The Thirteen”, by William Young, members identified) (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 11, p. 7);

9. (Newspaper clipping, annotated:) ‘The “Thirteen” Annual Dinner. […] Citizen. 20 Jany. 1906’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 12, p. 82);

10. (Newspaper clipping, annotated:) ‘”The Thirteen” Annual Excursion, 30 May 1908. […] See p. 60. Citizen. 1 June 1908’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 19, p. 9);

11. (Photograph, annotated:) ‘The Glasgow Thirteen Club at Catrine, 30th May 1908’ (MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks, Vol. 19, p. 60);

12. (Note: this is not a complete list: numerous additional newspaper clippings in: MLSC, Young’s Scrapbooks (various volumes))


Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)

Reference Number

(See Source of Information)

Additional Notes

Willliam Young (whose Scrapbooks the Mitchell Library Special Collections holds) was a member of the Thirteen Club and the Glasgow Ballad Club, along with several other societies not considered in this project.