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Famous Scots - John Robertson

Born in Neilston, John Robertson (1782-1868) started an apprenticeship with a spinning wheelwright as a young boy, gaining work experience in Perth and Glasgow before setting up his own engineering business in the city. He developed a steam engine, which was subsequently bought by Henry Bell and installed in Bell's "Comet." This wooden vessel was hailed as the first successful steamship to sail commercially in Europe and was credited with being responsible for the emergence of hordes of steam-powered vessels travelling up and down the Clyde. The importance of Robertson's contribution is evident from the presence of his steam engine in the Science Museum in Kensington, London and from an exact replica of the steamship itself, which can be viewed in a special memorial garden in the centre of Port Glasgow.

Sadly, although prosperous for a time during his life, he died bankrupt on November 19, 1868 and is buried in the Necropolis, in John Knox Street, beside Glasgow Cathedral. 

Headstone Photograph

Further Information


Cemetery: Sothern Necropolis

  Caledonia Road

Town: Glasgow

Region: Glasgow and Clyde Valley

Country: Scotland


Please Note, the marker on this map indicates the Cemetery location, not the location of a particular grave. is a privately owned website with no affiliation to any Local Councils.