THE late William Ferrie Gentle Anderson, of the Anchor
Line, was a native of Fife. He was born in the manse of Cults, where his father,
the late Rev. James Anderson, was parish minister. His grandfather, Dr. Ferrie,
beside holding the Professorship of Civil History in St. Andrews University, was
parish minister of Kilconquhar, and described by Dr. Chalmers as "the best
minister in Fife." His great-grandfather, Dr. McCormick, was minister of the
College Church, St. Andrews, Principal of the University, and one of the Deans
of the Chapel Royal, and among his ancestors was the Rev. John Carstares,
minister of Glasgow Cathedral in 1650, brother-in-law of Zachary Boyd, and
father of the famous Principal Carstares, who played an important part in the
Revolutionary settlement of Presbyterianism in Scotland.
Mr. Anderson received his education at Pitlessie parish school, at the burgh schools of Cupar and Kirkcaldy, and at Glasgow University. After a year in a lawyer's office he entered the office of Messrs. Handyside & Henderson, of the Anchor Line, and for over thirty years was a partner in the concern. When he entered the office the entire tonnage of the company did not amount to that of one of its single liners at the present time. He naturally took a deep interest in shipping affairs. He took a leading part in the promotion or modification of legislation regarding shipping, and frequently represented Glasgow shipowners in their dealings with the Board of Trade. He also took a prominent part in promoting the Bill which resulted in the reconstitution of the Clyde Trust. He was a promoter and Vice-Chairman of the British Corporation for Survey and Registration of Shipping, and he gave important evidence before the Parliamentary Committee which enquired into the anomalies of Light Dues and the Mercantile Marine Fund, and also before the Committee on the application of Statutory requirements to Foreign Ships. As President of the Chamber of Shipping he was appointed by His Majesty's Government to assist the Foreign Office in the examination of British claims against the Russian Government during the Russo-Japanese War, and three years earlier acted in a similar capacity in connection with the seizure and detention of German vessels by British cruisers during the war in South Africa, for which he received the thanks of Lord Salisbury and a presentation of plate from Her Majesty's Government.
A staunch supporter of the Establishment, he was an elder in Park Church, and was on several occasions representative elder to the General Assembly. He was chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Board of Trade on Lighthouse Works, a Clyde Trustee, a Clyde Lighthouse Trustee, a member of the Glasgow Local Marine Board, a Director of the Glasgow Shipowners' Association, and a Director of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, of which he had been Vice-President. He refused the offer of the presidentship in 1906. He had been President of the Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan Charitable Society, also of the Society of Sons of the Clergy. In politics he was a Conservative, and was a Vice-President of the Glasgow Conservative Association, as well as of the Central and College Associations. He was a member of the Philosophical, the Archaeological, and the Scottish Geographical Societies, and was a D.L. and J.P. for the County of the City of Glasgow. His chief recreation was golf, and he was a member of the Prestwick and St. Andrew's Clubs. Mr. Anderson died in December, 1907.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)