THE Certifying Surgeon under the Factory and Workshops'
Act for the South-side of Glasgow, was born in 1844 at Fauldhouse, on the
southern border of Linlithgowshire. He received his early education at the Works
schools, and afterwards at the evening schools of the district, of whose value
to young lads desirous of rising in the world he has a warm word to say. He
wrought for a time in the ironstone mines of the region, principally at contract
work, till by dint of hard study of languages, Latin, Greek, and French, he
prepared for the preliminary examination at Glasgow University. He began the
study of medicine in the old College in High Street in 1866, under such
distinguished men as Professors Allen Thomson, W. T. Gairdner, and Joseph
Lister. During the first two summer sessions he was Class-Assistant to Professor
John Young, helping him with his zoological dissections. At the same time he
delivered two courses of lectures to the students of the Geology and Mineralogy
classes on practical mining. He took highest honours in the classes of Botany
After graduating in 1870, and passing some time as an assistant in England, he began practice in Tranent, Haddingtonshire, and formed a large private and colliery connection which necessitated the employment of two assistants. On the formation of the first School Board he became a member, and took an active interest in the education of the district.
In 1876 Dr. Brown removed to Pollokshields. That great suburb was then in its infancy, and his practice has grown with the growth of the place. His son, Dr. Alexander Brown, is now his colleague. The appointment of Certifying Surgeon for the South-side Factories was conferred upon him in 1887.
During all his years of professional life he has kept a deep interest in natural history, especially in the science of botany. In the study and collection of Alpine plants he has traversed most of the high passes of Switzerland, and carefully examined the mountain slopes and higher peaks of many of the important ranges in that country. He has also spent holidays in the Austrian Tyrol, among the Dolomites, and the high Austrian passes, climbing, and getting into touch with the Alpine flora of each district. In this way he has formed a large and interesting herbarium, dealing almost exclusively with the pure Alpine species found at altitudes of from 6,000 to 11,000 feet. At the same time he has acquired a keen appreciation of the value of mountain climbing as a source of health and strength, and an equally keen appreciation of the grandeur of mountain scenery. For many years he has been a member of the Glasgow Natural History Society, of which he has acted as a vice-president and is now one of the honorary secretaries. In 1906 he was elected a Fellow of the London Linnean Society. He has frequently lectured and read papers on Alpine botany, and exhibited large numbers of the more interesting species. His botanical papers include "Botanical Work among the Dolomites," "Botanical Work on the High Alps in Switzerland." "Springtime among the Alpine Flowers," "The Primulaceae." "Primulas of the High Alps," and "Carex frigida (All) The Swiss Species." He is also author of a series of papers on Health, published in The Field Officer, a magazine of the Salvation Army.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)