FOURTH son and eighth child of the late Mr. Peter Denny, LL.D., of Dunbarton, whose family numbered fifteen, the late Member for Kilmarnock Burghs was born at Dunbarton, 29th November, 1858. He was educated at Dunbarton Burgh Academy and at Lausanne, and entering the counting-house of his father's famous shipbuilding establishment as an apprentice, became early the head of the commercial department of the business. In the interests of his firm he travelled in nearly every part of Europe, and in the course of securing contracts had again and again experience of the paternal methods of continental governments. Almost at the outset of his career he was on the point of securing contracts to re-engine a number of vessels of the North German Lloyd Company, when the enterprise was stopped by an order from the German Government that the work must not leave the country; and soon afterwards he had the same experience over shipbuilding contracts for a Belgian firm. Many vessels of the Russian Volunteer Fleet were built by the Messrs. Denny, and on one occasion the firm completed a Russian order for a fleet of six vessels for the Kara seas in the short space of four months.
    Invited to contest the Kilmarnock Burghs in the Unionist interest, Mr. Denny defeated the previous Liberal representative, Mr. Stephen Williamson, in 1895, and five years later kept the seat in face of the attack of Dr. Rolland Rainy, son of the eminent Scottish divine; but he retired on account of ill-health at the General Election in 1905. In the House of Commons his practical knowledge of the shipping and shipbuilding industries proved of much public service, and he was called to act on several important committees both of the House itself and of the Board of Trade. Among these were the Committees on War Office Contracts, on Shipping Subsidies, and on the Increase of Foreigners in the British Mercantile Marine. His experience was also utilised by the War Office on the subject of the Volunteer, for in this subject he has always taken a strong interest. He joined the 1st Dunbartonshire Rifle Volunteers in 1876 as a private, and rose through the various grades till in 1895 he became Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the regiment. He is strongly in favour of universal military service, and believes it would benefit the idle and undisciplined of all classes. He is a Director of the Caledonian Railway and other companies. Upon his retiral from parliamentary service Colonel Denny was honoured with a complimentary dinner by his constituents, and in 1907 he was presented with his portrait, painted by Mr. George Henry, while Mrs. Denny received a silver tea and coffee service.

Back to Index of Glasgow Men (1909)