THE Inspector of Poor and Clerk to Glasgow Parish Council is a son of Mr. George Motion. Inspector of Poor of St. Andrews, and was born in 1852. He entered the service of the Barony Parochial Board when 14 years of age, under Mr. Peter Beattie, Inspector of Poor at that time. After serving in various capacities, he was, when only 26 years of age, appointed Collector of Poor and School Rates for the Barony Parish. The total sums collected per annum then amounted to £71,347. In April, 1885, upon the re-arrangement of offices owing to the retirement of Mr. Beattie, he was unanimously elected to the chief office under the Barony Board. And in December, 1898, following upon the Local Government Act of 1894, when the Glasgow City Parish and the Barony Parish, with their respective Lunacy Administrations, were combined, he was unanimously elected Inspector of Poor and Clerk to the Council, and likewise Clerk and Treasurer to the Lunacy Board. When he entered the service of the Barony Parish the assessable rental was £636,275, and the estimated population 200,227. In 1903-04 the rental of the combined parishes amounted to £4,100,776, while the population numbered close on 600,000.
Mr. Motion has taken a prominent part in the consideration of all questions relating to the relief and management of the poor, and as contributed papers on leading social questions to various journals and to the Philosophical Society, of which he has been a member since 1887. He is one of the original members of the Civic Society of Glasgow, and among contributions to their discussions, read a paper on "The Care of the Pauper Insane and Its Cost," which afterwards appeared in the Westminster Review and the Poor Law Magazine. He has frequently been called upon to give evidence before committees of both Houses of Parliament and Departmental Committees of the Local Government Board, and was a principal witness before the Glasgow Housing Commission, as also before the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, 1906-7. He has been particularly active in seeking to make the laws more stringent in regard to petty habitual offenders, those who go between the prison and the poorhouse, and has shown time and again that it is largely this class which swells the ranks of the so-called unemployed in periods of trade depression. In an exhaustive statistical report, prepared mainly by Mr. Motion for the Society of Inspectors of Poor for Scotland, it was conclusively proved that the pauperism of the country would be little affected by any scheme of old age pensions.
When the Association for Improving the Condition of the People was first started, Mr. Motion was appointed, with Professor Mavor (now in Canada), Professor Wright, of our own Agricultural College, and Mr. John Speir, of Newton, to visit the farm colonies of the Salvation Army at Hadleigh and elsewhere, and in various parts of Germany. The result of the work of that society is the small farm colony at Locharwoods, Ruthwell, Dumfries.
Mr. Motion has been long associated as a Member and Director of the Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannanshire Charitable Society, and has been long connected with the Church of Scotland. He remembers the induction of the late Rev. Dr. A. K. H. Boyd to St. Andrews. His chief recreation is golf, which, as becomes a native of the "little grey city by the northern sea," he has played since he could walk. Indeed, his first club was given him by the great Allan Robertson, who was a close friend of his father. He joined the Glasgow Club in the early seventies, when it was a sight to see any one going about with golf clubs. Indeed, he and his friends have been mobbed by youngsters at Port Eglinton on the way home from the Queen's Park, where the game was then played. He was Secretary of the club when its income was less than £60, its debt sometimes £40. and its membership hardly over 80. He served two years as its Captain and continues to take a great interest in the game. He makes it a boast that he never saw a game played of either football or cricket.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)