Boyd, Thomas Jamieson (DNB12)

BOYD, Sir THOMAS JAMIESON (1818–1902), lord provost of Edinburgh, born on 22 Feb. 1818, was son of John Boyd, merchant, of Edinburgh, by his wife Anne, daughter of Thomas Jamieson. At an early age he entered the publishing house of Oliver & Boyd, of which his uncle, George Boyd, was a partner; when he retired from business in 1898 he had been head of the firm for a quarter of a century. Long a prominent member of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, he was elected master in 1869, and held the office twice subsequently. In this capacity he was chiefly responsible for the scheme by which the educational foundations of the corporation were reformed. The reforming scheme, which was described in a paper read by Boyd before the British Association in Edinburgh in 1871 and subsequently published, provided for the conversion of the buildings of the four hospitals (George Watson's, James Gillespie's, Daniel Stewart's, and the Merchant Maiden Hospital) into day schools; opened to competition presentations to the foundation; established bursaries and travelling scholarships, as well as industrial schools for neglected Edinburgh children; and endowed a chair in Edinburgh University to complete the commercial side of the education given in the Merchant schools. The scheme was approved by the government, and a provisional order was issued in July 1870, under the recent Scottish Educational Endowment Act, bringing it into operation. It worked efficiently and was taken as a model by the English endowed school commissioners. In recognition of his services a marble bust of Boyd, by William Brodie, R.S.A. [q. v.], was presented to his wife in July 1872, and a portrait by Otto Leyde, R.S.A., was placed in the Merchant Hall. Boyd was also instrumental in promoting another great Edinburgh institution, the building of the New Royal Infirmary on the west side of the Meadow Walk, the largest and best equipped hospital in Europe. He was chairman of the committee which raised for the purpose 320,000l., a larger sum than had ever been subscribed in the city for a benevolent purpose. The foundation stone was laid by King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, in the autumn of 1870, and the buildings were formally opened on 29 Oct. 1879. Boyd's notable services were acknowledged by the presentation, at a public meeting on 11 Oct. 1880, of a marble bust by Brodie (now standing in the vestibule of the building opposite that of Provost Drummond, founder of the old infirmary of 1741), with an inscription by Sir Robert Christison.

Boyd was elected lord provost of Edinburgh in 1877, was re-elected in 1880, and held office till the end of 1882. During his provostship the new Edinburgh dock, Leith, was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 26 July 1881. In the following month, when Queen Victoria held a review of Scottish volunteers, Boyd, who was hon. colonel of the Queen's Edinburgh regiment, was knighted by her (25 Aug.). As a curator of Edinburgh University from 1879 to 1885, as a commissioner for northern lighthouses, 1877-82, a commissioner for Scottish Educational Endowments, 1882-9, and as chairman for ten years of the Scottish Fishery Board, he also did useful work. After relinquishing all other public duties, he continued to act as director of the Union Bank of Scotland and of the Scottish Provident Institution till within a few months of his death. Boyd was F.R.S. of Edinburgh and a D.L. and J.P. He died at 41 Moray Place, Edinburgh, on 22 Aug. 1902, and received a public funeral at the Dean cemetery. He married on 6 June 1844 Mary Ann, daughter of John Ferguson, surgeon, of Edinburgh. She died on 21 Feb. 1900, leaving two sons and six daughters.

[Foster's Baronetage and Knightage; Burke's Peerage; Who's Who, 1902; The Times, 23 Aug. 1902; Scotsman, 30 Oct. 1879, 12 Oct. 1880, 23 and 27 Aug. 1902; Educational Hospital Reform : the Scheme of the Edinburgh Merchant Company, 1871; James Grant's Old and New Edinburgh, iii. 288 seq.; Ill. Lond. News, 27 July 1872 (with reproduction of bust); Graphic, 10 Sept. 1881 (portrait).]

G. Le G. N.