Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pagan, James

PAGAN, JAMES (1811–1870), journalist, son of James Pagan and Elizabeth Blackstock, was born on 18 Oct. 1811 at Trailflat, in the parish of Tinwald, near Dumfries, where his father was a bleacher. The family removed to Dumfries shortly after James's birth, and he received a sound education at the academy of that town. On leaving school he was apprenticed as a compositor in the office of the ‘Dumfries Courier,’ and afterwards became a reporter for the paper. He soon left to become partner in a printing firm in London; but in 1839 he settled in Glasgow on the staff of the ‘Glasgow Herald,’ and also edited a little broadsheet, ‘The Prospective Observer.’

In 1856 he was appointed successor to George Outram [q. v.] as editor of the ‘Glasgow Herald,’ which he converted from a tri-weekly into a daily paper. Under his editorship the ‘Herald’ became one of the first provincial daily papers. Pagan died in Glasgow on 11 Feb. 1870.

In 1841 Pagan married Ann McNight-Kerr, a native of Dumfries, and a personal friend of Robert Burns's widow, Jean Armour. He had three sons (two of whom died in infancy) and two daughters.

Pagan was a devoted student of Glasgow history and antiquities, and published: 1. ‘Sketches of the History of Glasgow,’ 8vo, Glasgow, 1847. 2. ‘History of the Cathedral and See of Glasgow,’ 8vo, Glasgow, 1851. 3. ‘Glasgow Past and Present; illustrated in Dean of Guild Reports …,’ 2 vols. 8vo, Glasgow, 1851 (vol. iii. published in 1856; another edition, 3 vols 4to, Glasgow, 1884). 4. ‘Old Glasgow and its Environs,’ 8vo, Glasgow, 1864. 5. ‘Relics of Ancient Architecture and other Picturesque Scenes in Glasgow,’ thirty drawings by Thomas Fairbairn. With letterpress description by James Pagan and James H. Stoddart, folio, Glasgow, 1885.

[In Memoriam Mr. James Pagan, printed for private circulation; Stoddart's Memoir in ‘One Hundred Glasgow Men;’ private information.]

G. S-h.