March 1953: Death of William Inglis Bilsland – Life-Long Member of the Glasgow Highland Club – Bagpipe Player – Promoter of Bagpipe Playing and Highland Music

On the front page of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 6th of March, 1953, is the notice of the death of Will Inglis Bilsland. He died in a

nursing home in the city, and his residence is given as ‘Bothkennar’, Prince Albert Road, Dowanhill. His wife was Elsie Smeaton Munro,

who is featured elsewhere on this website.


Bilsland’s obituary is on page eight of the Herald, on the 6th, and reads:



Mr William Bilsland


Mr William Inglis Bilsland, 8 Prince Albert Road, Glasgow, who

invented and patented improved machine-tool equipment, died

yesterday in a Glasgow nursing home.


Mr Bilsland was a life-long member of the Glasgow Highland Club

and did much to promote and sustain the finer parts [? text not legible

in microfilm copy] of bagpipe playing and Highland music throughout

Scotland. Himself a piper, he was an enthusiastic member of the Glasgow

Highland Club pipe band and was for some time their director.


Belonging to the Gaisland, Stirlingshire, branch of a family who have

given prominent citizens to Glasgow and to Scotland, Mr Bilsland was

educated at Glasgow High School and in the Faculty of Engineering at

the Royal Technical College and Glasgow University. He devoted his

engineering experience to the improvement of machine-tool equipment

and to machine calculating apparatus.


He is survived by his wife, who before her marriage was, Elsie Smeaton

Munro, authoress and playwright.”


A search of google books found Bilsland’s obituary on page 312 of The Foundry Trade Journal, 1953. It reads:


“MR. WILLIAM INGLIS BILSLAND, of Glasgow, who died on March 5, invented and patented improved machine-tool



Presumably, he was related to Sir William Bilsland LLD (1847-1921), the eminent baker and Lord Provost of Glasgow, who was born at

Ballat, near Balfron in Stirlingshire.


There is an entry for ‘Bothekennar’, number 8 Prince Albert Road, in the website, as well as a photograph of the

house. A list of occupants, from 1860 to 1912, is also provided.


For more information about the Glasgow Highland Club, and its history, please see the website:


George Fairfull-Smith, July 2022.