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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s


Sir Patrick Dollan

By Irene Maver

War Conference Sir Patrick Joseph Dollan (1885-1963) served as Lord Provost between 1938 and 1941. He was also the first incumbent of the office to come from a Catholic Irish background. Born in the mining community of Baillieston, Dollan attended St Bridget's elementary school up to the age of ten. He worked in various jobs before joining his father as a miner in the Clydeside Colliery in 1900. However, a talent for writing directed Dollan into a full-time career in journalism and in 1911 he joined Forward, a lively left-wing weekly newspaper.

SSP Banner In 1912 Dollan married the socialist activist, Agnes Moir (1887-1966). The following year he was elected to Glasgow Corporation as Labour town councillor for the Govan Central Ward. From 1914 his criticism of the "imperialist" nature of the First World War identified him as one of the most outspoken "Red Clydeside" rebels and the image was consolidated in 1917 when he served a prison sentence because of his opposition to conscription.

After the war Dollan's formidable organising and publicity skills were a significant factor in Labour's rise to power at the municipal level. On becoming Lord Provost in 1938 he declared that his mission was to raise Glasgow's international status, an ambition that was cut short because of the outbreak of war in 1939. In a reversal of his previous wartime stance he urged Glaswegians to support the conflict in order to defeat Fascism. He was knighted for war services in 1941. Although Dollan retired from municipal activity in 1946, he continued in public service as the Chair of East Kilbride Development Corporation from 1947 to 1958.

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