130-year-old portraits back in Busby library

Heather Macadam at Busby Library with 130 yr old portraits of ancestors
Heather Macadam at Busby Library with 130 yr old portraits of ancestors

AN American descendent of the man who played a pivotal role in the industrial and social development of Busby in the 19th century has visited the village to see his portrait hung in the local library.

The portraits of John McAdam and his wife, Catherine - painted more than 130 years ago - were donated to East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure by his great-great-granddaughter, Heather Macadam, who had flown in from Hampton, New York for the unveiling.

The paintings now take pride of place on the wall of Busby Library after being in the McAdam family home in America for generations.

John McAdam spent 23 years in Busby as print works manager of Inglis and Wakefield. Along with his wife and children, Elizabeth, Catherine, Jane and John, he stayed in the village and immersed himself in the local community.

The portraits were commissioned by colleagues and friends from the East Renfrewshire village in December 1884 as a farewell gift after John and Catherine moved to Glasgow when he took a new job as manager of a calico print company in the city.

John first came to Busby in 1861 and two years later was elected chairman of the Board of Management of Busby United Presbyterian Church - now Busby Parish Church – a position he held for three years.

He was a founder member of Busby Bowling Club in 1875 and served as its President two years later. John was also a founder member of the Busby Horticultural Society in 1881 and was vice-president the following year. This group still exists today, now known as the Busby and Clarkston Horticultural Society.

The portraits were taken to America after John McAdam’s son, John emigrated.

Heather (55)said: “My dad, Richard Macadam, who is 85 years old had moved to an apartment and didn’t have room to hang the portraits.

“When we were deciding what to do with the paintings, my dad had researched about our ancestors staying in Busby, so we thought the portraits would be of more value to the community there than being in storage.”