Colen Campbell, 1712
The Shawfield Mansion at the bottom of modern day Glassford Street faced onto Argyle Street. It was purchased in 1760 by John Glassford (1715-83), one of the most wealthy and influential of Glasgow’s Tobacco Lords. A native of Paisley, Glassford’s rise in Glasgow society was spectacular, even though he probably did not begin trading in tobacco until the 1730s. He was involved in other industries such as Pollokshaws printing and the Glasgow tanworks. He also helped found the Glasgow Arms Bank and the Thistle Bank.
Glassford’s main business was the Virginia trade in tobacco, an industry built on slave labour and this was where he made and lost most of his fortune. Neil Jamieson, Glassford’s factor, was also involved in the slave trade to the Carolinas. When Glassford died in his mansion he was more than £50,000 in debt, ruined by his losses in America.