Skip to content
Glasgow City Council

Famous Glaswegians

Who are they?

Over the years Glaswegians have made their mark on the political, scientific, educational, religious, commercial and cultural map at home and abroad. They include football legend Sir Alex Ferguson, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Comedian Billy Connolly.  We have listed some of the most famous Glaswegians below.


Musicians and Bands

  • Musicians
    • Craig Armstrong - Composer
    • Jimmy Barnes - rock singer
    • Maggie Bell - rock and blues singer - sang Taggart's theme tune 'No Mean City.'
    • Jack Bruce, (Bassist in Cream)
    • Lewis Capaldi
    • Gerry Cinnamon
    • Jim Diamond
    • Lonnie Donegan - skiffle musician
    • Donovan
    • Archie Fisher - Scottish folk singer
    • Cilla Fisher - singer and part of the singing kettle
    • Clare Grogan
    • Alex Harvey, Scottish rock singer
    • Bert Jansch - guitarist (died 2011, aged 67)
    • Mark Knopfler, British rock singer and guitarist - Dire Straits
    • Mary Lee - singer and long term partner of Jack Milroy of Francie and Josie
    • Lulu
    • Alan Mair - The Beatstalkers, The Only Ones
    • Lena Martell
    • Amy McDonald - singer
    • Iain Mackintosh - folk singer
    • Helen Marnie - Ladytron
    • Matt McGinn - Scottish folk singer
    • Onnie McIntyre - Average White Band
    • Frankie Miller, soul singer
    • Michelle McManus - singer, winner of Pop Idol.
    • Stuart MacMillan, Slam - DJ and co-producer of world-renowned Soma record label
    • Adam McNaughton - Scottish folk singer - Jeely piece song; Skyscraper Wean.
    • Jim Mullen - Jazz guitarist
    • Willam Primrose CBE - violist
    • Eddi Reader, Fairground Attraction
    • Maggie Reilly, singer - collaborated with Mike Oldfield
    • Brian Robertson - member of Thin Lizzy
    • B.A. Robertson
    • Jimmy Somerville - Bronski Beat, Communards
    • Andy Stewart - singer, songwriter and entertainer
    • Hamish Stuart, guitarist/vocalist - Average White Band
    • Midge Ure - Ultravox
    • George 'Big George' Watt, guitarist and singer
    • Nancy Whiskey - Scottish folk singer
    • Angus Young, guitarist in AC/DC
    • Malcolm Young, founding member, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and co-song writer of AC/DC
  • Bands
    • Altered Images
    • Aztec Camera
    • The Beatstalkers, Scotland's number one beat band in the 60s.
    • Belle and Sebastian
    • Bis
    • The Blue Nile
    • The Bluebells
    • Camera Obscura
    • Chvrches
    • Deacon Blue
    • Del Amitri
    • The Delgados
    • Franz Ferdinand
    • The Fratellis
    • Glasvegas
    • Gun
    • Hipsway
    • Hue and Cry
    • Jesus and Mary Chain
    • The JSD Band
    • Love and Money
    • Marmalade
    • Mogwai
    • The Pastels
    • Primal Scream
    • The Silencers
    • Simple Minds
    • Strawberry Switchblade
    • Texas
    • Travis
    • Wet Wet Wet


Actors and Comedians

  • John Barrowman, actor, musical performer and TV presenter
  • Stanley Baxter, comic actor
  • Billy Boyd, actor - Lord of the Rings
  • Frankie Boyle, comedian
  • Kevin Bridges, comedian
  • Gerard James Butler - actor and singer
  • Dayton Callie - actor (Sons of Anarchy, Deadwood)
  • Susan Calman - comedian and television presenter
  • Peter Capaldi - actor, Doctor Who
  • Robert Carlyle, actor - Trainspotting
  • Robbie Coltrane, actor/comedian - Cracker and Harry Potter
  • Billy Connolly, comedian and actor
  • Tony Curran, actor
  • Iain Cuthbertson - actor
  • Craig Ferguson, actor, comedian
  • Gregor Fisher, comedian, actor - Love Actually, Rab C Nesbitt
  • Bill Forsyth, director, Gregory's Girl.
  • Tommy Flanagan, actor - Braveheart and Gladiator
  • Rikki Fulton, comic actor
  • John Grieve, actor - The Vital Spark
  • David Hayman, actor
  • Greg Hemphill, comic actor - Chewing the Fat and Still Game
  • Armando Iannuci - writer, director
  • Sir Jeremy Isaacs - TV producer - BAFTA and Emmy Award winner
  • Gordon Jackson, actor - Upstairs, Downstairs and The Professionals
  • Gerard Kelly, actor - City Lights
  • Lorraine Kelly, TV presenter
  • Deborah Kerr, actress - From Here To Eternity, The King And I
  • Ford Kiernan, comic actor - Chewing the Fat and Still Game
  • Eddie Large - born Edward McGinnis, comedian
  • Angus Lennie - actor, The Great Escape
  • Gary Lewis - actor, Gangs of New York, Rebus, My Name is Joe, Orphans, Billy Elliot
  • Brian 'Limmy' Limond - comedian and master of Flash.
  • Jimmy Logan, comedian
  • Kelly Macdonald - actress - Trainspotting
  • Duncan Macrae, actor - Casino Royale, 1967
  • James McAvoy - actor (The Last King of Scotland)
  • Jane McCarry, comic actor - (Isa) Still Game
  • David McCallum, movie star - Man from Uncle
  • Roddy McMillan - actor, (Para Handy) The Vital Spark
  • Donald Meek (1878 to1946) - actor. Starred in over 100 Hollywood Films.
  • Jack Milroy, comedian
  • Alex Norton, DCI Matt Burke, Taggart
  • David O'Hara, actor - Braveheart, The Devil's Own, Hotel Rwanda
  • Ray Park, actor - Star Wars, X-Men
  • Bill Paterson, actor - Comfort and Joy, Gregory's Girl, Miss Potter
  • Dorothy Paul - comedian/actor
  • Paul Riley, comic actor - (Winston) Still Game
  • Tony Roper - actor, writer - The Steamie, Rab C Nesbitt
  • Elizabeth Sellars - actress
  • John Gordon Sinclair - actor, Gregory's Girl
  • Carol Smillie, TV presenter
  • Elaine C Smith - comic actor (Rab C Nesbitt)
  • Ian Tough - one half of the Krankies - also known as 'Wee Jimmy Krankie's' father
  • Jonathan Watson, actor - Only An Excuse, City Lights
  • Molly Weir, actress



  • Thomas Campbell, poet
  • Ivor Cutler, poet, songwriter and humorist
  • Liz Lochhead, poet and playwright
  • William Miller wrote Wee Willie Winkie
  • Edwin Morgan, poet


Novelists and Writers

  • Christopher Brookmyre - Winner of the 'First Blood Award' - for best first crime novel of the year
  • Karen Campbell - The Twilight Time and After the Fire
  • Alasdair Gray - Scottish writer and artist. Best known for his novel, Lanark, published in 1981.
  • Clifford Hanley - Journalist, Novelist best known for his novel "Dancing in the Streets".
  • Archie Hind - author of award winning novel Dear Green Place
  • Jack House - Writer and broadcaster.
  • James Kelman - Booker Prize Winner 1994
  • Alistair MacLean - author of Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare.
  • Denise Mina - Scottish crime writer
  • Grant Morrison - comic book writer: New X-Men; The Invisibles; Animal Man
  • Alexander B Taylor - author of The Bellfield Runners
  • Tom Weir - author, broadcaster and climber


Theatre and Opera

  • David McVicar - Theatre and Opera Director
  • Michael White - Theatrical Impresario and producer


Scientists, Inventors and Engineers

  • John Logie Baird - Inventor of television
  • John Elder - Marine engineer and inventor.
  • Robert Francis Fairlie - Railway engineer
  • Dr Alick Isaacs - Virologist
  • Professor Bernard Isaacs - Geriatric medicine pioneer
  • William John MacQuorn Rankine - civil engineer and physicist.
  • Lord Alexander R Todd - Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, 1957.
  • Sir Mortimer Wheeler - archeologist


Journalists and Broadcasters

  • Andrew Marr
  • Gavin Esler
  • Harry Benson - Award winning photojournalist
  • Ken Bruce - DJ
  • Arthur Montford
  • Archie Macpherson
  • "Tiger" Tim Stevens



  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh - architect and designer
  • Alexander 'Greek' Thomson - architect and designer
  • Archibald Leitch - architect (football stadiums)
  • Peter Sellars - architect



  • Nathan Coley - Turner Prize nominee 2007
  • Martin Creed - Turner Prize winnner 2001
  • David Donaldson - Queen's painter and Limner
  • Hannah Frank - artist and sculptor
  • Douglas Gordon - Turner Prize winnner 1996
  • Jim Lambie - Turner Prize nominee 2005
  • Neil MacGregor - Art historian and museum director.
  • Herbert Macnair - pioneer of the 'Glasgow Style'
  • Thomas Corsan Morton - one of 'The Glasgow Boys' group of artists
  • Bud Neill - Cartoonist. Known for Lobey Dosser.
  • Avril Paton - Know for 'Windows in the West' and other paintings of Glasgow.
  • Susan Philpz - Turner Prize winner 2010
  • Frank Quitely - Comic book artist 


  • Sir William Burrell - shipping magnate and philanthropist
  • Miss (Kate) Cranston - development of Tea Rooms and major patron of our famous architect and designer Charles Rennie MacKintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald
  • Jim Dunlop - founder of Dunlop, manufacturer of musical instrument accessories
  • Willie Haughey - businessman and philanthropist
  • Sir Thomas Lipton - creator of the famous Lipton tea brand
  • Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden - entrepreneur
  • James McGill - businessman and philanthropist
  • Michelle Mone - creator of Ultimo designer lingerie
  • Calton Weavers - community of handweavers originating in the 18th century



  • Steve Archibald - footballer
  • Bertie Auld - footballer and manager
  • Tommy Burns - footballer and manager
  • Kenny Dalglish - footballer and manager
  • Tommy Docherty - footballer and manager
  • Ian Durrant - footballer
  • Sir Alex Ferguson - football legend and manager
  • Barry Ferguson - footballer
  • Glasgow Mid Argyll - The 1973 Camanachd winning team - shinty
  • Arthur Graham - footballer - Aberdeen, Leeds United, Manchester United, Bradford City and Scotland.
  • Gerry Hughes - first deaf yachtsman to cross the Atlantic Ocean
  • Gary Jacobs - boxer
  • Mo Johnston - footballer
  • Benny Lynch - Scotland's first boxing champion
  • Stephen Maguire - snooker player
  • Ally MacLeod - football manager
  • Drew McIntyre - WWE champion (studied and trained to wrestle in Glasgow)
  • Danny McGrain - footballer
  • Members of the 1972 UEFA Cup Winners Cup team (Rangers FC): Alex MacDonald and Willie Johnston
  • Members of The Lisbon Lions (Celtic FC) winners of the European Cup, to date the only Scottish team to do so: Ronnie Simpson, Jim Craig, Bobby Murdoch, Stevie Chalmers and Bertie Auld
  • Alex McLeish - Scotland Manager and footballer
  • Philippa York (previously known as Robert Millar) - cyclist
  • Willie Miller - Football player for Aberdeen and Scotland
  • Colin Montgomerie - golfer
  • David Moyes - football manager
  • Andy Murray - Scotland's highest ranked tennis player.
  • Andrew Robertson - footballer, Liverpool and Scotland. UEFA Champions League winner 2019.
  • Alan Rough - goalkeeper, Partick Thistle and Scotland
  • Alison Sheppard - swimmer
  • Callum Skinner - Olympic gold medal winning cyclist
  • John Wark - Scottish footballer
  • Jim Watt - Boxer
  • Paul Weir - two-time world champion boxer


Politics/ Military

  • Gordon Brown - former Prime Minister (UK)
  • Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman - former Prime Minister (UK) 1905 -1908
  • Sir Menzies Campbell, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats
  • Field Marshall Colin Campbell (Lord Clyde) - British Army officer
  • Donald Dewar - former Secretary of State for Scotland, First Minister
  • Arthur Henderson - politician and Nobel Prize winnner
  • Sir John A MacDonald, Canada's first Prime Minister
  • The Rt. Hon. Michael J Martin MP - the first Scottish Speaker in the House of Commons
  • Rosslyn Mitchell (1879 to 1965) - politician and solicitor
  • William "Bill" Millin -  Commonly known as Piper Bill, Millin is best remembered for playing the pipes whilst under fire during the D-Day landing in Normandy
  • Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore - MP. Brisith soldier and General.
  • Jimmy Reid - Trade Union Activist, Orator, Politician, Journalist.



Tobacco Lords

The Tobacco Lords were Glasgow merchants who made enormous fortunes by trading in tobacco from British colonies during the 18th century.

Although their histories may not be familiar to every Glaswegian, most will recognise at least their names - as a number of streets and locations were named after them, or the mansions they built.

  • Andrew Buchanan
  • Andrew Cochrane
  • James Dunlop
  • John Glassford
  • Archibald Ingram
  • Alexander Oswald
  • James Wilson
  • Alexander Speirs

There is no question that these men are significant in Glasgow's history - they amassed extraordinary wealth and, along with it, power and influence.Their dominance of the trade in tobacco, from the New World to Europe, transformed Glasgow from a provincial city into one of the world's most significant commercial centres.

However, the uncomfortable truth is that the tobacco trade was also intrinsically linked to slavery. The leaf that Glasgow merchants dealt in was, invariably, produced by slaves trafficked from West Africa in their hundreds of thousands.

In December 2019, the council commissioned an academic study into the city's links to slavery; in order to better understand the legacy of these merchants and others like them. Once this is complete, a public consultation will be held to discuss how the city should respond.


  • Sir Arthur Whitten Brown - navigated the first successful non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean with Alcock (pilot)
  • James (Jim) Allan Mollison - pioneer aviator



  • Allan Pinkerton - created the first detective agency in the USA (Pinkerton Agency - famous for private eye logo).


Fictional Characters

  • Scrooge McDuck (Disney cartoon character)- the richest duck in the world; Donald Duck's Uncle; and Great Uncle to Huey, Duey and Luey
  • Groundskeeper Willie - from the Simpsons. Once claimed he was "the ugliest man in Glasgow", but now says he is from Orkney.



  • Merlin, legendary wizard - King Arthur's magician.

If you have a suggestion for someone who should be included on this page then email us at

Share this page:

A to Z:

Council Services