Categories: Runciman Lineage 1b - William Runciman of Crail.
Arthur Alan Runciman was born on 15th October 1919, the second son. His name has no historical connection to either of his parents' families. By family story, the name as in recognition of the doctor who played a role in his birth but unfortunately it is not known now what precisely was the doctor's name or what role he played.
Alan died in sad circumstances. His unexpected death occurring during a business trip to Liverpool where earlier that day he addressed an AGM of the Liverpool Building Society. Alan was its auditor & was there to present his Auditors Report as required by company law. In the evening there was an annual Dinner & Ball. Later in his hotel room Alan suffered a heart attack & died at the age of 48.
Because of his young age there was a post mortem before the body could be released and then brought from Liverpool back to Scotland. Consequently there was delay between his death and funeral. A packed funeral service was held at Mearns Kirk, where he was elder and treasurer, followed by his burial at Mearns Cemetery.
In June 1935, aged 15, Alan left school for his first full-time job as a junior clerk in the office of the local Craigmuschat quarry. By all accounts he showed great promise. The owner Hugh Duncan advised Alan that he was more than capable of much greater things and recommended a career as a chartered accountant.
|Reference on leaving Craigmuschat Quarry office.|
|Alan Snr, believed during his apprenticeship in Walter & WG Galbraith CA|
Alan commenced his CA apprenticeship with the Glasgow firm of Walter & WB Galbraith in 1938. In addition to his own signature, the Indenture of Apprenticeship was signed by partners in the firm at that time William Brodie Galbraith, Alexander Pyper and Thomas Dunlop Galbraith. Muriel Birch & Isobel Wright, typists with the firm, witnessed the partners' signatures. Alan's father, Charles John Thomson Runciman, was also required to sign the indenture. The 2 Runciman signatures were witnesssed by Hugh Steele Murdoch Duncan, quarrymaster, Gourock & William Kenneth Swanson Dumigan, Cashier, 17 Binnie Street, Gourock.
From the written reference Alan had received on leaving the quarry we know that Hugh Duncan was the owner of Craigmuschat. It is almost certain that the second witness is the cashier within the same quarry company and therefore Alan's immediate boss. Given the success my father made of his future accountancy career it’s appropriate the two gentlemen who identified such early promise should be invited to be the witnesses to Alan’s indenture signature.
Apprenticeships lasted 5 years combining practical audit work in the office and at clients’ premises. This practical side was complemented by professional examinations set by the Institute. These consisted of several test papers covering a range of subjects. Alan’s Form of Indenture was registered with the Institute on 9 December 1938 and the Discharge was registered by them on 27 February 1943.
I have no trace of written records but I was told that my father had a period of employment with the School of Accountancy. I don't know whether this was looking after its finances or whether it was in a tutoring role, or perhaps both.
After a period with large Glasgow firm Thomson McLintock CA, Alan joined another Glasgow professional firm, Chrystal McIntyre & Co, in 1947 as its chief assistant. The offer letter, dated June of that year, also confirmed that 'if you prove satisfactory we shall offer you a partnership in about a year's time with a share of profits approximating to one quarter'.
|Offer of Employment|
Alan was indeed 'satisfactory' and was admitted to partnership on 3 June 1948:
At that time the existing partners were William Y Chrystal and Jas Yorke McIntyre. By 1955 Chrystal had retired (or perhaps died - not researched) and the two remaining partners admitted to partnership Mr McIntyre's son, Ian Mackenzie McIntyre. The 3 partners signatures on the new Partnership Agreement were witnessed by Jean Dickson and Andrew Nichols Dunn. Dunn was described as a company secretary 119 Fettes Street, Glasgow, E1. The cause of his availability as a witness to the signatures is not known. Possibly he is an employee to the firm's solicitors who drew up the agreement, documented to be FJ Mackenzie, Reid & Donaldson, Glasgow. On the other hand, Jean Dickson's availability as a witness is easily understood. She was a loyal member of the CMcI staff. Although recorded as cashier I knew of her (later, as I became a teenager) as my father's secretary. 'Mrs Dickson' (I never heard her referred in any other way, even in conversation between my parents, and to her face) was Alan's secretary right up to his untimely death in 1968.
The 1960s was a period of great change for the accountancy profession worldwide and Scottish firms played a significant role. As a backdrop, Scotland was noted from the 1600s - 1800s as the most literate and educated country in the world. During this period accountancy developed and advanced in Scotland ahead of any other country, creating professionals with a global reputation for financial integrity. Accountancy firms established in Glasgow & Edinburgh merged with each other throughout the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s. As a result Scottish firms were well set up and eyed as reputable & attractive vehicles from which to launch global ventures; some went on to form many of the international accounting names - such as McLelland, Moore, Peat, Marwick, Gordon etc. They all had Scottish roots. Then, post-WW2, a new business culture arrived. Manufacturing companies expanded their operations worldwide at an unprecedented rate & by the 1960s the accountancy profession witnessed a mutual 'merge & chase' race for a global presence to serve their existing & potential clients with international ambitions.
In early 1960s Glasgow, Chrystal McIntyre were in the middle of this mixing pot of Scottish firms. The firm firstly merged with J Wylie Guild & Ballantine (itself the product of a previous merger) to become Wylie Guild & McIntyre. Alan was a partner in the merged firm. (If I remember correctly, 2nd senior). The firm grew & prospered to several offices in Scottish towns. In 1968 WGMcI sealed its big strategic move. Binder Dijker Otte (known as BDO), the leading Dutch firm had commenced its international growth and WGMcI was their target for a Scottish merger. Alan fronted the due diligence process for his firm, responsible for delivering satisfactory responses to BDO. (This is an exercise in which the buying firm puts the target firm under a detailed and microscopic legal process to ensure there are no unknowns in terms of liabilities or legal consequences etc which would impact on the new organisation.) The agreement would appoint Alan as the senior partner for its Scottish operations comprising their half-dozen offices or so. The merger was scheduled for June of that year but Alan died suddenly in the preceding February at the tragically young age of 48 and so never lived to see the fulfilment of that final step to a global presence.
Anyone who has been through a Due Diligence process - usually lasting several months - knows how wearing & stressful and all-consuming the process can be. One wonders if the stress of the Due Diligence workload contributed to Alan's heart attack?
At the time of his death Alan held two directorships in addition to his CA partnership. One was in Armour Dairies Ltd based in Cathcart, Glasgow. Armours was a family company owned by Don Blush & his wife Jean. Don & Jean's marriage was a familiar story in post-war Britain in that it was a marriage of an American serviceman & his Scottish bride. What was less usual was that the American GI stayed in Scotland after the war. I presume the company was in fact owned by Jean as her maiden name was Armour. Two pints of full double cream were delivered to our door every Saturday morning which was luxury indeed for its time. These were always put to good use by Catherine who was an excellent baker and cook.
The Queen's Hotel's resident director was a Mrs Ganley (Margaret if I remember correctly, though known to everyone as Mrs Ganley). I only knew that she was a widow. I have a vague notion there may have been an Irish connection, though I do not recall an Irish accent.
Alan was also a lecturer for The Institute of Chartered Accountants. For many years the system to qualify as a CA was that an apprentice would follow a 5-year course comprising a 5-day working week in a professional office in all but year 3, when they would attend university as a full-time student. In the non-university years their formal learning was undertaken at the Institute's premises (Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen) where they attended lectures in their own time on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. It was one of those Saturday morning lectures which my father led in Glasgow for many years. For a period of probably 20 years approximately 50% of all Glasgow CAs had been lectured by Alan during their apprenticeship. Class size was approximately 200 students.
|Alan & Catherine Runciman, wedding guests in Glasgow, Scotland, 1950s|
Alan had lived in only two residences before his marriage. The tenement flat in which he was born was 37 White Street, Partick, Glasgow. The family moved to Gourock when his father gained employment in the 'Torpedo Factory' in Greenock. This date is unknown but it will have been before Alan left school, as his first job was in the Gourock quarry. We can estimate therefore the move was before 1935.
Alan's address on marriage was given as the Gourock address so he hadn't moved to Glasgow as a young man to be nearer his employment.
On marriage in September 1945 housing in Glasgow, like other major industrial cities in the UK, was very scarce. A huge post-war building boom followed. In the meantime the newly-weds lived with a maiden aunt of Alan's, Mary Thomson Runciman, a school teacher at Holmlea Primary School in Cathcart, Glasgow. She lived at 7 Leefield Drive, Netherlee, Glasgow. Her older sister Jeannie had also lived there until her death in 1943.
It took about 18 months for the first move into their own home, 99 Lomondside Avenue, Clarkston, Glasgow. From the living room window one could look across the south side of Glasgow which looked particularly interesting when the lights of the city shone in the darkness. The foghorns on the busy river Clyde was a haunting sound on a winter's night. The rear garden backed on to Cathcart Castle Golf Club.
Some 10 years later the couple's final move together was made. This took them further out in south-side Glasgow, 'Firlee', 37 Beech Avenue, Newton Mearns.
|37 Beech Avenue, with Catherine in front garden|
This was a solid detached villa built, I think, in 1937 (certainly the 30s) by one of Scotland's leading housebuilders, MacTaggart & Mickel. Its name derived from having a wood between it and its neighbour which ran down the full length of the garden and beyond. The house was large enough to accommodate Alan's parents in their own double bedroom and my parents had the maid's room extended into a sitting room for my grandparents to have their own living space. Charlie & Lizzie sold their Gourock home in 1958 & moved in to Newton Mearns.
Alan’s interests outside work tended to be community-related. He was a confident speaker in public, a past president of the Glasgow Toastmasters Club. He was an active member of the Church of Scotland and at the time of his death had been an elder and Treasurer of Mearns Kirk Church of Scotland for some years. Alan & Catherine were good friends of the minister, Rev David Anderson Black who was always welcome in their home. He was active in local political issues. He was chairman of Whitecraigs Conservative & Unionist Association and chairman of the Burgh Status Committee which strived to secure an independence for Newton Mearns & Whitecraigs from Renfrewshire by becoming a burgh in its own right. I recall this taking up an enormous amount of his free time. Ultimately the bid was unsuccessful which disappointed him hugely. He was a member of Glasgow Gailes Golf Club based in Irvine for a period of years but he rarely made sufficient free time to be a frequent player.
|Alan & Catherine|
|Relaxing on Poole Beach, July 1956|
One of Alan’s greatest releases was the annual holiday. He died just as wider travel was becoming the norm for many families & consequently most locations had been based in Britain. The choice was pondered over carefully by husband & wife during the winter months, with accommodation brochures landing on the doorstep to be poured over in the evenings. The choices made were invariably English beach resorts covering all three coasts. The south of England was particularly favoured. Many of these earlier family holidays seemed great adventures to us all. In the 1950s the roads were pre-motorway, mainly pre dual-carriageway and definitely pre-city bypass so many of our holiday car journeys took almost 24 hours. It could easily take 90 minutes just to drive through a small city such as Carlisle. Journeys of this length might be tackled by an evening sleep beforehand, departing our Glasgow home at 2am so that we were well down the road ahead of the heavy traffic volumes created by the North of England holidaymakers heading south (everyone was holidaying in Britain starting on Saturdays as there was no flexibility in holiday leave by employers). Alternatively we might leave at lunch-time and stop in a lay-by for a couple of hours about midnight or so for sleep and continue on our way, arriving at destination mid-morning or lunchtime the following day. As I was the eldest I slept on the floor in the back of the car draped over the camshaft hump. My two younger brothers got the back seats. The 1950s holidays were usually in caravan accommodation which added to the childhood adventure.
By the mid-1960s holidays abroad became more common and the family had holidayed in France & Spain. On the very last holiday Alan enjoyed the family visited Canada, meeting up with the family descendants of his aunt Annie Runciman who had emigrated in 1903 as the young pioneering wife of John Kerr. This was in 1967, Canada's Centennial year.
|Alan in the front garden at Beech Avenue|
The family garden was always maintained well with an interesting variety of perennials, shrubs, vegetables and trees. Grass was mowed in pristine cut rows & in weed-free condition. This was very much my father's focus. I was too young to appreciate how the overall end-product was squeezed out of the tight timeframe. Probably it was more of a joint effort than I realised at the time. Both my mother and my grandfather were able gardeners too. Often I saw my grandfather bending down with considerable strain (by this time in his 80s) to pull isolated weeds out of our red gravel driveway. I can remember that my grandparents' garden had also been pristine (or so it seemed to me, I was only 10 years old when they moved from it). Was this in the family genes from his grandfather Thomson who was a capable nursery gardener and small-holder?
The holiday stories lead nicely onto the fact that Alan loved his cars and they too were well cared for. He would like that there are some favourite car photographs in this profile as they were the tool to our independent roaming. They enabled the whole family to rise above the daily grind & see a wider world where a sense of history, culture and fun can be combined (albeit limited when measured against the travel standards enjoyed from the late 1960s onward).
His first car was an Austin A7 Reg AHS 599 purchased probably around 1948. This was followed by a variety of cars reflecting car ownership in Britain at that time – all cars were British made, names which had disappeared within the following generation. There was a Lanchester, many Rovers and then in the 1960s his choices changed…a Riley Pathfinder being the most notable. If I remember correctly this was the first car in which ‘the ton’ was reached. There were no speed limits – the car was the limiting factor. His last car bought was a Triumph 2000.
|A quick once over on the Rover. There was a '12', a '14' and a '16' in succession.|
|Leaving from Lomondside Avenue for another holiday. Catherine in navigator seat. This photo shows No 101 in background, the other half of the 'semi' of No 99.|
|The Rover 90 PGH 646 last break before home from Bexhill on English south coast|
John Potter, a Hanged Covenanter, captured in Ayrshire and taken to Edinburgh where he was hanged
William Runciman of Crail , who drowned at an early age in a fishing tragedy.
There are also 3 other Runciman 'lineages' which thanks to DNA testing are now discovered to be branches of the same lineage with a Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) in the 1600s, most likely in East Lothian or the Scottish Borders.
To visit any of the Free Space Profiles follow the appropriate link below-
Runciman Lineage 1b-The Early Generations As the name implies this Profile covers the latest research known of the earliest ancestors on the 'Crail' Line.
Crail Fishing Disaster History and Latest News
Alan is a descendant of William of Crail who drowned with 7 others in the 1765 Crail Fishing Disaster. A 250th anniversary commemoration for the drownings was held in Crail on 16 May 2015.
In 2004 a history of the William Runciman of Crail line was published. The decision was made that the latest research & continuing updates be published on the web rather than in print. At the same time Jen Jelley & Diane Middleton, compilers & publishers of the 2004 publication kindly agreed to make it available to view online. This Profile contains the links.
Thank you to Alan Runciman for creating WikiTree profile Runciman-601 through the import of Alan & Catherine Runciman couple.GED on Aug 30, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by Alan and others.
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Alan is 25 degrees from Claude Monet, 23 degrees from Gigi Tanksley and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.