This evening I am presenting images taken yesterday of my visit to Virginia Place and Virginia Court, Glasgow which offer offer the remaining vestiges of a booming tobacco trade in the late 18th century.

In the 1770s Glasgow controlled over half of all British trade in tobacco, which made up over one third of Scotland’s imports and over half its exports. The trade was immensely profitable which resulted in the traders soon becoming the richest men in the world.

The tobacco trade was inextricably linked with slavery and the slave trade.Glasgow found its niche by directly supplying the American colonies with manufactured goods, linen cloth and iron without which they could not survive. The ships returned to Britain with colonial goods, mainly tobacco from Maryland and Virginia but also sugar and other exotic products of slavery from the Caribbean islands.

The tobacco trade collapsed after the American revolution as the former colonies became free of their obligation to transport goods in British ships and by-passed Glasgow selling directly to European markets.


Wall plaque recording the tobacco industry



Place names evidencing the trading links with Virginia

The following two images are of the Tobacco Merchant’s House at 42 Miller Street.This house was built by John Craig but the first inhabitants were the leading Glasgow merchant family of Robert Findlay who ran a banking business within the house.


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