74 years officiating in Scottish forestry

Robert Paterson Galloway (1861-1936), pictured above, and his elder son Angus were both, as Edinburgh lawyers, major administrative figures in organisations representing forestry and arboricultural interests in Scotland, and provided stability and continuity as the secretary-treasurers of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society for 74 years, from 1895 to 1969. (The Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society as it was called in 1895 had been founded in 1854 and given a Royal Charter in 1887.) Robert was secretary and treasurer for 42 years! He died in 1936 aged 75, following an accident in Edinburgh in March 1935 in which he had been knocked down by a motor car.

We know something of their work and characters, because Robert was the subject of a glowing testimonial in the Transactions of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society to celebrate its 60th year, in 1914. His son Angus (1895-1971) likewise was lauded in an obituary in Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research in 1972 both for his service as secretary and treasurer for the RSFS (for 9 years jointly with his father) and also as the first holder of the same roles for the Society of Foresters of Great Britain for 27 years from its founding in in 1925 till 1962.

Robert was a founding partner of the legal firm ADAIR & GALLOWAY, S.S.C., in offices in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, first at 19 Castle St, and later at 8 Rutland Square. Robert lived in Morningside, in the south side of Edinburgh, at 23 Greenbank Crescent, near Greenbank Church and was an elder and session clerk. Angus was later also a partner.

Below are a number of clippings and extracts from documents that mention the Galloways, mostly the journals of the two societies with which they were involved. First is the glowing appreciation of Robert, in 1914. In their early 50s, he and his wife Agnes must have had a comfortable life. Their elder son Angus was 19 and at university (studying engineering) and their younger son was 13. Things must have seemed sweet and straightforward.

Within five years Angus was fighting on the western front and Agnes had died. Robert and Agnes Webster (1863-1919) had been married in 1894 (29 Aug), but she died aged only 55 of capilliary bronchitis arising from influenza. (She may have been one of the 17-100 million victims of the deadly world-wide flu pandemic.)

Angus (aka Lt. Robert Angus Galloway, Royal Engineers) was awarded the Military Cross in 1919(?), “For distinguished service in connection with military operations in France and Flanders”. (He would later be awarded the OBE, see below.)

The younger of Robert’s two sons from his first marriage was Charles (Charles Paterson Galloway, 1901-?), who emigrated to farm in South Africa.

Robert’s second marriage (1930) was to (my great aunt) Ebeth Newton (nee Scobbie), who was 23 years younger than Robert and only 11 older than Angus. Robert, at 69, was no spring chicken! For more on Robert and Ebeth, see here and there is also a wedding picture featuring Angus.

I thought I saw a family resemblance between the Galloways and this man standing to Ebeth’s right, in 1938, at the diamond wedding celebrations of Ebeth’s grandparents, James Scobbie and Mina Laughland. Robert had died two years previously and I wondered if one of her new family had accompanied Ebeth. Indeed I guessed it might be Charles (who would have been around 37 years old). However, Angus’s children have been in touch (how nice!) to say they don’t think it looks like him, and they don’t think Charles was even back in the country until some time during WW2. Jean Galloway (Robert’s great grand daughter) confirms in the comments below that it is not Charles. So, he’s a mystery, not a Galloway (there’s a cute near-rhyme for people who merge /r/ and /w/).


As noted, son Angus was also secretary-treasurer of the Society of Foresters of Great Britain, from its foundation in 1925 till he resigned in 1962, after 37 years in that post. Father and son were valued for their good sense, organisational skills, hard work, and more personal qualities of tact, good humour and friendliness: they were effective “lubricants” for the various interest groups including those developing national forestry policy over this three quarters of a century but also for landscape gardeners, estate owners, the government, and tree-lovers.

A Celebration (1914)

Here is the 1914 appreciation of Robert, pasted in as text rather than images, to help people find it online if they are interested in these topics. (The text here and below is copyrighted, and is reproduced here without permission. I hope nobody minds.)


The Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society has never been, at any period in its sixty years’ existence, in a more flourishing condition than it is in at the present time, and in a very large measure its success is due to the fact that it has, in Mr Robert Galloway, a Secretary who, in addition to his immense power of organisation, devotes untiring energy and great enthusiasm to his arduous and many-sided duties. Only those who have been brought more closely into contact with the Secretary can realise the extent, difficulty, and very often delicate nature of the work involved in the discharge of his duties. In addition to his many other good qualities, Mr Galloway possesses a great amount of real tact and skill in conducting affairs to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. The slightest murmur of dissatisfaction with his work is never heard in the Society.

Mr Galloway became interim Secretary in 1895, when the tide in the affairs of the Society was at a somewhat low ebb, but since his term of office began the tide has turned, and it has ever since flowed steadily towards prosperity. It was in 1895, the first year Mr Galloway was in office, that the first foreign excursion was organised and successfully carried through. In that year Prussia was visited, and nothing could have been more satisfactory than the business-like way in which the tour was arranged. Since then Sweden (1902), France (1904), Bavaria (1909), Switzerland (1913), have been visited, and it must be admitted that nothing has tended more to broaden the views of silviculturists in this country than those foreign excursions, which have been so well organised and so successfully accomplished, thanks principally to the energy and ability of our Secretary.

The home excursions have been equally well managed. The fact that the annual excursion is now such a popular and important event in the affairs of the Society, is due to the admirable way in which arrangements are made by our indefatigable Secretary for the comfort and convenience of all. The educative and economic value of those carefully planned excursions cannot well be over-estimated. The annual forestry exhibition and competitions held in connection with the Highland and Agricultural Society’s Show were started during Mr Galloway’s tenure of office, and here again his organising skill and devoted energy has made this phase of the Society’s activities the success it is to-day. The exhibits in connection with the National Exhibitions at Edinburgh in 1908, and Glasgow in 1911, also owed their success to his efforts.

royal forestry badge

The Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society’s badge (from the 1914 journal’s frontispiece) with a quote from Walter Scott’s Heart of Midlothian.

Recently a very comprehensive and business-like scheme for the formation of a company to promote forestry in all its branches was drawn up by Mr Galloway, and submitted to the Development Commissioners. Unfortunately the putting into operation of this scheme has been delayed, but on all sides this scheme is regarded as the basis of future developments. Last, but not least, to Mr Galloway is due the entire credit for the conception and organisation of the recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations which were so successfully carried out.

This was by far the most important and comprehensive forestry meeting and tour which has ever taken place in Scotland, yet not one detail in the entire arrangement was neglected, with the result that not a single hitch occurred in the entire programme, and Mr Galloway well deserved the manifold expressions of appreciation which he received for his work. In regard to his capacity as treasurer one need only refer to the sound financial condition of the Society.

From the moment Mr Galloway undertook the duties he so faithfully discharges, the affairs of the Society have prospered and its activities have increased. Our Secretary has a sound knowledge of forestry, and takes a keen interest in all that helps to forestry development. He is proud of the Society, and the Society is proud of him.

Reflecting, after Robert’s death (1936)

In 1936, when Robert died, an obituary article appeared in the Scotsman (Dec 31, 1936). Here is a photograph of the original clippings that have been preserved in a family photo album. The death notice and article mention that in addition to the role above, he was secretary of the Scottish Estate Factor’s Society and organiser of Forestry exhibits at the Royal Highland Show. (The photo is from the Glasgow Herald, published January 1st? 8th?)


The Scotsman says there were two presentation gifts. I wonder what they were, and whether they survive.

This forestry stuff was obviously a life’s work for father and son, but given the many comments about it being almost voluntary, it clearly didn’t pay the bills directly. Normal solicitor work was required, including selling motor insurance. But probably their extensive connections meant there was a great deal of lucrative lawyering undertaken in connection with forestry and estate management.

(Robert) Angus Galloway, MC OBE

Angus continued this work, to great public acclaim. This notification appeared in the journal Forestry, this being the publication of the Society of Foresters of Great Britain, the other of the two societies which Angus supported, in the same role as Secretary and Treasurer (a double-doubling of roles which seems remarkably confusing to me and probably of OBE merit just for the filing systems required):

1954 honour for angus in Royal Sc For Soc

Angus Galloway’s obitary

The following obituary of Robert’s son Angus however shows the Galloways’ dedication. (It is ripped from a journal, which is © Oxford University Press. It’s reproduced verbatim. Again, I hope they don’t mind.) The journal was a publication of the Society of Foresters of Great Britain.



IT is with great regret that we record the death, on 10 July 1971, of Angus Galloway, to whose work both our own Society and the Royal Scottish Forestry Society owe so much. Angus Galloway was educated at the George Watson Boys’ College in Edinburgh and then at Edinburgh University, where he studied electrical engineering in 1914-15. From July 1915 to 1918 he served in the Royal Engineers, and then read Forestry at Edinburgh,

taking his B.Sc. in 1922. By this time Government economies (the ‘Geddes axe’) had destroyed any chance of his joining the Forestry Commission, so he qualified as a Solicitor with his father’s firm, Adair and Galloway, where he practiced for the rest of his working life. His father Robert had been Secretary and Treasurer to the Royal Scottish Forestry Society since 1895; Angus became Joint Secretary and Treasurer around 1927, in which posts he continued after his father’s death until 1969. He became Secretary and Treasurer of our own Society at the time of its foundation. He was awarded the O.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1954. He was made an Honorary Fellow of our own Society in 1967. J. A. B. Macdonald, who was President of our Society when Angus Galloway retired from office, pays the following tribute to his work:

‘When the Society of Foresters of Great Britain was formed in 1925-6 the Secretary and Treasurer was R. Angus Galloway M.C., B.Sc. (Forestry) of 8 Rutland Square, Edinburgh. For this new society the Professional and Associate subscriptions were £1-1-0 and Life Membership £10-10-0 so the Secretaryship carried a very inadequate fee, but to Angus Galloway this was more a labour of love than anything else, and quietly as was his nature he held the post and tackled the increasing work of the growing society for 37 years. When he resigned in 1962 the number of members of all classes was nearly 600, and R. W. V. Palmer’s reference to the resignation in his Editorial of Forestry xxxvi, No. 1 reads: ‘For the whole of these thirty-seven years he has given his time generously and unselfishly to the development of the Society practically in an honorary capacity. The Society owes more to him than to anyone else for the progress made and it is fortunate that we were able at Lyndhurst to convey to him in some measure our appreciation of all that he has done on our behalf.’

The unbroken service of Angus Galloway and his father to The Royal Scottish Forestry [Society] spanned 74 years and continued until 1969. ‘Forestry was Angus Galloway’s life’ writes C. J. Taylor in the October ’71 journal of that society — ‘simple integrity’ sums up the life of a man who did no harm but was always helping others — and we who knew him value the memory of a gentle, friendly, selfless person.’

Resigned or Retired?

Angus had stepped down in 1962 from his role in the Society of Foresters of Great Britain (also with a regional base in Edinburgh). I initially thought he had retired, given his age. But he continued to work with the Royal Scottish Forestry Society for a further 7 years. I then wondered if he had been squeezed out, or if there had been interpersonal disagreements or policy ones about the future direction of the SFGB. Perhaps the two societies saw themselves in competition, or perhaps Angus just found the workload of an enlarging UK-wide society too much at the age of 67, in addition to the RSFS. Whatever the cause, the editorial in the journal Forestry noted that thanks to “the decisions taken at the 35th Annual General Meeting at Lyndhurst in September 1962 to accept fresh responsibilities, it [i.e. the SFGB] will now be able to develop as the profession of forestry develops.” The writer of the editorial then noted Angus’s “resignation” (not retirement), then thanks him for his service (this latter and clearly positive part was then quoted in the obituary published by the SFGB in 1972, see above):

1962 retiral

Though things were also changing rapidly in 1961-62 in the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, yet Angus stuck with it. The RSFS had a new president (John McEwan) and a new editor of the journal Scottish Forestry, and the president wrote rather a (melo)dramatic front page editorial. So Angus, who remained in post for that society, was clearly not averse to radical change.

1961 editorial 1

He continued to list some concerns, including:

1961 editorial 2

He then mentioned Angus in terms I find slightly confusing. Perhaps the president intended to encourage the membership not to rely on Angus so much, but this is the sort of coded language which might gently put an over-reaching official in their place in terms of policy development. A bit of both? It seems a funny thing to say in public, especially in the context of setting out new directions for the society. Who knows! The new president certainly thought he has a more important job to do than his predecessors, “without being conceited” about it.

1961 editorial 3

And after all that… were there great results from this new president?


The Society of Foresters of Great Britain became the Institute of Foresters in 1974, then was instituted by Royal Charter, becoming the Institute of Chartered Foresters in 1982. Forestry, the journal, is now published by OUP. There is a nice little history of the society at https://www.charteredforesters.org

The Royal Scottish Forestry Society is also still around too. See http://www.rsfs.org/ I found Aldhous (2004) (some of the same content appears on the RSFS’s “about us” webpage) to be an interesting history of the agricultural, horticultural, arboricultural and, oh, “forestry” stages of the cultural and economic importance of trees and forestry in Scotland in the last 200 years or so. It is a history of the Scottish Forestry Society, its journal, forestry and of the support of forestry through the mutual education of interested people, then the establishment of university chairs and education in forestry. And there’s this irresistible engraving (below) of the 1884 Forestry Exhibition in Edinburgh at Donaldson’s. But no mention of any great changes in 1961-1962.

Aldhous’s short history piece and the two society websites put the interests of the Galloways in supporting a professional society in context. While they were dedicated enablers of the work of specialists, it was the latter who mostly were doing things. So as time passes, the administrators fade from view, even when they were 74 years on the job.

1884 forestry expo at donaldsons


Anon (1914) Mr Robert Galloway, S.S.C., Secretary and Treasurer (with portrait). Transactions of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society, Volume 28, 1914, Pages 229–230.

Website. Wikipedia. Accessed 12/11/2017, specifically https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

Sir John Stirling Maxwell (1930) A Decade of State Forestry and its Lessons. (Read at the Annual Business Meeting of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society on 31st January 1930) The Scottish Forestry Journal. Volume 44, Part 1, Pages 1-6.

Anon (1936) FORESTRY SOCIETY OFFICIAL. Death of Mr Robert Galloway S.S.C. Glasgow Herald 1936, December 31.

Website. Wikipedia. Accessed 12/11/2017, specifically https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Birthday_Honours

Anon (1954) Honour: MR. R. A. GALLOWAY, M.C. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 27, Issue 2, 1 January 1954, Pages 161–164,


John McEwan (1961) A Challenge from your President. Scottish Forestry, Volume 15, Issue 4, Pages 195-199.

R. W. V. Palmer (1963) Editorial. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 36, Issue 1, Pages 1-2. Issue index online at https://academic.oup.com/forestry/issue/36/1

Editorial at https://doi.org/10.1093/forestry/36.1.1

Anon (1972) Obituary: ANGUS GALLOWAY, O.B.E., M.C., B.Sc. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, Volume 45, Issue 1, Page 124.


John R Aldhous (2004) A Short History of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society. Scottish Forestry, Volume 58, Issue 4, Pages 7-13.

Website. Institute of Chartered Foresters. Accessed 12/11/2017, specifically https://www.charteredforesters.org/about-us/our-history/

Website. Royal Scottish Forestry Society. Accessed 12/11/2017, specifically http://www.rsfs.org/society/about-us

11 thoughts on “74 years officiating in Scottish forestry

Add yours

  1. Very interested in your research about my grandfather and father. Deborah has filled me in with some info re aunt Ebeth and Elizabeth and scobbie connections. You wondered about uncle Charlie being in a photo we don’t think he was home until 1942?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If that’s his face, then that’s the date! It’s the identity I’m not so sure about, but the date is definitely 1938. So pleased to hear from you – do feel free to email.


  2. Really excited to read this about my great-grandfather Robert and great-uncle Angus.
    It is very unlikely that the person in the photo was my grandfather Charles, he does not bear much resemblance to the photo’s I have of Charles as a young man.
    I too have an original photo from the wedding of Robert and your aunt Ebeth – its printed on a post-card.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fantastic. I will edit the text (just done it on my phone!) to reflect your feedback down here in the comments up there in the text. How nice it is to have made a connection and thank you so much for your kind comment.


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