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James Gillespie


1726 - 1797

Snuff manufacturer and philanthropist. Living in Colinton village in SW Edinburgh, Gillespie ran a snuff-mill there, powered by the Water of Leith. His brother, John, ran a shop on Edinburgh's High Street selling the snuff. Neither brother married, and James was known for his frugality and industry, which together gave him great wealth. He built Spylaw House as his home in 1773, but equally looked after his employees and tenants. On his death he left a fortune to build a 'Hospital' (school) in Edinburgh. James Gillespie's School still exists in the Marchmont area of the city. He lies buried in the kirkyard of Colinton Parish Church.


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