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Philanthropist and Snuff manufacturer

James Gillespie lived in Colinton village south-west of Edinburgh, he ran a snuff-mill there, powered by the Water of Leith.

His brother, John, ran a shop on The Royal Mile's High Street where he sold the snuff. (A plaque marks the place where his shop was, where Gordon's Trattoria is now)

Both brother's were hard working and neither married. James was well known for his frugality which together with the success of his snuff business gave him great wealth.

In 1773 He built Spylaw House as his home, but he was generous enough to take care of his employees and his tenants.

When he died in 1797 he left a fortune to build a 'Hospital' (school) in Edinburgh.

James Gillespie's School is still around today in the Marchmont area of the city.

He is buried in the kirkyard of Colinton Parish Church.



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