With the Baton Relay arriving in Barbados today (05.03.2014), we have been looking over our alumni connections with that island, which, as far as we can gather, stem back to the early 1700s, with Alexander Stevenson (Stephenson) being our first Barbados-born student to matriculate in 1745. He was the son of Provost Marshal of Barbados and keen astronomer, Thomas Stevenson, who reported on his sightings of Halley’s Comet in 1758. Whether Thomas came to the University before his son, or had family or business in Glasgow is yet to be determined.
Thanks to Addison’s work on Matriculated Students of the University, we have started to compile a list of students as well as graduates who were born, or had links with, Barbados: http://www.internationalstory.gla.ac.uk/country/?id=20
With individual research still being carried out, you’ll notice the pattern even at this early stage: The majority were male students, usually the sons of merchants or plantation owners, and came to undertake a short Arts course at the University, which, presumably, would have set them up to continue in the family business. As has been noted by W M Mathew in his study ‘The Origins and Occupations of Glasgow Students, 1740-1839’ (in Past & Present, No. 33 Apr., 1966, pp. 74-94).
If you recognise any of the names, and can shed a little more light on the University’s connections with Barbados, please get in touch! http://www.internationalstory.gla.ac.uk/contact/