Sir James Bain, Lord Provost of Glasgow 1874 – 1877

Sir James Bain (1817-1898) was Lord Provost of Glasgow between 1874 and 1877.

The images below are Paintings of Sir James Bain provided by ArtUK from collections at Glasgow Museums and the National Galleries of Scotland. 

Just who is James Bain?

James Bain was born in Glasgow in 1817 son of a Robert Bain.  He was married to Mary Dove and had at least two sons, John Dove Bain and James Robert Bain. Unfortunately I know little else of his family history.

It is thought he was descendant from the Haddington Bain line. Chris Cooper points out in his book about John Bayne of Pitcairlie the heraldic connections in the coats of arms that could also link these Bain’s to the Tulloch Bayne’s.

Sir James Bain made his money in Iron Works and became an MP in Glasgow as well as serving as Lord Provost between 1874 – 1877.  He was knighted in 1877.

Whilst James is not our branch of the tree, he is an interesting character and deemed worthy of our Bain Hall of Fame.  Also being local to Glasgow he is of extra interest to me. Growing up I had always wondered who the Bain Street at Glasgow “Barras” was named after and have eventually confirmed it is indeed Sir James Bain.

James was prominent in the affairs of Glasgow and the politics of the time and there are a number of interesting tales about him, such as the fact that he opened the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, as well as his links with other establishments.

James lived in the Park area of Glasgow which was an affluent and desirable area at the time having being built in 1855. James used the property to entertain during his public career.  However it was relatively recent refurbishment (over 100 years after James’ death) that uncovered a lavish Victorian design at the property from James’ era which has now been restored and open to visitors on set days of the year.

The links below provide some further information on Sir James Bain 1817 -1898 and his golden drawing-room.

The Glasgow Story 

James Bain’s House – Glasgow

James Bain’s Golden Drawing Room 

Graces Guide to British Industrial Heritage 

The Prince’s Lodge 

Cumbria Archive & Local Studies Centre, Whitehaven 

Find my grave 

I have yet to come across much of his family history, so if this is your branch and you can help. Get in touch.



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