Staff Lieutenant Gladstone Lothian Rosebery Small

Biography of Staff Lieutenant Gladstone Lothian Rosebery Small

Gladstone Lothian Rosebery Small was burdened or blessed with a name to remember and perhaps to generate too many expectations. He was born in Cambuslang on 31st August 1884. His father, William, who was a secretary to a miners' union, died before Lothian, as he came to be known, matriculated at the University of Glasgow to begin his Arts degree in 1906.

He was 22 by this time, rather older than his contemporaries, and partly this was due to having attempted the entrance or preliminary exams several times without success between 1903 and 1906. His undergraduate career was also quite long and it was six years before he graduated MA. He did, however, graduate with 2nd Class Honours in both Philosophy (in 1911) and English (in 1912).

On the way he had taken a 5th prize in Logic and Metaphysics, and a 6th prize in English in 1908, a 6th prize in Moral Philosophy in 1909 and an equal share of the Mrs John Caird Prize for summer work in English in 1911.

He enjoyed a full student life and became a very well known figure on campus. Despite his name, he did not join the Liberal club but preferred more radical causes. He became president of the Fabian Society, an active member of the Student Representative Council, author of the Student Handbook and a contributor to the Student Magazine. He was involved with the University Settlement and lived there at 10 Possil Road during term-time.

Occasionally he was the subject of articles in the Magazine, including one which recalled an outing to London to visit the former home of Samuel Johnson. This seemed to involve a good deal of disappointed emotion and weeping on Lothian's part and the comment that after a good meal "even he had yielded to carnal delight and had condescended to become happy." The Magazine often relied on banter that is difficult to decipher a century later!

He was certainly politically active at a time when there was quite a galaxy of stars, including Walter Elliot, Osborne Mavor, G B Smith, J R Mackintosh and William Robieson, none of them of his persuasion. Sir William Robieson, a former student President of the Liberal Club, remembered him as a strange character and someone who was "always getting distracted to other things and not working," but that would not have made him unique among his peers.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 3rd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1915 and served as a Staff Officer. After the war he continued to be interested in politics and stood as a Labour candidate in a number of seats, including Exeter. He does not, however, appear to have had a political career. The last address the University had for him was at 1 Belsize Square, London, in the 1950s but there is no record of the date of his death. A Lothian Small is listed as the author of a play, Ganzer Macher, first performed at the Unity Theatre in London in 1958.


Staff Lieutenant Gladstone Lothian Rosebery Small
Rank: Staff Lieutenant
Regiment: 3rd South Staffordshire Regiment
Degree: MA
Awards: N/A
Comments: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records

Sir William Robieson, Personal Reminiscences, (GUAS Ref: UA 202)

Glasgow University Magazine Vol 1 23, 4th May 1911

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