Alexander, John Henry

BORN 1796, Dunbar, East Lothian - DIED 15 Dec 1851, Glasgow
GRAVE LOCATION Glasgow: Glasgow Necropolis, Castle Street (Omega)

John Henry Alexander was the second of the five sons of the watchmaker John Alexander. In Glasgow he worked at the shop of his uncle Hugh Proudfoot for a while, but he decided to pursue an acting career. He debuted as "Frederick" in "Lovers’ Vows". He worked in Edinburgh for ten years and in May 1817 he married Elzabeth Riddell from that city. She was the daughter of a coach builder.

Alexander was the manager of theatres called "Theatre Royal" in both Dumfries and Carlisle before he rented the basement of the Caledonian Theatre in Dunlop Street in Glasgow in the 1820s. The theatre had two auditoria in order to perform tragedy and comedy at the same time. He called his part the Dominion of Fancy. After disagreements with the Caledonian theatre he bought the whole building in 1825. When the existing Theatre Royal in Glasgow burnt down on 10 January 1829 he was able to take that name for his theatre.

He turned the Theatre Royal into the leading theatre in Glasgow. At a certain point he time he placed a statue of himself in the facade. He was known for walking round the stage during performances, scolding actors and counting the audience. In February 1849 someone shouted 'Fire!' in his theatre. There was no fire but his attempts to calm the public were to no avail and 65 people died in the panic that followed.

He fell ill 1851 during a trip to London not long after he had retired from his management duties. He was brought back to Glasgow and died not long afterwards. He was buried at the Glasgow Necropolis. His wife died on 8 April 1872 in Glasgow.


The grave of John Henry Alexander at Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow.
Picture by Androom (30 Jun 2023)


Glasgow’s City Necropolis - Random Scottish History
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Alexandrine, Prinzessin zu Hohenlohe-Öhringen

Published: 12 Jul 2023
Last update: 12 Jul 2023