William Quarrier (1829 – 1903) Philanthropist
William Quarrier was born in a house on Cross Shore St, Greenock but moved to Glasgow at an early age after his father died. He was brought up in a situation of poverty and witnessed first hand the squalour, deprivation and utter hopelessness of slum life. At the age of seventeen he became a Christian and also started his training as a shoemaker…a career he would make a success of… eventually owning three shops. With success came an urge to better the life of the orphaned and young homeless of the city. This eventually led to the setting up of the homes between Kilmacolm and Bridge of Weir which at their peak housed more than 1500 children at a time.
To raise money to fund and continue the project, Quarrier sometimes played on the benevolent nature of his friends and business associates. He would hold meetings and at the start of the meeting produce an unpaid bill from his pocket and place it on the table. He would lead the meeting in prayer asking the Almighty that a way might be found that would pay the account…by the end of the meeting the bill would be invariably, and usually quietly, covered.
Quarrier’s Village, though now mostly privately developed, is a wonderfully atmospheric place for an afternoon walk. A round trip along the cycle path from Kilmacolm is a perfect walk both in terms of distance and scenery.
Learn more about Quarriers at www.quarriers.org.uk/about/history/williamquarrier.php