‘Bob Dragon’

The Dreghorn Mansion on Great Clyde Street was the last of the old Glasgow Mansions but has now been demolished. It was said to be haunted by Robert Dreghorn “Bob Dragon”, who was reputedly so ugly, he could never attract a woman, and took his life by hanging himself. in 1806. He was given the cruel nickname “Bob Dragon” because his face had been disfigured by smallpox – he lost an eye to the disease and was said to have pock-marks on his face “the size of threepenny pieces”.

The house was built by  his father Allan Dreghorn (1706-1764) who was a partner in the Smithfield Iron Works, a bailie in 1741 and the architect who was involved in designing St Andrew’s Parish Church in St Andrew’s Square. He was also involved in the timber trade and part-owned a timber yard on Clyde Street. Dreghorn was the first person in the city to own a private four-wheeled carriage.

The Dreghorn family owned the estate of Ruchil. The key of the old cellar at Ruchill was a wonderful article, about a foot long. Bob Dragon was very careful not to allow it out of his custody. After protracted sittings at table, although his head was tolerably clear, his legs occasionally refused to do their office; and when new supplies of wine were wanted, he used to mount his butler’s back, and, armed with this formidable instrument, proceed to the cellar himself.

After the death of ‘Bob Dragon’ rumours abounded that his ghost haunted Dreghorn mansion on Clyde Street. It lay empty for a long period until a dyer called George Provand moved in. Provand had an unhappy stay. Rumours spread that two children had been enticed into the house and that red liquid had been seen running from the premises. Provand was suspected of being involved in black magic or the supply of fresh corpses for the dissection table at the University, and in 1822 a furious mob attacked the house and ransacked it. Several of the rioters were arrested and one, Richard Campbell was sentenced to be whipped through the streets – the last time this punishment was carried out in the city.

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