Alexander Bryson

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Alexander Bryson
Born12 October 1816
5 South Bridge, Edinburgh[1]
Died7 December 1866 (1866-12-08) (aged 50)
Hawkhill House, Edinburgh
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materEdinburgh University
Scientific career
InstitutionsPartner, Robert Bryson & Sons, Clock and Watch-Maker, Edinburgh
The Bryson family grave, New Calton Cemetery

Alexander Bryson FRSE FGS FRSSA FSAScot FRPSE (12 October 1816 – 7 December 1866) was a Scottish biologist, geologist and horologist who served as president of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts (1860–61) and as president of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh (1863).[2]


He was born on 12 October 1816 in Edinburgh, the son of Robert Bryson FRSE (1778-1852), a watchmaker, and Janet Gillespie (1788-1858).

He attended the High School in Edinburgh then trained as a watchmaker and entered the family business, then renamed Robert Bryson & Son.[3]

His first wife, Elizabeth Waterstone Gillespie (possibly a cousin) bore him two children who died in infancy, and a daughter and son (William Alexander Bryson) and died 10 April 1855 aged 44.

His second wife, Catherine McDonald Cuthbertson, also died young in September 1859, aged only 32, after bearing him another son.

His third wife, Jane Thomson, bore him another son, Leonard Horner Bryson, survived him and remarried.

He was President of the Royal Scottish Society of Antiquarians 1860-1861. He was President of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh in 1863. He was also a member of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Geological Society.

In 1858 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was President of the Royal Scottish Society of the Arts 1860-61.[4]

He died on 7 December 1866 at Hawkhill House, a country villa between Leith and Edinburgh. He is buried in New Calton Cemetery with his two wives next to his parents.


  • On a Method of rendering Baily's Compensation Pendulum insensible to Hygrometric Influences (1854)
  • On an improved method of preparing siliceous and other fossils for microscopic investigation: with a description of a new pneumatic chuck (1856)
  • On a new method of measuring watch-glasses (1860)
  • Memoir of Rev. John Fleming, D.D., F.R.S.E. (1861)
  • Memoir of General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, G.C.B., & C. president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1861)
  • Notes of a trip to Iceland in 1862 (1864)


  1. ^ "Obituary". The Scotsman.
  2. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002: Biographical Index (PDF). I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^