Norman Macfarlane, Baron Macfarlane of Bearsden

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Norman Somerville Macfarlane, Baron Macfarlane of Bearsden, KT, DL (born 5 March 1926) is a Scottish industrialist and former member of the House of Lords. He sat as Conservative.[1]


Educated at the High School of Glasgow, he served in Palestine with the Royal Artillery from 1945 to 1947. While serving he suffered an injury to his neck. Later he founded N . S Macfarlane & Co. Ltd. in 1949, later becoming the Macfarlane Group (Clansman) plc in 1973. From 1973 to 1990 he served as Managing Director, and as Chair 1973-98, becoming Honorary Life President in 1999. He was a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund from 1984 to 1997 and of the National Galleries of Scotland from 1986 until 1997. Most recently he directed the fund-raising campaign for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery refurbishment.

He was a Member of the Council CBI Scotland from 1975 to 1981, a Board Member of the Scottish Development Agency from 1979 until 1987, and a Member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland from 1980 to 1982.[1]

Macfarlane received a knighthood in 1983,[2] was created a life peer with the title Baron Macfarlane of Bearsden, of Bearsden in the District of Bearsden and Milngavie on 29 July 1991[1][3] and made a Knight of the Thistle in 1996.[4] He retired from the House of Lords on 21 July 2016.[5]

On 23 February 2007 Lord MacFarlane received the Freedom of the City of Glasgow at a ceremony in the Glasgow City Chambers by Lord Provost Liz Cameron. The Lord Provost said "I am delighted to present our highest civic honour to one of our greatest Glaswegians. Lord Macfarlane has achieved a great deal in his own life, and done so much for his home city and country in the fields of business, commerce, the arts and charity. Lord Macfarlane’s devotion to Glasgow is perhaps summed up by his tireless work as the Chairman of the Kelvingrove Refurbishment Appeal, where his inspirational work for refurbishment of our most beloved building resulted in the huge sum of £12.75 million being donated to Kelvingrove. His support for Glasgow has been unstinting, and it has been wonderful to work with him. He is a most deserving recipient of the Freedom of the City of Glasgow".

- The Entrepreneurial Exchange Award 1995 - St Mungo Award 2005 - Goodman Business Award 2008 - Business and the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award 2010

Positions Held[edit]

He has held a number of commercial positions, including:

  • Director, Edinburgh Fund Managers plc 1980-1997;
  • Chair, Glasgow Development Agency (Formerly Glasgow Action) 1985-1992;
  • Director, Clydesdale Bank plc 1980-96, Deputy Chair 1993-1996;
  • Director, General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation 1984-1996;
  • Chair, American Trust plc 1984-1997,
  • Chair, United Distillers UK plc 1987-1996, Hon. Life President 1996-,
  • Chair, Guinness plc 1987-89, Joint Deputy Chair, 1989-92. (He was the first Scottish Chairman).
  • Honorary life president of Diageo
  • Director Fine Art Society plc (1976–98).

He was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1992, 1993 and 1997.[1]

He has also held a number of important positions in Glasgow and Scotland’s 'arts and cultural community:

  • Vice-Chairman of the Scottish Ballet
  • Director of the Scottish National Orchestra
  • President of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts
  • Member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland
  • Director of the Third Eye Centre
  • Scottish Patron of the National Art Collection Fund
  • Governor of Glasgow Arts School
  • Honorary life President, The High School of Glasgow
  • Chairman of Kelvingrove Refurbishment Appeal
  • Chairman Culture and Sport, Glasgow
  • Trusteeship of the National Galleries of Scotland (1986–97)
  • Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund (with Bridget McConnell)
  • President of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society
  • Patron of Queen's Park FC
  • Vice-president of the Professional Golfers' Association
  • Patron Scottish Licensed Trade Assoc (1992-)
  • Hon. life memb Scottish Football League 2006
  • President Royal Glasgow Inst of the Fine Arts (1976–87)
  • Freeman of Dumfries and Galloway 2006, City of Glasgow 2007
  • Member of Glasgow Art Club since 1969 [6]

Honorary Degrees Hon LLD: Univ of Strathclyde 1986 Univ of Glasgow 1988 Glasgow Caledonian Univ 1993 Univ of Aberdeen 1995 Hon DUniv Stirling 1992 Dr (hc) Univ of Edinburgh 1992 CCMI (CIMgt 1996) Hon RSA 1987 Hon RGI 1987 Hon FRIAS 1984 Hon FScotvec 1991 FRSE 1991 Hon FRCPGlas 1992