Robert Binning (1817-1894)

First name:
Second name:
Date of birth:
Date of death:
Occupation type(s):

Merchant and Commission Agent

Business interests in the following firms:

No obituary or other biographial account of Robert Binning's life has yet been identified, so information presented here has been gleaned from newspapers, directories, and other secondary sources.

The 1841 census lists Robert Binning (age 24) as resident at the home of George Miller (age 45) in Silverhill, Bothwell, along with Jane Miller (aged 20). By 1851 Robert Binning (age 33) and Jane Binning (age 30) (nee Miller?) were living at 8 Royal Terrace Glasgow, and by 1861, Robert and Jane had moved to Dowanhill Gardens and had a family of three boys and six girls.

From about 1855 to 1863, Robert Binning was a partner in the long-established firm of George Miller & Company, asphalte and tar distillers of Rumford Street Chemical Works, Glasgow. Until 1857, he was also partner in the firm of John Miller & Company (in which George Miller's brother was principal) of Sandilands Chemical Works, Aberdeen. The court action after Robert Binning's death in 1894 (see snippet) showed a continuing business link with the Miller Family.

By 1863 time Robert Binning and his son John Binning (born c.1845) had formed the firm of Robert Binning & Son, proprietors of Blochairn Chemical Works. Tars and imported petroleums were refined at Blochairn, but increasingly the business focussed on the refining of Scottish paraffin, and a national network of sales offices and agents was established.

In about 1870, Robert and John Binning, along with Thomas Inglis Scott (born c.1852, son of James Scott), formed the Clippens Shale Oil Company and began construction of Clippens Oil Works. Both Robert and John Binning retired from this partnership in 1876. Robert Binning continued to be listed in trade directories as "Merchant and Commission Agent" until his death in 1895.

Robert Binning lived for most of his working life in Dowanhill, Glasgow, and was active in local life, at one time organising a programme of popular lectures in Partick. He served as Honorary President of the Scottish Mineral OIl Association in 1873.


Directory Entries

RESIDENCE listings for Robert Binning in Glasgow Post Office Directories

  • Binning, Robert, of George Miller & Co; house, 1, St. James' terrace, Great Western road (1855)
  • Binning, Robert, of George Miller & Co; house, 3, St. James' terrace, Great Western road (1856-58)
  • Binning, Robert, of George Miller & Co; house, Albert terrace, Dowanhill gardens. (1859-63)
  • Binning, Robert (of Robert Binning & Son), house, Dowanhill gardens (1864-68)
  • Binning, Robert (of Robert Binning & Son), house, 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill (1869-70)
  • Binning, Robert (of Clippens Shale Oil Co.), house, 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill (1871-76)
  • Binning, Robert, merchant and commission agent, 116 St Vincent St., house 2, Princes Terrace, Dowanhill (1877-95)

RESIDENCE listings for John Binning in Glasgow Post Office Directories

  • Binning, John (of Robert Binning & Son), house, Dowanhill gardens (1866-68)
  • Binning, John (of Robert Binning & Son), house, 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill (1869-70)
  • No entry
  • Binning, John, (of Clippens Shale Oil Co.), residence, Clippens House, Renfrewshire (1872-74)
  • Binning, John (of Clippens Shale Oil Co.), house, 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill (1875-76)

Births, Marriages, and Deaths

  • BIRTHS. At Dowanhill Gardens, Glasgow, on 11th inst, Mrs Robert Binning; a daughter. Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, 13th December 1862
  • DEATHS At Dowanhill Gardens Glasgow on 27th Ultimo, Jane Miller , wife of Mr Robert Binning. Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, 3rd January 1863
  • MARRIAGE, At St. Peter's Church, Belsize Park, London, on the 18th inst., by the Rev. Arthur Tremlett, M.A., incumbent, Robert Binning, Esq., merchant, Glasgow, to Janet, daughter of the late Robert Blyth, Esq., merchant, Edinburgh. The Glasgow Herald, 19th January 1866
  • DEATHS, At Dowanhill Gardens, on the 26th inst., Robert Blyth, youngest son of Robert Binning - Friends will please accept this intimation. The Glasgow Herald, 27th May 1868
  • MARRIAGES. At 2, Princes terrace Downhill Glasgow on 8th inst by the Rev Robert John Sandeman. WILLIAM LAURENCE YOUNG, Solicitor and banker, Auchterader to JANE MILLER, second daughter of Robert Binning Esq. Dundee Courier, 12 January 1872
  • All parties having CLAIMS against the Deceased ROBERT BINNING, Merchant, of 157 West George St Glasgow, who resided at No.2 Princes Terrace Dowanhill, are requested to lodge same with the subscriptions within 14 days from this date. The Glasgow Herald 27th November 1895

Newspaper References

POPULAR LECTURES, PARTICK,- This course was resumed after the holidays by Robert Binning, who delivered a very instructive lecture on Thursday evening last on " Coal and its Products." Mr Binning exhibited and described a very interesting collection of the products, and also a variety of lamps for burning paraffin oils and oil gas of the most ingenious construction. The lecture was at once very interesting and highly instructive, and was duly appreciated by a large and intelligent audience. Provost Arthur discharged the duties of chairman with his usual urbanity.

The Glasgow Herald, 9th January 1869


VALUATION APPEAL COURT, The first case was an appeal by the assessor against the valuation fixed by the Commissioners on the house of Mr Robert Binning, at 2 Prince's Terrace, Dowanhill, Glasgow. The valuation was entered on the roll at £175, and the Commissioners on appeal reduced the a amount at £135.

The Glasgow Herald, 5th February 1872


Court of Session (Before Lord STORMONTH-DARLING.) BINNING V. MILLER. Evidence was to have been led in an action at the instance of Norah Binning, 2 Prince's Terrace, Dowanhill. Glasgow, against John Miller, manufacturing chemist, Aberdeeen, and another, the trustees of the late George Miller, Wingfield, Bothwell. for declarator that the pursuer was entitled to payment of two sums of £900 and £163 12s 8d from the estate of the late George Miller. The defenders said that the estate in their hands was insufficient to pay the legacies owing to a depreciation in its value. The pursuer contended that if the trust estate was not now sufficient to meet her claims through losses as Insufficient securities, these losses were due to the fault of the trustees. It was intimated that the action had been settled.

The Glasgow Herald, 24th October 1894