Letters of John Wilson (1800-1849), Scottish vocalist

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-870
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2 letters, 1 fragment. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Gen. 2042/100-102

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: a letter from Wilson to William Dixon, Milton of Aberfoyle, near Doune, Perthshire, 1840, and is concerned with money matters; a letter from Gower Street from Wilson to 'My dear sir' apologising for not coming 'this evening, for I have been seized with such a hoarseness that I cannot attempt to sing or even speak'; and, a signed fragment.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish vocalist, John Wilson, was born in Edinburgh on 25 December 1800. At the age of ten he was apprenticed to a printing firm and later worked with the city firm of Ballantynes. He showed an early liking for music which he was able to study, and he sang in church choirs in Edinburgh. He began to devote himself entirely to the teaching of music and to giving concerts, and he studied singing in Edinburgh and in London. In 1830 he appeared in the opera Guy Mannering and in other work at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. He then directed himself towards Scottish song and he appeared before Queen Victoria at Taymouth Castle in 1842. He also took his Scottish entertainment to North America and John Wilson died in Quebec, Canada, on 8 July 1849.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Stephen (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 21. Whichcord-Zuylestein. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.