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David McLean

It was with the financial backing of David McClean that John Kelly was able to found the Lamson Store Service Company in the UK. Its first meeting was held at his home at Littlewood Park in 1888. He was one of the first directors and was elected chairman. His son, Alan McClean, remained on the board for sixty years and was also a member of parliament.

Aileen Fox was the grand-daughter of David McLean. She was born in 1907 as Aileen Mary Henderson. This is from her autobiography Aileen: the life of a pioneering archaeologist. (Leominster: Graceway, 2000)

p.2, My grandfather, David McLean, had been the first manager in Shanghai of the newly-founded Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, living in the colony from 1865 to 1873.

p.3, His most successful venture was backing a Mr Lamson, who had invented the Paragon [this is an error] overhead rail system widely used in shops. The shop assistant put the bill and the customer's money in a container shaped like a pepper grinder with a screwed-on lid, clipped this into a little hanging cage, pulled a cord and with a ping it travelled along the overhead wires to a central cash desk: the customer's change and receipt came back the same way. The system was eventually replaced by Lamson's pneumatic tubes which have only recently been superseded by the video screen and computer. This and other shrewd investments made the family fortunes...

David McLean married in June 1874 Elizabeth Manson... A consequence of marrying into an Aberdeenshire family was my grandfather's decision in 1884 to rent from the Forbes estate a small shooting lodge called Littlewood Park near Alford.


The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, holds three boxes of McLean's papers. The description gives this information:

David McLean was born on 4 February 1833 at Scotswall Farm near Dunfermline, Fife. At sixteen, he joined the National Bank of Scotland. In 1858 he took a post in the Far East with the Oriental Bank at Hong Kong and Shanghai... He died in June 1908.