Dr. William Inglis Clark

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William Inglis Clark

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Bombay, India
Death: 1932 (76)
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Thomas Grieve Clark and Margaret Grace Inglis
Husband of Jane Isabella Shannon
Father of Charles Inglis Clark and Mabel Inglis Clark
Brother of Thomas S Inglis Clark

Occupation: Chemist who was involved in innovations in ink manufacture, and also a pioneer of colour photography.
Managed by: Private User
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About Dr. William Inglis Clark

William Inglis Clark (Edinburgh man) was born in Bombay, India, in 1856 where his father was minister of the Scots Church. After his mother died of cholera William returned to Edinburgh aged one year, accompanied by his older brother.

Aged nine he made a night ascent of Goatfell on Arran with his brother, to watch the sunrise.

His uncle, Charles Simson Clark had climbed Ben Nevis at least 45 times and was probably influential in his nephew William's mountaineering development.

Clark entered Edinburgh University to study chemistry, gaining a D.Sc. before he was 21, having to wait until that age before he could be formally "capped". He left academia to work in the lab of Messrs Duncan Flockhart and Co. later becoming a partner.

Clark worked out a method for encapsulating ill-tasting drugs, also inventing the machinery necessary to produce the capsules. As a wealthy citizen of Edinburgh, he was able to purchase that city's first motorcar, possessing the registration S1, which he passed this on to Lord Kingsburgh, the 1st President of the Automobile Association and instead used the next registration, S2, for his own use. This he had placed on an Arrol-Johnston "dog-cart". In Switzerland, he was stopped and fined for driving at 9 m.p.h.

Clark joined the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) in 1895 becoming Secretary for 11 years and President from 1914-19, covering the years of the Great War. He had a great interest in photography, experimenting in colour. The SMC Journal for 1909 published several of his colour prints.

Clark was a very competent mountaineer and seconding Raeburn in 1902, along with his wife Jane, he made the second ascent, and first Scottish ascent, of Crowberry Ridge Direct, then the hardest rock climb in Scotland. His wife Jane became the 1st President of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club.

The Clarks had two children; a daughter, Mabel, who became President of the LSCC in it's 21st year and Charles, who would also a mountaineer and SMC member. Charles was killed in 1919, in the dying months of World War I, in what is now modern Iraq. He was buried outside Baghdad. The Clarks paid for the building of the SMC hut on Ben Nevis as a memorial to their son, - Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut. It was finished in 1929, with the formal opening on April 1st. The Inglis Clarks went up by pony the day before.

William Inglis Clark had a happy family life. After his death his wife Jane wrote a book on their gardens. He died in 1932.

Finest Moments:

  • 1st Ascent Raeburn's Arete (30th June 1902);
  • 2nd ascent Crowberry Ridge Direct (1902);
  • Inventor drug capsules;
  • many good photographs, including first colour photographs published in the SMC Journal

Bibliography: ‘Ben Nevis – Britain’s Highest Mountain’, Ken Crocket (1986, Scottish Mountaineering Trust); Clark, W.I., 'New Climbs on Ben Nevis', SMCJ 7, 199-211, 1903; Clark, W.I., 'Photography in Colour for Mountaineers', SMCJ 10, 294-306, 1909; In Memoriam - William Inglis Clark', SMCJ 20, 3-7, 1933.

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Dr. William Inglis Clark's Timeline

Age 33
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland UK
Age 76
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland UK