McCune Smith

Saturday 07 December 9am – 5pm | McCune Smith Cafe

McCune Smith is a joint venture between two brothers, Dan and Simon. They grew up on a farm in the Hebrides where growing vegetables and home cooking are a way of life. They wanted McCune Smith to reflect their upbringing, serving artisan food that showcased Scotland’s larder and used ethical ingredients. With this in mind for their café’s menu, it was perhaps natural to turn to Scotland’s fertile history for its name. Though there are few visual reminders, McCune Smith is situated in the historic heart of Glasgow. It was on the slave walk with the historian Stephen Mullen that Dan stopped at the site of ‘Old College’ (1451-1878).

Philosophers such as James Watt and Adam Smith had made it the centre of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ as an aside Stephen also remarked about a distinguished physician who graduated in 1837 from ‘Old College’ as the first African American to achieve a medical degree. James McCune Smith’s legacy much like the area where he had studied has been largely overlooked until recently. An influential abolitionist, he was buried in an unmarked grave by his pale skinned children, to escape racial prejudice. For Dan, he embodies many of the positive and negative aspects of Glasgow’s history and like ‘Old College’ deserves to be celebrated.