Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona
Born: 06 Aug, 1820
Died: 21 Jan, 1914
Field: Philanthropist
Location in the Abbey: Nave
Type of memorial: Window
Type of material: Glass

In the nave of Westminster Abbey is a stained glass window to the memory of Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona, philanthropist. The window was designed by Sir J.Ninian Comper and dedicated on 1 July 1919. It is one of a series in the north aisle depicting kings of England and abbots of Westminster which serve as memorials to engineers and others. The figures in this window show Richard II and Abbot Nicholas Litlyngton, both of whom were concerned in the building of the present nave of the church. At the base is the inscription:

"In memory of Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. B.1820. A great Canadian imperialist and philanthropist. D.1914"

The coats of arms of Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company are shown, together with those of the universities of Aberdeen and McGill. The shields of Manitoba and Quebec also appear, with Strathcona's personal arms and the regimental badges of 'Strathcona's Horse' (Royal Canadians) and the 'Liverpool Scottish' (The King's).

Donald was born at Forres in Scotland on 6 August 1820, a son of Alexander Smith and his wife Barbara. In 1838 he emigrated to Canada to work for the Hudson's Bay Company. He married Isabella Hardisty in 1853 and they had a daughter Margaret. Now chief trader in the Company he moved to Labrador and then to Montreal. He played a prominent part in the pacification of the Red River uprising and became a politician. By now he was a rich man and became Governor of the Company in 1889 and had many business interests including the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1886 he was knighted and created Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal of Glencoe and Colonsay in 1897. The regiment he funded and which was named after him fought in the South African War. He died in London on 21 January 1914. His funeral was held at the Abbey and he is buried in Highgate cemetery.

A photo of the window can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

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