the Violet
David Lindsay's birthdate & place

As there are only two major sources of biographical information about David Lindsay (Pick's "Sketch" and Sellin's Life & Works) small mistakes tend to propagate. One of these is David Lindsay's birth year, which Pick at one point gives as 1878. 1878 goes on to appear in many references, but elsewhere Pick gives 1876. Sellin gives 1876. A little online genealogical research (thanks Garen!) reveals that 1876 is the proper date of David Lindsay's birth. As a sample, I've included, below, an entry from the 1881 census for the Lindsay household:

1881 census entry for Dunedin Villa, Lewisham, Kent
Name Age Birthplace Occupation
Alexander LINDSAY 42 Edinburgh commercial clerk
Elizabeth LINDSAY 40 Leamington, Warwickshire
Alexander LINDSAY 11 Lewisham, Kent
Margaret LINDSAY 7 Lewisham, Kent
David LINDSAY 5 Lewisham, Kent
Annie M. LOUGHLIN 16 Greenwich, Kent domestic servant

David Lindsay's birthplace is occasionally given as Scotland. Gary K Wolfe, for instance, in his Starmont Reader's Guide, says that Lindsay was born at "Blackheath in Scotland" (though in the same book's timeline, Wolfe says Lindsay was born at "Blackheath, a suburb of London"). Although Alan Moore has fun with the confusion in his introduction to the Savoy edition of Arcturus, this is an error. Lindsay's birth certificate gives the correct details (he was born in Lewisham village, which is near Blackheath village but not part of it — his parents were, however, living on a road called Blackheath Rise). I'm not even sure if there is a Blackheath in Scotland.

© Murray Ewing 2014