GovanitesNotable GovanitesMargaret MacLean Profile

Margaret MacLean J.P. (Retired)

Margaret was born on the 23rd of October, 1938 and resided at 191 Langlands Road, Govan with her late parents Charles and Margaret Johnstone.

She attended Greenfield School then Govan High and on leaving school started work in the Employers’ Liability Assurance Company and eventually married the Boss’s son Duncan in 1962, setting-up house in Cardonald their son Alasdair was born in 1968.

When Alasdair started school Margaret took on part time work – always with a Social and Community service alignment – including secretarial work at the Summerton Centre and the Community Centre ( formerly Broomloan Road School ) Her voluntary work utilised her talents – with teaching certificates in dancing (Tap, Ballet, Highland and National she made these skills available to the young members of Greenfield Youth Cub where she also taught Music and Singing.

Throughout her life Margaret has been involved in various activities and voluntary organisations in the Govan area and beyond. When John Hall, owner of Govan Music House became Chairman of the Govan Fair Association (GFA), which at one time raised thousands of pounds each year for the local hospitals, he invited Margaret to take over as Honorary Secretary in 1974.

When John suddenly passed away in 1979 Vice Chairman Derek Neilson took over and at the following AGM Margaret was voted in as the first lady Chairman, which caused quite a stir as women in general were just beginning to have important roles in various organisations. Margaret’s husband Duncan took over the Secretary’s position.

There were many highlights throughout the years that Margaret recalls about her time as Chairman and also as Secretary. Firstly when she received a phone call in 1977 inviting her to organize a Mini – Govan Fair Parade at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. Govan Fair Queen and Maids, Cardonald Church BB Pipe Band, Crookston Majorettes. Fairfield Shipbuilders and many other groups were bussed through to Edinburgh to take part in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Parade with the Queen and Prince Philip in attendance.

In 1988 when the Garden Festival was held once again the GFA were honoured to have the Govan Fair Queen and Maids included in the programme of events. The Govan Fair Queen Deborah Anderson was crowned Festival Queen which was an honour not only for Deborah but also for the Govan fair Association.

Glasgow’s Social Work Dept contacted Margaret and invited her to organize and Chair a group of women from Govan to visit Malmo in Sweden. This group consisted of ten women from different backgrounds and employment from the Govan area. They were all given hospitality by members of the Malmo Group. It was a wonderful experience for everyone. Margaret had to present a gift from the Lord Provost of Glasgow to the Mayor of Malmo who only spoke a few words of English. Likewise Margaret wasn’t fluent in Swedish, but said a few words of thanks in Swedish. And the Mayor only said in English – Glasgow is where Pritz is playing for Rangers.!!

As far as Margaret is concerned the most important act she did whilst Chairman of the GFA is when she spearheaded a Campaign to "Save the Name of Govan" when the "Boundary Commission" were proposing to change it’s name. Margaret got up a petition through the auspices of the GFA and spoke at the hearing. Thanks to the support from various organisations, the local community and former Govanites the "Name of Govan" was saved.

In 1983 and 1984 she was runner up in the "Scotswoman of the Year Award" organized by the Evening Times. They were held in the City Chambers and both were memorable occasions. And in recognition of her contribution to the Community throughout her voluntary work she received “The Govan Person of the Year Award” in 1984 an accolade sponsored by the Govan Rotary Club and the Govan Post.

Margaret decided to retire from the Govan Fair in 1992 after eighteen years service and was delighted to be given the title of Honorary Member. Although Margaret retired from the GFA. she still carried on with her voluntary work and fund raising. Many well known Charities benefited from her fund raising through her various projects. Absailing down the viaduct at Lochearnhead. Walking on Hot Coals outside the BBC Studio. Driving a Fire Engine, a Tank, a Crane and a Jeep at Perth Aerodrome, and many more events too many to mention.

As well as being involved in the GFA activities Margaret was a Member of the Children’s Panel for many years and was also for eight years a member of the Health Council for the South West Glasgow Area and Convenor of the Pharmaceutical Sub Committee of that Council.

In1983 Margaret was delighted when she was appointed a bench sitting Justice of the Peace in the Glasgow Courts and also a Member of the Justices Committee. She retired in 2007 as Justices have to retire at 70 years of age.

When it comes to keeping busy Margaret has a few tricks up her sleeve; it all began on 1958 when she was booked to appear in the Scottish Conjurers Annual Magical and Variety Show in the Lyric Theatre playing her accordion. One of the other acts David Haggarty," alias Prince Rajah" a professional Magician, who had just won the World Shield for manipulation at Eastbourne required an assistant, and Margaret fitted the bill perfectly.

Her first appearance with David was in November, 1958 on the Stars in Your Eyes Show on STV TV presented by Ray Purdie. David, his brother Bill and friend Hugh Gillies did a Chinese act and at the end floated Margaret in mid air. They did not win but came in third. Following that appearance Margaret has worked professionally on her own as a Musician and a Magician aswell as working with David since 1958 . She has toured all over Scotland and England and worked in Schools, Hotels, Theatres. Summer seasons in Butlins and many various holiday resorts over the years, including the Glasgow Garden Festival for the whole six months.

Margaret felt at times that if she just left her rabbits and doves in a room with the children they would enjoy the animals without her entertaining them. Margaret appeared on the bill with Johnny Beattie, on many occasions and also with other well known artists throughout the years.

She was a full time Magician from 1985 and retired in 2008 although she still does charity shows and the occasional show for family and friends.

Margaret has been a member of Paisley Magic Circle since 1986 and served as Secretary from 1990 until 2000, she was also honoured to be the first lady President of the club in 1994 - 1995 and served in the dual role of both President and Secretary from 1994 until 1995 a role repeated from 2008 until 2011. Margaret was also awarded Hon. Life Vice President in 2002 followed by Hon. Life President in 2011, she is also past President of the Scottish Association of Magical Societies, the umbrella organization of all the Magical Societies in Scotland.

In 1992 she was awarded one of the top awards "The Murray Wand" at the Kirkcaldy SAMS Convention for Showmanship and Entertainment for doing a "Princess Rajah" act impersonating "Prince Rajah" complete, it has been said with gun.

A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians since 1988 .She was also a Committee member for four years, and is still a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund. In 1990 she also joined the "British Assembly of Magigals" the organisation founded by the wife of Harry Houdini for the wives and female assistants of magicians, and was its President in 2005.

When the Magic Circle in London first decided to allow women to become members of the Circle in 1990 Debbie McGhee was the first English woman to be admitted and Margaret was the first Scottish woman. Enrolled officially as a "Member of the Magic Circle" her classification was changed in November 1996 to "Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star". She is also the regional Representative and Examiner for Scotland and is kept busy interviewing prospective members.

Margaret is a member and Past President of Renfrew and Govan Inner Wheel, which is open to wives and partners of Rotary Members.

She has been a member of Equity for many years and has appeared on TV shows such as High Road, Taggart, Justice Game, Rab C. Nesbitt, Tutti Frutti, High Living and many more too numerous to mention.

Margaret has led a very active life and really appreciates that this could not have been done without the help and understanding of her husband Duncan and son Alasdair who themselves also lead very busy lives.

Although Margaret has travelled extensively no matter where she goes she is always proud to let everyone know "ACUMFAEGOVAN"

Margaret MacLean J.P.
Personal Information
Full Name
Margaret E. MacLean
(née Johnstone)
Date of birth 23rd October 1938
Place of Birth Govan, Glasgow, Scotland
Career J.P. (Ret.), Entertainer & Actor

Honours & Awards
Scotswoman of the Year (Runner-up)
The Govan Person of the Year Award
Hon. Member of Govan Fair Assoc.
1992 -
The Murray Wand for Showmanship
Hon. Life Pres. of Paisley Magic Circle
2011 -