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Sheriff David Smith

David Buchanan Smith (1936–2015)

Margaret A Mackay


David Smith, a valued member of the wide advisory group for Scottish Language Dictionaries, passed away towards the end of 2015 after a distinguished career in Scotland's legal profession. Paisley-born, he first gained an MA in classics at the University of Glasgow, followed by an LLB at the University of Edinburgh, where he acted as a tutor from 1964 to 1972. He was called to the bar in 1961 and served from 1975 to 2001 as sheriff for North Strathclyde at Kilmarnock.

His interests included Scottish history, the Scots language, architecture, early music, and the outdoors, and he was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. But his great passion was for curling and its history. He gathered a large collection of old curling stones, photographs, medals and other memorabilia which contributed in a major way to exhibitions on the sport in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Lausanne. His definitive book Curling: An Illustrated History (1981) and his articles in many publications form a lasting legacy for all with an interest in curling in Scotland, in the Scottish diaspora, and beyond.

Staff of SLD and before SLD, those who worked on A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) or The Scottish National Dictionary knew that they could always call on David Smith for help not only on matters relating to curling and sport but also to Scots law and language. His communications would be memorable as well as erudite and we will always be grateful for his interest in and support of our work.