Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,094 pages of information and 235,418 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

1956 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

From Graces Guide

Note: This is a sub-section of 1956 Institution of Mechanical Engineers


Atlas Steel Foundry and Engineering Co

Incorporated in May 1912 the Atlas Steel Foundry and Engineering Co., Ltd., commenced production of steel castings in January 1913, catering at that time for general engineering work rather than for high-pressure castings which are now a speciality. After the 1914-18 war a completely new foundry building was completed. This building houses the moulding, melting, and rough-dressing processes. The buildings cover a floor area of 142,750 sq. ft. on a site area of 27 acres.

A modernization programme effected in 1947 resulted in an open-hearth Siemens acid furnace being superseded by two electric-arc furnaces, a 10-ton E.F.C.O., and a 3-ton Birlec. Hydroblast and Wheelabrator plants were also installed as were modern annealing and heat-treatment furnaces, the former being oil-fired and the latter utilizing town gas as the heating medium.

The inspection department, under whose supervision repairs are effected by electric welding, has facilities for acid pickling, magnetic crack-detecting, and radiography. A small machine shop is available for rough machining, but the major proportion of output is black castings.

Castings up to 8.5 tons in weight are in regular production in plain carbon and alloy steels. The first turbine cylinder was manufactured in 1918, and now the firm are amongst the largest producers in Britain of such castings for power plants. They also have a good connexion with main marine engine builders.

Production of these specialized castings does not lend itself to mechanization and thus there is a high percentage of skilled craftsmen in the 350 personnel employed.


D. Ballantyne Brothers and Co

In 1921, the parent company, D. Ballantyne Brothers and Co., Ltd., started a small hosiery department to manufacture men's golf hose. The venture was a big success and gradually its scope was extended to include the manufacture of men's pullovers and ladies' sweaters, largely from cashmere yarn. Now the firm's 520 employees manufacture exclusively men's and ladies' cashmere knitwear.

Cashmere, the hair of Tibetan goats, is imported from China, Russia, and Persia. In its raw state, the fleece contains long black hairs and a process of de-hairing is necessary before it can be spun into yarn. Most of the yarn is spun by the parent company at their spinning mill in Innerleithen.

Today very little cashmere is released for sale in the home market, and most of the firm's products are sent to the United States, Canada, Australia, Bermuda, and Europe.

The woollen trade is one of the oldest industries in Scotland. In 1666 the small colony of hand-loom weavers at Galashiels founded themselves into a corporate body and William Balantin, from whom the present Directors trace their descent, was a member of this corporation.

Caerlee Mill at Innerleithen was the first mill to be erected in the Borders. It was built in 1786 by Alexander Brodie, and later was rented by Henry Ballantyne (1802-65), and passed into the hands of this firm in 1901.


John Bartholomew and Son Ltd

The Edinburgh Geographical Institute is situated on the south side of the city. The building was opened in 1911, the front façade, with classical columns, having been re-erected from a demolished mansion house in the district. In 1924 and 1935 two extensions were completed.

The name Bartholomew has long been associated with the making of maps; not only from the printing and publishing side, but for research into and for the co-ordination of the many specialized services that go to the making of a modern cartographic establishment. The firm carries out all operations of map production, from compilation and drawing to engraving and photographing, and from printing to folding, binding, and despatch. All these stages are carried on under the one roof, with a staff of some 120 persons and up-to-date machinery and equipment. Each department works as a self-contained unit, necessitating a high degree of planning and co-operation.

Publications include the Half-Inch Series of Great Britain, notable as being the first national map series to make use of layer colouring on a topographic scale. The range of atlases produced is of world-wide importance and is headed by two international editions of The Times Atlas (1922 and 1955).


Bertrams Ltd

The colourful craft of papermaking, known in China for nearly two thousand years, reached Britain only 350 years ago. Paper was made by hand until the time of the French revolution when Louis Robert, a Frenchman, invented a machine to make it in a continuous sheet. The invention was acquired by wealthy British stationers, the brothers Fourdrinier. The first workable machine was constructed for them by Bryan Donkin in 1804.

In 1821 two Scots engineers, William and George Bertram, started in a small way to construct paper-mill machinery and their venture was the beginning of the company now known as Bertrams, Ltd.

During the 135 years of their existence, Bertrams have supplied machines to every country where paper is made. Papermaking machinery is a highly specialized branch of engineering and in Britain only five firms have the knowledge and equipment to construct the complex machines. Two of them being Bertrams, Ltd., and their associates, James Bertram and Son, Ltd.

In addition to the papermaking machine itself there is a variety of preparatory plant for processing the fibre or material from which the paper is to be made.

The ever-increasing demand for paper and the high price of raw materials has intensified the search for indigenous fibres and Bertrams, Ltd., are constantly testing samples sent from all over the world to assess their papermaking qualities.


Brown Brothers and Co Ltd

About ninety years ago Mr. A. Betts Brown established a factory on the present site, producing general engineering equipment, but specializing in all classes of hydraulic machinery. In 1881, Mr. Brown invented the direct-acting steam-tiller steering gear and the hydraulic steering telemotors.

The works, which include a non-ferrous foundry, now extend to an area of about 7 acres, normally employing about 1,000 employees.

Brown Brothers are designers, and in collaboration with Wm. Denny and Brothers and Messrs. Muirhead, producers of Gyro Control of the Denny—Brown Ship Stabilizer, manufacture at Rosebank Iron Works the complete stabilizer, 190 sets of which have been or are being installed in ships of all displacements.

Since 1942 this company has been the sole producers of catapults for launching aircraft from ships of the British Navy, and have supplied and are now building their latest design of steam catapult for the British, American, French, and The Royal Netherlands Navies.

Their latest production is the manufacture and supply, to ships of the British Commonwealth, of the Voith Schneider Propeller.

The family name has been carried on through generations. Mr. A. Betts Brown, followed by his sons, and now his grandson Mr. A. Betts Brown is a Technical Director.


Bruce Peebles and Co Ltd

Bruce Peebles and Co., Ltd., were formed in 1902 to continue the work of an establishment formed in 1866 by David Bruce Peebles. The site covers 20 acres with over 250,000 sq. ft. of works floor area, comprising a rotating electrical plant shop, transformer shop, and welding shop. The company employs 1,500 workpeople.

Manufacturing activities range from heavy rotating plant for the generation and conversion of electrical energy and high-voltage transformers for bulk transmission of power, to industrial electric motors. Research and development play an important role in the manufacture of these products.

In 1904 the company engineered the 10,000-h.p. hydroelectric Snowdon Scheme in North Wales. Contracts for power plants of up to 35,000 h.p. are being undertaken, including a 25,000-kVA. vertical unit for the St. Fillans project of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.

Large-power transformers are manufactured to 150,000 kVA. in size. The testing plant includes a 1,800,000-volt impulse generator extensively used for research work on transformers and for impulse testing of completed transformers.

Tanks, oil coolers, and steelwork in general are dealt with in the large welding shop.


Brunton's (Musselburgh) Ltd

Brunton’s (Musselburgh), Ltd., was founded as W. N. Brunton in 1870 at Musselburgh. The company has 1,200 employees and the works cover an area of 14.5 acres. The company are makers of all classes of high-grade steel wire, all types of wire rope, cold-rolled steel strip and shapes, including turbine blading and machined parts.

In 1892 the original 2.5 per cent nickel alloy steel was first drawn into wire by Brunton's, Ltd., and in 1913 stainless steel wire was first commercially produced by them.

A separate building houses a well-equipped research laboratory, with a 100-ton tensile testing machine.

The firm are also makers of fatigue testing machines for wire and metals.


Alex Cowan and Sons Ltd

The first mill was built at Valleyfield in 1709 by a Mrs. Anderson, the widow of a King's printer, and herself King's printer until her patent expired in 1712. During the next seventy years it passed through various hands before being purchased by Charles Cowan in 1779. In 1810 it was sold to the Government and was used as a prison for French prisoners of war. The mill was eventually bought back by Alexander Cowan in 1820, since when it has been in continuous production.

The first esparto paper produced in Scotland was made at Valleyfield in 1860, and patents were taken out for the recovery of esparto lye in 1864.

Many improvements have been made over the years and, at the present time, the mill consists of 4 paper machines and 7 coating machines making over 200 tons of paper a week. Esparto grass, rags, and wood pulp are the main raw materials used, and the highest grade rag and esparto writing and printing papers, tub-sized bonds and ledger papers, coated papers and bank-note paper are produced, as well as many special qualities for industrial purposes.

In recent years a modern water and effluent treatment plant has been installed, and new high-pressure boiler plant is in course of erection.

In addition to its Valleyfield mill, the company also operates envelope and commercial stationery factories in Edinburgh, London, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, and Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand. In the United Kingdom and in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the company owns substantial paper-merchanting organizations.


Dobbie and Co Ltd

Dobbie’s Melville Nurseries, situated near Dalkeith, and about 6 miles south of Edinburgh, extend to about 70 acres.

The frontage, nearly 1 mile long, reveals to passing traffic a glorious blaze of colour from the many thousands of plants.

The nurseries were established by Dobbie and Co., Ltd., in 1934. Their construction and layout allow for the growing and handling of plants in a most efficient manner. They are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and special facilities can be arranged for parties to be conducted round them.

The nurseries include a widely representative collection of all types of plants and shrubs. About 250,000 roses, and a similar quantity of dahlias, are grown annually. In addition, there are many acres of plants. The large modern range of glasshouses is mainly devoted to the production of chrysanthemums.


W. and M. Duncan Ltd

The firm of W. and M. Duncan, Ltd., which was established nearly 100 years ago, started manufacture of sugar confectionery in a small factory on the present site in the year 1895, and at the turn of the century started the manufacture of Duncan Hazelnut Chocolate.

Relative to its home sales, the company does an exceptionally large volume of business in hard currency areas, particularly in the United States of America and in Canada.

The factory, with its gardens, canteen, and ancillary services, occupies a site covering some 4.5 acres. A new boiler house has recently been erected and a warehouse, laid out on the most modern lines, is served by power-operated conveyors.

While most processes are fully mechanized, there remains scope for the long established skill of the confectioner, and many of the company's most successful products are manufactured in the 'craftsman' tradition.

A well-equipped laboratory and experimental section ensure that quality is continually under control and that the most modern manufacturing techniques are constantly available.


Edinburgh and Leith Flint Glass Works

The works cover an area of 0.9 acre and there are 170 employees.

Edinburgh crystal glass over eighty years has become famous for table ware. It is all hand made, but with modern scientific aids.

The brilliancy of the glass is maintained by scientific determination of the composition of the ingredients and the use of finest quality pots for melting.

Craftsmen in groups round the melting furnace perform various operations to fashion articles with very few simple tools and great dexterity and precision.

After fashioning and annealing each article is subjected to polarized light to reveal flaws.

Modern acid polishing has replaced the old process of using wood or cork wheels and putty powder.


Ferranti Ltd

The Edinburgh factory of Ferranti, Ltd., was built in 1943 to manufacture gyroscopic gunsights for aircraft. Since 1945 considerable expansion has taken place to keep pace with increasing production, and in addition to gunsights, electronic and radar equipment, small transformers and precision components are now manufactured.

In October 1954, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh opened a new laboratory block which is one of the largest and most modern research establishments in Scotland. This building also houses drawing offices, a library, and the standards laboratory together with model shops and the other service departments. A climatic test room has also been provided to enable equipment to be tested over a wide range of simulated atmospheric conditions.

There are four main fields of research and development:

The Instrument and Fire Control Laboratory. This laboratory is concerned with the design and development of complete fire-control systems and related components such as gyroscopes and precision potentiometers.

The Radar Laboratory. This laboratory deals with ground and airborne radar projects for service and civil airline use. In addition, specialist groups cover particular aspects of radar systems including transmitters, receivers, and aerials.

Applications Laboratory. This laboratory covers the application of electronic techniques to industrial processes. The major project at the present time is the electronic control of machine tools.

The Vacuum Physics Laboratory. This laboratory develops specialized valves for radar and communications. Special investigations are being conducted on transmit—receive cells and ceramic envelope valves.


Gibson and Lumgair Ltd

The firm of Gibson and Lumgair, Ltd., makers of Yarrowvale woollen fabrics, commenced activities in 1882 at Galashiels, and twelve years later transferred to Selkirk, where it still operates. The modern single-storey buildings permit continuous flow of production from yarn to finished cloth eliminating unnecessary handling.

In 1945 a new weaving shed was added with modern high-speed Swiss and American machines. Automatic looms and simultaneous scouring and milling machines, a new cropping machine which displaces three older ones, and a rotary press replacing a hydraulic one and an overhead runway have been installed.

The employees have excellent amenities, and a nursery is provided for the children of mothers working in the mill.


Grangemouth Refinery

Grangemouth Refinery, which stands on a 500-acre site on the south bank of the river Forth, began operations in 1924, and prior to 1939 was processing 400,000 tons per annum of imported crude oil.

In 1949 The British Petroleum Co., Ltd. (then Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., Ltd.), started construction of a greatly enlarged refinery to process Middle East crude oils in Scotland. An unloading terminal was constructed at Finnart, on Loch Long, from which the crude oil is pumped to Grangemouth through a 57-mile pipeline.

The installation included new process units for crude oil distillation, vacuum distillation, catalytic cracking, catalytic polymerization, sulphur production, and chemical treatments. A new boiler house and power station were built to provide steam and power for the refinery, and also for the adjacent factories of British Hydrocarbon Chemicals, Ltd., and its associated concerns. The programme involved the expenditure of some £15,000,000, and raised the capacity from 400,000 to 2,200,000 tons per annum of crude oil.

Products include liquid gas (propane and butane), motor gasolines, kerosines, tractor vaporizing oil, Diesel oils, fuel oils, and sulphur. Petroleum-chemicals feedstocks are also produced for British Hydrocarbon Chemicals, Ltd.

The tank farm, in which crude oil and refined products are stored, occupies a site of 100 acres. Despatches are made by road, rail and sea; tankers of up to 12,000 tons capacity being accommodated at two nearby jetties.


Harland Engineering Co Ltd

The Alloa works of The Harland Engineering Co., Ltd., are situated on the north bank of the river Forth mid-way between Edinburgh and Glasgow. They cover an area of 14 acres and have 1,150 employees.

Since 1903, when the original factory was built, the works have been extended for the manufacture of centrifugal pumps, electric motors and generators, water turbines, and rotovalves.

During the years immediately following the 1939-45 war a great deal of urgently needed expansion work was completed.

The apparent intermingling of hydraulic and electrical plant is well catered for by separate design staffs, each fully experienced in its sphere, working in unison to produce complete electrical and/or hydraulic plant. In particular hydroelectric, borehole, and submersible pumping plant. For thermal power stations compensated boiler feed-pump sets have achieved success, and complete hydroelectric plant is manufactured for water power schemes. A high-pressure nozzle for the hydraulic removal of scale from steel and other metals, electric drives for the paper and plastic industries, electrically driven pumping plant for water-works and municipal engineering, and a rotary plug valve for controlling water and other fluids are among the items produced.


Heather Mills Co Ltd

The mills were first founded under the name of Sim and Co. in 1890 by Robert Sim, who was for several years Provost of Selkirk. The name was changed to Heather Mills Co. in 1897, and to Heather Mills Co., Ltd., in 1932.

The present Chairman, Mr. W. Dickson Smith, is a grand-nephew of the founder. He is also joint Managing Director.

The company owns three mills in Selkirk: Whinfield Mill, where the spinning of the yarn is carried out; Heather Mill, where the weaving and finishing processes take place; and Bridgehaugh Mill which houses the designing and pattern departments together with the dyehouse. These mills are grouped together along the bank of the River Ettrick which joins the River Tweed a few miles from Selkirk.

The London Office, Wareroom, and Showrooms are at 30 Sackville Street, W.1, which is reputed to be the onetime home of Lady Hamilton.

From Sheep's Back to Wearer's Back. The following extract from a works record, dated Selkirk 15th June 1897 must have been the world's record time for making a suit:

  • Shearing, scouring, dyeing, carding, and spinning, 2 hr. 20 min.
  • Warping, weaving, milling, and finishing, 3 hr. 15 min.
  • Tailoring, 2 hr. 20 min.
  • Wool shorn from the Cheviot sheep belonging to Messrs. Pringle, Philiphaugh.
  • Warping, weaving, milling, and finishing, Messrs. Sim and Co., Bridgehaugh Mill.
  • Total from shearing sheep until suit being worn, 7 hr. 55 min.


In 1821, two years after the death of James Watt, there was established the Edinburgh School of Arts. This was the first institution of its kind in Great Britain, founded with the express purpose of giving education in the principles of science to mechanics and artisans, and led to the establishment of 'Mechanics' Institutes' throughout Britain.

In 1854 the school, established in a rented house in Adam Square, was purchased as a memorial to James Watt, a bronze statue of whom was erected in front of the building. The name was changed to the Watt Institution and School of Arts, thus becoming Edinburgh's memorial to the great engineer.

At this time the Heriot Trust had been growing rich by the feuing of lands on the north side of the town. It is the Trust responsible for the administration of George Heriot's School in accordance with the will of its founder, George Heriot, jeweller to King James VI of Scotland and I of England.

In 1886 an Educational Endowments Commission made the Heriot Trust responsible for the finance and management of the Watt Institution, which from this time became known as the Heriot-Watt College. Full-time day courses in Engineering and Chemistry were instituted under the Principal, Sir Francis Grant Ogilvie, who later became Director of the Science Museum at South Kensington. The first lecturer in Engineering was Sir Alfred Ewing, subsequently Principal of Edinburgh University.

The present governing body was brought into being by Act of Parliament in 1928 and is representative of the Town Council, the University, the Heriot-Trust, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Chamber of Commerce, and both sides of industry.

The College, now affiliated to the University of Edinburgh, is a Central Institution under the Scottish Education Department. New extensions in progress will accommodate the Department of Chemical Technology of the University and also the College Department of Chemical Engineering.


H. M. Dockyard, Rosyth

H.M. Dockyard, Rosyth, is the youngest of the Home Royal Dockyards and whilst construction was not begun until 1909, history records that Rosyth has been associated with the King's Ships since Malcolm III.

The enormous task of reclaiming from the Forth the 550 acres on which the Dockyard stands was completed in 1916. The Dockyard reverted to a care and maintenance basis in 1926 and in 1939 the labour force was only 1,670 employees. During the intervening years the only activity at Rosyth had been the breaking up of ships of the German Grand Fleet salvaged from Scapa Flow and a number of H.M. Ships and commercial vessels. By the end of the 1939-45 war some 10,000 workpeople were employed and 3,000 vessels of all types had been taken in hand for repair. The present number of workpeople is about 6,500. Extensive workshop modernization and building is now under way. Rosyth is the first Royal Dockyard to provide a modern building for the sole purpose of training 1st Year Apprentices and a hostel for them.

The Dockyard has a main basin of 55 acres with three dry docks each 850 feet long by 110 feet wide and with two small floating docks, the larger capable of docking a destroyer. The docks and basin are served by seventeen fixed and travelling cranes, including a 250-ton cantilever crane. Several of the older steam travelling cranes have been replaced by 10-ton Diesel-electric cranes and the steam locomotives by Diesel shunting engines.

The main workshop bays have a total floor area of about 300,000 sq. ft. and include shipwright, engineering, and electrical shops and associated trades.



Grangemouth Works is one of seven factories operated by the Dyestuffs Division of I.C.I., Ltd.

Although, thanks to the genius of William Henry Perkin, Britain led the world in the early years of synthetic dyestuffs, by 1914 Germany had established a hold on the dyestuffs industry of the world, and during the 1914-18 war British dyers were cut off from their principal source of supply, particularly of the fast high-quality dyestuffs developed by intensive German research.

James Morton formed a company and, despite lack of experience and difficulties in obtaining chemical plant, production commenced within a few months at Carlisle. By 1919 the company had been so successful that the site at Grangemouth was bought. During the critical years of 1920-21, Scottish Dyes, Ltd., kept going, and by 1927 had won an important place in the dyestuffs world. In 1926, the firm became part of Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., and the production of fast anthraquinone vat dyes was concentrated at Grangemouth. Notable contributions to dyestuffs chemistry have been the discovery of Caledon Jade Green, the first really fast green dyestuff ever made, and Monaural Fast Blue, a pigment of remarkable brilliance and exceptional fastness.

During the 1939-45 war, in addition to dyestuffs of all types, colours for smokes and signalling, and, from 1942 onwards, synthetic drugs, were made.

The wartime anti-malarial Mepacrine has been superseded by Paludrine. Many other important medicinals, such as Sulphamezathine, have been added to the wide range of chemicals now made at Grangemouth.

A high-pressure boiler plant and power station provide the works with process steam and electrical power.


Jenners Ltd

Jenners, Ltd., occupies an imposing building of six storeys directly opposite the Scott Monument.

When, in 1838, two young men, Kennington and Jenner, opened at 47 Princes Street their 'New establishment with every prevailing British and Parisian fashion in silks, shawls, and fancy dresses', there were still living Edinburgh folk who could remember when Princes Street was called the `Lang Dyke', and when there was a loch where the railway now runs through Princes Street Gardens.

Almost at once the sturdy little corner shop that had established itself in this then residential street, became recognized as an exclusive centre of fashion for the ladies of the 'New Town'. In the 1890's a fire completely destroyed the growing premises, but Jenners were able to take advantage of the disaster by building the existing fine store as an affirmation of their successful past and an act of faith in their future.

Jenners is now not only recognized as one of Scotland's leading fashion authorities, but is also esteemed for its fine furniture and furnishings, china and glass, good clothes for men and boys, tweeds and dress materials.

The Overseas Visitors Shop is a mecca for tourists from abroad, for not only the men and women of Edinburgh but people from all parts of the world recognize that this long-established Scottish business has marched with the times and still is 'the well-dressed woman's favourite shop'.


Lyle and Scott Ltd

Lyle and Scott, Ltd., founded in the year 1874 by Mr. William Lyle and Mr. Walter Scott, produced wool underwear.

Today there are 650 female and 225 male employees, and the production is divided into two divisions:

(1) Knitwear Division. This division produces knitwear for women and men, from pure cashmere, lambs-wool which is now obtained from Australian and South African Merino and Geelong lambs, botany wool from Australian Merino sheep, and Shetland wool.

(2) Underwear Division. This division makes men's and boys' underwear mainly from cotton, but also from stretch nylon, wool and nylon, and rayon.

The knitting industry was located in Hawick during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because the rivers Teviot and Slitrig gave reasonably good clean water, Cheviot wool, which was then used, was available in sufficient quantity locally and power woollen spinning had begun in Hawick, giving the Cheviot woollen spun yarn used by the industry.

Knitting on hand frames was started in Hawick in 1771 by Baillie John Hardy.

The company has good welfare and social activities. All first-year apprentices attend the Technical School for approximately 6 hours per week during working hours, and also attend evening classes.


William McEwan and Co Ltd

Mr. William McEwan founded the Fountain Brewery 100 years ago in a country district adjoining Edinburgh, and formed a Public Company in 1889. His brewery is one of the large and important breweries in Great Britain with an output at peak periods exceeding half a million gallons per week. Originally Australia, New Zealand, and India were the main overseas markets but now McEwan's is shipped to Canada, Belgium, and the West Indies, is found in ships' bars all over the world and recently a consignment was sent to Russia. The home trade covers Scotland and the North of England. Malting and brewing is carried out in Edinburgh but beer is bottled by them in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Eight domed boiling coppers 14 feet in diameter are electrically controlled. The cooler room and vessel are both entirely of stainless steel.

The cask cleaning system is perfect.

The mechanical handling of casks is comprehensive in the bulk beer maturation cellars which have a floor area of 4.25 acres, and the high-speed bottle washing, filling, crowning, pasteurizing, and labelling machinery is highly automatic.

In the bottling departments beer is matured in hundreds of glass-lined tanks of 2,000 gallons capacity.

All process heating is carried out by steam supplied from a new and efficient boiler plant.

A Royal Warrant of Appointment to supply the Royal Household, first granted in 1925, is still in force.


Munrospun Ltd

This firm was established in 1880 (as Munro and Company) by William Munro to manufacture homespun tweeds, Shetland knitwear, and fancy hosiery. The world-famous Argyle Sock was originated by this firm in 1895.

The present factory at Restalrig was built in 1897. The firm pioneered knitted outerwear for women, using the finest woollen yarns. Cashmere was first introduced by them in 1902.

The New York Office was first opened in 1920, and in 1925 the firm began the manufacture of women's ready-to-wear tweed costumes, coats, and skirts. There are now three factories (Edinburgh, Leeds, and London) making this clothing which is exported to many foreign markets. Around 1930 the firm began to produce Munro-spun hand knitting wools and Munro-spun ties.

During the 1939-45 war the firm produced over 1 million yards of cloth by Tweed Division (Galashiels) and 3 million knitted garments at Restalrig.

It has since reverted to production of twin sets of delicate cashmere. Other fine yarns in use are alpaca, Shetland, and lambs-wool in full colour ranges, mostly for export.

Plant used at the factory includes modern high-speed multiple knitting types and hand frames employed on intricate intarsia designs.

In 1950 the firm joined with the Thistle Foundation for disabled ex-servicemen in an interesting experiment, and today these men produce hosiery, hose tops, and tartan hose for Scottish regiments.


National Coal Board

The Newbattle Group adjacent to Newtongrange, Midlothian, consists of three collieries, Easthouses, Lingerwood, and Lady Victoria, situated on the eastern outcrop of the Lime Stone Coal Measures. The coal won from these three collieries is transported to a central screening plant where it is prepared for the market and loaded into railway wagons.

At Easthouses colliery the incline surface drift, 4,350 feet long with an average gradient of 1 in 2.2, is equipped with a double-drum-balanced rope haulage. Coal is won, from a seam known locally as the Great Seam, by modern machine methods and is transported to a central loading point underground where it is taken by mine cars, hauled by electric battery locomotives, to a tippler station underground. At the tippler station coal is also delivered by belt conveyor from another district and both lots are delivered on the surface by 9-ton monitor cars, whence together with coal delivered by the older method in another incline, it is loaded at the surface into 10-ton capacity cars for transport by Diesel locomotive to the central screening plant at Lady Victoria colliery.

At Lingerwood colliery the coal is also won by mechanical means and transported to the foot of a vertical shaft by endless rope haulage. At the top of the vertical shaft, mine tubs are handled by double-decked traverser equipment, to tipplers which empty the coal into a hopper from which it is fed by chain conveyor to a belt conveyor and so to the loading point into 10-ton cars which are hauled by Diesel locomotives to the central preparation plant at Lady Victoria.


Naval Construction Research Establishment

The Naval Construction Research Establishment was set up during the 1939-45 war. Its first tasks were to carry out researches on underwater explosions, and the best structural design features to resist such damage.

The work now dealt with also includes problems in longitudinal, transverse, and local strength; the special strength problems associated with the design of particular warship types, such as submarines and aircraft carriers; the strength of floating docks; and questions of wide application in ship structures such as the design of flat plates and plated grillages, plane and curved, to meet the various load conditions met in service.

In addition to structural and fitting workshops, instrument vessels, etc., there are universal testing machines of up to 500 tons' capacity; a unique testing frame; large capacity pulsators; a strong pressure chamber for hydrostatic tests; a welding development laboratory; and instrument, metallurgical, and mechanical testing laboratories. The testing frame can accommodate large structures and can apply push or pull loads up to 500 tons in practically any required position or direction.

The Establishment is administered by the Director of Naval Construction, and the most urgent investigations now in hand are associated with design problems in new construction, welding, brittle fracture, and the development of stronger steels.


Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

Over 150 years ago Thomas Nelson began publishing cheap editions of religious works such as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and popular reprints of standard classical works. When his two sons, William and Thomas, joined the firm great expansion took place and they began to manufacture their own books. When the Education Act of 1870 was passed Nelson's brought out their Royal Readers which gave them a world-wide reputation as publishers of school books.

In 1878 their factory in Hope Park was burnt down and the present building at Parkside, covering an area of 6 acres, was erected. Here every operation connected with book production takes place, from editing, setting the book in type, reproducing the illustrations, printing, folding, and binding the books ready for dispatch.

The first rotary machine ever made was the invention of Thomas Nelson II, and printers are indebted to the firm of Nelson for many other inventions.

Educational and academic publications are always kept in the forefront; Nelson volumes on scientific subjects, philosophy, and medieval history and Nelson Classics, Nelson Sevenpennies are known throughout the world.

Subsidiary firms have been set up in many parts of the world including Canada, Africa, and Australia.


North British Locomotive Co Ltd

North British Locomotive Co. Ltd., was formed in 1903 by the amalgamation of three firms, two of which date back more than 120 years to beginnings in Manchester and Glasgow respectively, and the third for over ninety years.

`Experiment' built in 1833 by Sharp, Roberts, later named Sharp Stewart (one of the constituent firms of North British Locomotive Company) was the first of nearly 28,000 locomotives which have been built by the company.

Within four years of the building of 'Experiment' the firm of Neilson and Co. was founded in Glasgow for the construction of marine and stationary engines, the first locomotive being made in 1843. The company moved in 1862 to Springburn to a new works designed entirely for locomotive production. This works, Hyde Park, is one of the three establishments of the present company.

In 1888 Sharp, Roberts and Co. moved from Manchester to join Neilson at the Clyde Locomotive Works, also in Springburn. This works, afterwards named 'Atlas', had been founded by Neilson a few years earlier.

Queens Park Works was founded in 1863 by Henry Dubs, who up to that time had been a partner in Neilson and Co.

In 1903 the three companies, Sharp Stewart, Nelson Reid (successors to Nelson and Co.), and Henry Dubs amalgamated to form North British Locomotive Co., Ltd., with Atlas and Hyde Park Works in Springburn and Queens Park Works in Polmadie. The three works in their present form have a covered floor space of more than 60 acres and in normal times employ about 5,000 workers.

The activities of the company have been broadened and in addition to all types of locomotive, steam, electric, gas turbine, Diesel electric, and Diesel hydraulic, they now produce N.B.L.—M.A.N. Diesel engines, N.B.L.—Voith hydraulic transmissions, 'Lima' excavators and shovels, and Pels' punching, cropping, and shearing machines.

The company's steel foundry is a separate organization situated at Renfrew.

A high percentage of the Diesel locomotives being built by the company are equipped with hydraulic transmissions made in Queens Park Works, including the 2,000-h.p. Diesel-hydraulic locomotives on order for the British Transport Commission, the largest of their type to be built in Britain.

Six years ago the company acquired a controlling interest in Henry Pels and Co. (Great Britain), Ltd. The present output from Queens Park Works includes seven types of punching, cropping, and shearing machines as well as guillotines of various sizes.


North British Rubber Co Ltd

In 1856 an American, Henry Lee Norris, established a factory at Castle Mills, Edinburgh, to manufacture footwear under the name of Norris and Co. In September of that year The North British Rubber Co. was established with Mr. Norris as its first Managing Director.

At a later date, belting and packing were made. The North British Rubber Co. being pioneers in the manufacture of belting. By 1868 the company was employing 600 operators and turning out a large variety of rubber products.

The invention of the first detachable pneumatic tyre by Mr. Bartlett in 1890 revolutionized the tyre industry. Mr. Bartlett, then General Manager of the company, took out the Bartlett - Clincher patent in October 1890 and in the following year the first detachable tyres in Great Britain had been produced at Castle Mills and offered for sale to the general public.

Over a million trench boots were made during the 1914=18 war. In the 1939-45 war the emphasis was on tyres, protective footwear, gas masks, civilian respirators, tubing, hose, and sponge rubber.

In 1946 additional factory space was acquired at Heathhall, Dumfries, where is now concentrated all footwear production, P.V.C. conveyor belting, rubber flooring, tank and pipe linings. There are 1,200 employees at Heathhall. At Castle Mills the number is around 2,700 with two manufacturing divisions, tyres and general mechanical parts.


Patons and Baldwins Ltd

Kilncraigs Mill was founded by John Paton, who set up in business as a spinner and dyer in 1813 or 1814. In 1906, the business was converted into a Private Limited Company, John Paton, Son and Co., Ltd., which in 1920 amalgamated with another old-established firm, J. and J. Baldwin and Partners, Ltd., of Halifax, to form Patons and Baldwins, Ltd.

Kilncraigs mill is on a site of approximately 10 acres, and has a floor area of about 800,000 sq. ft., with 1,700 employees. The output averages 50 tons of yarn per week. The majority of the mill buildings date from the latter half of the nineteenth and the early years of the present century. A programme of reconstruction is now in progress.

All electricity is generated by pass-out turbo-alternator sets, the pass-out steam being used for process purposes and for space heating. Electricity is also supplied by underground cable to the company's Clackmannan mill, 2 miles away.

Fleeces from all parts of the world are sorted into the various qualities of wool, and then blended to give the required properties in the finished yarn. Scouring, carding, and combing are carried out at the company's Darlington mill, and the wool is then returned to Alloa in the form of 'tops' for the drawing, roving, spinning, twisting, dyeing, winding, balling, and packing processes.

In addition to their range of hand-knitting yarns, the company produces hosiery yarns, manufacturing (machine knitting) yarns, and tweed yarns at Alloa.

The company has taken a leading part in developments in worsted machinery, in collaboration with machinery makers, and examples of the Raper Autoleveller Gill Box and Draw Box are in operation at Alloa.


Pringle of Scotland

For 200 years Hawick, on the borderlands of Scotland, has been the home of a thriving knitwear industry.

In 1815 at Hawick Robert Pringle established the firm now known as 'Pringle of Scotland'.

Since that date the firm has grown to be one of the leading manufacturers of fine quality cashmere sweaters, and the factory, which now stands on the banks of the river Teviot in Hawick, employs over 1,000 craftsmen.

Pringle sweaters are not mass produced. The inbred pride which the men and women of this factory have in their products is peculiarly individual. From designer to operator it is an ideal which each translates into perfection. Craftsmanship inherited from generations back puts confidence and skill into the hands of these present-day workers.

By far the biggest percentage of yarn used in the factory is pure cashmere, from Central Asia.

When this soft, warm, beautifully light fleece reaches the Pringle mill, already spun and dyed, it is made into the classic and fashionable sweaters which are sold throughout the world.


The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, now Crown property, was founded in the late seventeenth century and was originally called the Physick Garden. It is the second oldest Botanic Garden in Great Britain and was moved to its present site during the years 1820-23.

There is close connexion between the Royal Botanic Garden and Edinburgh University, and the University Botany Department classes are held in the laboratory there.

A three years' Course of Instruction in Horticulture is available for student gardeners, and some forty young men are at present taking the course.

The Royal Botanic Garden, situated on the north side of the city, is some 60 acres in area. It specializes in primulas and rhododendrons and has a large collection of rare plants from all parts of the world. In the plant houses there are collections of succulents, economic plants, orchids, ferns, insectivorous plants, and palms.


The Scotsman Publications Ltd

On printers, teleprinters, and teletypesetters the news of the world comes into The Scotsman from news agencies, foreign correspondents, and the London office. To it are added reports from all over Scotland gathered by its own reporters and local correspondents.

Sub-editors assess, arrange, check, and display this never-ceasing flow of information; leader-writers comment upon it; photographers illustrate it. This is all converted into lead type and etched blocks, and made up into skilfully arranged pages.

The flat pages of type are moulded in papier-maché, bent into a half cylinder and remoulded in metal again. The finished plates are bolted on to the rollers of the printing presses, inked and impressed upon a swiftly travelling web of paper. From the presses the finished paper emerges, cut and folded, and ready to be rushed to the despatching room where parcels are made up for all parts of Britain and sent out to the readers by train, aeroplane, and motor-van.

The process has been well described as a daily miracle. It involves the closest co-operation between many men and many machines. It is always performed against the clock. At the works of The Scotsman can be seen how it is done by a great daily newspaper that has pioneered many of the mechanical devices now used throughout Great Britain, and has the most up-to-date equipment and techniques.


Scottish Central Glass Works Ltd

In 1908 George Younger and Son, Ltd., Brewers, who had purchased their bottles from the Continent decided to build a bottle works to manufacture their own bottles.

A cooperage was reconstructed for the purpose, and the first glass furnace went into production in October 1908, using semi-automatic bottle-making machines. A second furnace was built in 1911 and a third in 1914.

In 1919 George Younger and Son, Ltd., with three other large Scottish breweries, formed the present limited liability company. A production shop was built with new gas-producer plant, regenerative glass-tank furnace and fully automatic bottle-making machinery. As the production increased the three semi-automatic shops were closed down one by one.

In 1948 another production shop was built with modern gas-producer regenerative-tank furnace and bottle-making machinery. When this shop came on to full production the old furnace was demolished and rebuilt on up-to-date lines and the plant completely modernized.

The output of the plant is over one million bottles per week, which is more than ten times the output from the works in 1908.


Portobello Power Station, South of Scotland Electricity Board

The first section of the station now owned by the South of Scotland Electricity Board was completed in 1923.

The first section consisted of three 12.5-MW. sets and six 80,000 lb. per hr. boilers. A fourth 12.5-MW. set and two 80,000 lb. per hr. boilers were added in 1926, two 31.25-MW. sets and eight 80,000 lb. per hr. boilers in 1929-31, and a further 30-MW. set and two 120,000 lb. per hr. boilers in 1938 making, with an old set transferred from a smaller station, a total installed capacity of 149 MW. The whole of this plant operated on a steam pressure of approximately 300 lb. per sq. in. gauge with the steam temperatures ranging from 650 to 750 deg. F.

In 1938 a ferro-concrete gantry was built to carry a flue, and also a 350-foot chimney to serve the whole station.

Cooling water is obtained from three sea shafts 1,500 feet out from the pump house adjacent to the Portobello beach, and water is returned through one large sea shaft to the seaward side the same distance off shore.

Later the original three 12.5-MW. turbo-alternators and the six boilers were replaced by two 60-MW. boiler-turbine units, of cross-compound construction.

The first boiler-turbine unit was installed in 1950 and the second in 1954. The steam conditions of these units are 1,350 lb. per sq. in. gauge, 950 deg. F., 29.1 inches vacuum, with 450 deg. F. regenerative feed-heating to give a yearly thermal efficiency of about 30 per cent, or about 1 lb. of coal per unit generated. For 1955 over 31 per cent thermal efficiency was obtained.

Work is proceeding on the installation of a third 60-MW. boiler-turbine unit, which will increase the present installed capacity of the station to 272.5 MW.


The Chair of Engineering at Edinburgh was established in 1868 as the result of a gift from Sir David Baxter, of Dundee, the first occupant being H. C. Fleeming Jenkin, who left a Chair at London University to take up the position. The donor made the first appointment (after which the Crown became the patron). Jenkin established a considerable school of engineering. At that time no practical instruction was given but this was remedied after the appointment in 1885 of Jenkin's successor, G. F. Armstrong, when laboratories were equipped on the ground floor of Old College. These were used until the beginning of the present century when the Department moved to High School Yards. Armstrong was followed in 1901 by Thomas Hudson Beare who held the Chair until 1940. In 1932, the Department moved to its present location at the King's Buildings site.

The undergraduate course is of three years, leading to the degree of B.Sc. in either Civil, Mechanical, or Electrical Engineering. There is a Post-graduate School of Electronics and Radio attached to the Department, and a similar school for Applied Dynamics is being instituted.

There are at present over two hundred undergraduate students in the Department, and the intake is increasing.

Research in the Department is concerned mainly with dynamical problems, and with electronics. Subjects of recent and current investigations include the following: vibrations of elastic bodies (beams, plates, cylinders); vibration of machine foundations on soil, and the related problem of a mass on an elastic stratum; the loose mass vibration absorber; flow in open channels; surge tanks; stresses in dams; heat exchange; gas discharges; electron-beam problems; ionospheric effects on radio propagation; servomechanisms; analogue computers.


George Younger and Son Ltd

The firm of George Younger and Son, Ltd., Brewers and Maltsters, of Alloa, was founded in 1762 and has remained continuously under the control of the Alloa Younger family until the present time.

Bottling operations have been carried out at Eglinton Bottling Stores since 1912. The company were the first to produce a brilliant non-sediment 'sparkling' bottled beer in 1890, the bottling operations being carried through in other premises.

The buildings at Eglinton have been extensively renovated and re-equipped during the past five years. The west wing houses beer conditioning room, cold room, filter room, brine room, refrigerating machine room, and boiler-house which was recently equipped with oil-fuel burners. The east wing houses bottle-washing machines, bottle-filling machines, pasteurizers, labelling machinery of the latest design, bottled beer storage room, and despatch bays for road and rail traffic.

The first bulk-liquid carbon-dioxide plant to be installed in Scotland was erected in the Bottling Stores in 1954.

Stainless-steel and glass-lined vessels with clear glass tubing as beer lines have been adopted to assist in the extensive efforts which have been made to maintain hygienic conditions throughout the process of preparing and bottling beers and stouts.


Wilson and Glenny Ltd

Over 140 years ago William Wilson, founder of the firm of Wilson and Glenny, began business in Hawick. From the beginning and throughout the past century the firm has progressed in the field of cloth making, and kept abreast with the changing conditions of design and quality demanded by the home and overseas markets. But vast reorganization has taken place in the mill during the past five years.

In planning the reorganization it was essential that each step should be integrated with the next, thus avoiding loss of production. Modifications made in the latest developments in wool and teazing and carding were used in the manufacture of the high quality yarn necessary for fine cloths. These changes have gained a weekly output of 50 per cent more yarn utilizing less than two-thirds of the existing machinery.

Spinning was improved, and today the mill is producing more with less spindleage.

These increases are not all due to speed alone. Standing time is gradually being beaten in the Wilson and Glenny Mill. Machinery is being substituted without any resultant waste of labour and dead-end jobs, formerly unavoidable, no longer exist. The new in-giving machine replaces the old process which was a perfect example of the dead-end job.

With the introduction of automatic looms, even in the high-class trade the weaver is able to attend to three and sometimes four looms.

To ensure that these looms were properly fed and serviced to give the output of which they are capable, the whole of the warp and weft winding was overhauled and the latest high-speed automatic machinery installed. This improvement resulted in the yarn being wound more perfectly and at a greater speed, and one worker being able to mind up to thirty-six spindles as opposed to eight to ten in the old method.

Other improvements in re-planning over the past three years include the rebuilding of the scouring and milling departments, giving automatic control of water and temperature. A new drying machine which is completely automatic, has brought considerable saving in operating costs and the folding and conveying of cloth from department to department.

New finishing rooms, where many of the final processes are done by hand, have been built. With the best possible light, both ordinary and artificial, the experienced and valuable craftswomen are now enabled to work under ideal conditions.


The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland was founded in 1909 and has a representative collection of animals from all over the world. It is famous for the beauty of its surroundings and the natural conditions under which animals are housed. The first successful hatching and rearing in captivity of a King Penguin in 1919 and of a Ringed Penguin in 1952 took place in the Zoo. There are more Penguins in the Edinburgh Zoo than in all other Zoos in the world. The Aquarium was a gift of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.

Fellowship, open to both ladies and gentlemen, carries many privileges, no scientific qualifications are required although provision is made for those who wish to study various aspects of animal life.

The Flower Gardens are of a high standard and parts are reserved for Fellows only; the whole Park being reserved for Fellows and their friends on Sunday mornings

See Also


Sources of Information