Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,160 pages of information and 245,627 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.

Caird and Co

From Graces Guide
1828 engine for PS Industry at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow, 2016
1828 engine for PS Industry
Caird slotting machine
1912. Greenock.

Caird and Co, engineers and ship builders, of Greenock

Formerly Anderson, Caird and Co

1828 Company established as an engineering business by John Caird who obtained an order to re-engine the Clyde paddle vessel PS Industry.[1]

c.1831 James Tennant Caird began his apprenticeship with the firm

Supplied engines for the Manchester, owned by the Burns line, operating a service between Glasgow and Liverpool; their outdoor foreman found out from a friend working at Boulton and Watt that the engine could be adjusted to work the steam expansively, which gave the ship an edge over its rival with a Napier engine.[2]

1838 John Scott Russell was appointed general manager.

1840 After winning an order of four ships for the Royal Mail Steam Packet, Caird and Co moved into shipbuilding in 1840, and went on to become one of the most well known shipbuilding companies ever. The company began making large paddlers for various companies along with smaller Clyde paddlers.

1840-1 Built four locomotives for Scottish railways. [3]

1847 Machine tools including punching and shearing machines and slotting machines (see illustration of slotting machine); Marine steam engine of 145 hp. [4]

1852 Forty-five ton crane at Greenock Harbour. [5]

1852 Engines for the West India Mail-Packets. [6]

1862 Acquired part of the Greenock yard of Scotts (presumably this refers to Westburn)

1865 See 1865 Clyde Shipbuilders for detail of the tonnage produced.

1867 Vacated the Mid-Cartsdyke yard as the company had already taken over the Westburn East yard.

1871 Took over the Westburn West yard. As of 1870 P. & O. was the main customer for the yard, for whom it built 85 ships. The yard enjoyed an exclusive relationship with P. & O., but also built liners for many other companies too. In between all of this, the yard also managed to build an iron sailing ship and a small number of steam yachts in the 1880s.

1888 James Caird died. He had already brought his four sons Patrick, William, Arthur and Robert into the company. One of the first things they did was to turn the Company into a limited liability one. The yard continued making liners and passenger ships throughout the 1880s. The company was registered on 19 December, to take over the business of the firm of the same name, engineers and shipbuilders. [7]

1889 See 1889 Shipbuilding Statistics for detail of the tonnage produced.

1890-1914 The yard built over 32 liners for P. & O.'s long haul routes which was its main output.

1894 Details of the Caledonia [8]

WWI The yard built fast patrol boats, and small vessels for the Admiralty as well as completing a number of repair and conversion contracts. In addition 10 war standard ships were built: three "A" types, five "B" types and two "AO" type tankers.

1915 Robert Caird died in December.

1915 The Company was taken over by Harland and Wolff. Arthur and Patrick Caird remained as directors, and the Caird name remained in use until 1922.

1919 Many changes occurred as Harland and Wolff extended their interests into surrounding yards and expanded the capacity of the yard. At this point in time the yard employed over 2000 workers.

1920s The slump in orders meant that the planned rate of expansion slowed, and was eventually suspended. However, the yard was still able to build larger vessels, and did this throughout the 1920s.

1925 See Aberconway for information on shipbuilding h.p produced in 1904 and 1925.

1926 No ships were launched from the yard in 1926.

1927 Only four ships launched.

1928 One ship launched.

1935 Due to falling orders, the yard stopped shipbuilding and was sold to National Shipbuilders Security. The north-western side of the yard is still in existence today, and is a warehouse area for the Greenock Container terminal.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  2. The Engineer 187/01/29
  3. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  4. Engineer and Machinist's Assistant 1847. p199 and others with illustrations LI, LVII, LIX, LXI, LXII, LXIII
  5. The Imperial Journal 1852 Volume II. p403
  6. The Imperial Journal 1852 Volume II. p452
  7. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  8. The Engineer of 14th December 1894 p523, p525, p527-8, p531
  • National Records of Scotland BT2/1811
  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)