Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Greenock Dockyard Co

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1959. "Clan Maciver".
1959.One of Four travelling monotower cranes.

The Mid-Cartsdyke (Greenock) Dockyard was owned by the agents of Clan Line Steamers between 1918 and 1966. This period is considered to be a golden period for shipbuilding and in particular for the Greenock yard with its association with Clan Line.

1900 The yard had been owned by Russell and Co who sold it in 1900 to the Grangemouth Dockyard Co which changed its name to the Grangemouth and Greenock Dockyard Co

1900s The yard made ships for a number of Spanish, Dutch, British and German companies. Great Lakes steamers, barques and triple expansion steam tramps were the core output, with colliers also a significant feature of the yard.

From 1903 the yard began building tankers; ten were built between 1908 and 1914.

1911 Twin-screw refrigerated meat steamer 'El Zarate'. Full details in The Engineer.[1]

WWI The yard continued building steam tramps and two oilers for the Admiralty, along with coasters and tramps.

1918 The Mid-Cartsdyke yard was bought by Cayzer, Irvine and Co who were the managers of Clan Line of Glasgow. The yard's name was changed to the Greenock Dockyard Co. The yard went on to build over 65 Clan Line cargo-liners.

1920s In the early 20s the yard suffered (as many others) due to the freight slump. The yard managed to fulfil orders for passenger ships, steam tramps and a tanker.

No ships were launched in 1923, and only three vessels were launched the following year.

Mid 1920s, business looked up with eight tankers, two coasters and three tramps being built. In the late 20s, the yard was used extensively by Clan Line to build up its own fleet.

1930s The yard was closed for the first half of the 1930s due to The Depression. The company swapped its Mid-Cartsdyke yard with the Cartsdyke East yard of Scotts. The workforce moved to the new yard and began building liners for Clan Line again. Eleven cargo-liners were also completed at the yard prior to the outbreak of World War II.

WWII Ten cargo liners were completed by the yard, two of which were used by the Admiralty. Additional orders were made for five standard "Empire" tramps, and three standard refrigerated "Empire" cargo-liners.

Throughout the late 40s and early 50s, the yard focused on rebuilding itself after bomb damage and also built a number of large ships for the sugar importers and refineries of the Lyle family. In addition, many ships were brought into the yard to be repaired following the War.

1950s Once again the yard returned to making cargo-liners for Clan Line and also for Union-Castle Line as these former rivals were merged into a new company: The British and Commonwealth Shipping Group. In the post-war period (1946-1956) the Dockyard made 43 cargo-liners.

1958 September. The Clan MacIver, a standard Clan Line five-hold tween deck cargo ship, with a 5 cylinder Doxford engine, nearly capsized in the James Watt dock, but this was averted by quick thinking technicians and divers who emptied out the dock and then realigned her.

Throughout the 50s, the yard also made a number of tankers.

1960s The Cartsdyke East yard was modernised between 1958 and 1964.

1966 April 1st The yard was merged with the Cartsburn yard of Scotts where it became a key part of Scotts' history.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss