Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,024 pages of information and 229,410 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Brown (1850-1929)

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

William Brown (1850-1929) of William Simons and Co

son of Andrew Brown

1929 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM BROWN, C.B.E., spent the whole of his engineering career with the shipbuilding firm of Messrs. William Simon and Company of Renfrew, of which his father was a partner.

He was born in Glasgow in 1850 and after attending the engineering course at Glasgow University under Professor Macquorn Rankine, he entered the firm in 1866 as an apprentice and became assistant manager of the engineering department in 1872, and four years later was appointed manager.

In 1888 he became a partner, and upon the conversion of the firm into a limited liability company he was elected a director.

On the death of his father in 1907 he became chairman and managing director of the company, a position which he continued to hold until his death on 24th December 1929.

Mr. Brown became a Member of the Institution in 1888. For fourteen years he represented the burgh of Renfrew on the Clyde Navigation Trust.

1930 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM BROWN, an Original Member of the Institute, died on December 24, 1929, at the age of seventy-nine.

He was born in Glasgow, and was educated at Renfrew and Paisley Grammar Schools and at the University of Glasgow. He began his apprenticeship in 1866 in the Engineering Department of Messrs. William Simons & Co., of Renfrew, and was appointed Assistant Manager of this department in 1872, and Manager in 1876.

He was taken into partnership in 1888, and was elected a Director when the firm was converted into a limited liability company in 1900.

He became Chairman and Managing Director in 1907, which position he held until his death. He identified himself very closely with the development of all types of marine dredging plant, particularly suction dredges, and in the adaptation of this type of dredge for working in clay, or similar materials.

He patented a number of devices for increasing the efficiency of such machinery, and was responsible for the designing of the dredging plant originally used at Durban, Natal, and for a large number used at various ports in India.

Mr. Brown was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Naval Architects, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, and contributed to the Proceedings of the first and last named. He interested himself in public affairs at Renfrew, and represented the Renfrew Town Council on the Clyde Navigation Trust for a great number of years.

In 1918 the honour of Commander of the British Empire was conferred on him in recognition of his war services, and he was presented with the Freedom of the Burgh of Renfrew in 1923.

1930 Obituary[3]


The death of Mr. William Brown, which took place on December 24, will be deeply deplored in shipbuilding circles generally, and particularly on the Clyde. His association with the film of [[William Simons and Co|Messrs. William Simons and Company, Limited, of Renfrew, commenced with his apprenticeship in 1866, and continued throughout his life.

He was born in Glasgow in 1850, and, after receiving his early education at the Renfrew and Paisley Grammar Schools, entered Glasgow University, where he had the good fortune to be under Professor Rankine. He remained with Messrs. Simons on completion of his apprenticeship, and became assistant manager on the engineering side in 1872. Twelve years later, he was made a partner, a position already occupied by his father. On the death of the latter in 1907, Mr. Brown was elected chairman and managing director of the company, which position he retained to the time of his death. The work of the firm during the period of his directorship is too well known to require repetition. Mr. Brown was deeply interested in the civic life of Renfrew, and was a Town Councillor of the Borough and a magistrate for over 30 years. He was also associated with the work of a number of benevolent institutions. He was a Freeman of the Borough of Renfrew, and became a Commander of the British Empire in 1918, in virtue of his war services. He was also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Naval Architects, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland."

See Also


Sources of Information