Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Simons and Co

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1887. Dredger Dolphin.
1890. Stern well hopper dredger.
1897. Suction Pump Dredger "Octopus" for the Natal Government.
1899. Steam dredger Devolant.
1900. La Puissante.
1903. Clyde dredger, Craigiehall.
1905. 750 ton steam dredger.
1909. Sand pump dredger and pipeline at Rangoon.
1909. View along the pipe from the dredger.
1909. Dredger at work.
December 1929.
1959. Fish Factory Trawler "Fairtry II"

William Simons and Co Ltd, ship and dredger builders, of Renfrew, Scotland. W. Simons and Co built engines for ships.

1810 Shipbuilding company established[1] by a member of the Simons family of Greenock family, on a site later occupied by the Victoria Harbour[2]

1819 The Fingal was built by the company in Greenock; it had 100 horse-power engine, of 202 tons, for the Belfast trade.

1822 William Simons was born

After William Simons had succeeded to a share in the business, he transferred the yard to Whiteinch.

c.1860 The business moved again to London Works, Renfrew.

1860 Andrew Brown became a partner in the business.

The business then concentrated on making dredgers.

1862 William Simons wrote to The Engineer regarding his patents on armour ships, a model of which had been in the exhibition[3]

1886 Andrew Brown became the controlling partner of William Simons and Co, a major dredger builder. Andrew Brown managed the yard along with William Simons, Junior and Walter Simons; he was a respected designer of dredging equipment. Brown's innovations led to a long association with the Clyde Navigation Trust.

1888 Built the steel screw steamer 'Trieste C'. [4]

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

1895 the business was converted into a private limited company

1900 The business was constituted as a limited-liability company, Mr. Brown becoming managing director.

1900 Stern Well Hopper Dredger. Details and illustration in The Engineer. [5] The company was registered on 11 December, to acquire the business of shipbuilders and engineers of a company of the same name. [6]

1901 First minute books and ledgers in archive[7].

1902. Death of William Simons, founder. By this time over 420 vessels have been built by the firm since its foundation, most at Renfrew.[8]

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

1957 The Simons yard was taken over by the Weir Group in 1957 who then went on to buy out Lobnitz and Co's yard in 1959.

1959 Formation of Simons-Lobnitz

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1893 Advert
  2. The Engineer 1902/10/31
  3. The Engineer 1862/10/31
  4. The Engineer of 25th May 1888 p421
  5. The Engineer of 7th September 1900 p230 & p240
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. Ship Building, Ship Repair and Allied Industries: Sources at University of Glasgow [1]
  8. The Engineer 1902/10/31
  • L. A. Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
  • John Shields, Clyde Built: A history of Shipbuilding on the River Clyde (1949)
  • Fred M. Walker, Song of the Clyde: A History of Clyde Shipbuilding (2001)