Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Orr Ewing and Co

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c.1830 Turkey-red goods were manufactured at Croftingea Works.

After the death of the manufacturer, John Orr Ewing and a friend leased the works in partnership.

1834/5 Started Turkey-red dyeing and printing as John Orr Ewing & Co

John Orr Ewing built a major factory and multi-process textile operation around the old Croftingea works.

1845 The business was so lucrative that John Orr Ewing was able to retire. He sold the business to his partner, Mr. Robert Alexander, retaining ownership of the works.

The business was renamed Robert Alexander & Co.

By 1860, the business was failing. Ewing took over again.

John Orr Ewing owned factories on the west bank of the Leven, while his brother and competitor, Archibald, owned factories on the east bank.

1878 John continued to manage his business until his death in 1878.

By 1886 John Orr Ewing and Co was one of 3 firms, all in the Vale of Leven, who dominated the Turkey-red dying trade in Scotland; between them they employed 7000 hands and annually produced 5.5 million pieces of cloth, and nearly twenty million pounds of yarn.

1898 United Turkey Red Co was incorporated through the amalgamation of the Dunbartonshire Turkey-red dyeing firms of John Orr Ewing and Co at Alexandria, Archibald Orr Ewing and Co at Levenfield, and William Stirling and Sons at Dalquhurn and Cordale.

Apart from some alterations in the period 1880-1900, and the inclusion of the Charleston Engraving Works when the United Turkey Red Co was formed, Alexandria Works retained the same layout until its closure in 1960.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Glasgow Men [1]
  • Vale of Leven Industry [2]