Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Stirling and Sons

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of Dalquhurn and Cordale

c.1723 Company founded

1770 Finding that labour was too expensive at Dalsholm, William moved his printfield to Cordale on the banks of the Leven, where took his sons, Andrew, John, and James, into partnership.

1777 William died but left a business in fine shaper.

1783 the first Turkey-red work in Great Britain was started at Barrowfield by David Dale and George Macintosh.

1790 The Stirling company opened Croftingea Works, further up the River Leven from their other works, as a bleaching field.

1791 the Stirlings, by arrangement with their relative Walter, acquired Dalquhurn bleaching works

1827 The first commercially successful Turkey red dye was made and used at Croftingea by Turnbull and Co. This laid the foundation for the success of the Vale of Leven for the rest of the 19th Century as the centre for the bleaching, dyeing and printing industry in Scotland, with markets from India to Africa, as well as Europe.

1828 William Stirling and Sons began dyeing with Turkey-red at Dalquhurn. Mr Dale, the Monteiths, and the Stirlings were responsible for the earliest development of cotton manufacturing and Turkey-red dyeing in the area.

1846 John Matheson joined William Stirling & Sons

1857 Matheson took charge at the works on the Leven.

1860 Croftingea and Levenfield were amalgamated to form Alexandria Works.

By 1886 Stirlings 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 The United Turkey Red Co was incorporated through the amalgamation of the Dunbartonshire Turkey-red dyeing firms of John Orr Ewing and Co, Archibald Orr Ewing and Co and William Stirling and Sons.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Glasgow Men [1], [2]
  • Vale of Leven Industry [3], [