Barclay Curle Limited

Company Number: SC001381
Date of Incorporation: 9 September 1884
Contact Details: George House, 50 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1RR
Operating Details: In liquidation
Other names (if known): Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd
Function of Company*: Building and repairing of ships (3511)
Headquarters/Base of Operations Location: Stobcross, Glasgow. Later moved to Appledore, Devon
Area of Operation: Operated shipyards along the Clyde, Birkenhead and Devon.

*Taken from Standard Industrial Classification 2003, as used by Companies House in 2010


Held By: Glasgow City Archives GB243/TD265, TD 205, TD 269


TD265: Minutes, 1860-1939; Financial records, 1881-1964; Elderslie plant registers, 1912-1931.Elderslie Dockyard: Summary capital accounts, 1959-1960; Material transfer books, 1954-1959; Labour transfer books, 1945-1963; Private wages book, 1921-1924. Clydeside Repairing Works: Labour transfer books, 1945-1963.Docking books, 1909-1974; DNA and MOWT records sheets, 1940-1944; Correspondence, 1902-1937; Records concerning shares, 1863-1912; Article concerning William Russell Ferguson, managing director of the company, 1910; Agreements and related papers, 1893-1934; Report and estimates concerning extension of present site or removal to another, 1918; Progress reports of Clydeholm shipyard, 1956-1967; Bills of sale, 1868-1904; Staff records, 1905-1917; Patents and renewals, 1911-1918; Records relating to use of motor vehicle at harbour, 1913-1918; Records concerning acquisition of further lands at Clydeholm, 1898-1913; Letters from A & J Inglis, John Elder & Co and Aitken & Mansel on timekeeping and wage rates, 1877; Reports of other companies including Scottish Temperance Life Assurance Co, Ramage & Ferguson Ltd, Richardsons, Westgarth & Co, The London Scottish Canadian Investment Syndicate, Silica Gel Ltd, Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, and commemorative pamphlet of laying of foundations stone of Lloyds new building, London, 1886-1927; Photograph album containing prints of engines, c 1924-c 1947; 'Ships and Shipbuilding', company photograph album, 1932; Engine plans, undated

TD205: Copies of details of ships, 1839-1970

TD269: Private Wage Books, 1871-1912

Conditions governing access/use: Open, usual Glasgow City Archive conditions

Related records: Glasgow City Archive GB 243 TD 232; Technical Drawings from Kelvingrove Art Gallery features technical drawings Barclay Curle 1860-1895
Some records held at The Caird Library, Manuscripts Section, The National Maritime Museum

Company History

The company was founded by Robert Barclay in 1818 at Whiteinch in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1862, the company built a large engineering works at Stobcross in Glasgow. It was incorporated in 1884 as Barclay Curle. In 1912, Barclay Curle acquired the nearby Elderslie Shipyard in Scotstoun from John Shearer & Sons, to take the excess orders that the firm's existing Clydeholm yard in Whiteinch could not handle. Barclay Curle itself was acquired in 1912 by Swan Hunter.

In 1913, the North British Diesel Engine Works was built at the company's Clydeholm Shipyard in Whiteinch, a seminal modernist building that was influenced by Peter Behrens' AEG turbine factory in Berlin and continues to stand today. In 1920 a large Titan Crane was constructed adjacent to the engine works at the Clydehom Yard by Sir William Arrol & Co., and remains one of four examples to remain on the River Clyde, along with those at Finnieston, Clydebank and Greenock.
During the First World War the Barclay Curle yard built several Insect class gunboats for the Royal Navy.

The Swan Hunter owned Barclay Curle ceased building ships in its Clydeholm Shipyard at Whiteinch, Glasgow in 1968, focusing its operations on its Tyneside yards. The Elderslie Dockyard, which lay further west on the other side of Scotstoun and operated by Barclay Curle, was acquired by Yarrow Shipbuilders in 1974. The North British Diesel Engine Works continued and was purchased by the marine engineering company Sulzer until it was nationalised under the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 and transferred production to naval weapon systems by British Aerospace (Sea Dart and Sea Wolf missiles) in the late 70's, finally becoming an industrial estate in the mid 1980's.

As part of the Seawind Group, the company was still operating its ship repair yards at Appledore, Devon until 2005. It has subsequently gone into liquidation.

Information taken from Glasgow City Archive catalogue, used with permission and thanks to the Archive