RefNoX312
TitleJohn Brown and Company Limited (Clydebank), Shipbuilders, Clydebank
AdminHistoryJohn Brown and Company of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, was a marine engineering and shipbuilding firm, responsible for building many notable and world-famous ships, such as the RMS Lusitania, the HMS Hood, the HMS Repulse, the RMS Queen Mary, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, and the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (often referred to as the QE2).

The shipyard was founded by J. and G. Thomson, an engineering and shipbuilding company started by two brothers - James and George Thomson. The Thomson brothers established the "Clyde Bank Foundry" in Anderston in 1847. In 1851 they opened a shipyard - the Clyde Bank Iron Shipyard - at Cessnock, launching their first ship, the SS Jackal, in 1852. They quickly established a reputation in building prestigious passenger ships. By the start of the 1870s, the original brothers had retired from the business, which was now being run by the sons of the elder brother, also called James and George Thomson. Faced with the compulsory purchase of their shipyard by the Clyde Navigation Trust they set up a new "Clyde Bank Iron Shipyard" further down river at the Barns O' Clyde, near the village of Dalmuir, in 1871. Despite intermittent financial difficulties the company developed a reputation based on engineering quality and innovation. They soon moved their iron foundry and engineering works to the same location. The rapid expansion of the shipyard and its ancillary works, and the construction of housing for the workers, resulted in the formation of a new town which took its name from the name of the shipyard which had given birth to it - Clydebank.

John Brown and Company, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield, which had had long standing links with the shipyard, acquired J. and G. Thomson's Clydebank yard in 1899. At their height, from 1900 to the 1950s, they were one of the most highly regarded, and internationally famous, shipbuilding companies in the world. However after that time, along with other UK shipbuilders, they found it increasingly difficult to compete with the emerging shipyards in Eastern Europe and the Far East. In 1968, they merged with other Clydeside shipyards to form the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders consortium, which in turn collapsed in 1971. John Brown and Company ceased its involvement with shipbuilding. The Clydebank shipyard was purchased initially by Marathon Oil and subsequently in 1980 by UiE Scotland (part of the French Bouygues group), and was used for the construction of oil rig platforms for the North Sea oil industry until finally being closed down in 2001.
DescriptionX313/1 - Corporate and Management Records
X313/2 - Financial Records
X313/3 - Promotional Material

The collection consists of the records of John Brown and Company Limited (Clydebank), Shipbuilders, Clydebank as acquired by Johnson and Firth Brown Limited, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield.

Records of John Brown and Company Limited, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield (X308) and Johnson and Firth Brown Limited, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield are catalogued separately.
Date1886 - 1949
Extent99 items
LanguageEnglish
AccessStatusOpen
LevelCollection
RelatedMaterialSee also:
Johnson Firth Brown Limited, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield (X306);
John Brown and Company Limited, Steel Manufacturers, Sheffield (X308);
Coventry Ordnance Works Limited, Ordnance Manufacturers, Coventry (X313).

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