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Sir William Arrol

551 248

Description Sir William Arrol

Collection Sir William Arrol

Catalogue Number 551 248

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Sir William Arrol Collection comprises approximately 10,000 photographs (stored in 52 boxes), of which only a few are colour, and even fewer have surviving negatives. There are, in addition, a small number of drawings, notably general arrangements of giant cantilever cranes, and a modest group of copy negatives relating to subjects ranging from power stations to Sudanese and Burmese railway bridges. Also included within the Collection are some books and brochures relating to Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd, and a few others covering the work of competitors, or recording major contracts, sometimes in relation to consortium work. Finally, miscellaneous documentary material including associated reports, letters and stationery have been deposited in the manuscript collection and are filed under MS1744/7. Within this material can be found information on heavy fitting-out cranes built by Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd, prepared by Brian Newman (MS1744/7/6). The bulk of the Collection comprises black and white photographic prints. The quality of the images varies greatly, and ranges from splendid large-format professionally-taken photographs to small, sometimes poor pictures taken with inferior cameras. The extent to which images have been identified and described varies from project to project. In many instances, detailed descriptions on the back of poorer photographs compensate for the lack of quality of the images. Not all photographs, however, are blessed with any form of identification, and because the Collection was thoroughly randomised when scrap merchants took away the cabinets in which it was housed, the sorting process has taken many years. Even now, there are almost two hundred images yet to be properly identified, and any assistance with this process by future users of the Collection would be greatly appreciated. Approximately 2,000 of the items related to Arrol's Scottish projects, the remainder covering work on a wide variety of structures and machinery throughout the world. Although not all Arrol's Scottish projects were represented within the donated material, it nevertheless provides a valuable and representative insight into the scale, diversity and sophistication of the company's work. It should also be noted that Arrol was also a company of international significance. The Scottish material within the collection covers all aspects of the company's work as contractors, builders and/or designers. Bridge building, with which Arrol is primarily identified, is represented by a wide range of projects dating from the late 19th century through to the mid-1980s. Of special note is a range of spectacular photographs showing various stages of the building of the Forth Road Bridge, which was opened in 1964. At that time, Sir William Arrol and Company Ltd, as part of the ACD Bridge Company (a consortium involving the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd. and Dorman Long [Bridge and Engineering] Ltd), were the contractors for the bridge superstructure, being mainly responsible for pre-fabricating the towers and one of the suppliers of steelwork for the suspended structure. Other bridges, such as the Dalginross Bridge, Comrie, Perthshire (dated 1904, an Arrol-designed and built constrained-cantilever road bridge), the Caledonian Railway Bridge over the Clyde in Glasgow (built 1905), the North Bridge, Edinburgh (a road bridge over Waverley Station, reconstructed by Arrol in 1895), and the Tay Viaduct, are represented by comparatively few images, which appear to be publication photographs. Most conspicuous of all is the lack of any coverage of the Forth Bridge itself. Although disappointing, this is not a serious gap because of the large holdings of photographs and documents held elsewhere, in particular by Imperial College, University of London, the City of Glasgow Archives, and in other HES Archives collections. In contrast, substantial series of 'work in progress' photographs exist for projects such as King's Bridge, Ballater Street, Glasgow (photographs covering the period 1930-3), the lifting Temple Bridge, Bearsden Road, over the Forth & Clyde Canal (1932), replacement swing bridges on the Caledonian Canal at Muirton, Banavie, Aberchalder and Tomnahurich (dating from 1930s), detailed on-site photographs of the construction of the Dalgrain swing bridge over the Forth & Clyde Canal near Falkirk (1933-4), and the modern Raith Cottage M74 motorway bridge near Bothwell, Lanarkshire (1970s). Major structural engineering projects are not so substantially represented, again with only one or two images of the William Beardmore & Co. Ltd Dalmuir Works (1903) and lesser projects such as the Scottish Dye Works buildings at Grangemouth (1927). There are, however, interesting sequences of progress photographs of the Rosyth Dockyard floating caissons (1912-17), which represented a minor diversification into shipbuilding work, and posed new challenges for the company. Material on Rosyth also includes a photograph dated 1917 of the 250-ton crane built by the company for the Admiralty. The theme of cantilever cranes is continued in a series of photographs showing repairs in progress on the James Watt Dock ISO-ton crane in Greenock (1961), which had been built by Arrol in 1917. There is also a large and important range of photographs of crane and slipway construction at John Brown's Shipyard, Clydebank (late 1950s), showing details of the yard which had continued working whilst the reconstruction was under way. Images of power stations are represented, and include Stonebyres, Lanarkshire (1926/7, hydro) for which Arrol built the pipelines, power houses and tunnels, the building of the pipeline for the Glenlee Power Station, Kircudbrightshire (mid-1930s), specialist work carried out at the Dounreay fast-breeder nuclear reactor site (late 1960s), and a series of on-site progress photographs of the building of the pipeline, steelwork and cranes for the Loch Sloy power station hydro scheme in the 1940s. The Company's Scottish dock and harbour work is, in addition to other examples, represented by a series of photographs showing Arrol's 'box flap' gate installation at Elderslie Dock, Glasgow (1932/3). There are also a significant number of internal views of Arrol's own Dunn Street works showing details of the shop floor as well as various mechanical engineering projects being undertaken by the Company. Within the gazetteer listing (see links to pdf under Finding Aids, most of these have been attached to the Dunn Street site unless the photograph can be confidently linked to Parkhead Crane Works. The collection also contains drawings (largely general arrangements) relating to the giant cranes by the company. The drawings relate to surviving crane examples such as that at John Brown's shipyard, Clydebank (1907, 150 tons capacity), Fairfield (later Kvaerner), Govan (1911, 200 tons), James Watt Dock, Greenock, (1916/ 17, 150 tons), and Barclay CurIe at Whiteinch, Glasgow (built 1920, 150 tons). There are also drawings of cranes that have been recently demolished, such as the two at the HM Dockyard, Rosyth (1916/ 17,250 tons and 1918, 100 tons). These form part of an important block of records on cranes within the collection. There is also material relating to the many crane contracts completed in England (e.g. Portsmouth, Barrow in Furness and Tyneside), and abroad. Surprisingly, the balance of the Collection as a whole reflects a prevalence of work outside Scotland in the 20th century, by far the greatest quantity of business emanating from other countries in the United Kingdom, and from the Republic of Ireland. Inevitably, much of the work occurred in England and Wales, and the large numbers of contracts from London alone explains why the Company opened an office in that city. Beyond the British Isles, business was attracted through links with Vickers Son & Maxim Ltd, and through government channels via organisations such as the India Office and the Crown Agents for the Colonies. Concentrations of Arrol projects can therefore be found in countries like Egypt, Sudan, India, Iraq, The Republic of South Africa, Ghana, and of course, Australia and New Zealand. Less likely customers were found as far afield as Japan and Argentina. The Collection contains some fine images of construction under way in most of these countries, but equally important are photographs taken of work on these projects taking place in Arrol's Glasgow factories at Dalmarnock and Parkhead. The oldest photograph within the archive appears to be that of the Newburn Steelworks (L26), for which Arrol built the erecting shop in 1898. Thereafter, there are scattered appearances which include the Bombay Lift Bridge (circa 1900), the Guinness Brewery in Dublin (1903), and drawings of the Suakin Berber Railway bridges in Sudan (1905). The first major projects to feature are therefore the Barrow (B25), Suir (A6) railway bridges in The Republic of Ireland (1905 and 1906 respectively, the reconstruction of Black friars Bridge (F4) in London (1908), the Assuit Barrage lift bridge (A25) in Egypt (1909), and Harland & WolfI's Belfast shipyard (L9) in 1909. Thereafter, the Collection becomes fuller, although it is impossible to gauge the extent to which it represents the full range of activities of the company. Most of the subjects covered in the Collection appear to record work carried out by Arrol, although some may show work being completed by sub-contractors or partners on behalf of or in combination with the company. Many of these projects were prestigious large-scale jobs for which professional photographers were employed to record the work, examples being Battersea and Bankside power stations. Others were less spectacular but nevertheless interesting, such as those for the bridge at Barrow Haven. Some of the resulting images are very specialised, especially those dealing with repair work where damage and wear were of significance to the task in hand. Photographs of many of the earlier projects (those taken before 1925) are out of copyright, but many of the others are not, and permission to reproduce should therefore be sought where appropriate by any users of the archive. In terms of sheer bulk, the largest bodies of images relating to individual sites are: the first Severn Suspension Bridge (F53, completed in 1966); the new Conway Bridge (F45, completed in 1958); the Vickers Armstrong Broughton and Openshaw aircraft factories near Manchester (Ml and M2, completed 1939 and 1940); the Nag Harmadi Barrage in Egypt (B21 and G7, completed 1929); the Gebel Aulia Barrage in Sudan (A26, first completed in 1909); Portishead, and Battersea Power Stations (L42, L16, completed in 1956 and 1939 respectively); Durgapur Steel Works in West Bengal (L50, completed in 1960); the reconstruction ofBlackfriars Bridge, London (F4, completed 1908); and the Samawa Suspension Bridge in Iraq (F46, completed in 1958). However, quantity is not everything, and some of the smaller groups of photographs contain the finest images. Perhaps the finest of these is the Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland (F6, completed in 1929). In addition to bridges, stunning photographs have been taken of other types of project, including dock construction and extension, dock gates and caissons, and cranes, of which the giant cantilever cranes are the perhaps the most photogenic. Of the projects to have had formal photographs taken during assembly in Arrol's factories, some of the most striking are pictures of the Severn Suspension Bridge towers laid out in the erecting shop prior to dispatch from Glasgow. In order to assist users of the archive, the heart of this catalogue is a gazetteer of sites, listed alphabetically by name and arranged alphabetically by country (See pdfs under Finding Aids). A number of unlocated and unidentified projects have been included at the end of the gazetteer. A more compact view of the Collection can be found in Appendix B, which lists all the projects, including those in Scotland, by Arrol project number. Appendix A is a list of known Arrol projects gathered from a combination of the Sir William Arrol Collection, and a number of published sources. It therefore includes material listed both in this catalogue, and in the first catalogue of Scottish material, as well as projects outlined in Arrol's own literature. Where the site is mentioned in either of the two NMRS catalogues, there is a subscript 1 or 2. It is immediately apparent that there is very little coverage of projects dating from before 1909, and it remains a mystery as to where the records of these projects now reside. Sadly, it is likely that much was lost during the 1970s and 1980s, prior to the salvage of the material in this Collection. It should, however, be noted that in some instances, the extent of the company's involvement cannot be ascertained purely from the photographic material. In some instances, it is also possible that records may relate to projects completed by competitors, or situations in which Arrol was involved in only a very small part of a larger enterprise. In addition, as has already been mentioned, the collection does have significant gaps where there is no material for some of the more obvious large bridge and structural engineering projects undertaken by the company. Despite this, the records in this collection are representative of the range of work carried out by the company. The importance of the material lies in the high quality, detailed content and visual impact of many of the images. .

Archive History In 1987, a collection of approximately 4,000 items, the bulk of which consisted of photographs, was gifted to RCAHMS by Sir William Arrol and Company Ltd (then part of NEI Thompson Ltd) on the winding up of their operations at Dalmarnock Ironworks in Glasgow. The collection itself suffered from the unfortunate and randomising intervention of vandals and scrap merchants prior to its transfer to RCAHMS, and it therefore took several years to re-establish order and identify many of the images. It should also be noted that doubt remains about the true identity of a small proportion of the material, and some images, many of which bear more than one project number, may have been mis-identified. For this reason, HES Archives would welcome any feedback or further information relating to the contents of the collection. The collection comprises successive accessions: Acc No 1987/2, drawings and photographs, found during demolition of works in Dalmarnock, Glasgow; Acc No 1988/14, drawings of Inchinnan airship shed;

System of Arrangement In general, the images have been organised by their original Arrol project reference number, which takes the form of a letter prefix and a number. These conform to the pattern defined in the table below, all A, B E and F numbers referring to bridge projects. The G, H and J tend to be work relating to docks and dock gates. The K series covers mostly reinforced concrete following the establishment by the company of a special department in the 1920s. The Ls and the Ms comprise steel-framed buildings, and include some of the UK's most famous power stations, and some huge factory buildings. The N series is devoted exclusively to cranes. Although substantial, it seems comparatively small compared with the prevalence of Arrol cranes in factories throughout Scotland and parts of England, suggesting perhaps either that part of the archive is missing, or that a separate archive of work at Arrol's Parkhead Crane Works in Rigby Street, Glasgow also existed. If this was the case, no such archive has yet been found. The last groups in the Collection are P, which covers mostly pipelines for hydro-electric projects, such as that at Pollaphuca in The Republic of Ireland. The R and S images tend to relate to the manufacture of machinery, R having links to specific projects (such as machinery for moving caissons or cranes, or for special work such as that for Jodrell Bank radio telescope), and S being machine tools and miscellaneous items. The last group is T, and relates exclusively to roll-on roll-off ferry bridges. Finally, a relatively small number of photographs have no project number. Some have been found a place with previously identified numbered projects, and others have retained their independence.

Related Material A significant body of business records relating to the company is held by Glasgow City Archives in the Mitchell Library. This material, which is listed under reference number TD208, also includes significant holdings relating to the Forth Bridge, the Tay Viaduct, and Tower Bridge in London. Whilst records of many of the important buildings constructed by Arrol in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries do not appear to exist as a coherent body of records, it is possible that many of the Scottish projects will have been recorded as Dean of Guild submissions, and may still survive in local authority archives. These, and other avenues such as the India Office Library (part of the British Library) and Crown Agents records may well be worth consulting.

Access Conditions Open, but note that access may be subject to provisions outlined in the Data Protection Act and conservation requirements. Please contact the archive to confirm access in advance of a visit.

Administrative History William Arrol (1839-1913) was one of the great Victorian contracting engineers. In 1872 he moved his recently established private company to the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow, initially specialising in boiler-making before diversifying into, amongst other activities, structural steelwork and particularly bridge-construction. The company was therefore in an ideal position to take advantage of the introduction of mild steel as a material for use in civil engineering projects from the late 19th century onwards. Bridge projects at home and overseas from the 1870s-1890s contributed to the company's pre-eminence. This was enhanced by the building up of its own engineering branch which manufactured specially designed plant and machine tools. Arrol was therefore able to achieve greater flexibility in originating and manufacturing bridge designs in house. The business, which had become a public limited liability company in 1887, also exhibited great flexibility in adopting technical solutions, often innovative, to specific needs, such as the use of steel caissons and compressed air plant for the sinking of sub-aqueous foundations on projects including the Forth Bridge (completed in l890), and the use of pontoons (with telescopic hydraulic jacks) in the reconstruction of the Tay Bridge (completed in 1887). The company also established a reinforced concrete department in the late 1920s, enabling it to design and undertake reinforced concrete work. The involvement in structural steelwork had begun in the l880s with the provision of a light steel glazed roof for the smithy at Dubs Locomotive Works, later North British Locomotive Company, at Springburn in Glasgow. This area of their work prospered, and the company went on to build some of the largest workshops and steelworks in Britain. In the same period, the growing demands of marine engineering necessitated the building of cranes that could cope with increased loads in the shipyards of Britain and overseas. Crane building, both electric and hydraulic, was a part of the company's work from its early days. The construction of steelwork and bridges, with the accompanying need to erect plant and structures often in confined spaces, led to the development of the mechanical engineering department at the Dalmarnock Works. The company confidently claimed in 1909 that 'few shipyards are without some Sir William Arrol and Company's hand, hydraulic or electric jib-cranes for feeding machine tools and for other purposes'. The growth of marine engineering and the need for apparatus to move heavy machinery saw Sir William Arrol and Company Ltd moving into the designing and building of a wide variety of cranes for shipyards, of which the Giant Cantilever cranes, capable of lifting 150 tons and more, are the most famous. The first Giant Cantilever crane built by the company was for John Brown & Co. Ltd, Shipbuilders of Clydebank, in 1907. At this time, Stothert and Pitt of Bath were sub-contracted to provide all the mechanical appliances needed for lifting, racking and slewing motions, ropes and snatch blocks. The acquisition of the Appleby Crane and Transporter Co. Ltd of Parkhead, Glasgow and Leicester in 1910 allowed the company to provide both its own mechanical crane appliances and a broad range of associated products thereafter. In the ensuing decades, the company's order books diversified to include a wide variety of engineering projects throughout the world. These comprised work on bridges of many types, including large suspension bridges such as the Forth, Severn and Humber road bridges (in partnership with The Cleveland Bridge Company and Redpath Dorman Long), swing and lift bridges for canals, navigable rivers and harbours, and many designs of railway bridge. Other large scale projects also involved coal-, oil-, hydro- and nuclear powered electricity generating stations, and in addition to continued work on cranes and bulk handling equipment, a variety of maritime projects embraced work on dock gates, piers and jetties. During the comparatively prosperous post-war years of the 1950s and I 960s, typical projects required large-scale consortium work, examples being the construction of a new generation of coal-fired power stations which incorporated heavy steel superstructures. The scale and plentiful nature of this work involved routine co-operation with competitors, without which the industry would have had insufficient capacity to meet demand, However, by the late 1960s, a decline in business heralded the beginning of a less certain phase, the industry experiencing sequences of consolidation and mergers, First, in the late 1960s, the Industrial Reconstruction Corporation (lRC) began acquiring crane-making companies, Despite being predominantly a structural steel company, Arrol was of interest to IRC because of its crane division, and because its structural steel expertise and capacity allowed the company to compete in a market requiring much larger cranes, Sir William Arrol therefore became one of six crane-making companies operating under the wing of Clarke Chapman Ltd, who had already acquired the Glasgow-based boilermakers and engineers, John Thompson, Subsequent phases of re organisation culminated in the formation of Northern Engineering Industries (NEI) in 1977, which was later to become NEI Thompson Ltd, By the mid-1980s, the structural steel industry was experiencing a rapid decline and NEI Thompson chose to transfer manufacturing activity to England, the Dalmarnock Works closing in 1987, its fabricating and erecting shops being demolished shortly afterwards, Although now without its manufacturing arm, Sir William Arrol continued to operate as a design and consultancy business within NEI Thompson, the parent company itself being acquired in 1988 by Rolls Royce, Sir William Arrol is now based in The Templetons Business Centre, Bridgeton, Glasgow, operating within the Rolls Royce group as part of Clark Chapman Ltd.

Finding Aids The Sir William Arrol Collection: a guide to the international material held in the National Monuments Record of Scotland The Sir William Arrol Collection: a guide to the Scottish material held in the National Monuments Record of Scotland

Accruals No accruals are anticipated.


Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 248) Sir William Arrol

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595235 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Jetty Detailed view of jetty piers. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595236 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Works Building General view, looking N of works building c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595240 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Jetty General elevated view, looking N, of jetty. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595237 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Jetty General view, looking E, of jetty. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595238 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd. General view, looking E, of the former shipyard of William Denny and Brothers Ltd. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595239 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Jetty General view, looking N, of jetty. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595241 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd, Jetty General view of jetty looking W. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1595242 Dumbarton, Castle Road, William Denny and Brothers Ltd. General view, looking N, of the former shipyard of William Denny and Brothers Ltd. c. 4/1984 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714400 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India General view Inscribed recto: 'Calcutta end taken from a roof at the junction of Harrison Road and Strand Road' 28/9/1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1709735 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, New Conwy Bridge, Conwy, North Wales, United Kingdom. Three medium format b&w negatives General views of construction work to new bridge. For accompanying notes see MS1074/71/71 3/5/1957 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714396 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India General view Inscribed recto: 'Calcutta side showing approach, photo taken from road...Heavy lift yard on left' 14/9/1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714397 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India General view Inscribed recto: 'Calcutta side showing approach, Pumping Station shewn on left, Railway crossing gates have been closed and traffic is held up' 14/9/1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714398 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India General view Inscribed recto: 'Looking straight on to the Howrah side approach' 14/9/1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714399 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India General view Inscribed recto: 'Howrah side looking on approach, photo taken from road in front of Pass Station leading to Goods Yard' 14/9/1911 Item Level
Photographs and Off-line Digital Images B 19564 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Redheugh Bridge, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England View of lattice girder spans being assembled Built by Sir William Arrol & Co., Damarnock Iron Works, Glasgow (Bridge now demolished) 1900 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714401 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India View from Calcutta end 1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714402 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India View of underside of bridge 1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1714403 Ex-Scotland. Road Bridge, Howrah Bridge, Calcutta, India View of underside of bridge Acc. No. 1987/2 Sir William Arrol Collection Box 12 1911 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images DP 283058 View of testing of 250 tons crane at H M Dockyard, Rosyth, from west wall of main basin looking north. 5/7/1917 Item Level
Photographs and Off-line Digital Images B 19562 Widening of Blackfriara Bridge, London by Sir William Arrol & Co. of Dalmarnock, Glasgow in 1907 1907 Item Level

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