Papers of Messrs Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., engineers

Scope and Content

GB 231 MS 3268 Photographs of commissions completed by Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., 1960s - 1970s and related publicity.

GB 231 MS 3348 This collection comprises business records of Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., engineers, Aberdeen, dating from the late 19th c- early 20th c, and personal papers of Victor Cook, last sole shareholder of the company, c 1970s - 1980s.

The business records are mostly records of production and marketing, comprising monthly returns, c 1895 - c 1952 (some gaps); orders lists, 1920s; draughtsman's books, 1895 and 1902 - 1903; engineers' drawings, 20th c; pattern books and catalogues, 1890 - 1911 (gaps); printed papers and publicity, c 1960s - c 1970s; and miscellaneous minutes, accounts and files (unsorted - but seem unlikely to include comprehensive runs of either minutes or accounts), 20th c. There is also a typescript 'History of Barry, Henry and Cook Limited, Engineers and Ironfounders, Aberdeen, from 1790 - 1976: with a Supplement on the Industrial and Social Development of Aberdeen'; and some Cook family papers which relate to their involvement with the company, viz. shares and transfer papers, late 19th c - early 20th c.

The personal papers of Victor Cook are principally local history research notes. They include papers relating to the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, and a typescript copy of 'Strathdon Notes' (1976), a local history of the Strathdon district of Aberdeenshire, written by Cook, with recollections of Miss Bella Rogie of Glencarie. There is also a volume containing mechanics lecture notes taken by R.G. Victor Cook, whilst a student at Glasgow Technical College, 1920.

Administrative / Biographical History

Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd. was founded in 1790 by John Barry, blacksmith, and later, burgess, of Aberdeen. For its first hundred years the company operated mainly as ironfounders, undertaking some ancillary engineering work and fertiliser manufacture, but during the period 1890 - 1923 engineering sales began to outstrip the foundry output, as emphasis on power transmission equipment and the beginning of materials handling became dominant. From 1923 - 1973, engineering was its main activity, and the company developed expertise in bulk material handling contracts, conveying systems and storage plants. Its ironfoundry was partly mechanised in this period, and after 1973 underwent radical advances in line with recent national research and development. From 1973 engineering material handling and oil-related work predominated.

In 1973 a new Aberdeen-based company Seaforth Maritime (est. 1972) took over a majority interest in Barry, Henry and Cook, Ltd.. It was subsequently subsumed into the engineering division of its parent company.

During its main period of growth in the 1960s and 1970s Barry, Henry and Cook, Ltd. supplied plant to a number of high profile industrial developments. These included the British Coal Open Cast Site at Westfield, Fife (1962); new aluminium smelter plants at Invergordon (British Aluminium, 1969 - 1971), Lynemouth, Northumberland (Alcan, 1971 - 1972) and Anglesey (Imperial Smelting Ltd., 1969 - 1970); the British Steel Corporation, Clydesdale and Ravenscraig Works, Motherwell (1973 - 1976); and the British Sugar Corporation, Newark Factory (1975).

For further details on the company's history see 'History of Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., Engineers and Ironfounders, Aberdeen, from 1790 - 1975: with a Supplement on the Industrial and Social Development of Aberdeen' (unpublished typescript, c 1980; deposited in GB 231 MS 3348).


Listing in progress

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

GB 231 MS 3268 deposited in the University in Apr 1987, by Janet S. Gavin. GB 231 MS 3268 deposited in the University in Apr 1987, by Janet S. Gavin. GB 231 MS 3348 deposited in Jan 1991, by the Gordon Cook Foundation. Additional deposit (mainly engineers' drawings) Nov 1996, from Aberdeen City Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

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Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

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