Papers of the Belch family, industrialists, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Personal papers of Alexander R Belch
  • Business papers of Alexander R Belch
  • Photographs of Alexander R Belch, his family and business interests
  • Personal papers of Sir A Ross Belch
  • Business papers of Sir A Ross Belch
  • Photographs of Sir A Ross Belch, his family and business interests
  • Personal papers of David B Belch, brother of Sir A Ross Belch
  • Personal papers of B Alexandrina (Drina) Belch, sister of Sir A Ross Belch
  • Personal papers of Patricia A Belch, Sir A Ross Belch's 3rd daughter

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir (Alexander) Ross Belch, CBE, LLD was born in London on 13 December 1920 and attended Morrison’s Academy, Crieff (where he was a medallist), and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a first-class honours degree in Naval Architecture in 1942.

Belch started work as an apprentice in the Fairfield shipyard at Govan in 1938. He became general manager at Lithgows at the impressive age of 34, and went on to become managing director first of Lithgows in Port Glasgow and later of the Scott Lithgow Group in Greenock.

Belch was president of the Shipbuilders and Repairers' National Association and led the industry in its negotiations with Government up to nationalisation in 1976, and later joined the board of British Shipbuilders, retiring in 1979. He also sat as Chairman of of Irvine Development Corporation for five years until his retirement in 1990, and was also Chair of several shipping companies, two of which, Altnacraig Shipping and Altnamara Shipping, he set up himself. One of Belch’s most notable achievements was negotiating the acquisition of Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd from Kvaerner, and therefore retaining the presence of a Scottish shipyard in Port Glasgow.

Belch was appointed CBE in 1972 and awarded a knighthood in 1991 for services to Scottish industry. He was also awarded the honorary degree of LLD by Strathclyde University in 1978 and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. He assisted in setting up the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine and was chairman of trustees until he resigned in 1998 due to ill-health. He was appointed the Museum’s first honorary president. Sir Ross Belch passed away on 26 March 1999.

His father, Alexander R Belch, CBE, was a Glasgow solicitor who started his career at Biggart, Lumsden & Co solicitors, Glasgow, and moved on to become secretary of the Shipbuilding Employers' Federation, based in London, from 1916-1937. He worked as Deputy Chairman for the Shipbuilding Conference from 1937 until the Second World War when he was appointed Chairman, and then Controller from 1952 to his retirement 1957. He was also chairman of Shipbuilding Corporation Ltd, a director of the Ship Mortgage Finance Committee Ltd, and a director of National Shipbuilders’ Security Ltd.

Alexander Belch was a member of the Institution of Naval Architects and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was appointed CBE in 1943. Alexander Belch passed away on 16 October 1967.

Source: The Glasgow Herald, 17 Oct 1967 ; The Herald, 27 Mar 1999


Listed by box. Items are generally listed in their original order

Access Information

Open, subject to the Data Protection Act 1998

Acquisition Information

Deposit : Dr Bill Lind, Ballast Trust : 7 Apr 2000 : ACCN 1910

Deposit : Dr Bill Lind, Ballast Trust : c 1999 : ACCN 2117

Deposit : Dr Bill Lind, Ballast Trust : 12 Aug 2004 : ACCN 2612


Collection box listed by Ballast Trust staff, c 2004. Collection level description created by Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist (Accessions), 30 Jan 2013

Other Finding Aids

File list available by request to the Duty Archivist

Related Material

GB 0248 GD323/1 Records of Scott Lithgow Ltd

GB 0248 GD 323/13 Records of Lithgows Ltd

GB 0243 UCS2 Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd

Family Names