Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd, civil engineering contractors, London, England

Scope and Content

  • Board minutes 1926-1936
  • General minutes 1926-1935
  • Register of members 1926-1934
  • Tax memoranda book 1914-1938
  • Private ledgers 1931-1946
  • Financial department private ledgers 1917-1931
  • Personal and nominal ledgers 1936-1945
  • Measurement journal (locked) [early-mid 20th century]
  • Journals (locked) [early-mid 20th century]
  • Private cash book (locked) [early-mid 20th century]

Administrative / Biographical History

In the 1920s  , improvements to the Suez Canal meant that larger ships could carry on trade between Britain and Australasia, with the main British port being London, England. Tilbury docks in London were the British home of this trade and plans were drawn up for a new entrance lock, a new dry dock and enlargement of the wet dock. The tender of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons , civil engineering contractors, London, England, for the contract was accepted in 1926  and was worth over £2.5 million but Robert McAlpine was nervous about accepting such a contract when the partnership had so many large contracts on their books. The site of the new works was to be on marshland and the company new from experience that working in treacherous ground could involve large unseen expenses. There was also still unrest following the prolonged coal strike and the recently collapsed general strike. Remembering the lessons of past crisis, Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons incorporated a new company, Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd to undertake the work.

Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd , civil engineers, London, England, was incorporated as a limited liability company in August 1926  . The company had a share capital of £250,000 with Sir Robert McAlpine and his four eldest sons (Robert, William, Sir Malcolm and Alfred) holding 49,600 shares each and while his fifth son, Granville, and John Milne, company secretary of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons , held 1,000 shares each. Like all other Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons subsidiary companies, Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd hired all plant and machinery from the parent company, and shared offices and staff at the Pall Mall office in London.

William McAlpine took charge of the Tilbury contract and it was completed in 1929, a year ahead of schedule. Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd was awarded another contract in 1928 to construct a monolith quay at Southampton, England, for the Southern Railway Company that was again carried out satisfactorily and the company went on to complete many other contracts in the south of England including building sewer tunnels for Middlesex County Council .

The company appears to have been reconstituted in 1974  , with its head office in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. In 1982  , it became Sir Robert McAlpine Management Contractors Ltd and was still operation in 2003.

Russell, Iain F,Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons: The Early Years ( Wiltshire , 1988  )


The material has been arranged into series as shown in the scope and content. Within series, items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd : 1985

Other Finding Aids

Digital and manual file level lists of the surviving records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd, subsidiaries and related companies are available in the searchroom ref: UGD 254

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S) 3111) and London (NRA32523)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd, Kettering. Transferred to Glasgow University Archive Services in 1985 during the preparation of the company history.


None expected

Related Material

The records of the following Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons companies are held by Glasgow University Archive Services:

GB 248 UGD 254/1 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/2 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (London) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/3/1 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (Scotland) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/3/2 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine Properties (Scotland) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/4 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (Midlands) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/5 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/6 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (Ireland) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/7 Records of Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons (Birmingham) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/10 Records of Dorchester House Hotel

GB 248 UGD 254/11 Records of Victoria Agency Ltd

GB 248 UGD 254/18 Records of McAlpine Ferro-Concrete Co Ltd

Material in other repositories: no known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, January 2003

No alterations made to date