Records of Mirrlees Watson Co Ltd, sugar machinery manufacturers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Plans 1849-1876
  • Miscellaneous volumes 1892-1966
  • Invoice books 1900-1902
  • Letterbooks 1903-1936
  • Order book 1916
  • Quotation books 1919-1921
  • Incoming letter files 1926-1936
  • Quantities book 1933-1934

Administrative / Biographical History

Smith Mirrlees has its origins in the partnership of P & W McOnie , which was founded in 1840  to manufacture sugar machinery. In 1848  William McOnie retired from the firm and James Buchanan Mirrlees entered into partnership with Peter McOnie to form McOnie & Mirrlees . In 1850  Peter McOnie died and J B Mirrlees continued the business with William Tait (died 1870  ). In 1851  the firm consequently became known as Mirrlees & Tait and then in 1868  it became Mirrlees, Tait & Watson following the arrival on of a new partner, William Renny Watson (died 1900  ). In 1882  two further partners were taken on, R A Robertson and J G Hudson and the company became known as Mirrlees, Watson & Co . This development was accompanied by the establishment of an associated company Watson, Laidlaw & Co. This firm was based at Dundas Street, Glasgow, Scotland, and was responsible for developing the firm's interest in centrifugal machines, following their purchase of David McColley Weston's patent. In Mirrlees, Watson & Co 1889  took over the Yaryan Co (with the exclusion of that company's business in USA, Canada and Cuba) and became a limited liability company, Mirrlees, Watson & Yaryan Co Ltd . The company later changed to using the title The Mirrlees Watson Co Ltd . In 1945  the company acquired Blairs Ltd , although the two continued to trade independently. In around A & W Smith & Co Ltd 1966  acquired the name and machinery rights of The Mirrlees Watson Co Ltd , later becoming known as Smith Mirrlees .


This material is arranged into eight series as described in the scope and content note. The plans are listed under the reference GB 248 UGD 0202 and all the rest of the material is listed under the reference GB 248 UGD 062

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : Mirlees Watson Co Ltd, Glasgow : prior to 1966

Other Finding Aids

GB 248 UGD 062 file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Register of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1752) and London (NRA10851).

GB 248 UGD 202 file level database available in searchroom.

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 normal procedures

Custodial History

Records deposited with Economic History Department, Glasgow University, prior to 1966. Management of the collection transferred to Glasgow University Archives in 1975.


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 116 Records of Blairs Ltd

GB 248 UGD 118 Records of A & W Smith & Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 152/1/5 Articles of co-partnery between James Buchanan Mirrlees and William Tait

GB 248 UGD 152/8/14 Marriage contract between Andrew Mitchell and Jane Fordyce Mirrlees, daughter of J B Mirrlees

See source list on Sugar available via the Glasgow University Archive Services home page at


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Updated by Lesley Richmond , Acting Director, 3 March 2000

Updated by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 1 March 2002

Geographical Names