Records of Lithgows Ltd, shipbuilders and engineers, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland

Scope and Content

GD 323/13

  • Board papers 1966-1980
  • Directors' reports and accounts 1966-1982
  • Directors' correspondence files 1964-1980
  • Company secretary's file 1961-1981
  • Financial records 1967-1981
  • Planning department files 1973-1981
  • Estimating department records 1950-1981
  • Purchasing department files 1961-1972
  • Plant and property records 1962-1981
  • Photographs and photograph albums of ships, shipyards, personnel and other miscellaneous subject, 1960s-1980s

GD 320

  • Board papers 1942-1968
  • Shareholdings, investments, subsidiary & 169 associated company records 1878-1957
  • Administrative files 1875-1970
  • Costing records for Russell & Co / Lithgows Ltd ship nos. 1-1166 (incomplete) 1875-1960, William Hamilton & Co Ltd ship nos. 299-527 (incomplete) 1913-1963, Robert Duncan & Co ship nos. 1-400 (complete) 1863-1931, Dunlop Bremner & Co Ltd ship nos. 269-354, 1911-1932 and miscellaneous others
  • Financial records 1876-1968
  • Labour wages etc. 1902-1968
  • Plant and property records 1879-1989
  • Sir James Lithgow personal and business papers 1891-1969
  • Ship agreements for Russell & Co / Lithgows Ltd , William Hamilton & Co Ltd , Robert Duncan & Co Ltd, enquiries, estimates quotations and admiralty contracts 1875-1970
  • Photographs of ships and staff; publicity and press cuttings 1952-1972 and miscellaneous material

UGD 223

Administrative / Biographical History

Shipbuilding company,  Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland . Division of  Scott Lithgow Ltd at the merger in 1970 between  Lithgows Ltd and  Scotts' Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd , Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland. Prior to the merger it was the parent company of  Lithgows Ltd group of companies.

Established as  Russell & Co in 1874, a partnership consisting of  Anderson Rodger ,  Joseph Russell and  William Ted Lithgow . The company expanded in 1879 by acquiring the  Cartsdyke yard of  J E Scott . In 1881 they purchased a greenfield site at  Kingston, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde , where they laid out a new six berth yard.

In 1891 the partnership was dissolved.  Anderson Rodger retained the original Bay yard at Port Glasgow's east end.  Joseph Russell retired from the production side of shipbuilding while  William Lithgow continued to operate as  Russell & Co from the Kingston and Cartsdyke yards and in 1907 brought his sons James and Henry (Harry) into the business. The company was incorporated as a private limited liability company,  Lithgows Ltd , in 1918.

Over a twenty year period, starting shortly before incorporation, the company expanded rapidly to absorb many companies:  

In 1967, the company agreed to the merger with  Scotts' Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd ,  Greenock and became part of the 1969 group of companies. This group of companies went on to become  Scott Lithgow Ltd .

Nationalised in 1977, the company was then subject to  British Shipbuilders ' reorganisation in April 1981. As part of this consolidation exercise, all company assets were transferred to  Scott Lithgow Ltd .

The business was sold to  Trafalgar House plc in 1984 and continues to exist as a management holding company.


The material is arranged into 3 different sequences, reflecting the piecemeal deposit of the records with the National Archives of Scotland and Glasgow University Archive Services. The three sequences, with the covering dates of the records they include, are:  

  • GB 248 GD 323/13 Records of Lithgows Ltd (1961-1981)
  • GB 248 GD 320 Records of Lithgows Ltd (1975-1989)
  • GB 248 UGD 223 Records of Lithgows Ltd and associated companies (1863-1975)

This material is arrannged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by function and/or format. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information


On indefinite loan from Scotts of Greenock Ltd. Held under the charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

Requests for access for legal, business or commercial purposes must be referred to Keeper of the Records of Scotland (GD 320 and GD 323/13 only)

Acquisition Information

National Archives of Scotland : 1978-1994

Held under the charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland

Additional deposit : Sir William Lithgow (UGD 223 only)

Additional deposit : Scott Lithgow Ltd 1974-1978

Additional private deposits : 1988, 1997

Additional deposit : Scottish Maritime Museum : 1994-1997

Other Finding Aids

Manual file level list of the Scott Lithgow Group collection available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

See separate copyright regulations (GD 320 and GD 323/13 only)

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist (UGD 223 only)

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents (UGD 223 only)

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with National Archives of Scotland procedures

Custodial History

Records held by Scott Lithgow Ltd prior to acquisition by the National Archives of Scotland. Other records held privately and by the Scottish Maritime Museum


None expected

Related Material

See source list on Shipping and Shipbuilding Industry available via the  Glasgow University Archive Services homepage

GB 248 GD 319 Records of  Scotts' Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd

GB 248 DC 035 Papers of Sir  James Lithgow , shipbuilder and industrialist

GB 248 GD 323/1 Records of  Scott Lithgows Ltd

GB 248 GD 323/12 Records of  Lithgows (Holdings) Ltd

GB 248 GD 323/19 Records of  Scott Lithgow Training Centre Ltd

GB 248 GD 323/20 Records of  Scott Lithgow (Offshore) Ltd

GB 248 GD 323/22 Records of  Scott Lithgow Drydocks Ltd

GB 248 GD 323/23 Records of  British Shipbuilders

GB 248 GD 323/24 Records of  Trafalgar House plc

GB 248 UGD 171/3 Records of Kingdiesel Shipping Co Ltd


There are no known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names


The fonds level of description was compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 12 October 2001