- Minute books 1890-1957
- Ledgers 1895-1960
- Financial papers 1874-1964
- Share transfers 1900-1960
- Board and administrative papers 1887-1962
- Estimates and enquiries: working papers 1920-1960
- Apprentice time books 1912-1933
- Wages and salary records 1930-1963
- Production records 1899-1959
- Photographs 1867-1959
- Engine plans nos. 613-730 (not inclusive)
- Ship plans 785-1159 (not inclusive)
Records of Lobnitz & Co Ltd, shipbuilders, Renfrew, Scotland
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 248 UGD 356/:/GB/248/UGD/215/:/GB/248/UGD/130/3/:/GB/248/UCS/004
- Dates of Creation1867-1963
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical Description15.7 metresThere are no physical characteristics that affect use of this material
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Henry Christian Lobnitz was born in Frederica, Denmark , in 1831 into a family connected with the Danish Royal Arsenals and moved to London with the object of gaining greater engineering experience. After spending some time with Penn & Sons , Greenwich, and John Russel during during construction of the Great Eastern , he then served as an engineer on a naval vessel during the Crimean War.
On the conclusion of his service he moved to the Clyde and joined the shipbuilding firm of Coulborn & Co (est 1847 as James Henderson & Son), at Ship dock, Renfrew, Scotland. In 1874, he took over the business which was renamed Lobnitz, Coulborn & Co . Although dredging plant and rock-cutting plant were developed from then on, the shipyard produced hulls as orders became available, with cargo vessels, cable ships, tugs and steam yachts being built in addition to specialised vessels.
Henry Lobnitz strengthened the management of the firm in 1890 by assuming as partners his son Frederick and William A. Young , who had recently severed his connections with Hawthorn & Co ., Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1895 he converted the partnership into a private limited company as Lobnitz & Co Ltd . After two years of declining health, Henry Lobnitz died in December 1896 and was succeeded as chairman by William A Young.
After the turn of the twentieth century, the firm's output was almost entirely devoted to the construction of dredging plant, hoppers and roadbreakers, a cycle broken only during the two world wars, by the building of escort vessels, minesweepers, tugs and minor naval craft.
At the outbreak of the 1914-1918 war Frederick Lobnitz offered his services to the government and joined the Ministry of Munitions in May 1915, serving under William Weir (later Lord Weir), taking over as director of Lobnitz & Co Ltd himself at the end of 1916. In recognition of those services Frederick Lobnitz was knighted in 1920.
During the war, William A Young took charge as managing director having retired some years before, leaving the firm on Sir Frederick's return in 1916. Control of the shipyard's work remained in the latter's hands until his death in December 1932 , when he was succeeded by his widow, his elder daughter and his son, H Pearson Lobnitz .
Apart from the interruption caused by the 1939-1945 War, the yard continued to build specialised vessels. It became a public company in 1945 , when its premises were considerably updated and modernised to allow for prefabricated shipbuilding construction, and the engineering workshops were extensively re-equipped. This additional investment did not change their fortunes during the mid-1950s when the specialist field which had sustained them for so many years was eroded by shipbuilders through out the world.
The issued share capital of 250,000 shares at 10 shillings each was acquired by Hedmex Investments Limited at a price of 42 shillings per share in 1957 . The following year an approach was made to G & J Weir Ltd pump manufacturers, Glasgow, Scotland, suggesting a merger with their neighbours William Simons & Co Ltd , ship and dredger builders, Renfrew, Scotland. This was turned down by Weirs who, although recognising some merit in having Lobnitz's better equipped machine shops, felt that there would be little chance of obtaining orders for new hulls at competitive prices for some time. Weirs changed their mind in 1959, believing that the operation of a combined shipyard would be an advantage, and an announcement of their takeover was made in August of that year.
This material is arranged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by function and/or format. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.
Conditions Governing Access
Requests for access for legal, business or commercial purposes must be referred to the Keeper of the Records of Scotland (UCS 004 only).
Open (UGD 215 and UGD 356 only).
National Archives of Scotland: 1974 (UCS 004 only)
Held under the charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland
Other Finding Aids
A single bound finding aid for the records of William Simons & Co Ltd, Lobnitz & Co Ltd, and Simons-Lobnitz Ltd is available in the searchroom (UCS 004).
Digital file level list available in searchroom (UGD 215 only).
Manual file level list available in searchroom (UCS 004 and UGD 356 only).
Manual file level list available at the National Register of Archives in London (NRA14659) (UCS 004 only).
Manual file level list available at the National Register of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2504) (UGD 215 only)
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Conditions Governing Use
See separate copyright regulations (UCS 004 only).
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist (UGD 215 and UGD 356 only).
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents (UGD 215 and UGD 356 only).
This material has been appraised in line with National Archives of Scotland procedures
Records held by Simons-Lobnitz Ltd prior to acquisition by the National Archives of Scotland
Location of Originals
This material is original
No known publications using this material
The fonds level of description was compiled by Jenny Bunn, Assistant Archivist, 3 April 2000
Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 19 October 2001
Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Arcvhivist, 29 April 2002