Papers of Sir Alexander Murray Stephen, 1892-1974, Chairman of Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • Transport papers 1938-1948
  • Electrical papers 1929-1948
  • Miscellaneous notes and letterbooks 1925-1961

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Murray Stephen , son of F J Stephen and Agnes Renton Young, was born in 1892  into the family which owned Alexander Stephen & Sons , the Clyde based ship building and marine engineering business, Glasgow, Scotland. Alexander Murray Stephen graduated from Cambridge University in 1914  with first class honours in the Mechanical Science Tripos. He survived active service during the First World War. In 1919  he entered the family business and in 1922  he became a director of the company and married Katherine Paton Mitchell, the daughter of Alexander Moncrieff Mitchell, lawyer. In 1932  he succeeded his father as Chairman, a position he held until 1965  . By the time he retired, however, Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd was in financial trouble. Their shipbuilding assets and activities were transferred to Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) in 1968  although the engineering and ship repairing side of the business remained in family hands until 1976  .

Alexander Murray Stephen , who was knighted in 1946  , had strong interests in the public utilities, such as transport and the provision of electricity within Lanarkshire, Scotland, and the Clyde Valley. His home address in February 1943  was Cleughearn Lodge, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire. He was a director of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Co , incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1901  with a registered office at 206 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. His association with the company spanned at least the years 1934-1948  . He was a director of the Kilmalcolm Electric Lighting Co Ltd from 1930  . He was involved, to some degree, in the Falls of Clyde project and was a director of the Lanarkshire Hydro-electric Power Co , which was closely associated with the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Co , and of the Clyde Valley Accessories Ltd . He was also interested in the provision of public transport, being a shareholder, and from 1947  , a director of the Scottish Motor Traction Co Ltd . In July 1938  , Lord Stamp invite him to become a member of the Scottish Committee of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Co , one of the four main railway companies operating across Britain at that date. In 1938  , London, Midland & Scottish had a fleet of Clyde steamers, and in 1941  , he became the Chairman of the Steam Vessels sub-committee of the Scottish Committee. In 1943  , he was elected Director and member of the London Board of London, Midland & Scottish Railway Co.

During the Second World War it became clear that the major industries would be facing a challenge once the war ended. Apart from the difficulties of restoring trading patterns and re-establishing production disrupted by the war, there were moves to nationalise some of these industries. In his capacity as Chairman of Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd and as a member of a number of committees and associations of shipbuilders and owners, Alexander Murray Stephen sought to co-operate with government and plan for the post-war future of the shipbuilding industry. But he clearly deplored the movement towards nationalisation in the various industries with which he was associated. He spoke of the process of nationalisation within the railways and the electricity companies with great regret, maintaining the need for continuing competitiveness and independence. He died in 1974  .

Arrangement

This material is arranged into three series as described in the scope and content note

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Deposit : family member : c1975

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)431, pp49-53) and London (NRA13494)

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

This collection consists of two deposits, formerly known as GB 248 UGD 006 and GB 248 UGD 007.

Accruals

None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 004 Records of Alexander Stephen & Sons plc

GB 248 UGD 008 The Scottish Railway Collection

GB 248 UGD 149 Miscellaneous Ship and Engine Photographs

GB 248 UGD 339 Records of Biggart Gifford & Baillie

GB 248 UCS 003 Records of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders: Linthouse Division

GB 248 DC 096 Papers of Viscount Weir of Eastwood

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance

Bibliography

No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Compiled by Alison Jasper , Archives Assistant, 8 April 1998

Updated by Jenny Cooknell , Assistant Archivist, 22 October 1999

Updated by Lesley Richmond , Acting Director, 3 March 2000

Updated by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 February 2002

Geographical Names