Records of the Gourock Ropes & Canvas (Africa) Ltd, rope makers and textile manufacturers, Johannesburg, South Africa

Scope and Content

  • South Africa general managers department records 1909-1923
  • Financial records 1944-1967;
  • Correspondence 1948-1968;
  • Export sales East Africa correspondence 1952-1960;
  • Gourock Rope & Canvass (Rhodesia) Ltd correspondence and sales files 1953-1960;
  • Sales correspondence 1959-1968.

Administrative / Biographical History

In  1895  the  Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd, rope makers and textile manufacturers, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland, decided to establish a South African office. It was opened in  1897  in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and soon trade was also being established in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Johannesburg, South Africa. The company opened offices in Capetown, South Africa, in  1899 . The South African War at the beginning of the century resulted in the business' steady growth and offices were opened in Johannesburg (which became the head office), Durban, East London and Bloemfontein. Branches in Rhodesia were also established in Bulawayo and Salisbury and an office at Ndolo in  1949 .

Gourock Ropes & Canvas (Africa) Ltd, Johannesburg, was formed in 1949 to acquire the African business of the Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd.  Gourock Ropes & Canvas (Rhodesia) Ltd was also formed in  1949  as a subsidiary of the African company to look after the interests in Rhodesia, its head office being in Ndolo. In 1947 a new net factory was opened in Cape Town where hand braided nets were produced for the fishing industry. Net looms were imported from England and installed in 1948. As well as becoming the chief supplier of nets in South Africa, it was also hoped that the company would export its products to Australia and New Zealand. Between the two companies in South Africa and Rhodesia, virtually the whole of the southern African continent from below the Congo was supplied. The companies appear to have ceased trading in the late  1960s  .

Source: GB 248 UGD 42/11/8/3 The Gourock Brochure (1954)f


Generally arranged chronologically within record series.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd : Port Glasgow : c.1971

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)1717) and London (NRA10832)

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

The bulk of this material was received directly from the creator by the Economic History Department, Glasgow University in c1971. Management of the collection transferred to Glasgow University Archives in 1975.


None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 UGD 42 Records of Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd

The Gourock Ropeworks Co had a number of subsidiary companies whose records survive:

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/1 Records of Govan Ropeworks Co Ltd

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/2 Records of Archibald Thomson Black & Co

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/3 Records of Gourock Ropeworks Export Co

GB 248 UGD 42/6/4 Records of Gourock-Bridport Ltd, Montreal, Canada

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/5 Records of Greenock Ropework Co

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/7 Records of Gourock Ropes and Canvass Co Ltd, Australia (including Birkmyre Canvass Co Pty Ltd)

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/8 Records of Birkmyre Brothers (Calcutta) Ltd

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/9 Records of Gourock Ropes & Canvass Ltd, New Zealand

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/10 Records of Gourock Ropes & Canvass Ltd, Argentina

GB 0248 UGD 42/6/12 Records of miscellaneous companies related to the Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd

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Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


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Additional Information

This material is original

No alterations made to date