Papers of Samuel Alexander Barr, 1931-2012, convenor, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Yard, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes of meetings 1968-1979;
  • Memorada/reports concerning the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Yard 1974-1979;
  • Papers relating to Trade Union activities 1974-1978;
  • Newspapers 1974-1980;
  • Press statements 1969-1972;
  • Correspondence 1957-1979;
  • Papers relating to Govan Shipbuilders Ltd, the Connell Yard and Scotstoun Marine 1966-1977;
  • Health and Safety papers 1973-1979.

Administrative / Biographical History

Samuel Alexander Barr (known as Sammy) was born on 20 December 1931 and was an instrumental figure in the historic work-in at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in 1971. After leaving school at the age of 15 he took up an apprenticeship with Charles Connell and Company, Scotstoun, as a welder and soon became active in the trade unions. Before long he was shop steward for the apprentices and then became shop steward for the welders in the Boilermakers's Society.

In 1968  , the Labour government pronounced that Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd was to be responsible for shipbuilding in the Glasgow area. This decision resulted mainly from the findings of the Geddes Report on British shipbuilding. The report led to the government to force the merger of the five existing shipbuilding companies left, from Clydebank to Govan, into one, which would be known as the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. The five yards merged were: John Brown & Co (Clydebank) Ltd ; Fairfields (Glasgow) Ltd in Govan; Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd in Linthouse; Charles Connell & Co Ltd in Scotstoun; and Yarrow & Co Ltd also in Scotstoun. The Upper Clyde Shibuilders Yard was to set the bench mark not only for shipbuilding, but for industry as a whole in Britain. At its formation, there were nearly 14,000 people in the work-force. Yet, in 1971  , the company went in to receivership. A 'work-in' was staged, led by shop-stewards, Jimmy Reid and Jimmy Airlie, along with Sammy Barr, who by this point was a leading figure in one of the biggest unions on the shipyards. Their action was partly successful, as in 1972 the government sanctioned the formation of Govan Shipbuilders Ltd , with Scotstoun Marine Ltd a wholly owned subsidiary. However, the existence of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd was ended.

After his retirement Sammy continued working with the trade unions and was also an active member of his community in Partick, Glasgow. He died on 7 May 2012.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

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Digital file level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Collection catalogued by member of Glasgow University Archive Services staff. Converted to Encoded Archival Description by Andrew Thomson, Hub Project Archivist, 18 November 2004. Administrative history edited by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing) 9 May 2012.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 DC 455, Papers of James Reid, Rector and Scottish trade union official, UCS collections (don’t know if they all have the trade union and work-in material).

GB 0248 DC 065, Hay and Woolfson Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ephemera Collection.

GB 0248 ACCN 0989, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders liquidation material

GB 0248 ACCN 3613 and GB 0248 ACCN 3629, Records of Upper Clyde Shipbulders liquidation, diaries and official reports

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

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