James Allison & Sons (Sailmakers) Ltd, Dundee

Scope and Content

Private ledgers 1894-1964; wage books 1890-1957; costing books 1918-1962; stock books 1928-1944; copy letter books 1933-1954; letter files 1940-1952; petty cash books and books of bills 1880-1904; captain's books 1879-1894; miscellaneous bundles of papers relating to the Countess of Rothes 1876-1897; ship and building plans 1876-1954.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Allison first set up as a rope and sailmaker in Dock Street in 1860. In the 1870s the firm became James Allison & Sons and by the 1880s was trading as rope and sailmakers, shipchandlers, out and bonded and free store merchants as well as being shipowners. The two vessels which feature most in the firm's records, for which Allisons were part owners and acted as managing agents, are the ships Countess of Rothes, built in 1876 and sold in 1896, and the ship Countess of Derby, built in 1877 and sold in 1895. The firm also owned shares in whalers and James Allison (d. 1925), a son of the founder, was director of a number of whaling companies.

Allisons later became involved in the manufacture and hiring out of tents and marquees, including those for circuses. On the death of Charles Allison in 1953, his son and former partner James established the firm as a limited company, James Allison & Sons (Sailmakers) Ltd. In 1972-1973 Allisons were acquired by the Dundee, Perth and London Shipping Co Ltd and were merged with Andrew Gray Ltd, a firm of shipchandlers, to form Allison-Gray Ltd. James Allison & Sons (Sailmakers) Ltd was subsequently wound up. Allison-Gray Ltd still trades although its parent company is now part of the Coalite Group PLC.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information



Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, October 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.

Custodial History



None expected.

Additional Information

The material is original.

Geographical Names