Collection of transcripts and reel to reel tape recordings of media reports of the UCS 'work-in', Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content


  • BBC News transcripts covering the UCS work-in, 1969-1976;
  • BBC News audio recordings covering the UCS work-in, 1969-1976.

Administrative / Biographical History

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 the UK government to force the merger of the five existing shipbuilding companies from Clydebank to Govan, into one, which was to be known as the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. The five yards merged were:  John Brown & Co (Clydebank) Ltd in Clydebank;  Fairfields (Glasgow) Ltd in Govan;  Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd in Linthouse;  Charles Connell & Co Ltd  in Scotstoun; and  Yarrows & Co Ltd also in Scotstoun.

The Upper Clyde Shibuilders (UCS) 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 despite having a full orderbook and a forecasted profit in 1972, UCS was controversially forced to enter into liquidation in 1971 when the government refused a £6m working capital loan. Rather than go on strike, the traditional form of industrial action, the Shop Stewards Committee organised the UCS work-in of  1971-1972 . The intention was to complete the orders that the shipyards had in place, in an effort to force the government to intervene financially to save the yards.

Given the high profile of the UCS official liquidation, the work-in received a great deal of media attention. 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.

This collection contains transcripts and reel to reel tape recordings of  British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television News items concerning the UCS work-in. It is made up of recordings made by outside broadcast crews for insertion in Scottish and nationwide news broadcasts, providing a record of the public events and pronouncements concerning UCS from June 1971 to October 1972. It mainly comprises of short interviews and comments which were kept by the BBC for 'flashback' purposes in case a related news story were to unfold. The recordings are not a comprehensive collection of the BBC's coverage of the UCS work-in; longer features on UCS, and any 'contextualising' information that might have been provided by the reporters, is missing. The copies and transcripts were made by Charles Woolfson, with help of John Foster and Lee Brown at the BBC Scotland headquarters in Glasgow.


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

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Charles Woolfson : Glasgow University

Other Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom

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 0248 procedures.

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

  • See also Glasgow University Archive Services source list on Ship Building, Ship Repair and Allied Industries;
  • GB 0248 DC 065 Hay and Woolfson Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ephemera collection;
  • GB 0248 DC 187 Papers of David Flint, 1919-, Professor of Accountancy and Vice-Principal, University of Glasgow, Scotland;
  • GB 0248 DC 455 Papers of James Reid, 1932-2010, Rector and Scottish trade union official, University Of Glasgow, Scotland;
  • GB 0248 UGD 181 Records of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Shop Stewards Committee, Govan, Glasgow, Scotland;
  • GB 0248 UGD 348 and GB 0248 UCS 001 Records of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd;
  • GB 0248 UGD 349 and GB 0248 UCS 003 Records of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd;
  • GB 0248 ACCN 0989 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders liquidation material;
  • GB 0248 ACCN 3613 and GB 0248 ACCN 3629 Papers of Sir Robert Smith, 1928-, chartered accountant and official Upper Clyde Shipbuilders liquidator, Glasgow, Scotland;
  • GB 0243 UCS 002 Records of Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, 1801-1969 (Glasgow City Archives)
  • For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the ARCHON repository search page

Location of Originals

This material is original


Woolfson, Charles and Foster, John, The Politics of the UCS Work-in (1986, London)

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Compiled by Jenny Cooknell, Assistant Archivist, 25 October 1999. Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 May 2002. Fonds level converted to Encoded Archival Description (EAD) by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 17 June 2002. Catalogue enhanced by Callum Morrision, Club21 volunteer, 27/08/2012. Lower levels converted to EAD by Michael Beesley, Archive Assistant, August 2013.

Geographical Names