Records of the Gourock Ropes & Canvas Ltd, rope and textile manufacturers, Wellington, New Zealand

Scope and Content

  • Annual balance sheets and accounts 1940-1963;
  • Correspondence regarding business and finance 1944-1947;
  • Correspondence regarding annual accounts 1956-1963.

Administrative / Biographical History

The  Gourock Ropeworks Co, rope makers and textile manufacturers, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland, created the wholly owned subsidiary  Gourock Ropes & Canvas Ltd in  1888  to deal with the overseas trade. The first branch was opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1888 and in  1902  a branch in Sydney, Australia was opened. Subsequent Australian branches opened in Melbourne and Brisbane. Prior to 1920 the Sydney office also covered New Zealand after which time a separate office was established in Wellington, New Zealand. The company produced ropes, twines, cordage and proofed Birkmyre cloth for tents and tarpaulins.

From  1902  until the middle of the 1914-1918 World War, the business was conducted by a resident representative located in Wellington who travelled through New Zealand selling the companies products. Following the war, this role was under taken by visitors from the Sydney branch. In  1920  it was decided by the  Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd that a branch office and warehouse be opened in Wellington. Offices were established and stocks of Birkmyre's waterproof cloth and products were imported yet no factory works were established to produce goods on site. Prior to this, orders had to be shipped direct to the customer from the Port Glasgow offices. Because of the New Zealand's government policy of National sufficiency, the company suffered from import restrictions and selection with exchange restrictions. As a result of these restrictions, it was not possible to sell all the items that Gourock produced, the main trade being undertaken in Birkmyre cloth and textile piece goods and wire ropes. The company appears to have ceased trading in the 1960s and Gourock Ropes & Canvas Ltd was dissolved in 1999.

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


This material is arranged into series as shown in the scope and content. Within series, items are generally arranged chronologically.

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 0248 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 42/6/6 Records of Gourock Ropes and Canvas (Africa) Ltd

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

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

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

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

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Additional Information

This material is original

No alterations made to date