Records of Clyde Shipping Co Ltd, ship owners and shipping agents, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Directors' minutes 1893-1974
  • Memorandum and articles of association 1893-1976
  • Share records 1853-1974
  • Agreements 1868-1960
  • Annual and extraordinary meeting records 1847-1981

  • Balance sheets 1929-1957
  • Insurance accounts 1961-1966
  • Trial balances 1928-1974
  • Directors' reports and accounts 1947-1987
  • Detailed accounts and end of year statements 1950-1978
  • Clyde Shipping Co Ltd group accounts 1963-1983
  • Clyde Shipping Co Ltd group taxation records 1923-1983
  • Miscellaneous accounts 1945-1973

  • Investment records 1894-1980
  • Pension records (investments) 1947-1980

  • Cashbooks 1858-1981
  • Private ledgers 1872-1946
  • General ledgers 1914-1979
  • Other ledgers 1937-1978
  • Abstract and analysis ledgers 1929-1974
  • Journals 1916-1963

  • Staff, wages and salary records 1856-1981

  • Labour, industrial action, accident, wage agreements and employers' meeting subject files 1925-1945

  • Trading and freight records 1859-1974
  • Towing records 1867-1979

  • Vessel logs 1957-1968
  • Vessel records 1840-1960

  • Casualty books 1912-1968
  • Insurance claim - vessels 1935-1972
  • Workmen's compensation records 1937-1960

Ministry of Transport records including:

  • Charter parties c1940-1945
  • Voyage accounts and expenses 1941-1973
  • Vessel journals 1940-1947
  • Correspondence - claims and charters 1938-1961
  • Vessel logs 1945-1946

  • Registers of sailings and vessel movements 1856-1968
  • Boat account and analysis books 1948-1972
  • Passenger handbooks and guides 1885-1928
  • Rates department correspondence 1904-1963
  • Secretary's correspondence 1873-1980
  • Miscellaneous presscuttings, correspondence, published histories and publicity materials 1819-c1990
  • Annual reports and circulars of trade associations 1904-1930
  • Presscuttings 1945-1960

The collection also includes a large body of annual reports and board papers of subsidiary and associated companies of Clyde Shipping Co Ltd. Along with these records, there are often subject files created by Clyde Shipping Co Ltd regarding each individual company. Records exist for the following companies:

Administrative / Biographical History

Two merchants from Glasgow, Scotland, and Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland, formed the Clyde Shipping Co in 1815  . The company acquired two paddle steamers, Industry and Trusty , to sail the river Clyde as luggage boats and lighter tugs. In 1856  , the partnership was dissolved and sold to a new partnership formed mainly of the Kidston family, who were ship owners and steel stockholders in Glasgow. The new firm had premises in Oswald Street, Glasgow, and acquired several new vessels including two tugs, Flying Childers and the Duke of Northumberland , and two coasters, Vivandiere and Killarney . With the latter, a regular service to Ireland was initiated and soon after the firm sold its luggage boats to the previous firm's agent and manager in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, James Steel, who went on to form Steel & Bennie, tug owners. An additional partnership was formed in 1856  under the name of the Glasgow Screw Steamship Co to manage the growing Scotland-Ireland coasting trade and the two companies operated under virtually the same management. By 1880  , the companies owned 14 tugs and 10 coastal steamers and by this point the board of directors of each company was identical. In 1881  a new partnership agreement was drawn up to amalgamate the interests of the two companies under the name of the Clyde Shipping Co .

Between 1867 and 1886  the company acquired the towage businesses of the River Towing Co , Greenock, Inverclyde, in 1867  ; Port Glasgow Towing Co , Port Glasgow, in 1880  ; Glasgow Screw Tug Co , Glasgow, in 1881  ; Queenstown Towing Co Ltd , Cobh, Ireland, in 1886  ; and M Langlands & Sons' Clyde-Plymouth interest in 1886  . In 1880  , the company acquired premises in Carlton Place on the south banks of the river Clyde in Glasgow and, in 1884  , it began regular runs to London.

In 1893  , it assumed limited liability as Clyde Shipping Co Ltd with a capital of £500,000 and George Jardine Kidston as chairman and James Cuthbert as managing director. At this time, the company was operating 15 coasters and 25 tugs. It also had 2 deep-sea tramps that dealt with foreign trade, often with islands in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1912  the company purchased the Waterford Steamship Co , Waterford, Ireland, and, when the Cork Steamship Co experienced difficulties in the period immediately after Irish partition, it reorganised part of that business as the British & Continental Steamship Co Ltd .

The 1914-1918 World War saw the Government requisition some of the company's fleet for a short period but the majority of the fleet continued in the service of the company; 8 coasters and 6 tramps were lost due to enemy action and its remaining tramp was sold in 1915. The 1939-1945 World War saw the loss of 2 coasters and 1 tug. During both wars the lives of 200 employees were lost.

In 1944  , Clyde Shipping Co Ltd were partly responsible for the formation of London Scottish Lines Ltd , which had evolved through a series of agreements between themselves, London & Edinburgh Shipping Co Ltd , General Steam Navigation Co Ltd and Carron Co , iron masters, to trade between Grangemouth and Leith on the east coast of Scotland and London.

By the mid 1950s  , Clyde Shipping Co Ltd had only one vessel that carried passengers on the Liverpool-Waterford service. Since the company's formation it had always carried passengers, mainly between Britain and Ireland. Many of these travellers in the early years were steerage emigrants, but from 1900 onwards they were holiday-makers and carriage conditions were much improved. The regular port calls to unload or collect goods offered passengers the opportunity for day excursions and the voyages were seen as cruises yet never had the luxuries of the Mediterranean or Norwegian cruise liners of other companies. Following the 1939-1945 World War, the decision was taken to cease the passenger trade except between Liverpool and Ireland and this had ceased by the late 1950s.

The company acquired and managed a number of subsidiary companies from the 1960s onwards. These included Ross & Marshall Ltd , shipowners, established in 1907 in Greenock; Glenlight Shipping Ltd , ship managers, established in Glasgow in 1968 as a subsidiary of Ross & Marshall Ltd and transferred to Clyde Shipping Co Ltd in sometime in the 1970s; Clyde Shipping Tugs Ltd , ship owners, Glasgow, previously Light Shipping Ltd , acquired in 1973; and William Campbell (Port Glasgow) Ltd , coal merchants, established in Port Glasgow in 1947 and acquired by Ross & Marshall Ltd prior to 1966.

In 1964  , the company entered into the Waterford Consortium with Atlantic Steam Navigation Co Ltd , Preston, Lancashire, England, and George Bell & Co Ltd , Dublin, Ireland. The consortium was to operate the Preston to Waterford, Ireland, container service. Clyde Shipping Co Ltd managed the service with the Atlantic Steam Navigation Co Ltd acting as the Preston agents, and George Bell & Co Ltd acting as charting agents. Clyde Shipping Co Ltd also provided the staff at Waterford harbour. The consortium was a success but Clyde Shipping Co Ltd sold its 1/3 share to George Bell & Co Ltd in 1974.

The company was still active in 2002  as a leisure marine group and as part of Clyde Marine plc, holding company and producer of shipping deck equipment and rigging for leisure marine boats and was still based in Carlton Place.


This material is arranged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by format and/or function. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information

No access for legal, business or commercial reasons without the written permission of Clyde Marine plc. Apply in the first instance to Glasgow University Archive Services.

Acquisition Information

Permanent loan : Clyde Shipping Co Ltd : Glasgow: October 1982

Deposit : private depositor via Ballast Trust : 2002 : ACCN 2229

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)3530) and London (NRA21580)

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. In addition Clyde Marine plc must be consulted over any reproduction for publication.

Any work based on the use of this material, which is intended for publication, must be submitted to Clyde Marine plc for approval prior to that publication and a copy of the final version lodged with them.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

Received directly from creator


Accruals possible

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 176/2/1 Records of Ross & Marshall Ltd

GB 248 UGD 176/2/1A Records of Glenlight Shipping Ltd

GB 248 UGD 176/2/2 Records of Light Shipping Ltd

GB 248 UGD 176/2/3 Records of William Campbell (Port Glasgow) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 176/3 Records of Waterford Consortium

GB 248 UGD 229 Records of Forth Tugs Ltd

See source list on Shipping and Shipbuilding Industry available via Glasgow University Archive Services homepahe at

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


Cuthbert, Alan D,Clyde Shipping Company Ltd: A History ( Glasgow : Robert Maclehose  : 1956  )

Additional Information

This material is original

Updated by Lesley Richmond , Acting Director, 23 March 2000

Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 4 July 2002