Papers of John Craig, chairman of Colvilles Ltd, iron and steel manufacturers, Motherwell, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Dinner programmes 1939-1953
  • Press cuttings 1942-1955
  • Professional memberships 1916-1953
  • Business papers 1916-1953
  • Business correspondence 1904-1955
  • Personal correspondence 1922-1966
  • Colville publications 1950-1975

Administrative / Biographical History

John Craig (1874-1957) was born on  11 December 1874  at Mossend, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was educated at Dalzell Public School, North Lanarkshire, and, in  1888  , entered employment as an office boy in the firm of  David Colville & Sons Ltd  , iron and steel manufacturers, Motherwell, Scotland, his father's employers. He very soon became an order clerk, responsible for the purchase of pig iron. In  1895  John Colville, chairman of  David Colville & Sons Ltd  , entered Parliament, and  John Craig was given responsibility for carrying out his duties at the Royal Exchange in Glasgow. With the death of John Colville in  1901  these responsibilities increased and, in  1902  , he was one of several senior employees to be offered shares in the firm. He was appointed iron works salesman in  1905  , and invited to become a member of the board of directors in  1910  . When both Archibald Colville and David Colville, jnr, died suddenly in  1916  ,  John Craig was unanimously appointed chairman of the company.  John Craig 's business acumen allied to  Andrew McCance 's technical expertise resulted in what has been referred to by Sir William McLintock as 'the consolidation and rationalisation of the steel industry in Scotland'. He was a member of the executive committees, of the National Federation of Iron & Steel Manufacturers, the British Iron & Steel Federation, and president of the National Federation of Iron & Steel Manufacturers, the Iron & Steel Institute, and the West of Scotland Iron & Steel Institute. In addition to his business interests, he was active in Christian circles and served as both chairman and president of the Scottish National Council of the Young Mens' Christian Association. From  1901  he was an elder in Dalziel Free Church, serving for more than fifty years. He was appointed CBE in  1918  , and knighted in  1943  . He was a Justice of the Peace in Lanarkshire from  1919  , and Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Lanark in  1934  . The University of Glasgow awarded him an honorary degree of LLD in  1951  . He retired in  1956  and died at Cambusnethan, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, on  1 February 1957  .

Slaven, A and Checkland, S (eds), Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960 vol 1 (Aberdeen, 1986)


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

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Acquired from the estate of Sir Andrew McCance by the Economic History Department, University of Glasgow

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)2591) and London (NRA27344)

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 normal procedures

Custodial History

They were previously stored with the family of Andrew McCance family


None expected

Related Material

GB 234 Records of Colvilles Ltd (National Archives of Scotland)

GB 1496 Records of Colvilles Ltd (British Steel East Midlands Regional Records Centre)

GB 1527 Records relating to Colvilles Ltd Clyde, Clydebridge and Glangarnock Works (British Steel Records Centre)

GB 248 Papers of Andrew McCance, chairman of Colvilles Ltd

For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the  Archon repository search page

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


Peter L Payne,Colvilles and the Scottish Steel Industry(Oxford, 1979)

Additional Information

This material is original

Revised by Jenny Cooknell , Assistant Archivist, 17 September 1999

Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 24 April 2002