Records of Ailsa Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Troon, East Ayrshire, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minute books 1901-1976
  • Board papers 1957-1965
  • Shareholding records 1901-1978
  • Financial records 1926-1942
  • Cost books 1910-1919, 1950-1964
  • Workmen's houses rent rolls 1925-1938
  • Valuation books 1906-1966
  • Salaries books 1909-1965
  • Letter books 1949-1971
  • Subject files 1918-1963
  • Agreements, specifications and guidence drawings for hulls nos. 472-524
  • Builder's certificates 1919-1957
  • Licensing records 1951-1961
  • Shareholding records, financial records and project subject files for Barclay & Company (Kilmarnock) Ltd 1933-1971
  • Company diaries 1887-1947
  • Data books 1887-1949
  • Particular books 1883-1910
  • Launcing particular books 1921-1953
  • Offsets from loft 1922-1968
  • Wood and spar books 1901-1910
  • Engineer's record book 1910-1982
  • Estimate books 1954-1980
  • Publicity material and press cuttings 1883-1986
  • Photographs 1940-1964
  • Instruction manuals 1891-1980

Administrative / Biographical History

The company was established in  1870  by the  3rd Marquess of Ailsa (  1847-1938  ) as the  Culzean Steam Launch and Yacht Works ,  Culzean, South Ayrshire, Scotland . From there it moved to  Girvan, South Ayrshire , in  1883  and subsequently to  Troon, South Ayrshire , in  1886  . The Troon yard had been established in  1810  by the  4th Duke of Portland . From  1886  , the company was known as  Ailsa Shipbuilding & Engineering Co , taking its name from the  Marquess of Ailsa who was a famous yachtsman and partner in the company and who designed and built many of his own yachts. The partnership was registered in  1901  as  Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd with the Marquess as Chairman.

In  1902  it took over the  Ayr, South Ayrshire shipyard of  S McKnight & Co Ltd which had been founded in  1883  . Activity in  Ayr ceased after th first World War, but it was revived briefly from  1945  until  1947  when the yard was sold to  Ayr Engineering & Construction Co Ltd . After the Marquess of Ailsa's death the company came under the control of the  Hutchison family but was nationalised as part of  British Shipbuilders in  June 1978  and linked with  Ferguson Brothers (Port Glasgow) Ltd as  Ferguson-Ailsa Ltd . In  1986  the yard was purchased by Australian entrepreneur  Greg Copley of the  Perth Corporation . In  1991  the yard traded as  Ailsa-Perth Shipbuilders Ltd , a subsidiary of  Perth Corporation (Holdings) Ltd .

The company built many different kinds of vessels including cargo and passenger ships, paddle steamers, pleasure yachts, minesweepers, corvettes, frigates and other war ships, ferries, oil and petrol tankers and dredgers. In  1907  an engine shop for the manufacture of reciprocating steam engines enabled the company to be independent of outside engine builders and 200 sets of this kind of machinery were built. Later, the Ailsa Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd obtained a licence from  William Doxford & Sons for the construction of opposed piston oil engines in order to meet tonnage demands. A subsidiary company  Barclay & Co (Kilmarnock) Ltd , Kilmarnock, was, in  1967  , producing and marketing laminated plastic sheeting for use in the manufacture of table tops and other furniture.

Ritchie, L A (ed),The shipbuilding industry: A guide to historical records, (1992, Manchester)


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

Access Information

Requests for access for legal, business or commercial purposes must be referred to the Keepr of the Records of Scotland

Acquisition Information

National Archives of Scotland : 9 August 1984

Held under the charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland

Addition deposit : Ferguson-Ailsa Ltd : 1986-1988

Private loan : 1992

Other Finding Aids

Manual file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2512) and London (NRA18721).

Alternative Form Available

The Ailsa ship plans originaly held on aperture cards have now been digitised.

Conditions Governing Use

See separate copyright regulatations

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with National Archives of Scotland procedures

Custodial History

Records held by Appledore-Ferguson Ltd prior to their acquisition by the National Archives of Scotland


Accruals possible

Related Material

See source list on Shipping and Shipbuilding Industry available via the  Glasgow University Archive Services homepage

GB 248 GD 321 Records of Ferguson Brothers (Port Glasgow) Ltd

GB 1505 Ships plans 1887-1964 (Scottish Maritime Museum)


There are no known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Fonds level description compiled by Alison Jasper , Archives Assistant, 26 June 1998

Completed by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, August 1998

Updated by Jenny Bunn, Assistant Archivist, 10 April 2000

Updated by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 8 October 2001

Geographical Names