Records of the Gourock Ropes and Canvas Co Ltd, rope makers and textile manufacturers, Australia (including Birkmyre Canvas Co (Pty) Ltd)

Scope and Content

  • Correspondence and list of employees 1931;
  • Secretary's file 1937-1953;
  • Financial papers with correspondence 1941-1963;
  • Correspondence and reports relating to a new Australian factory 1960-1962;
  • Correspondence 1964-1967;
  • Birkmyre Canvas Co (Pty) Ltd correspondence and accounts 1941-1948.

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 overseas trade. The first branch was opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1888, followed by a branch in Sydney, Australia in  1902 . Subsequent Australian branches were 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 Australian branches produced the famous Birkmyre waterproof canvas that soon became well known in the country to the extent that all canvas in Australia, regardless of its manufacturer, were referred to as "Birkmyres". In order to allow the company to trade in made-up canvas goods, a subsidiary company,  Birkmyre Canvas Co (Pty) Ltd  was established in  1940 . Factories were opened in Sydney and Melbourne, and after considerable initial difficulties due to the prevailing wartime conditions, operations were begun. The Sydney offices of both companies were vacated in  1952  and transferred to Concord, Australia. The companies appear to have ceased trading in the late  1960s  and the 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 248 UGD 42 Records of Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd

The Gourock Ropeworks Co had a number of subsidiary companies whose records survive:

GB 248 UGD 42/6/1 Records of Govan Ropeworks Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 42/6/2 Records of Archibald Thomson Black & Co

GB 248 UGD 42/6/3 Records of Gourock Ropeworks Export Co

GB 248 UGD 42/6/4 Records of Gourock-Bridport Ltd, Montreal, Canada

GB 248 UGD 42/6/5 Records of Greenock Ropework Co

GB 248 UGD 42/6/6 Records of Gourock Ropes and Canvas (Africa) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 42/6/8 Records of Birkmyre Brothers (Calcutta) Ltd

GB 248 UGD 42/6/9 Records of Gourock Ropes & Canvas Ltd, New Zealand

GB 248 UGD 42/6/10 Records of Gourock Ropes & Canvas Ltd, Argentina

GB 248 UGD 42/6/12 Records of miscellaneous companies related to the Gourock Ropeworks Co Ltd

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Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


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Additional Information

This material is original

No alterations made to date