Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,406 pages of information and 233,863 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

David Colville

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David Colville (c1811-1898) of David Colville and Sons

1813 February 17th Baptised in Campbeltown, Argyll, the eleventh and last child of Robert Colvill and his wife, Janet Mitchell.

He joined the family business of owning and controlling a number of coasting vessels and managing several local enterprises, including whisky distilling.

In the late 1840s he moved to Glasgow and set up as a provisions merchant in the Trongate.

1845 June. Married Janet (known as Jessie), daughter of the Revd John Barr; they had a family of four sons and seven daughters.

1861 June. Colville left dealing in tea and coffee and started in the iron trade. In partnership with Thomas Gray, the manager of a small malleable-iron works at Coatbridge he formed Colville and Gray - the Clifton Ironworks.

1870 They dissolved the partnership and Gray went into partnership with Wylie at the Clifton Works.

1871 February. Colville set up his own malleable iron business and in just over a year the first of the twenty furnaces was commissioned. Rolling began two weeks later in April 1872. He was assisted by two of his sons, John Colville and Archibald Colville.

While Colville was building the Dalzell works, the Steel Company of Scotland was established and it become apparent that steel would displace malleable iron. David Colville sent his youngest son David Colville, Junior to the Steel Company's Hallside works to be fully trained in the new technology.

1879 he began to make steel, and was joined by his sons John, Archibald, and David, junior

1898 October 29th. Died at Glasgow aged 86.

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