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British Industrial History

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Hugh Reid

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1910. Reid-Ramsay turbo electric locomotive.

Sir Hugh Reid (1860-1935), chief managing director of the North British Locomotive Co

1860 Born son of James Reid of Auchterarder, Perthshire, on 9th February in Manchester

1876 to 1881 apprentice with the Hyde Park Locomotive Works of Neilson and Co

Later studied at Glasgow University.

1888 Married Marion Bell; they had three sons and one daughter

1893 became a partner in Neilson, Reid and Co with his three brothers

1894 Became senior partner on the death of his father. The business was continued by him and the remaining partners, his brothers John Reid, Andrew Thomson Reid, Walter Montgomerie Neilson Reid[1]

1903 the North British Locomotive Co was created; Reid became Deputy-Chairman and Chief Managing Director.

1905 Joint inventor of the Reid-Ramsay steam-turbine electric-locomotive[2]

1910 The steam-turbine locomotive underwent some trials but was not placed in service.

1915 his eldest son, Captain James Reid, was killed at the Battle of Loos.

1922 Created a baronet.

1924 A second locomotive using a turbine was exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition

1935 Died on the 7th July at Belmont, Springburn, Glasgow and buried at the Glasgow Necropolis

His elder surviving son, Douglas Neilson, born in 1898, succeeded to the title.

1935 Obituary [3]

Sir HUGH REID, Bart., C.B.E., V.D., LL.D., played a distinguished part in the locomotive engineering profession in Glasgow.

He was born in Manchester in 1860. His father, Mr. James Reid, M.I.Mech.E., went to Springburn three years later to assist Mr. W. M. Neilson at the Hyde Park Locomotive Works, and on the latter's retirement in 1878 he became sole partner in the firm. Sir Hugh Reid served a five years' apprenticeship, terminating in 1881, in the works, after which he studied at the University of Glasgow. He then became assistant general manager at the Hyde Park Works and was made a partner in the firm in 1893.

On his father's death in 1894 he became senior partner and in 1903 took a leading part in the firm's amalgamation with Messrs. Sharp, Stewart and Messrs. Dubs. The new company was styled the North British Locomotive Company, and became one of the largest firms of its kind in Europe. Sir Hugh held the position of chief managing director from the inception of the company, and was chairman from 1922 until his death. During the War he served on the West of Scotland Munitions Committee of Management and for his services to industry he was awarded the C.B.E. in 1918 and a baronetcy in 1922.

He did much to effect improvements in the city of Glasgow and was much concerned with municipal affairs. He was Lord Dean of Guild for 1917-18, and in 1917 he received the freedom of the city. The University of Glasgow conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of laws.

He was Deputy-Lieutenant of the County of the City of Glasgow and also held the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the 1st Lanark Royal Engineers (Volunteers), together with the Volunteer Decoration. Sir Hugh was associated with two experimental turbo-locomotives constructed by his firm, the first in 1910 and the second in 1924, the latter being shown at Wembley Exhibition. Latterly, however, he had turned his attention to internal combustion locomotives.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1891 and served on the Committee of Management of the Benevolent Fund from 1924 to 1927.

He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

His death occurred at Springburn, Glasgow, on 7th July 1935.

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