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 147,180 pages of information and 233,419 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Elder and Co

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1872. Spring Safety Valves for Boilers of HMS Hydra and HMS Cyclops.

Shipbuilders of Govan.

1869 After the death of John Elder, his widow Isabella (1828 - 1905) ran the company Randolph, Elder and Co, renaming it John Elder and Co in his memory [1]. She asked her brother John Ure to be senior partner of the new firm; John Lennox Kincaid Jamieson, who had for several years been the general engineering manager of the old firm, became the engineering partner; William Pearce, who was then in a responsible post with Robert Napier and Sons, became the shipbuilding partner. The partnership came into existence in July, 1870.

1868 John's brother, Alexander Elder, went into partnership with John Dempster as Liverpool agents of the British and African Steam Navigation Co of Glasgow. British and African's vessels were constructed in John Elder's Fairfield Yard[2].

1870 William Pearce (later Sir William) took charge of the yard[3].

1870s The yard mainly made liners for a number of Far Eastern and Australasian companies, many of which went on to have long term associations with the yard, as well as 55 warships between 1870 and 1909[4].

1874 The company had a reputation for development of compound marine steam engines; A. C. Kirk, working at the company, developed the triple expansion engine, which was to become the workhorse of the world's merchant navies for the next half century.

1874. Built SS Propontis for W. H. Dixon of Liverpool. She was commanded by Captain G. E. Dunn.[5]

1875 A letter setting out the achievements of John Elder was published in The Times demonstrating that the company name of John Elder and Co was certainly in use at this date[6].

1876 Won contract for three engine and boilers for Admiralty corvettes.

1878 Launched the first of 6 corvettes from the Fairfield Yard, Govan[7].

1879 Mr. Ure and Mr. Jamieson retired, leaving Mr. Pearce as the sole partner

c.1880 Built the Livadia.

1880s Early users of manganese bronze propellors.

1882 W. Pearce of John Elder and Co became a founding director of Manganese Bronze and Brass Co[8].

1885 John Elders became the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co; suffering from the depression in trade, the yard launched only one quarter of the average of Clyde yards by tonnage (c.9000 tons)[9].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Famous Glaswegians [1]
  2. Merseyside Maritime Museum [2]
  3. The Times, 13 December 1912
  4. The Times, 2 June 1909
  5. The Engineer 1874/05/01
  6. The Times, 30 October 1875
  7. The Times, 4 April 1878
  8. The Times, 12 July 1882
  9. The Times, 26 December 1885