Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Scott and Sons

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of Greenock, shipbuilders

1711 A yard was established by John Scott, and initially built small fishing craft.

c.1745 Scott died; the business was continued by his sons James and William as James and William Scott[1]

By the 1760s the Scotts were building ocean going sailing ships; they acquired land adjacent to their West Burn yard for expansion.

1772 William's son, John II, took over the business and ran it in conjunction with his brother William II

1773 John renamed the business John Scott and Sons[2]

The business engaged in speculative shipbuilding as well as the ship repair work which they had been doing for some time.

1798 Sent an expedition to Newfoundland, under his brother Christopher in order to build ships and sail them home with timber to address the shortage of timber then affecting the industry.

c.1800 The shipyard was greatly enlarged. Around this time the Scotts had 12 sailing ships trading mainly timber but also other goods such as copper, turpentine, tar. flax, etc.

John's sons John III and Charles progressively took over the business from the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

1812 The first steam vessel, the PS Comet, was launched on the Clyde

c.1815 Scotts delivered 2 shallow draft paddle steamers for use on the Clyde

1819 The yard built the first steamer to trade regularly between the Clyde and Liverpool.

1825 The success of the first experimental steamship led to the Scott family buying an engine works in Greenock and they began to make steamers that could manage the long routes out to the Middle and Far East. Around 1849 the company, as Scott, Sinclair and Co, built seventeen railway locomotives before this side of the business was dropped.

1837 John Scott II died. After a dispute over his will, his shipbuilding yard was given to his elder son, John Scott III, rather than the original recipient, his brother Charles. This led to a long standing dispute in the family[3]

1851 Charles fell out with his brother and sold him his share in the family business.[4]

1856 The 2 firms John Scott and Sons and Scott, Sinclair and Co were carried on by John Scott and John Scott, Junior as sole partners[5]

1861 Previously the yard had "carried on the timber trade" but had no construction work at the time[6]

The last member of the Scott family associated with this business was John Scott, Junior, son of John Scott III

1861 The business failed[7]

1862 The Greenock yard (presumably Westburn) was sold, partly to Caird and Co and partly to McNab and Co of Greenock


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Scotts of Greenock - An Illustrated History By William Kane, Vincent P. Gillen
  2. Scotts of Greenock - An Illustrated History By William Kane, Vincent P. Gillen
  3. Scotts of Greenock - An Illustrated History, By William Kane, Vincent P. Gillen
  4. Scotts of Greenock - An Illustrated History By William Kane, Vincent P. Gillen
  5. The London Gazette 22 January 1856
  6. The Engineer 1861/05/17
  7. Scotts of Greenock - An Illustrated History, By William Kane, Vincent P. Gillen