Fa­mous ships bear plate hall­marks

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

The ear­li­est record re­lat­ing to Cly­de­bridge is a quo­ta­tion, dated Novem­ber 16, 1885, from Miller and Co, Coat­bridge .

It was to sup­ply a plate mill, cog­ging mill, and steam en­gines to drive the mills, plus a hot bloom shear and a plate shear.

This was ad­dressed to Hugh Neil­ston, Bar­la­nark House, Both­well, and is for a grand to­tal of £16,750.

Only the plate shear was ac­cepted from this quo­ta­tion, how­ever, af­ter its price had been re­duced from £1250 to £1200.

Cly­de­bridge Steel­works then opened in 1887.

It was one of the gi­ants of in­dus­trial Scot­land, and its steel plates were formed into many of the most fa­mous ships built on the River Clyde (and else­where) in­clud­ing the Lusi­ta­nia, Mau­re­ta­nia, Queen Mary, HMS Hood, Queen El­iz­a­beth, QE2.

The ad­ja­cent Clyde Iron Works, which op­er­ated from 1786 to 1978, was where the hot blast process was in­vented, in 1828, by James Beau­mont Neil­son.

This one in­ven­tion led to a rapid in­crease in iron man­u­fac­ture and the growth of industry in Scot­land.

An early cut­ting from the Glas­gow Her­ald shows that Cly­de­bridge didn’t just suf­fer from down­turns in the present day.

An ar­ti­cle dated Oc­to­ber 29, 1912, read: “We un­der­stand that pro­pos­als have been made lately to re­open Cly­de­bridge Steel Works, which un­der an agree­ment with the Scotch Steel­mas­ters As­so­ci­a­tion were closed about five years ago when the trade was in a de­pressed state and have not since been in op­er­a­tion.

“A num­ber of ship­builders are as­so­ci­ated with a scheme for restart­ing the works.”

In its hey­day in the 1970s the fac­tory is be­lieved to have em­ployed around 3,000 work­ers. The plant then con­sisted of melt­ing shops, pre­heaters, slab­bing mill, pusher fur­naces, four-high plate mill, heat treat­ment, shot blast­ing and a prim­ing plant.

Gi­ant of the waves The Lusi­ta­nia un­der con­struc­tion

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