North British Locomotive Company
The company was formed in 1903 from several older companies, the oldest
of which was Sharp, Roberts & Co. (originally
of Manchester), Neilson, and Dübs
& Co. Lowe notes that the firm of Neilson & Mitchell was founded
by Walter Neilson and
James Mitchell in about 1836.
In 1837 it had become Kerr, Mitchell & Neilson, but by 1845 it was Neilson
& Co. Dübs & Co of the Glasgow Locomotive Works was formed by
Henry Dübs in 1863 when he
severed his links with Neilson & Co. Total output 4485 locomotives, mainly
for export, although substantial numbers were acquired by British companies.
In 1903 amalgamated with Neilson, Reid and Sharp Stewart to form North British
Locomotive works. Atkins gives a very succinct
account of how in 1876 Neilson was forced out of the firm which he founded
and how he formed the Clyde Locomotive Company in Springburn
which only built some thirty locomotives before being taken over by Sharp
Stewart and becoming the Atlas Works (advertised for sale in 1927:
Locomotive Mag., 1927,
33, 238). Atkins notes that North British had a huge capacity,
but this was never fully utilised. The entrance of Beardmore into locomotive
building following WW1 was a major blow. The firm failed to cope with the
newer forms of traction. Lowe: 7pp on this
major locomotive manufacturer. The Reid family:
James Reid and his sons
John, Hugh and
Andrew Thomson made this a very
large family business. See also William
Lorimer. See also Reid family and others involved in the firm's development.
Murdoch Nicolson and M. O'Neill,Glasgow:
locomotive builder to the world. (Glasgow Public Libraries. 1987)
describe his contribution and show him in a portrait. It became North British
Locomotive Co. in 1903. There was a notable television documentary about
the firm and its products: Diamonds are for ever.
Three new directors had joined the board of the North British Locomotive Co., Ltd. W. D. Lorimer, son of Mr. William Lorimer, chairman and managing director of the company; J. B. Mavor, nephew of the late Sam Mavor , is a director of Mavor & Coulson, Ltd., and Sir Frederick Stewart, chairman of Thermotank, Ltd., and of Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird, Ltd. For some time past the North British Loco. Works.production capacity has been engaged on normal and special work, including the 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 austerity locomotives Locomotive Mag., 1944, 50, 17. Chairmen: J.B. Mavor elected Chairman of North British Locomotive Co. in succession to late Sir Frederick Stewart. Locomotive Mag, 1950, 56, 68.
Atkins, [C.] Philip. The golden
age of steam locomotive building. Penryn: Atlantic (in association
with NRM), 1999.128pp.
The development of locomotive manufacturing in the United Kingdom: an illustrated history with an extensive bibliography. He is Librarian of the NRM.
Bradley, Rodger P. Giants of steam the full story of the North British Locomotive Co. Ltd. Oxford Publishing. 1995. 198pp.
Foreword by Sir Hugh Reid, President of the North British Locomotive Preservation Group. The company was formed in 1903 from several companies, the oldest of which was Sharp, Roberts & Co., originally of Manchester, Neilson, and Dübs & Co. The extensive tabulated data records the varied output for home and overseas railways. The experimental Reid-Ramsay condensing turbine electric locomotive, and the Reid-Ramsay-McLeod development from it are described at some length. The design of the Royal Scot and B17 classes for the LMS and LNER respectively is also described as is the experimental high pressure locomotive Fury. The late and disappointing ventures in electric and diesel traction is also discussed. The financial record is observed. The North British Collection of photographs at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow is mentioned.
Court, J.M. North British steam locomotives built 1857-1956 for railways overseas. Truro: Bradford Barton, . 112pp.
Court, J.M. North British steam locomotives built 1833 to1948 for railways in Britain. Truro: Bradford Barton, . 112pp.
Dewhurst, P.C. and Holcroft, Harold. The Fairlie locomotive - Part 2. Later designs and productions. Trans. Newcomen Soc., 1966, 39, 1-34.
North British Locomotive Co. Ltd. Locomotive Mag., 1955, 61, 3-5
Thomas, John. The Springburn story. Dawlish: David & Charles, 1964.
Generally considered to be his best book., probably because of its warm, Glaswegian folksy character as exemplified by an extract from some of the early pages in the book.. The involvement of Walter Neilson receives close attention
The somewhat messy development of the Reid (who supplied the capital and construction facilities)-Ramsay-McLeod turbine electric condensing locomotive, and the Armstrong-Whitworth locomotive of similar configuration together with the more successful Swedish Ljungström type evaluated on the LMS, and Stanier's proposed developments in the 1930s are described in: Robin Barnes' Condensed account - a short history of the steam turbine condensing loco. Backtrack 9 406-13 The part relating to the first-named should be read in assication with Bradley's Giants of steam. See letter from Sweden (Backtrack, Volume 9 page 676) concerning Ljungström type
The MacLeod element is described in Archive Issue 14 page 46
Michael Rutherford. Bogie steam locomotives - Part 2. . Backtrack, 1998, 12, 387-93.
Covers much ground: Reid-Ramsay Elctro-Turbo locomotive (NBL 19266/1910) and as rebuilt with direct drive to design of James MacLeod and exhibited at Wembley Exhibition in 1924,
James Macleod, Trans Instn Engrs Shipbuilers Scotland, 1929/30, 73, 49-108.
Thanked for assistance by O.S. Nock in British steam railway locomotive Introduction
Apprenticed at the Elgin Works of the Morayshire Railway from 1853. Spent 57 years with what became the North British Locomotive Company, firstly at the Hyde Park Works in Anderston, then at the Hyde Park Works in Springburn and latterly at the Atlas Works in Springburn and for his final 28 years as principal foreman erector. He was presented with a gold watch on his retirement. Loco. Mag., 1916, 22, 189
Aged 49 at time of Fury boiler explosion. See Carney. Member ILocoE
Born 31 July 1869. Received his mechanical training with Dubs & Co. and NBL. From March 1918 he was Assistant Works Manager of the Queen's Park Works. Obit. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1922, 12, 172.
Neilson & Mitchell
Glasgow locomotive builders of the world states "Neilson & Co. was one of the three locomotive building firms which eventually became part.of the North British Locomotive Company, and was the first of the three to be founded in Glasgow. Waiter Montgomerie Neilson, born 1819 in Glasgow, was a man with enough vision to see that a thriving railway industry would require a continuing supply of steam locomotives, and decided to enter the field of locomotive construction. The foundations were laid down for him, because he came from a family experienced in the manufacture of stationary and marine steam engines. His father, James Beaumont Neilson, revolutionised the manufacture of iron by devising the "Hot Blast" method used successfully from 1828; and his uncle, John Neilson, was responsible for building the Fairy Queen, the first iron ship made to grace the Clyde, in 1831. Thus Walter had been exposed to some major innovations in engineering from his earliest childhood. In 1836 his cousin William Neilson, together with James Mitchell, founded the general engineering firm of Neilson & Mitchell in Hyde Park Street, in the Finnieston area of Glasgow.
Lowe notes that this Glasgow firm was founded by Walter Neilson and James Mitchell in about 1836 to manufacture stationary and marine engines with premises in McAlpine Street.. In 1837 it had become Kerr, Mitchell & Neilson, but by 1845 it was Neilson & Co. The first locomotives were built in the Hyde Park Street works in Finnieston in 1843 and were three 0-4-0s for the 4' 6" gauge Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway. (Jas. F. McEwan. Centenary of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Ry. Locomotive Mag., 1931, 37, 354-6. 5 diagrams).For the first five years all the output went to local railways including the Monkland, Wishaw & Coltness, Glasgow and Ayr, and Edinburgh & Glasgow railways. In 1850 some 2-2-2 well tanks were built, two for the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway named Wee Scotland and Little England.
Until 1855 stationary and marine engines continued to be built, and a notable stationary engine was for rope haulage on the Cowlairs Incline built in 1842. This side of the business was then dropped, and in the same year the firm became Neilson & Co. Large orders came from India Punjaub. Scinde, Great Indian Peninsula, Bombay Baroda & Central Indian; and East Indiian railways all received locomotives in the 1860s
Following the involvement of James Reid it became North British Locomotive Co. in 1903.
Many notable locomotive men were associated in various capacities in Walter Neilson's works: Benjamin Conner was Works Manager, Henry Dubs who subsequently started up on his own, Patrick Stirling, and James Reid who had come from Caird & Co. left for a time to work at Sharp Stewart & Co. and later returned.
Dewhurst, P.C. and Holcroft, Harold. The Fairlie locomotive - Part
2. Later designs and productions.
Trans. Newcomen Soc., 1966, 39, 1-34.
Hunt, David. Locomotive builders to the Midland Railway. Midland Record, (21), 111-26.
Neilson supplied some Midland Railway locomotives: Hunt did not cite his sources See also biography.
Dubs & Co. Glasgow Locomotive Works, Glasgow
Formed by Henry Dubs in 1863 ( See also biography.) when he severed his links with Neilson & Co. Total output 4485 locomotives, mainly for export, although substantial numbers were acquired by British companies. In 1903 amalgamated with Neilson, Reid and Sharp Stewart to form North British Locomotive works.. See also William Lorimer.
Clyde Locomotive Co. Ltd., Springburn,
Founded in 1884 by Walter Montgomerie Neilson. Built eight 4-4-0s for the Highland Railway in 1886 and two for the Girvan & Portpatrick Junction Railway/Ayrshire & Wigtownshire Railway in 1887. These became GSWR Nos. 304/305. Three 0-4-0ST and one 0-6-0ST were also built. Works were taken over by Sharp Stewart in 1888.