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British Industrial History

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David Macbrayne

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May 1949.

of 119 Hope Street, Glasgow.

1851 Formation of the steamer company David Hutcheson and Co by three partners – David Hutcheson, Alexander Hutcheson and David MacBrayne.

By the mid-1870s, the service to the Hebrides formed the basis of David MacBrayne's company.

1928 Reincorporation of the company as David MacBrayne (1928) Ltd

1930 Acquired a new vessel for the Inner Islands Mail Service[1]

1936 David MacBrayne Ltd and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company purchased the steamers and goodwill of Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd and of Turbine Steamers Ltd[2]

1939 The Minister of Transport appointed a director to the board of the company in connection with the Western Highlands and Islands Transport Services[3]

1968 At the end of December; a half interest in David MacBrayne was transferred from the Transport Holding Co to the Scottish Transport Group.

1969 Caledonian Steam Packet Co Ltd., operating Clyde services, and David Macbrayne, operating Western Isles services, became subsidiaries of the state-owned Scottish Transport Group.

1969 Scottish Transport Group (STG) gained control of David MacBrayne's in June. The MacBrayne service from Gourock to Ardrishaig ended on 30 September 1969, leaving the Clyde services entirely to the Caledonian Steam Packet Co.

On 1 January 1973 STG reorganised its shipping services into two subsidiary companies, CalMac and David MacBrayne. CalMac was to be responsible for the profitable services (including those which were thought capable of being made profitable) and so took over responsibility for both the Clyde and Western Isles ferry operations. David MacBrayne was made responsible for the rest. The Secretary of State undertook to subsidise David MacBrayne's loss-making services.

However, in the economic circumstances of the mid-1970s with rising fuel prices and labour costs, it became apparent that the west coast ferry services could not remain or become profitable.

1975 the Secretary of State undertook to subsidise CalMac as well as David MacBrayne.

1978 David MacBrayne ceased trading on 31 December 1978 and transferred its activities to CalMac on the following day.

1990 Ownership of Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd. was transferred to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

2006 After lying dormant for a number of years, David MacBrayne Ltd. was reactivated and became parent company to the companies which took over the operation of the Northern Isles services, NorthLink Ferries Ltd., and the Clyde & Hebrides ferry services, CalMac Ferries Ltd.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, May 02, 1930
  2. The Times, Oct 05, 1935
  3. The Times Feb 17, 1939
  • Competition Commission report [1]