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 148,100 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Murdoch and Murray

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shipbuilders, of Brown Street, Port Glasgow

  • 1875 Henry Murray and James Murdoch (1821-98) set up Murdoch and Murray at the Brown Street yard on one of the Clydeside estuaries. They made a variety of small iron schooners and barques before moving into steel construction steamers. The yard then specialised in shallow-draft passenger/cargo steamers. Over 70 were built, along with smaller steamers and three masted schooners for companies around the world. The company was run by James Murdoch, Henry Murray, James and George Murray (Henry's sons).
  • Henry Murray's son, John, set up a coaster company called Murray, McNab and Co. Glasgow.
  • 1880s The company mainly built steel tramp steamers, and then a further series of steamers for many British companies. This work largely occupied the yard up to the outbreak of WWI
  • After James Murdoch's death, Murray ran the business till his retirement in 1909. When James Murdoch died Henry Murray took over running of this yard and Murdoch and Murray became a limited liability company.
  • 1895 Short period of closure during the slump of 1895.
  • 1909 Henry Murray retired; Murdoch and Murray became a limited company
  • 1912 the Clyde paddle steamer Queen Empress
  • WWI The Company manufactured minesweepers, tugs, rescue tugs (Saint class), several trawlers, a coaster, a Russian ice breaking tug and a Mersey pilot cutter.
  • 1918 At the end of the war the company was bought out by the London group of John Slater. The directors of the yard were James and George Murray, John Slater and his wife Mrs A. E. Slater, and took over the neighbouring yard of Ferguson Brothers
  • Between 1919 and 1923 the yard made seven further ships
  • 1923 Work ran out
  • The yard closed in October 1927. The yard was turned into a park and then later reused by Lithgows.
  • In all over 250 ships were built, all small, and with a particular emphasis on shallow draft vessels.

See Also


Sources of Information

British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss

  • The Port Glasgow Yards [1]