top of page

In 1871 David J. Dunlop and James L. Cunliffe took over the Inch yard at Port Glasgow from Lawrence Hill, trading as Cunliffe & Dunlop, with both men having had shipbuilding experience with John Elder at the Fairfield yard. Dunlop was the leading partner and the son of a merchant in Mexico City, where he was born in 1838. He was sent home to be educated at Glasgow and after some civil engineering experience his first shipyard experience was to help John Elder lay out his new Fairfield yard at Govan. He left the Fairfield yard in 1869 after the death of Elder, and decided to start shipbuilding on his own account. Many shallow-draft craft were the first products of Cunliffe & Dunlop as well as several cable ships including Retriever of the 1870s. Cunliffe retired in 1881 and David J. Dunlop continued alone until 1911 building over one hundred ships of varied types. Customers included Trinity House with the tender Satellite; Booth Line with Amazonense 2828/99; the local Glen & Company with Duno/ly 3281/01; Zafiro 2539/01 for the China & Manila Steamship Co. Ltd, Hong Kong and Woermann Line of Hamburg with Hans Woermann 4059/00 and Ernst Woermann 4065/00 for their African services; and the Union Steamship Co. Ltd of New Zealand with Atua 3444/06.

The Inch yard is best remembered for a number of large tankers, large for the time, built from 1889 e.g. Manhattan 3384/89 of 4000 dwt, Delaware 3855/93 and Lackawanna 3855/94 of 4700 dwt and Chesapeake 4557/95 of 5200 dwt for the Anglo-American Oil Co. Ltd; and the larger Phoebus 6268/03 for the Deutsch - American Petroleum Co. Ltd. In 1911 David Dunlop died and Donald Bremner took over the Inch yard, retaining the Dunlop name as Dunlop, Bremner & Co. Ltd and building for local owners such as J. & J. Denholm with Mountpark 1376/12.

Output during the Great War included three ‘Flower’ class sloops, four paddle minesweepers and six twin-screw minesweepers, and dumb barges for the Admiralty, and five coastal liners for Wilson Line of Hull. Standard ships included four ‘H’ type standard coasters, completed as Backworth 2481/19, Coatsworth 2555/19, Roseworth 2555/19 and Knebworth 2555/19 for R.S. Dalgleish Ltd of Newcastle. Largest ships built at this time were Camana 5574/18 and Almeda 681 7/19 for Blue Star Line, the latter being renamed Norman Star. The yard was taken over by the Lithgow brothers in 1919 but continued under its own name until work ran out in 1926. The yard was purchased in March 1933 by National Shipbuilders Security Ltd with a restrictive covenant prohibiting shipbuilding for forty years.

bottom of page