WILLIAM HAMILTON & Co.
William and John Hamilton completed two ships in 1867 at the Bay yard in Port Glasgow, formerly owned by Kirkpatrick & McIntyre. They then began shipbuilding in 1873 in the Newark yard at Port Glasgow, building sailing ships as well as coasters and trawlers. Their first steel ship was the steamer Colonsay. William Hamilton, now on his own, then in 1891 purchased the yard which was to make him famous, the Glen yard at Port Glasgow from the bankrupt John Reid. The Glen yard launched on average six ships each year from its four berths during the best years, although no ships were built at all during the year of 1903 due to a slump in orders. William Hamilton had converted his company into one of limited liability in 1904, and he was to retire at the end of the Great War in 1919 when he sold out to the Lithgow Bros. He had built up a significant customer base of liner shipowners. The most significant of these was that of Thomas and Jno Brocklebank, who although they were taken over by Cunard in 1919 had no fewer than 31 cargo-liners built by the yard for their Brocklebank Line, which ultimately owned almost 50% of the shares in the yard alongside Lithgow’s. The yard produced more than a dozen warships during the Great War as well as merchant ships to order. Orders were hard to come by during the lean 1920s. During World War II the yard built tramps and cargo-liners. In post war years half of the Glen yard output was for cargo-liners. ‘Freetown’ was the last ship completed by the Glen yard on 19th September, 1963 with her completion under the Lithgow name in February 1964. The Glen yard was then merged with the East yard of Lithgow, with the Glen slipways being replaced by a new long platers shop at right angles to the Clyde, and then the Glen/East yard was then modernised for the prefabrication of very large bulkers and supertankers after the erection of a high 225-ton capacity Arrol gantry crane for lifting large assemblies.