David Colville & Sons

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Dalzell Works, opened by Colville in 1872, nationalised under British Steel in 1967 and today operated by Tata Steel Europe.

David Colville & Sons, a Scottish iron and steel company, was founded in 1871 and it opened its Dalzell Steel and Iron Works at Motherwell in 1872. By the first World War, it was the largest steel works in Scotland and it continued to expanded afterwards taking over a number of other steel works in Cambuslang and Glengarnock, as well as galvanising works.

Nationalised in 1951, it became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain. It was privatised in 1955 and the construction of Ravenscraig steelworks resulted in the closure of a number of its other works. It was renationalised in 1967, becoming part of British Steel.

Formation and expansion[edit]

David Colville & Sons was founded in 1871.[1] The company's first plant was the Dalzell Steel and Iron Works in Motherwell, which was opened in 1872,[2] and by World War I this plant was the largest individual steel works in the country.[3]

Colville's quickly grew into a substantial concern, and by 1900 they were the largest employers in Motherwell.[4] During WWI the Government of the United Kingdom asked Colville's to intervene in some of the nearby struggling steel plants, and to that effect they took over the running of the Clydebridge Steel Company works in Cambuslang in 1915, and the Glengarnock works in 1916.[5] In 1919, Colville's entered a minority share swap agreement with its principal customer, the shipbuilders Harland and Wolff of Belfast and Glasgow. During 1919 they also acquired the Galvanising works of Smith & McLean Limited, which owned works at Gartcosh, Milnwood, Mavisbank Quay (Glasgow), and Port Glasgow.[citation needed]

Nationalisation, privatisation and renationalisation[edit]

1951 saw the company taken into public ownership, under the direction of the Labour government of Clement Attlee, as part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain. Public subsidy underwrote the start of Colville's Ravenscraig steelworks project in 1954, although Colville's was subsequently returned to private ownership by the Conservative government of Anthony Eden in 1955. In 1957 construction of the integrated Ravenscraig steelworks at Motherwell was completed at a cost of £20 million, and as a result of this, a number of older Colville furnaces were demolished.[1]

In 1967, Colville's was renationalised, and became part of British Steel.[6]


  1. ^ a b "David Colville and Sons". The Best of British Engineering 1750-1960s. Grace's Guide. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "David Colville: The founder of Colville's". Colville's Magazine. Clydebridge Steelworks History. January 1920. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Colville's - The Company and Its Allied Concerns". Colville's Magazine. Clydebridge Steelworks History. January 1920. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Motherwell, Park Street, Dalzell Steelworks: Offices and Workshops Fronting Park Street, Motherwell". Historic Scotland. British Listed Buildings. 10 December 2001 (date buildings listed). Retrieved 3 October 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Sir John Craig 1874-1957: Sixty-Seven Years with Colvilles, 1888 - 1955". Clydebridge Steelworks History. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "David Colville (1813 – 1898)". Hall of Fame. Lanarkshire 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Payne, Peter L (1979). Colvilles and the Scottish Steel Industry. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-828278-8. 

External links[edit]