The Weir Group, 1871–2021 (Ebook)

150 years of a Scottish engineering legend

William Viscount Weir

In 1871 two brothers, George and James Weir, founded the engineering firm of G. & J. Weir, one of a booming range of industry on the west coast of Scotland. At their Cathcart works in Glasgow the Weirs produced their own groundbreaking inventions, all crucial to the development of steam ships at that time.

Today, 130 turbulent years later, the Weir Group is almost the last of those once-flourishing companies still to retain its independence and its Scottish base.

Over the intervening century, Weirs manufactured pumps and valves for ships' engines around the world, oil pipelines and desalination plants, armaments (in the two world wars), and heavy equipment for power stations. Along the way it was briefly involved in autogiros (the precursor of the helicopter). Rooted in the inventiveness and determination of the Victorian manufacturing age, Weirs adapted to the changing world of the twentieth century, determined always to diversify, win overseas contracts, build partnerships and above all survive.

This fascinating story is told by William Weir, a past chairman and chief executive of the company. Combining reminiscence and colourful anecdote with cool analysis of the company's triumphs and failures, this is an unusual company history and an invaluable record of a Scottish engineering legend.

Publication date: 03/11/2021


ISBN: 9781782839378


Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Business & Management

William Viscount Weir

William Viscount Weir

William Weir was born in 1933 and is the fourth generation of the family to have worked for the Weir Group. He succeeded his father as the third Viscount Weir in 1976. In 1999 he retired from the company having worked in a number of positions and served as chairman for 24 years. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he joined Weir's in 1958 after National Service in the Royal Navy.

His other business appointments have included being a member of the Court of the Bank of England, chairman of Balfour Beatty and C. P. Ships Ltd, and a director of British Steel Corporation, the British Bank of the Middle East and Canadian Pacific Railway. He has also been president of BEAMA, the trade association for the electrical manufacturing industries, and a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Monetary Policy.

He is married and lives in Ayrshire, and has three children.