The Weir Group (Ebook)

The History of a Scottish Engineering Legend

William Viscount Weir

The classic account of an international engineering industry leader's development, from the Victorian era to the present day.

In 1871 two brothers, George and James Weir, founded the engineering firm of G. & J. Weir, joining the booming range of industry on the west coast of Scotland. At their Cathcart works in Glasgow, the Weirs produced their own groundbreaking inventions. The most notable of these was the celebrated direct-acting feed pump, but all were crucial to the development of steam ships at that time.

Today, more than 140 turbulent years later, the Weir Group is almost the last of those once-flourishing companies still to retain its independence and a Scottish base.

Over the intervening century, Weir's 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 also involved in other activities, including the development of the autogiro (the precursor of the helicopter) and prefabricated housing. Rooted in the inventiveness and determination of the Victorian manufacturing age, Weir's adapted to a changing world, determined always to diversify, win overseas contracts, build partnerships and above all survive. Now, as Lord Smith of Kelvin retires after more than ten years as chairman and passes an impressive legacy - further strengthened by major recent acquisitions - to his successor, Charles Berry, the Weir Group once again has success firmly in its grasp.

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

Publication date: 12/12/2013


ISBN: 9781782830894


Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Business & Management, History & Classics

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.