A. & J. Inglis

A & J Inglis, Ltd, was a shipbuilding firm founded by Anthony Inglis and his brother John, engineers and shipbuilders in Glasgow, Scotland in 1862.[1] The firm built over 500 ships in a period of just over 100 years.[2] Their Pointhouse Shipyard was at the confluence of the rivers Clyde and Kelvin. They constructed a wide range of ships, including Clyde steamers, paddle steamers and small ocean liners. In wartime, they built small warships, and in the period after World War II, they built a number of whalers.

A. & J. INGLIS- Shipbuilders, Engineers and Boilermakers, Glasgow, Scotland. Telegraphic Address "INGLIS," GLASGOW. S.S. Pointer. Slip Dock for Vessels up to 2,000 Tons.


A & J Inglis shipyard from the bridge over the River Kelvin in 1946. On the left is Clyde paddle steamer Jeanie Deans. Behind are two Empire tankers and the diesel electric paddle ship Talisman being restored after serving as HMS Aristocrat.
Three Harland & Wolff shipyards on the Clyde in the 1930s: The former A & J Inglis (east) shipyards at the top right with the tripod crane, the former D & W Henderson's (on the west bank of the Kelvin) and opposite the company's yard in Govan (on the site of the Govan Old, Govan New and Middleton yards) is at the bottom, left.[3]

A & J Inglis of Glasgow was formed in 1848 as an engineering works.[4] Thomas B. Seath founded the shipyard at Pointhouse in 1845 and it was acquired by A & J Inglis in 1862.[3] In 1884 Anthony Inglis died and his son John Inglis took over. John Inglis himself, was well known for many maritime activities. In 1885 they launched 11 ships with a total tonnage of 7,470 tons.[5]

In 1867, a Patent Slip Dock for ship repairs was built at Pointhouse. This was an innovative alternative to a dry dock, invented by Robert Napier. The vessel sat on a big trolley, which was on rails, and was hauled up onto dry land by a powerful winch. The yard had up to 2,000 employees on just 18 acres of ground plus approximately 300 workers at the former premises of the company in Whitehall Foundry.

In 1897, the Transatlantic Company of Paris ordered two of a total of ten fast mail steamers for their African service at A & J Inglis. Inglis delivered two weeks ahead of their competitors. The French owners were impressed and checked carefully that the fast-track build programme had not resulted in an inferior quality, but found no evidence of this, on the contrary they were delighted with the high standard of construction achieved.[6]

Harland and Wolff bought controlling shares in the company in 1919 but the yard remained independent.[3] After Harland and Wolff, who also owned a larger yard on the opposite bank of the river at Govan, opted to consolidate its operations in Belfast, the yard closed in 1962 and is now the site of the new Riverside Museum.


Clippers and yachtsEdit

SS Erl King was launched in 1865
The clipper Norman Court was launched in 1869

Some of the first ships built by the shipyard were propelled by a combination of sails and steam engines. Because of their elegant design and high speed they were recognised as leading-edge representatives of their class.

The shipyard became famous by building the British Royal Yacht Alexandra and the Egyptian Royal Yacht SS Safra El-Bahr. The turbine yacht TS Vanadis was built of steel, rigged as a triple screw schooner and, unusually, was powered by steam turbines.[7]

Paddle steamersEdit

PS Hankow was built for the China Navigation Company in 1874
PS Pioneer was launched in 1905. She was of a light design with small paddle wheels, which did not protrude above the promenade deck.
The paddle steamer PS Weeroona

Famous ships built by the firm include the paddle steamer Waverley,[2] now the world's last seagoing paddle steamer. Other Inglis-built paddle steamers include the Maid of the Loch,[2] which still serves as a visitor attraction on Loch Lomond,[8] and the forerunner to the Humber Bridge, PS Lincoln Castle which was controversially broken up in situ at Grimsby's Alexandra Dock, despite her uniqueness of design as what was likely to have been Inglis's only cargo carrying estuary paddle steamer; designed chiefly as a practical workhorse as opposed to a more elegant 'pleasure steamer' image more commonly associated with paddle steamers. In ocean-going service, paddle steamers became much less useful after the invention of the screw propeller, but they remained in use in coastal service and as river tugboats, thanks to their shallow draught and good manoeuvrability.

Conversions and extensionsEdit

The shipyard was also specialised in conversions: On 16 May 1901 the TS King Edward was launched, which had been built by William Denny and Brothers in Dumbarton. The builders hoped to attain a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) with the turbine machinery. However, on 24 June 1901 in seven return runs over the mile, the best mean speed attained was 19.7 knots (36.5 km/h). On the next day at the Pointhouse yard of A. & J. Inglis the central propeller of 4 feet (1.2 m) diameter was exchanged for one of 4 feet 9 inches (1.45 m) diameter, and the outer propellers of 2 feet 10 inches (0.86 m) diameter were exchanged for propellers 3 feet 4 inches (1.02 m) diameter. Trials on 26 June 1901 achieved a mean of 20.48 knots (37.93 km/h).

In 1905, an extension and rebuild of the SS Mahroussa was undertaken. The ship had been originally built for Isma'il Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and was later renamed to SS El Horria. The two paddle wheels were replaced by triple screws powered by steam turbines built by Inglis at their Warroch Street Engine Works in Glasgow. Inglis were one of the first companies licensed by the Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company Wallsend for the manufacture of steam turbines in their own works. The ship was still in use in 2001 as a luxury yacht.[9]

Railway ferriesEdit

Inglis built eight ferries between 1907 and 1929 for the Entre Rios Railways Co. in Argentina. These were used between 1907 and 1990 to cross the Paraná River and join the Buenos Aires province and the Entre Rios province, until new bridges were built over the rivers they crossed:

Argentine train diesel ferry, the 3rd generation ferries, from the 1930s
  • Lucía Carbó (1907)
  • María Parera (1908)
  • Mercedes Lacroze (1909)
  • Roque Saenz Peña (1911)
  • Exequiel Ramos Mejía (1913)
  • Dolores de Urquiza (1926)
  • Delfina Mitre (1928)
  • Carmen Avellaneda (1929)

Pictures of the Argentine train ferries at the Histarmar website.[10]

Motor vesselsEdit

The MV Lady Rose was originally christened Lady Sylvia when launched in 1937 for the use on Barkley Sound.[11] She was designed for the sheltered coastal waters of British Columbia. However, this was the first diesel powered vessel to cross the Atlantic driven by a single propeller. Lady Rose was acquired by the Clayton family of Sechelt in September 2019 and she was relocated to the MacKenzie Marina in Sechelt soon thereafter. [12] Restoration plans are still being formulated.

MV Aqueity and MV Anonity were 890 GRT coastal tankers built in 1945 for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).


The North Carr Lightship was launched in 1932 and created quite a stir in Edinburgh on account of her fog horn being tested while lying ¾ mile off Granton, Edinburgh in the Firth of Forth. As the fog horn had a range of approximately 10 miles, north Edinburgh could hear it loud and clear and the complaints were numerous - particularly as it was being sounded in clear weather. "Hundreds of city dwellers have had no sleep over three consecutive nights" and "The most flagrant individual breach of the peace is as nothing compared with the ceaseless boom and consequent suffering of the past three nights" were typical statements at the time.[13]

Selection of military shipsEdit

HMS Helmsdale

During the Second World War the shipyard diversified into the built of military ships:

Cancelled military ordersEdit

Several military orders for corvettes and tankers were cancelled at the end of the Second World War:

  • Dover Castle and Dudley Castle - Castle class corvettes - ordered 19 January 1943.
  • Empire Tedellen was to have been an 890 GRT coastal tanker but the contract for building her was cancelled. The Empire ships were a series of ships in the service of the British Government. Their names were all prefixed with "Empire". Mostly they were used during World War II by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), who owned the ships but contracted out their management to various shipping lines.


A & J Inglis Crane of 1855 at Bennett Brook Railway in Whiteman Park, Western Australia[4]
  1. ^ Bernard Dumpleton (2002). The Story Of The Paddle Steamer. Intellect Books. p. 104. ISBN 1-84150-801-2.
  2. ^ a b c "A & J Inglis Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland". Ships and Harbours Photos. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b c The Glasgow Story. "Clyde Shipyards, 1930s". Glasgow University Archive Services, Photographic Collection. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b "A & J Inglis Crane". Western Australia: Bennett Brook Railway. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  5. ^ "A. and J. Inglis". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  6. ^ MacKinnon, Angus. "A & J Inglis of Pointhouse: Shipbuilders and Engineers". Clyde Maritime. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  7. ^ Luca Papaluca: The Royal Thames Yacht Club's steam yacht Ianara
  8. ^ "Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond's Paddle Steamer". Loch Lomond Steamship Company. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  9. ^ Joe Rossano: Royal Dahabiyas and Yachts
  10. ^ "Historia y Arqueologia Marítima" (in Spanish). — includes 36 photographs.
  11. ^ "Welcome Aboard!". Lady Rose Marine Services. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  12. ^ Coast Reporter, Sechelt family acquires Lady Rose
  13. ^ Ward, Gerard. "River Clyde Photography". Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.

External linksEdit