John; Arrol Arrol.

The Arrol, Arroll and Arrell families online

. (page 9 of 73)
Online LibraryJohn; Arrol ArrolThe Arrol, Arroll and Arrell families → online text (page 9 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Locomotive Manufacturing

From about the 1850's through the 1930's the Springbum District of Glasgow was the
locomotive capital of the world. Located in this District was the Saint Rollox Works, the
headquarters and works for the North British Railway Company, Neilson, Reid & Co's
Hyde Park Works, and the Atlas Works of Sharp, Stewart & Co. Within a space of
half-mile was located the greatest concentration of railway interests and railway skills in
the world, including four company works and private builders of locomotives.
Springbum sits on high ground, some 350 feet above the center of Glasgow. From this
vantage point the city of Glasgow was laid out like a map below. The cranes of the
Clyde shipyards were to be seen in the west, and in the north the mountains of Ben
Lomond and Ben More were visible. (9) Springbum, and the neighbormg districts of
Possilpark, St. Rollox and Maryhill, was the home and place of employment for many
Arrols at the turn of the century.

Some of the Arrol/Arrolls who knew the busy intersections of Springbum Road, Cowlairs
Road, and Keppochhill Road, along with such arteries as Parlimentary Road, Vulcan
Street and Castle Street, were as follows;

John Arrol, bom 1856 at Kirkintilloch, moved to the Springbum District where he was
an iron moulder. His brother, William Arrol, bom 1861 at Old Monkland, also lived in
Springbum and was an iron moulder for the Hyde Park North British Locomotive Works.
John's son, Walter Arrol, bom 1897, was a model builder and machine repairman. Two
of three sons of William Arrol, William, bom Springbum in 1885 and John, bom in
Springbum 1886/87, were also employed at the North British Locomotive Works as iron
moulders. The third son, Albert Arrol, bom in Springbum in 1897, was an engine erector
for the L.N.E.R. locomotive works, Cowlairs, Springbum for some thirty years. James
Arrol, bom 1919, who made his home in Barmulloch (1988), a district adjacent to
Springbum, worked as a steel roller for British Steel and as a machine man for British
Rail from 1934 through 1984.

The locomotives produced in the Springbum locomotive works were shipped all over the
world. They were taken from the works just before midnight and two traction engines
eased the mammoth locomotives on 16 wheel articulated trailers out into Vulcan Street.
The top of the boiler was sheeted with rubber because of the tram wires that were some
six inches above it during most of the journey. Representatives of the tramway
department were in attendance just in case of accidents. Also present was an official
from the water department because a Hyde Park engine had once sunk down through the
road and burst a water main. Albert Arrol was proud and protective of his engines and
was also in attendance. John Thomas gives us a sense of the excitement when there was
a particularly large engine being sent off to India, South Africa or the Far East:


"Just before midnight the traction engines, their copper-capped stacks billowinjj
yellow smoke, eased their load up the gentle slope of Vulcan Street, round the
tricky right-angled bend into the main road. The great locomotive, its boiler as high
as the first storey of the surrounding tenements, was trundled town-wards at a brisk
walking pace watched by the spectators on the pavements, and followed by officials
on foot and in vehicles. Wee boys in pyjamas, let out of bed specially for this great
occasion, had their faces pressed against the glass of their bedroom windows.
Round the elbow bend of Springbum Road and down the hill past Saint RoUox it
went, and at Inchbelly bridge there were precious few inches to spare between the
chimney cap and the bottom of the girders. ..the engine (spent) the night passing
down Castle Street and Parliamentary Road, Sauchiehall Street and St. Vincent
Street, eventually to arrive alongside ...Strobcross Quay." (10)

Springbum is no longer a great railway community. The North British Locomotive Co.
ceased to exist by 1963, and the deserted, derelict, broken down buildings of the Atlas
and Hyde Park works stretched like an abscess over acres of ground in the heart of
Springbum. By 1987 most of the factories and tenements of Keppochhill Road,
Springbum Road, Cowlairs Road in Springbum were gone. New highways and housing
projects obliterated the old Springbum. Nonetheless, even in 1987, the great days of
Springbum are recalled fondly by Ellen Arrol, the widow of Albert Arrol, the engine
erector. Ellen Arrol, living in Cumbemauld in retirement, recalls her husband, Albert
Arrol, bom 25 March 1897, watching over each locomotive as it left the works and
accompanying it on its trip to the docks of Glasgow. She recalls vividly the scenes such
as described above by John Thomas as the engines were shipped to the far comers of the
world. Ellen knew John Thomas, as did all the men in the works, as he spent a great
deal of the time in the factory doing research for his book.

Shipbuilding and Shipping

St. RoUox, the adjacent district to Springbum, was home to the Arrols who were
employed in the shipbuilding and shipping industries. The skills of the Glasgow
craftsmen and engineers, along with the great iron and steel industries, combined to create
great shipyards and shipping companies. John Arrol, bom 25 April 1886, was employed
by John Brown & Company, builders of the great Cunard liners. John was later
employed by Harland & Wulff in Belfast. In later years John enjoyed recalling how he
had assisted in molding the pistons and bed plates of the ill-fated Titanic. James Arrol,
bom 19 July 1927, and his brother, Robert Arrol, bom 14 July 1929, were bom in St.
Rollox and were both employed in the shipping industry. James was a marine engineer
and Robert was a ship's carpenter. In addition, their grandfather, Robert Arrol, bom 4
April 1855 in New Monkland. and father, Robert Arrol, bom 16 November 1885 m Mt.
Pleasant, Glasgow, were both Carters on the docks of Glasgow. The badge for
employment on the Quays and Docks of Glasgow was passed on from generation to
generation within the family. The last to have the badge was John Arrol, a dock
labourer, bom in 1912.


Automobile Manufacturing (11)

The first automobile manufactured in Britain was the Arrol-Johnston automobile in 1895,
The automobile was a product of a joint company, the Mo-Car Company, a joint venture
of George Johnston and Sir William Arrol.

George Johnston was a locomotive engineer from the works of the Hyde Park
Locomotive Co. Ltd. of Springbum. Springbum was the locomotive capital of the world
at this time. Johnston was commissioned by the City of Glasgow in 1894 to build an
exp)erimental steam tram-car to replace the horse trams. When his steam-car was having
a final test before a city committee, the vehicle caught fire and that was the end of the
Johnston tram-car.

Johnston then turned his attention to the design of a motor vehicle. He was convinced
that he could make a better automobile, and in particular a better engine, than any of the
continental automobiles built to that time. The first British-built motor car was thus
conceived and produced. George Johnston took it out for its trial run. The vehicle
performed well, accomplishing the 1 in 5 climb of Douglas Street in Glasgow. The
vehicle attained a speed of 17 miles per hour on the flat. George Johnston received a
traffic ticket and was fined 2 shilling, 6 pence.

By the end of 1895, Johnston was ready for financial backing. Sir William Arrol
provided the required financial support and the Mo-Car Syndicate Ltd. was formed. Sir
William Arrol was named Chairman, and George Johnston became the company's
Managing Director. The company's main product was the Arrol-Johnston car and a
factory was acquired in the east end of Glasgow, in Camlachie. The first Arrol-Johnston
was a six-seater dog-cart (a vehicle with two transverse seats set back to back) with a
rather heavy chassis. The engine was a two-cylinder water-cooled unit having four
opposed pistons of about 3 litre swept volume. It was rated at 12hp.

There were very few changes in design of the car between 1895 and 1904. Unfortunately,
all the company drawings, records, and many other things were destroyed in a disastrous
fire which consumed the Camlachie buildings in 1901. The Coats family of Paisley
thread fame, mentioned in the section on Textiles, had a financial interest in the Mo-Car
Syndicate. As a result, a thread mill in Paisley was made available and car production
was resumed there in the spring of 1902. By 1905 the company name was changed to
the Arrol-Johnston Car Co. Ltd. The company came out with a new car that year. The
original dog-cart was becoming very old-fashioned and, in the development of new
models, the sporting interest had a marked effect. A new car, the ' 18', was quite rakish
when compared with previous Arrol-Johnston standards. In 1905 an Arrol-Johnston
dog-cart won the Glasgow Cup.

In 1909 some Arrol-Johnston special vehicles with air-cooled engines went with
Shackleton on his South Polar Expedition and performed with "great success'. During


World- War I the Arrol-Johnston company spent most of the war years in production of
shells and war materials unconnected with vehicles.

In the post war period, Arrol-Johnston, which was now located in Dumfries where the
company had moved in 1913, returned to automotive production. Their new factory was
opened by the Marquis of Graham. Their first production car after the war was sold to
the Prince of Wales. During this period the company had another factory located in
Tongland, in Kirkudbrightshire, where they produced a car named the Galloway.

By 1 927 the Arrol-Johnston Company amalgamated with the Aster Engineering Company
and the cars now carried the Arrol-Aster name. The company had a full range of models
and the six-cylinder model was particularly popular. This car had a single-sleeve-valve
engine and competed with Bentleys in rallies and in sales to wealthy customers. The
company was, however, in financial difficulties and lasted only 2 1/2 years. The market
for custom-built cars had become very small and, despite various efforts at reorganization,
Arrol-Aster went into voluntary liquidation at the end of 1929. It operated until 1931
when it ceased to exist. (12)

It is estimated by the experts at the Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow that the total
number of automobiles produced by the Arrol-Johnston company was about 6,000
vehicles. They acknowledge that this figure is only an estimate and may not be accurate.
By a perusal of the Veteran Car Club register, and an examination of the most likely
Museum collections, a total of 17 Arrol-Johnston automobiles are known to have
survived. (13) Of these, four are Arrol-Johnston vehicles which are on exhibit at the
Museum of Transport in Glasgow. Included in the exhibit is a 2 Cylinder, 10/12 hp
model from 1901 and a 4 cylinder, 15.9 hp model from 1912. Both of these vehicles
were produced in the Paisley factory. There is also a 4 cylinder, 15.9 hp coupe produced
in the Dumfries factory in 1920 and a 4 cylinder, 15.9 hp sedan from 1922. There is a
1926 Arrol-Johnston ambulance on display at the Suncoast Pioneer Village north of
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and an Arrol-Johnston automobile at Alton
Towers-Theme Park which is located near Stoke, Staffordshire, England.


One of the oldest industries in Scotland is brewing. It is believed that an ale of sorts has
been brewed in Scotland since times immemorial. Indeed it is thought that even in
pre-Roman times tht ancient population of Scotland was producing a primitive type of
ale from fermented barley. Certainly from about the Twelfth Century onwards the
brewing of ale was fairly extensively practised in Scotland. (14) One of the principal
areas for brewing was in the town of Alloa. Alloa is situated on the north bank of the
Forth Estuary, a few miles down river from Stirling. Alloa was well situated to meet the
demand for ale in Scotland. It was blessed with plentiful supplies of both pure water,
that came by way of permeable strata from the nearby Ochil Hills, and good quality
barley from the Carse of Forth and neighboring Fife. One of the major breweries in
Alloa in 1992 is the Alloa Brewery. This brewery was established in 1810. In 1866 this


brewery passed into the hands of Archibald T. Arrol of Glasgow. Archibald T. Arrol,
who was bom in 1815, moved as a young man to Glasgow where he became a merchant
and eventually a burgess of the city. In Glasgow he became involved in the liquor trade,
entering into the partnership of Tower & Arrol with offices at 16 Dixon Street, Glasgow.
When the Alloa Brewery came on the market in 1866, it was purchased by Archibald
Arrol. Archibald relocated to Alloa and became Lord Provost of Alloa. He died in 1888
and the business passed on to his younger sons, Walter Arrol, bom in June of 1846 in
Glasgow, and Archibald Tower Arrol, bom in March of 1847 in Glasgow. The eldest
son, William Arrol, bom in October of 1844, having been blinded in an accident as a
young man, took no part in the running of the brewery. In 1895 a new company was
organized, the title of which was Archibald Arrol & Sons Ltd. This company was
established as a result of the increased competition that had developed in the North-East
of England where the Scottish brewers had traditionally sold a good deal of beer. In
order to provide outlets, the Arrols merged with other firms who already owned outlets
in this area.

By 1899, when the capital in the firm was increased, the firm was the fifth largest
brewery in Scotland in terms of authorized capital. The years up to and immediately
after the First World War were difficult ones for all brewery companies. Arrols were no
exception. In the late 1920's among the best known ales were Arrol's Sparkling Ale, a
beer that was much in demand in bottle, and Arrol's Strong Old October Ale, a renowned
winter brew.

In 1930 Allsop's firm acquired a controlling interest in Arrols. In 1951 the firm of Ind
Coope & AUsopp assumed full control of Arrols. During World War II the name of
Arrols had disappeared from the domestic market. It was, however, retained for export

In 1982 the name of Arrol was resurrected for a new cask beer, ending some forty years
of anonymity. Recently the title of the firm reverted to Alloa Brewery Co. (15)

Archibald Donald Bateman Arrol, bom 28 Sept 1911 in Rhu (Row), the son of Archibald
Theodore Arrol, the company director of Archibald Arrol and Sons, followed family
tradition and became a brewmaster. In 1938 Donald graduated from the Institute of
Brewing in London and was a brewer and brewmaster in Malta and England until his
retirement in 1978.

Merchants and Craft Persons

The initial growth of Glasgow was due to waterboume commerce, glasgow was already
the most rapidly growing town in Scotland before the Industrial Revolution. The
Industrial Revolution that began in the 1780's, and the later Railway Age, reinforced the
advantages already gained by the city. In a half-century, from 1780 to 1830, Glasgow's
population leapt from 40,000 to 200,000. By the 1870's the population was half a
million, and by 1900 it was three-quarters of a million. (14) Not only were the Arrols


and Arrolls involved in textile manufacturing, coal mining, engineering, bridge building,
locomotive manufacturing, automotive manufacturing and brewing, but they were also
active in a number of other occupations to serve this growing city.

William Arroll, bom 1814 in Glasgow, was an innkeeper, and in 1856-57 Walter Arrol,
of 1 McEwan Street, Glasgow, was a Proprietor of Houses. Archibald Arrol, of 108
Douglas Street, was a Proprietor of country houses and stores. In 1870-71, John Arrol,
of 18 Soho Street, was a carpet weaver. Sarah McMeekin Arrol, bom 15 Oct 1844 in St.
Rollox, was a golf ball maker. Her cousin, also named Sarah McMeekin Arrol, bom
1899 in Glasgow, was a seamstress. William Arrol, bom 1 May 1898, was an owner
of a bacon and smoked ham business. Laura Harriet Arrol, bom 1894 on Bmce Street,
Glasgow, was a dispatch clerk in a golf ball factory. Alfred James Arroll, bom 1900 in
Dunblane, was a pastry baker in Glasgow.

In the nearby city of Paisley, Alexander Arrol, bom 1891, was a tram driver and John
Arrol, bom circa 1869/70, was a cobbler and had a shoemaker's shop on Steeple Street
in Kilbarchan. John Arrol, who died in 1817 and is buried in the Rhu (Row) churchyard,
was a shoemaker.

The Professions and the Arts

There were some Arrols in the professions and the arts in the 1800's and early 1900's, but
they were not nearly as prevalent as the Arrols and Arrolls in the crafts or in the trades
such as engineering and other industrial occupations.

Some of those who did exhibit talent in this area included Peter Arroll, bom 1839 of
Barrhead, who was a bookkeeper. Walter Arrol, bom September 1894 in Glasgow, was
a civil servant. Robert Arroll, of Greenock, was a grammar schoolmaster in the 1740's.
(When Robert Arroll died circa 1746, included in the inventory of his possessions were
2,900 copies of a book entitled, "A new Vocabulary English Latin for the use of
Schools". It was valued at 3s 6d Scots each copy, the whole amounting to 507 10s
Scots.) John Arroll, who died in 1760, was a schoolmaster in Rhu (Row). He was
succeeded by his son, James Arroll, as the parochial schoolmaster in Rhu (Row).
Alexander Provan Arrol, bom 2 June 1887 in Glasgow, attended the University of
Glasgow and received his degree in mathematics in 1923. He became a malhemetics
professor at Troon University.

Charles Arrol, bom 13 Oct 1846, also attended Glasgow University and received three
degrees: an MB. in 1869, an M.D. in 1885 and a CM. in 1885. He became a physician
and a surgeon. James Arrol, bom 1906, was a county surveyor. Anthony Miller Arrol,
bom circa 1880-1900 of Guernsey, Channel Islands, was a writer and poet. Richard
Hubbard Arroll, of Helensburgh, was a landscape painter and exhibited his works in Paris.
Josephine Watts Arrol, bom circa 1910 of Troon, was also an artist who painted scenes
of Scotland and Robert Bums country.



At the beginning of the twentieth century, increasing competition, particularly
international, weakened the economic position of industrial Scotland that was located
primarily around the Clydebank. This is the area where by far the largest number of
Arrols and AjtoUs were living at the start of the century. There were many mergers and
failures in the iron, steel, shipbuilding, automobile, and locomotive industries. After the
First World War all the problems that had been accumulating for half a century or more
were emphasized and driven home by the world-wide economic depression. Glasgow's
previous geographic and technological advantages were greatly diminished. The city lost
its edge in its two leading industries of shipbuilding and locomotive manufacturing. The
peak of the expanding overseas markets for these industries was the latter part of the
nineteenth century. By the end of the First World War the industries had lost their export
markets. Many Arrols and Arrolls earned their livelihood by working in these industries.

Similarily, the weaving and spinning industries continued their downward slump which
had started about 1860. Whereas the textile industry had employed a large percentage
of the Arrol and Arrolls in the 1800's, only a few were employed in the industry after the
First World War. (1)

The Arrol and ArroU families found in present day Australia, England, New Zealand, and
North America, are, by and large, the consequence of Arrols and Arrolls leaving the
industrial centers of Scotland as a result of this economic decline. The bulk of the
emigration from Scotland took place between the two World Wars.

The effect of this emigration from Scotland on the Arrol and Arroll name is illustrated
by the fact that in the last 88 years of the nineteenth century (1812-1899) there were 380
Arrol and Arroll births recorded in Scotland. In the first 88 years of the twentieth
century (1900-1988) there were only 291 Arrol and Arroll births recorded in Scotland.
The declining trend of Arrol and Arroll births from 1600 to 1988 is shown in the table
at the top of the next page.

Nonetheless, there were a number of Arrol and Arroll families that remained in Scotland.
The majority of these families resided in or near Glasgow and Paisley

In 1993 the Arrols and Arrolls in Scotland had a broad range of talents. As they were
during the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century, the Arrols and Arrolls
were employed in non-agricultural positions. The Arrols in Scotland have not been
farmers since the coming of the industrial revolution when they left the glens of the
highlands for the urban areas of the country.









1600 - 1854(a)




1855 - 1899




1900 - 1944




1945 - 1988







(a) The birth records prior to 1855, when vital statistics were centralized, are inaccurate
and incomplete. See Chapter I for further detail on Arrol and Arroll births.

A number of Arrols were employed as ironmongers in the period between the two world
wars. William King Arrol lived on Kings Road in Glasgow and was employed as an
ironmonger. William Arroll, bom 1861 in Old Monkland, was an iron moulder as were
his two sons, William Arrol, bom 1885, and John Arrol, bom 1886. William Arrol, bom
circa 1910, was a steel erectors labourer in the 1930's. Annie Bailie Arrol, also of Kings
Road, was an ironmongers saleswoman. Alfred Edward Stewart Arrol, bom 1897 in
Springbum, was an engineer erector. Walter Arrol, bom in 1 902 in Glasgow, was an iron
worker. Robert Hazeldine Arrol, bom m 1904 in Glasgow, was a steelworker in the
1920's. George Arrol, bom in 1923 in Glasgow, served his apprenticeship with Sir
William Arrol & Company.

John Arrol, bom in 1933 in Glasgow, was a millwright in Glasgow in the 1950's and
1960's. William Stanley Arrol, bom in 1938 in Glasgow, was an engineer's draughtsman
in the 1960's in Glasgow. James Arrol, bom m 1917 in Glasgow, was a quantity
surveyor. Walter Provan Arrol, bom in 1894 in Glasgow, was a construction engineer
in the 1920's and later became an executive in the Ministry of Labour in Glasgow and

During the nineteenth century a large number of Arrols and Arrolls were employed in the
textile industry. This was not the case in the twentieth century. An exception to this was
the family of Robert Anthony Arroll of Barrhead. Anthony Miller Arroll, bom in 1870,
was a textile works manager in Paisley. He retired in 1955, at age 85, following 60 years
of employment m the industry. His son, Robert Arroll, bom 1911, contmued with the
same firm and also became the work's manager. Robert's sister, Jessie Drysdale, was also
employed in the industry in the J. & P. Coats mill between 1930 and 1941. Sarah
McMechan Arrol, bom 1899 in Springbum, was a sewing machinist.

Outside London, Glasgow had the most extensive tramway system in Britain. In 1923
the Glasgow transport department employed nearly 10,000 people and owned more than


1,000 trams, using in excess of 200 miles of track. The trams were withdrawn from
service in Glasgow in September 1962. (2) The trams and motor buses from that era are
now museum pieces and a number of them are preserved. A few of them can be seen
at the Museum of Transport in Glasgow. This system gave employment to many Arrols
and Arroils. James Adams Arroll, bom 1889 in Clynder, was a tramway clerk when he
married in 1928. James Arrol, bom 1928, was a tramway motorman in the 1950's. His
fiance, Elizabeth Curran, was a tramway conductress. William Brodick Hazeldine Arrol,
bom in 1910 m Durham, England, and Elizabeth Arrol Kelly, bom in 1929 in Glasgow,
were bus conductors in Glasgow in the 1950's.

William Harrison Arrol, bom 1906 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, was a motor hirer in the
1930's and 1940's.

Residential and apartment construction trades gave employment to the Arroils. George
Arroll, bom 1860 in Helensburgh, was a house painter in the early part of the century.
His son, James Maxwell Arroll, was a plasterer's labourer when he married in 1900.
Andrew Neilson Arrol, bom 1897 in Helensburgh, was an electrician in the 1930's.
Robina Hazeldine Arrol, bom 1929 m Cambusnethan, was a nail worker in the 1940's.

Online LibraryJohn; Arrol ArrolThe Arrol, Arroll and Arrell families → online text (page 9 of 73)