‘The Workers’ Coast’ and Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd

Here at Archive Services we are pleased to announce that material from our Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd collections is to be featured in the BBC’s new series of Coast! Items from our collection will feature in ‘The Workers’ Coast’ episode, due to air tonight at 8pm. This will be the 8th series of the documentary, which focuses on the natural and social history of British coastlines, as well as stories of various other subjects around Britain.

Researchers from the BBC visited our Searchroom to study our collections for this particular episode all the way back in May 2012. Initially they looked at a wide range of items; from our Jimmy Reid collection to the Shop Stewards Committee, as well as the Upper Clyde Shipbuilder’s work in transcripts. They were primarily concerned with researching the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd, who were brought together through the connection of five Scottish companies, including John Brown & (Clydebank) Ltd, Clydebank; Charles Connell & Co Ltd, Scotstoun; Yarrow & Co Ltd, Scotstoun; Alexander Stephen & Sons plc, Glasgow; and Fairfields (Glasgow) Ltd, Glasgow. The company was formally established in 1968, and liquidated in 1972.


Image of QE 2 (our ref: UCS1/118/736/1155)

While all of the collections that were viewed by the BBC proved interesting and of relevance to the episode, ultimately the researchers chose to focus on the diaries of Sir Robert Smith, which concerned the liquidation of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. Sir Robert Smith was appointed the official liquidator of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd in 1971, and his diaries date from June of that year to April 1972, documenting in detail the liquidation of the company. It was decided that these diaries would be filmed and included within the episode.

In August 2012, University Archivist Lesley Richmond oversaw the filming of the Robert Smith diaries. This was carried out at the former Fairfield shipbuilding offices, which are now becoming a heritage centre. For the episode, Sir Robert Smith was filmed looking through these diaries with presenter Neil Oliver.


Image of QE 2 (our ref: UCS1/118/736/1356)

If you are interested in learning more about Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd, or any of the other collections that were viewed by the BBC for this episode, please feel free to contact us with any queries, or have a look at our online catalogue for the company – and most importantly, remember to tune in to BBC Two tonight!

Categories: Archive Services, Library

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