James Combe & Son

Heating contractors

B/W Advertisement for James Combe & Son, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 188

James Combe & Son, heating and ventilating engineers, began as smiths Combe & Hamilton in 1840, before James Combe (c. 1804–1870) became sole proprietor in 1858. 1 Trading from Cathedral Street until the early 1880s, they moved to North Hanover Street around 1890. From the late 19th century, they manufactured grates, 'hot water apparatus and mechanical ventilation', for wash-houses and public buildings, and steam-cookers for institutional catering. 2

Brothers George J. (c. 1831–1884) and William Combe (c. 1836–1894) continued the business, and by 1881 employed 30 men. 3 The third generation included James Russell Combe (c. 1872–1940), heating installer for 'many important buildings' across Britain, who was 'of genial temperament' and 'interested in music and the arts'. 4 James Combe & Son became a private limited company, with capital of 20,000, in 1919. 5

Among the firm's contracts were the Glasgow Savings Bank, Glassford Street (John Burnet Senior, 1865), and patent ventilation for Glasgow's Duke Street prison extension (1874). 6 They also installed services at Ayr Town Hall (Campbell Douglas & Sellars, 1881), and heating for therapeutic baths at Kilmalcolm Hydropathic Hotel (c. 1887). 7 In 1900, they worked on an elementary school in Motherwell (now Glencairn Primary). 8 Their expertise in large-scale projects was demonstrated by fitting radiators when Redlands House, Glasgow, became a private hospital (James Salmon Junior, 1922), and when they supplied the hot water apparatus for the new Gleneagles Hotel (M. Adam, c. 1923–4). 9

Notes:

1: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1920–1, p. 176; Census 1851–1901, www.ancestry.co.uk; Wills Search, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 February 2013]; Edinburgh Gazette, 3 September 1858, p. 1639.

2: Glasgow Post Office directories, 1850–1930.

3: Census data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Wills Search, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 February 2013].

4: Census 1851–1901, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 February 2013]; Glasgow Herald, 4 December 1940, p. 9.

5: Scotsman, 11 October 1919, p. 6.

6: Glasgow Herald, 29 September 1865, p. 14; 20 February 1874, p. 4.

7: Glasgow Herald, 3 September 1881, p. 7; 28 March 1887, p. 12.

8: Glasgow Herald, 12 September 1900, p. 6.

9: Redlands Hospital, Glasgow, Canmore I.D. 167206, Site No. NS56NE 172, Canmore Database, www.rcahms.gov.uk [accessed 23 February 2013]; Gleneagles Hotel, Building Report, Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 23 February 2012].