P. & W. MacLellan

Engineers, metal merchants and ironmongers

B/W Advertisement for P. & W. McLellan, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 171

P. & W. MacLellan was a general ironmongery business at 129 Trongate, Glasgow. It was run from the late 1830s by brothers Peter and Walter MacLellan, originally from rural Garelochside, Dunbartonshire. The business expanded profitably in the mid 19th century, and Walter and his Jamaican-born wife moved to a large house in Helensburgh. A third brother, Duncan, and Peter's son George, had also joined the firm before Peter's death around 1867. 1

From the 1870s to the 1900s, P. & W. MacLellan traded as engineers and iron and steel merchants, as well as being 'waggon-builders, bridge and boiler makers [and] ... bolt ... rivet and chain manufacturers' and operated from the Clutha Ironworks and a warehouse in Glasgow, with branches in London and Liverpool. In 1881, Walter employed 1000 men, and by 1891 one of his sons was living in Park Circus, one of the most exclusive addresses in Glasgow. 2

In 1890, MacLellan's directors, most of whom were family members, issued shares to raise 450,000 capital. 3 By this date, the Clutha Ironworks covered 14 acres adjacent to Cessnock Docks on the south side of the River Clyde, and included railways, gantries and hydraulic and electric power. The firm employed over 2000 workers, and had an annual turnover, including government contracts, of 1,000,000. 4 W. T. MacLellan was chairman from 1902 to 1935, and the firm continued until 1979. 5

Among the firm's wares during the 1890s were fireproof safes, galvanised 'Clutha' windmill pumping towers, lawnmowers, and garden and agricultural tools. In 1896–7, it supplied structural steelwork to tenements in Cromwell Street, Glasgow and in 1898 fireproof roofs to the North British Hotel in Edinburgh. 6


1: Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1835–40, 1865–9; census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 23 June 2012].

2: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1885–6; census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 23 June 2012].

3: Glasgow Herald, 19 February 1890, p. 12.

4: Glasgow Herald, 19 February 1890, p. 12.

5: Scotsman, 1 April 1946, p. 2; 'P. & W. MacLellan', The Glasgow Story, www.theglasgowstory.com [accessed 23 June 2012].

6: Glasgow Herald, 29 July 1891, p. 3; 22 April 1895, p. 1; Scotsman, 18 March 1899, p. 11; 26 January 1901, p. 6.