A. & P. Steven


B/W Advertisement for A. & P. Steven, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 157

A. & P. Steven of Provanside Engine Works, Glasgow, was founded in 1850 by Alexander (1823–1891) and Peter (c. 1827–1911) Steven from Rosebank, Cairnryan, Dumfriesshire. The firm was a specialist in 'hydraulic and other hoists', and constructed their first lift in 1860. 1

The Steven brothers moved to the newly-built Provanside factory in 1865. 2 Here, they manufactured 'patent hydraulic hoists for grain stores', which could lift 100 bags of grain at once. 3 At the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition, they showed 'a direct double-acting pumping engine' powering a hydraulic baling-press with a working pressure of three tons per square inch. 4 They also made hand- and steam-powered hoists. 5

By 1914, Alexander Steven's son, John Alexander Steven (1861–1925) and Peter's son, John Monteith Steven (b. 1863) were partners in the firm and were making electric and hydraulic lifts, 'pumping engines, accumulators, hydraulic presses and cranes'. 6 Provanside Works were seriously fire-damaged in 1941 and 1956, but were rebuilt and the firm remained there until around 1971. When the site was redeveloped by Strathclyde University, A. & P. Steven moved to Stafford Street, Glasgow. The firm was dissolved in 1998. 7

Alexander Steven joined the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders, and was a trustee of Anderson's College (later incorporated into Strathclyde University). He was also involved with the purchase of the Gartloch Estate for a new psychiatric hospital. His daughter, Agnes Anne, married William Bilsland, successful Glasgow baker and Lord Provost of the city, 1905–8. 8

Colour photograph of A. & P. Steven's invoice for hand power hoist at the Glasgow School of Art, 1899Colour photograph of A. & P. Steven's tender for lift at the Glasgow School of Art


1: Henry Dyer, 'Mechanical Engineering', in Angus McLean, ed., Local Industries of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, Glasgow: British Association, 1901, p. 84; M. Steven Dick, 'Engineering: Lifts', in C. A. Oakley, ed., Scottish Industry: An Account of What Scotland Makes, Glasgow: Scottish Council, 1953, p. 100–1; Glasgow Herald, 26 November 1891, p. 6; birth, death and census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 12 September 2012], and www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 12 and 25 September 2012].

2: John R. Hume, Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow: Blackie, 1974, p. 209, Gazetteer G27; Glasgow Herald, 30 March 1866, p. 7; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1864–6.

3: Glasgow Herald, 2 May 1868, p. 2.

4: Glasgow Herald, 14 September 1888, p. 9.

5: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1894–4, p. 577.

6: Birth and death dates, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 18 September 2012]; Scotsman, 10 May 1925, p. 12; Edinburgh Gazette, 15 December 1908, p. 1390; 12 June 1914, p. 689; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1914–15, p. 627.

7: Scotsman, 25 March 1941, p. 3; Glasgow Herald, 27 February 1956, p. 7; John R. Hume, Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow: Blackie, 1974, p. 209, Gazetteer G27; Post Office Telephone directories, 1960–75, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 18 September 2012]; Companies House, WebCheck, Dissolved Company Names, www.companieshouse.gov.uk [accessed 18 September 2012].

8: Glasgow Herald, 22 March 1884, p. 7; 26 November 1891, p. 6; marriage details, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 18 September 2012]; Scotsman, 25 July 1935, p. 8; T. A. B. Corley, ‘Bilsland, Sir William, first baronet (1847–1921)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/50407 [accessed 4 October 2012].