Hugh Twaddle & Son

Plumbers

B/W photograph of Hugh Twaddle by T&R Annan & Sons, date unknown in The plumber in Glasgow: by Jack House (Maclehose & co, 1948); plate illustration opposite p.8.

Hugh Twaddle & Son, plumbers, of Glasgow, began in 1848 as Twaddle & Reid. 1 In 1859, the eponymous Hugh (c. 1801–1867) went into partnership with his son, William (c. 1835–1883). 2 On William’s death, his widow Isabella, unusually for a woman at that time, announced she would 'continue the business in the same premises', at 110 London Street near the concentration of ironmongery suppliers around Glasgow Cross. 3 Isabella ran the firm through her foreman, Dick Campbell, until her sons William Junior (1871–1938), who changed his name to Tweeddale, and James Robb Twaddle (1873–1929) assumed control around 1892. 4

The company's first large-scale contracts were for tenements in Gallowgate, swimming baths at Kennyhill House (both 1900), and the new Glasgow Royal Infirmary (1905–10). 5 Glasgow Corporation contracted them for the municipal cattlemarkets (1911), the High Court (1912), Glasgow Cathedral roof and the Tollbooth Steeple. 6 Later projects included the Craigton (1923) and Belvidere housing schemes, Glasgow (£17,000 in 1924); Stirling Royal Infirmary (1926); and Lennox Castle Hospital (£26,140 in 1932). 7 They also worked on Jordanhill College, the Scottish Office Buildings, Edinburgh and the Empire Exhibition of 1938. 8

William Junior, a tireless technical innovator and educational campaigner, applied his specialist knowledge to the modernisation of the tenement with communally-supplied heating, and in 1918, with Margaret H. Irwin, he wrote Industrial Housing from the Housewife's Point of View. 9 His desire to improve social conditions was demonstrated by his chairmanship of the Fabian Society, vice-presidency of the Rationalist Press Association and co-authorship of Glasgow Corporation’s 'Building Regulations'. He was also president of the Master Plumber’s Association. 10

To mark its centenary in 1948, journalist Jack House was commissioned to write a history of the firm. 11

Notes:

1: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, p. 9–12.

2: Edinburgh Gazette, 31 May 1859, p. 786; birth, death and census information, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 21 September 2012] and www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 27 September 2012].

3: Glasgow Herald, 16 August 1883, p. 1.

4: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 25, 55–6, 58; birth, death and name-change information, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk and www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 27 September 2012].

5: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 37–9.

6: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 41–2, 44–5, 52–3.

7: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, p48; Scotsman, 10 December 1924, p. 7; 9 June 1926, p. 7; 2 March 1932, p. 9.

8: Scotsman, 2 October 1939, p. 11; Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 53–5.

9: William Twaddle and Margaret H. Irwin, Industrial Housing from the Housewife's Point of View: Some Notes on Twentieth Century Housing, Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Womens' Trades, 1918; Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 43, 47–8.

10: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948, pp. 38–41, 56.

11: Jack House, The Plumber in Glasgow: ... Hugh Twaddle & Son, Ltd, Glasgow: Robert Maclehose, 1948.