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James Howden & Co - Jan 2013

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Scattergun

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It's been a while since I had any active involvement on the forums so I thought I'd put up a few of my completed explores and try and get back into the swing of things.

Here we have the old Howden plant in the Heart of Glasgow. James Howden (29 February 1832 – 21 November 1913) was a Scottish engineer and inventor who is noted for his invention of the Howden forced draught system for steam boilers, a system which forced heated waste gases into the combustion chamber by means of a fan and ductwork and which appeared in the 1880s.
This system dramatically reduced the amount of coal used in ships’ boilers. Howden patented this device in 1882 as the ‘Howden System of Forced Draught’ and during the 1880s more than 1000 boilers were converted to this specification or constructed to Howden’s patent. The first vessel to use the system was the New York City, built in 1885. Amongst the liners to use the Howden system in their boilers were the Cunard liners RMS Lusitania and Mauretania, the fastest liners in the world when they were built.

James Howden & Co. was established as a manufacturer of marine equipment in 1854. By the 1890′s Howden’s operation was expanding rapidly (with the help of the Forced Draught System) and a larger space was now paramount. With this Howden moved across the road from his original factory at 4 Scotland Street in Glasgow’s Tradeston area to a new and much larger complex at 195, designed by Nisbet Sinclair, which opened in 1898 and featured overhead cranes, handling equipment and central-heating (a rarity at the time).



As a result of an overflowing order book the factory was enlarged, first in 1904 and again in 1912 to a design by Bryden & Robertson. As the company’s main headquarters 195 Scotland Street saw the manufacture of many of Howden’s greatest achievements. As well as the Howden Forced Draught System in the 1900′s Howden designed a fully enclosed high-speed marine steam engine. This was later modified for use in land-based systems as the Howden-Zoelly steam turbine. At the onset of World War I, a year after Howden’s death, the Admiralty ruled that all ships were to be fitted with Howden “blowers” , (all manufactured at 195 Scotland Street), so that they could outrun U-boats. The plant built turbines for the St. Helena Whaling Company, recoilless guns for the admiralty and tunnel boring machines, the most famous being the TBM’s used to dig the Channel Tunnel.





When Howden & Co became a public company in 1939 it is notable that only around 5% of the shares were taken up by Howden’s decendents, other family members and directors which by today’s standards of corporate ownership was a very small percentage. However production and business growth continued and the company now known purely as ‘Howden’ began to expand across the world with 195 Scotland Street providing a base of operations.





Sadly for those who worked there the then Howden board of directors decided to close the Glasgow Scotland Street factory; this took place shortly after the Company had obtained Davidson Sirocco in Belfast in 1988, which was preferred as the principal factory of the Howden Group, to this day manufacturing fans and air preheaters for the worlds power stations.





In its 90 years of operation 195 Scotland Street produced some of marine engineering’s most pivotal advancements and helped catapult the Howden Engineering Group to the global power it is today. Despite being emptied of its remaining cranes and machinery and lying derelict for a quarter of a century the plant stands intact with the street facing red brick admin buildings being Grade B Listed. It is the last remaining Victorian heavy engineering plant in Glasgow.







Enjoy :)
 

MrDan

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Love the colours in these photos, specifically #3 and #4.
What did you use for that last shot?
 

Scattergun

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Thanks mate. You mean the pano? Bog standard 18-55 kit lens free hand and just stitched it up in Photoshop.
 
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prettyvacant71

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Great history in your report and you captured some lovely light rays:)

I find it so sad that these historic industrial buildings end up getting in such a state that they get pulled down, if i had my way we would all live in convertions and there would be no need for new builds:)

thanks for sharin;)
 

TeeJF

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And there was me thinking all Howden did was make laminated MDF kitchen unit doors of dubious quality - wrong Howden obviously!

Some great pix there mate!
 

Scattergun

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And there was me thinking all Howden did was make laminated MDF kitchen unit doors of dubious quality - wrong Howden obviously!

Some great pix there mate!

Thanks for all the comments folks! Oh and a wee snippet of info for TeeJF, this plant is also where the TBM's that dug the Channel Tunnel where built. Yi' know, as well as the suspect mdf doors.. ;)
 

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