By A Web Design
- Published on Saturday, 07 January 2012 16:02
William Beardmore Jr. acquired Parkhead Forge almost by default. A steel making company in Glascow, Scotland, Parkhead Forge was having trouble. They failed building appropriate armor plate for the HMS Black Prince (sister ship to HMS Warrior, still on display in Portsmouth), and called in William's dad to help out. He became a partner in the company (owned by Robert Napier's shipbuilding concern, who made the first iron ships for the Royal Navy) and brought his sons in. In the end, William Beardmore Jr. was the last man standing after retirement and deaths of the other partners. He acquired Parkhead Forge from Robert Napier in 1886 and started a steel making, shipbuilding, and armaments empire that lasted forty years, till the world wars had run their course.
By 1900, Bearmore expanded into shipbuilding himself, taking over Robert Napier's concern at Govan and building a huge works at Dalmuir near Glascow. The Dalmuir works first ship was the HMS Agememnon, which served the Royal Navy till after WW1, and was the first of many warships to come. The Beardmore works covered 45 acres and employed 40,000 people in the run up to WW1. Ships built included such as HMS Conqueror and other dreadnaught class ships, and possibly the world's first aircraft carrier, the HMS Argus. He built ocean liners, hospital ships, destroyers and more.
The company sought to diversify early in the game and started building submarines (they completed 13), automobiles (Arrol-Johnston car works), airships (4 dirigibles, including the R34, which made the first ever east-west crossing of the Atlantic Ocean), motorcycles, ships guns and munitions, tanks, railroad locomotives, marine engines, aircraft, if it could move or shoot, William Beardmore wanted to build it.
After WW1, things didn't go so well for Beardmore's concerns. The whole world's need for anything shrunk during that time, and Beardmore's started operating a loss. He was forced out of the company by 1930, and parts of it continued till the final piece was laid to rest in 1972, when Parkhead Forge was razed to build a shopping center, which is still there and called "The Forge". The steel output from that forge fed the huge shipbuilding industry that had grown up around Glascow, which eventually had built over 25,000 ships. Beardmore's spiritual successor, BAE, builds military vessels there now.