The company was started in 1836 at McAlpine Street by Walter Neilson and James Mitchell to manufacture marine and stationary engines. In 1837 the firm moved to Hyde Park Street and was known as Kerr, Mitchell and Neilson
In 1840 the organisation became Kerr, Neilson and Company and then three years later Neilson and Mitchell in 1843.
In 1840 the partnership known as Kerr, Mitchell and Neilson at Hyde Park Foundry was dissolved by the partners James B. Neilson, James Mitchell and Stewart Kerr. James Beaumont Neilson and Stewart Kerr formed a new company Kerr, Neilson and Co working from the Hyde Park Street works but it operated at a loss and was dissolved in 1843 with Neilson paying the debts.
After 1843 the organisation became Neilson and Mitchell with Mitchell running the financial side of the business.
Locomotive building began in 1843 with a 0-4-0 for the local railways.
In 1847 The partnership of Walter Neilson and James Mitchell was dissolved and the business carried on by Walter Neilson under the name Neilson and Co.
1858 James Reid, who had been works manager, was replaced by Heinrich Dübs who had more experience of designing and building locomotives. Reid went to work for Sharp, Stewart and Co in Manchester. Heinrich Dübs was made a partner in the Neilson business.
By 1861, business had increased to such an extent, that a new works was built at Springburn, also named Hyde Park Works.
In 1864, Heinrich Dübs set up in business on his own at Queens Park Works, as Dübs and Company, taking a number of key staff with him. James Reid, who had previously worked for Neilson, however, returned and became a partner.
When the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was opened in 1842, it used a pair of Neilson & Mitchell beam engines to work the rope incline from Glasgow to Cowlairs station.
By 1855, the company was building four-coupled tank engines, along with 2-4-0 and 0-4-2 tender locomotives. Some of these were for Cowlairs and St. Rollox, but many more went to India.
Through the 1870s considerable numbers of 0-4-4 tank engines were built for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, the Midland and the Great Eastern. Many other types were built for railways at home and abroad, including fifty 0-4-2s for India. The company’s first eight-coupled locomotives were built in 1872, also for India.
In 1879 the first 2-6-0s to run on British rails were built for William Adams of the Great Eastern.
More overseas orders followed, with engines for South Africa and South America.
In 1884, Neilson left to form a new company, the Clyde Locomotive Company; although Reid became the sole owner of Neilson & Co., it was not until 1898 that the company changed its name to Neilson, Reid and Company.
In 1898 the name changed to Neilson, Reid and Co
By 1900 an estimated 5,394 locomotives had been built and the firm employed 3,500 people and produced 300 locomotives per annum.
However, by this time, intense competition from United States meant that small companies were unable to survive. There was a need for amalgamation, and in 1903 Neilson Reid combined with Dübs and Company and Sharp Stewart and Company to form the North British Locomotive Company, the largest locomotive company in the world outside the United States.
Locomotives made for railways in Britain included-
- TVR class O2 0-6-2T – 426 (GWR 426 & TV85) has been preserved
- C 0-6-0 SECR Wainwright – Neilson, Reid & Company built 15 of these locomotives (31681-95) although 31685 was rebuilt in 1917 as a 0-6-0ST. One other member of the class has been preserved – 31592.
- 0415 4-4-2T LSWR Adams – Neilson & Co built 11 of which one (30583) has been preserved.
- 3F 57550-57628 0-6-0 CR McIntosh Class 812 – Neilson, Reid & Co built 20 of these locomotives (57567-57586). The one member of the class preserved (57566) was built at the CR workshop at St Rollox.
- 901 class 2-4-0 NER Fletcher LNER E6 Class – Neilson & Co built 10 locomotives in 1873. Whilst no Neilson locomotives survived a Gateshead built example (910) has been preserved as part of the National Collection.
- B1 4-4-0 SECR Stirling – Neilson Reid & Co Ltd built 20 of these locomotives but no members of the class have been preserved.
- Class E 0-4-4T Metropolitan Railway – Neilson & Co built four 0-4-4T locomotives for the Metropolitan Railway which became the precursors of the E class. The preserved E class locomotive (L44) was built at Neasden.
- D40 62260-62279 4-4-0 GNoSR Pickersgill – Neilson & Co supplied these to the GNoSR and the Se&CR where they became the G class.The surviving member (62277 Gordon Highlander) was built by the North British Locomotive Co Ltd.
- J36 65210-65346 0-6-0 NBR Holmes – Neilson & Co built 15 locomotives of this class of which one (65243 Maude) has been preserved.
- J52 68757-68889 0-6-0ST GNR Stirling & Ivatt – Neilson & Co built 20 of these locomotives (68783-802). 68846 built by Sharp Stewart & Co Ltd is the only preserved member of the class.
- Y9 68092-68124 0-4-0ST NBR Holmes – The first two members of this class were purchased by the NBR from Neilson & Co in 1882. The preserved member of the class (68095) was built at Cowlair Works of the NBR.
- 1P 123 4-2-2 CR Neilson & Drummond – Neilson & Co built the only member of this class in 1886. It is now preserved.
Preserved Industrial Locomotives
I have only included standard gauge locomotives which are preserved in Britain. I have not included fireless locomotives although I may add them later.
|Neilson & Co|
|2119||1876||Great Eastern Railway 229||0-4-0ST||The Flour Mill|
|2203||1876||No 13 NCB 13 Kelton Fell||0-4-0ST||Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway|
|2937||1882||Alfred Paget||0-4-0ST||Chasewater Railway|
|4004||1890||Hodbarrow No 6 Snipey||0-4-0CT|
|6087||1896||No 25||0-4-0ST||Bressingham Steam Museum|
|Neilson, Reid & Co|
|5710||1902||No 1 Lord Roberts||0-6-0T||Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway|
|5907||1901||No 9||0-4-0ST||National Brewery Centre|