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Andrew Barclay

Birthplace: Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland
Death: April 20, 1900 (85)
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of John Barclay and Margarat Barclay
Husband of Effie McVean
Father of Andrew Duncan Barclay; John Galileo Barclay; Effie Maggie Barclay; Archibald Newton Barclay; Lillie Barclay and 2 others

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About Andrew Barclay

Born in 1814, Andrew Barclay was only 25 years of age when he set up a partnership with Thomas McCulloch in the manufacturer of mill shafts in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. It was only a couple of years later that he branched out on his own in the manufacture of his patented gas lamps. In 1847 he set up workshops specializing in the manufacture of winding engines for the local coal mining industry, however the money from the gas lamp patent sale was never paid and the company and sequestration came the following year.

By 1859 Barclay recovered from this set back and his newly formed company produced its first locomotive. Sometime around 1871 Andrew Barclay set up a second locomotive building business which was known as Barclays & Co., for his younger brother, John, and his four sons, this business remaining closely associated with that of Andrew Barclay. Again not all went well and the companies were declared bankrupt in 1874 and 1882 respectively. Four years after this last collapse Andrew Barclay’s business was relaunched as Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., Barclays & Co was being revived. Problems were not over, however, but in 1892 the firm took on limited liability as Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., Ltd. Just two years later Andrew was removed from control of the company which bore his name by its shareholders. Barclay sued the company for unpaid wages, a matter which was settled out of court 5 years later.

In 1930 the company bought the business of John Cochrane (Barrhead) Ltd, engine makers and in 1963 it acquired the goodwill of the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow. However, in 1972 it was acquired by the Leeds – based Hunslet Group of companies and its name was changed in 1989 to Hunslet-Barclay Ltd. As such, it operated six ex-British Rail Class 20 diesels on weedkilling trains over the national rail network. The locomotive interests of Hunslet-Barclay were bought by LH Group, Staffordshire, 31/12/2003, with Hunslet-Barclay at Kilmarnock continuing in the business of design, manufacture and refurbishment of multiple units, rolling stock, bogies and wheelsets. In November 2007 Hunslet-Barclay was bought by the loco builder Brush Traction of Loughborough, and re-named Brush-Barclay.

Lennox Lange

Some Barclay locomotives were supplied through Lennox Lange, who acted as an agent for Barclay.


Little Barford, built in 1939 taken at the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway

The company was noted for constructing simple robust locomotives, chiefly for industrial use, and many of its products survive in use on heritage railways, over 100 in Britain. A typical product would be an 0-4-0 with squared-off saddle tank.

Barclay was the largest builder of fireless locomotives in Britain, building 114 of them between 1913 and 1961 few fireless locomotives are seen in action today. This is due to the low power of the locomotives, the long time needed to charge a locomotive from cold and the low steam pressures available for charging. Perhaps the only exception was "Lord Ashfield" (Andrew Barclay works no. 1989 of 1930) at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester that ran for a while in the 1990s sharing a steam supply with the stationary exhibits in their exhibition hall.

Over 80 Andrew Barclay locomotives were supplied to railways in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.[1]

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Andrew Barclay's Timeline

August 12, 1814
Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland
September 6, 1867
Edinburgh, Scotland
December 29, 1869
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Sctland
February 14, 1872
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Sctland
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Sctland
October 14, 1877
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Sctland
June 10, 1878
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, Sctland
March 30, 1885
Kilmarnock, Ayrshr, Scotland
April 20, 1900
Age 85
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland