SHF – John Oxley

Death of William Bow

JO-death-notice BowDEATH OF MR WM. BOW, J.P.


The death occurred at his residence, Priory Park, Castlehead, this morning, of Mr Wm. Bow, J.P., late of Messrs Bow, M’Lachlan & Co., Ltd., engineers and shipbuilders, Abbotsinch.

Deceased, who was about 76 years of age, had a very successful business career, and the firm of which he was one of the partners has long been associated with the commercial life of the community, the jubilee having been celebrated in 1922.

Mr. Bow, unfortunately, had not been in very good health for over a year. His friends had observed a gradual diminution of strength, but the news of his death will come as a severe blow to those who were acquainted with him for he was a well-known citizen who was much respected. His last public appearance was when he was presented to Princess Mary in the Clark Town Hall on the occasion of her recent visit to open the Russell Clinic – 19th March.

Mr. Bow was a native of Paisley, his father being an ironfounder in premises situated in New Sneddon Street, the site now of Messrs Hendry & Galt’s iron foundry. When quite a lad he proceeded to Port-Glasgow to work, and returned with Mr John M’Lachlan and started business on their own account in Bridge Street. They were engaged in the making of steam steering gear, for which they had a patent, and which was much needed at the time. In 1880, they removed to their present premises, and business developed rapidly, so that now the firm is one of the best known in the country.

It is interesting to recall that the jubilee celebrations in 1922 Mr Bow, in the course of his remarks, which were of a reminiscent nature, stated that at the start of their career they were not overburdened with capital, and the staff consisted of one man, the father of Paisley’s famous artist, the late J. E. Christie. They had no work and no connection, but they struggled on. His average weekly drawings for the first three years were only 4s 6d.

In the course of the years the establishment increased to nearly 2000, and their weekly wage-bill rose from 30s to between £7000 and £8000. The firm have had a unique record during their long association with the Admiralty and have never had a failure, and during the war they supplied at least 75 percent of the steam steering gear required by the Royal Navy.

As was to be expected, Mr Bow was always keenly interested in the navigation of the Cart, and regarding the new Inchinnan Bridge he was a strong advocate of the breadth being at least 90ft.

In public affair he was much interested, but he was not a member of any of these boards. He was, however, a J.P. for the County, and he took a warm interest in the local Technical School. Some ten years ago he was appointed a life governor of the College, and when Sir Thomas Glen-Coats died and the Rev. John Porteous was promoted from the office of vice-chairman to chairman, and Mr Bow was appointed vice-chairman. Mr Bow gifted his former residence of Dunscore, Castlehead, to the governors of the Technical College as a residence for their Principal, and made other valuable contributions to the College.

His interest in the welfare of the townspeople took a practicable form also when the model yachting pond was being constructed at Barshaw Park. This scheme was undertaken because assistance could be had from the Government. The cost of the pond was over £3000, of which £1500 was secured in a grant, and Mr Bow generously bore the expense of the balance, amounting to £1563.

Another interesting point in the course of his career was the fact that during the King’s tour of the shipyards and other public works on the Clyde in 1917 His Majesty visited the works of the firm, at which time it was mentioned that about 400 vessels had been built by the firm.

The deceased is survived by his widow, a son and three daughters.

The funeral will take place to Woodside cemetery on Saturday at 12.45 p.m., and friends desirous of attending are asked to meet the cortege at the cemetery.

Transcript from original paper article in the Paisley and Daily Gazette 20 April 1927. Click on original article for enlargement