William Shaw & Son

William Shaw & Son, Wrights and Contractors, 44, Wallace Street, South Side.—

    Messrs. William Shaw & Son have had a long and an honourable history in the city. Fully forty years ago Mr. William Shaw started business on his own account in Eglinton Street. A man of strong and steady purpose and of great good common sense, who had an honest pride in his handiwork, he soon acquired the confidence of the public and secured for himself a prominent position in the trade. In a very few years he had to remove to the larger premises now occupied by the firm.

    In 1864 he was elected Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights, and, possessed as he was of a genial and kindly heart, few men were more generally respected than he was. On his death, in 1872, he was succeeded by his son, Mr. Robert Barclay Shaw, who at the time was not more than nineteen years of age. It redounds greatly to the credit of the son that he has been able not only to keep intact the heritage which was left to him, but to increase it to its present dimensions. During the interval which has elapsed since his father’s death, Mr. Shaw has executed much good and important work both in the city and throughout the country.

    His crowning achievement, however, has been the erection of the Glasgow International Exhibition. Taking everything into account — the nature and extent of the work and the very short time allowed to complete it in — this may truly be said to have been a great undertaking. But it was not more than Mr. Shaw was able for. On all hands it is acknowledged that he has carried it out with an expedition and a punctuality seldom if ever equalled, and certainly never surpassed — a credit to himself as well as the city. The Bailie, which has given him a place in its gallery of “Men you Know”, writes of him and his work as follows:— “To the general mind, it is true, figures which refer to ground space convey but little meaning, but the Magistrate may be permitted to mention, in connection with the work performed by Mr. Shaw, that the main building of the Exhibition is 1,000 feet in length by 365 feet in width, and that, together with the machinery annexe, it covers 474,500 square feet, or something like 10 acres. In its erection there were used about 5,000,000 of bricks, 750 tons of iron, 700,000 cubic feet of wood, 70 tons of nails, 40 tons of bolts, 250,000 square feet of glass, and 50,000 square yards of corrugated iron. As many as 1,000 tradesmen were employed at one time on the work, the total cost of which will be something like £80,000. So admirable, however, were Mr. Shaw’s arrangements, so complete was his mastery of details, so exact were his general calculations, that the larger part, or in fact the entire building, was practically erected within five months. Is there any instance on record, the Bailie wonders, of a structure of similar importance having been completed within the time mentioned in the specifications ? Besides building the-Exhibition proper, and the lower of the two bridges which span the Kelvin opposite the main entrance, Mr. Shaw executed the intemal work and fittings for the Clan Dining Rooms, the Royal Bungalow, the Bodega Bar, the Bachelor’s Cafe, and the various tea-rooms and kiosks, together with that of a large proportion of the exhibitors’ stalls ; and even this does not exhaust the list of the contracts he had on hand at one and the same time. The wright work of the Panorama of Bannockburn in Sauchiehall Street was his ; he carried out the extensive alterations in Mr. Paxton’s premises in Argyle Street ; and he executed the paint works of Messrs. Blacklock & McArthur.....

    While still a lad, Mr. Shaw became a Volunteer, and he has been a Volunteer officer for something like fourteen years, being at present a captain in the 3rd V.B.H.L.I., otherwise the Blythswood Rifles, the Colonel of which is Sir Archibald Campbell, Bart., M.P. As a tradesman of standing, the Man you Know is a member of the Master Court of the Incorporation of Wrights, and by-and-by he will rise, let us hope, ‘like his faither afore him’, to the post of Deacon of the craft, which dates, according to the Seal of Cause, from the 3rd of May, 1600, and which comprehends ‘wrights, glazing-wrights, boat-wrights, painters, bowyers, and sawyers’. Mr. Shaw is a resident in Pollokshields, and on this ground he has been appointed a Commissioner of Supply for Renfrewshire and a Commissioner of the Burgh of Pollokshields East, One of the districts which will by-and-by become a portion of greater Glasgow. While a resident in Pollokshields, his place of business is in Wallace Street, Tradeston, and on this account he takes an active interest in city as well as suburban and county affairs, and is at present, indeed, the secretary to the committee of the 16th Municipal Ward.”

    Mr. Shaw, we may add, has now on hand the contract for the County Buildings, Paisley. Both as a prominent business man and a citizen of integrity and the best public spirit, Mr. Shaw is deservedly esteemed and respected by all classes in the Scottish commercial metropolis.

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