Robertson, William, 1832-1919, coal merchant and shipowner

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Robertson, William, 1832-1919, coal merchant and shipowner

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

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Description area

Dates of existence



William Robertson was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1832 and was educated at the Old Burgh and Blysthwood Testimonial Schools in Renfrew. He left school to work as an office boy at Henderson Brothers, iron founders. By 1851, however, he had established a carrying business bringing coal and pig iron to Renfrew, with an office at Bowling on the Clyde. His first venture as a ship owner was the purchase of the scow or barge, Ellen, in about 1852, which plied on the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Clyde Estuary. This was followed by the lighter, Gem, in 1854, the Ruby in 1855 and the Pearl in 1859. He expanded his fleet rapidly, and by 1914, owned 49 ships. In addition to running his own ships, Robertson also acted as an agent.

Robertson also held a number of public offices. From 1892 to 1917, he was a member, and one time chairman, of the Clyde Navigation Trust. In 1907, he was made an honorary burgess of the Royal Burgh of Renfrew and, in 1900, he was deacon of the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow. He died in March 1919.


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Internal structures/genealogy

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Relationships area

Related entity

Robertson, William Francis, 1920-2005, shipowner

Identifier of the related entity


Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

William Francis Robertson was the grandson of William Robertson.

Related entity

William Robertson, shipowners (1852-1958)

Identifier of the related entity


Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship


Description of relationship

William Robertson, the shipping business, was founded by William Robertson in 1852.

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Control area

Authority record identifier


Institution identifier

GB 249

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Victoria Peters, November 2010.




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