The History Of The Kinross Carriageworks

Key: Carriageworks History
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1669 A law was passed requiring 6 days labour a year to be spent on road maintenance!
1750s The mid 1700s saw the introduction of turnpike roads.  Statutory bodies were set up by separate Acts of Parliament and were allowed to charge tolls in return for the maintenance of their section of road.
1776 Royal Mail coaches pass through Stirling en route from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Perth using the new turnpike roads.  Stirling was well situated for coach repairs given the poor state of the roads.
1802 J Croall & Co. of Edinburgh owned a carriage-building works in Stirling up until 1802.
1802 Mr William Croall, “formerly of Airthrey”, and Henry Kinross, who “belonged to the district”, founded the Croall & Kinross carriageworks at the head of Shore Road, Stirling.  Henry had served an apprenticeship to Mr Croall.
1813 Henry became the owner of the first steam engine in the district.
1816 Henry was admitted as Burgess, Stirling on 6th April 1816, occupation “hammerman.”
1816 Sir David Baird, fresh from campaigning with the Duke of Wellington in the Indian and Peninsular Wars, commissioned a family carriage.
1817 The firm entered into a new lease on their tenancy of workshops at the head of Shore Road.
1820  The Plan of the Town of Stirling from Actual Survey by John Wood shows Croll & Kinross at the head of Shore Road, right in the path of a projected road.
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Croll & Kinross”, Shore Rd
1820s J Croall & Co. of Edinburgh were operating two of the stage coaches in Stirling; “Soho” and “Carron.”

The Soho

A New & Elegant Four-Inside Safety Coach to Edinburgh has commenced to run from Sawers Inn, Port St., Stirling every lawful day, at Four o'clock, afternoon; by Falkirk and Linithgow in four hours and a half; and will leave CROALL'S Coach offices, Nos. 2, 11 and 22 Prince's St., Edinburgh, every lawful morning at Nine o'clock.

One coachman throughout and no Guard.  The proprietors are determined to carry on the above Coach on the most approved system, and hope to merit a share of public patronage.

Fares - Inside, 8s
          - Outside, 5s       JOHN CROALL & Co.  3d September 1829.

1825 Henry Kinross was present at the preliminary meeting of the Stirling School of Arts and Mechanics Institute, being one of the founders.
1830s The sons of Mr Croall, after learning their trade, were not satisfied with Stirling, and moved to Edinburgh.  They founded a successful coaching and ultimately bus-building business there.
1831 The 1845 Statistical Account of Stirling, states that in a “carefully prepared offical report, for the information of the Government, respecting the town and suburbs of Stirling”, that the 1831 turnover of “coachmakers and ropemakers” amounted to £6,000-0-0.  Woollen manufacture has more than doubled, that of cotton has fallen off and coachbuilding has much increased.  There are about 100 employed in coachbuilding working 10 hours a day.
1832 A cholera epidemic strikes Stirling and the rich start to move out from the Old Town to the suburbs to escape infection.
1837 The Croall & Kinross Company was formerly dissolved by December 1837; the works now passed to Henry Kinross.
“The Company carrying on business as COACH-MAKERS, at the SHORE ROAD of STIRLING, under the Firm of CROALL and KINROSS was DISSOLVED, on the 20th day of September last, by mutual consent.
Witnessed by Archibald Sinclair and John Kinross, Stirling, 18th November, 1837.
Signed by JOHN CROALL.
Witnessed by Thomas Wilson and George Thomson, Edinburgh, 29th November, 1837.
In reference to the above, HENRY KINROSS, now sole partner of the establishment above-mentioned, takes this opportunity of returning thanks to his Friends and the Public for their very liberal support hitherto; and he begs at the same to assure them, that he will use his every endevour to merit further continued support.  Stirling, 30th November, 1837
Front page of the Stirling Observer, 14th December 1837.
1838 Henry was “appointed coachmaker for Scotland to Queen Victoria”.  The Royal Warrant, under the hand and seal of Lord Albermarle, Master of the Horse, was conveyed in letters by Lord Dalmeny to Henry Kinross in 1838.  He was the leading coachmaker in Scotland at the time, being the only coachbuilder to be so honoured.
1838 William Kinross, foreman, was presented with a silver snuff-box by the workers as a “mark of respect.”  “The evening was spent in a very agreeable manner, several good speeches were delivered, and some exellent songs were sung, and the party seperated highly gratified with each other.”
1840s Queen Victoria ordered a Dog Cart for the Balmoral estate with space underneath the seat for her Skye terriers Gay Girl, Spot and Wat.
1842 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Stirling on 13th September 1842.  On reaching the bridge at Stirling, the horses of the royal coach were changed, and the entourage was joined by several hundred men belonging to the local militia to escort Her Majesty through the town.  At this point too, Henry Kinross, who was coachbuilder to the Queen, produced a huge timber platform on wheels, which was capable of carrying 50 persons to join the escort.  The Royal group was not scheduled to visit his workshop, so Mr. Kinross, always a razor-sharp entrepreneur, took the opportunity to pay his compliments to his most valued customers.”
1845 Mr. Henry Kinross, Coachmaker, Shore Road, is listed on 2nd January in the Stirling Observer as one of the High Constables of the Burgh of Stirling.  “To serve as a matter of reference to the Public, should anything be wanted in the neighbourhood.”
1845 Henry's nephew, William Kinross, took over the carriageworks, when Henry died at Viewfield Street, aged 68, on 13th December 1845, forming William Kinross & Sons Ltd.
1846 Dissolution of Co-Partnery, Stirling 13th May 1846.
The business carried on by the Subscribers as Coach Builders in Stirling, under the Firm of WILLIAM KINROSS & COMPANY, was this day DISSOLVED by mutual consent.  The Subscribers, WILLIAM KINROSS and JOHN KINROSS, will carry on Business in the same Premesis, under the Firm of WILLIAM KINROSS & COMPANY ; and the Subscriber; HENRY KINROSS, will conduct business in his own name, and on his own account, on Premesis in the course of erection in the Neighbourhood of the present Works.
All debts due to and by the late Firm will be paid to and by the Subscriber, WILLIAM KINROSS.
Witnessed by James Chrystal, June and William Ewing
Front page of the Stirling Observer, 4th June 1846.
1847 On the 15th December William's wife, Janet Buchanan, was killed by a runaway farm cart, but she just managed to put their two year old son James to safety on the tailboard.
1848 On 28th March the inventory of the late Henry Kinross, Coachbuilder in Stirling included:
  • Balance on the price due by messrs. William Kinross & Company, Coachbuilders in Stirling and William Kinross and John Kinross individual partners there: of to the deceased for the book debts and stock in trade and good will of the business of Coachwright carried on by him in Stirling £600.-.-.
  • Interest thereon from 11th November 1843 to 13th December 1845 £2.11.-.
  • 1848 The Scottish Central Railway reached Stirling and the coachbuilders became a major supplier of railway carriages.  The carriageworks were linked to the railway with their own railway track.
    1850 On 21st March the Stirling Observer reported: “a meeting of the Inhabitents of Stirling on Tuesday 19th March formed a committee to support the Great Exhibition.”  This was attended by “William Kinross Esq., Coach-builder, Stirling.”
    1851 On 31st March 1851, the census records William Kinross as a widower, aged 40 living at Shore Road, Stirling with his sons, George, aged 8 and James aged 5.  William is described as a coachbuilder of the firm William Kinross & Co., employing 70 men.
    1851 A disastrous fire on 8th April destroyed the whole workshops, tools and stock in a few hours, and the firm had to make a new beginning.
    1851 In 1851 the firm secured a silver medal for the most improved street omnibus design at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace.  This exhibit attracted much attention and brought many orders.
    1851 On 4th November William remarried to Ann, daughter of William Marshall a Cumbernauld famer.  They had 4 sons.
    1852 From the departure of the last of his brothers for Melbourne in 1852, William carried on the business alone”,  ref. “The Stirling Observer”, 27th May 1908.
    1853 Dissolution of Co-Partnery, Stirling 13th September 1853.
    The CO-PARTNERY carried on by the SUBSCRIBERS in Stirling under the Firm of WILLIAM KINROSS and COMPANY, Coachbuilders there, has been DISSOLVED this day by mutual consent.
    The Business of COACHBUILDING will now be carried on by WILLIAM KINROSS, who is authorised to uplift and pay the Debts due to and by the late Company.
    Witnessed by William Cathcart and Robert Dodds
    Front page of the Stirling Observer, 22nd September 1853.
    1850s William Kinross received orders from the Duchess of Bedford, the Earl of Derby, the Marquis of Londonderry and Viscount Shannon and others, including many Scottish settlers abroad.
    1857 From 1857 to 1861, 90% of the carriages were being made to order, for export to India.
    1865 The coach building business prospered, so William moved the works from the head of the Shore Road causeway to the larger Port Street works in 1865.  These premises had previously been used as a brewery and a woollen mill, but were converted into spacious workshops.
    1868  Duncan & Jamieson's Stirling Directory, July 1868, records William Kinross, coach builder at 20 Shore Road with George & James Kinross (his son's).  Thomas Graham & Son, lathsplitters, were also recorded at no 20.
    The occupants of 65½ Port Street were Hugh Fraser, aerated water manufacturer, J & J Angus, manufacturers and dyers and William Kinross, coach builder and harness makers.
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    1871 Advertisement
    1871  William Kinross was admitted Burgess as Neighbour, Stirling on 8th November 1871, occupation “coachbuilder.”
    1872  Tramways Order Confirmation Act (No. 4) was given Royal Assent.  Construction began on Stirling's horse-drawn tramways in May 1874 with the opening ceremony on 30th July 1874.
    1874 William Kinross died at his house at 11 Allan Park, Stirling on 20th April 1874 aged 63.
    His inventory records that he left 4721.11.3 of which he left 40, the business rents from his property including the carriageworks, his house called "The Houffe", household funiture and furnishing including bed and table linen, silver plate, books, paintings and engravings to his wife Ann Marshall as long as she remained his widow.  The remainder of his estate and the carriageworks were left to his sons George and James Kinross under the instruction that it should be called William Kinross & Sons and that the accounts must be presented to his trustees within fourteen days of 31st Jan every year.  George & James were instructed to pay themselves 2 a week.
    1880 George Kinross was admitted Burgess as Neighbour, Stirling on 8th September 1880, Stirling, occupation “coachbuilder.”
    1880s The History of Stirlingshire by William Nimmo, Chapter XL, records the “current rate of wages, earned by piecework and otherwise, in the shops of the two leading carriage-making firms: Bodymakers, 20s. to 35s. a-week; carriage-makers, 20s. to 25s.; smiths, 17s. to 30s.; wheelwrights, 21s. to 25s.; painters, 19s. to 26s.; and trimmers, 20s. to 24s.
    1881 In the April 1881 Census, George Kinross was recorded as a “coachbuilder employing 40 men and 15 boys” while his brother James was recorded as a “coachbuilder employing 60.”
    1884 “Disp. to Trustees for William Kinross & Sons, recorded in Stirling Burgh Register 20th June, with right, if any, to solum of said access Roadway and Teinds.”
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    1897 Advertisement
    1884-1890 John Kinross, RSA, architect (1855-1931) the half-brother of George and James Kinross, started work on the Port Street showrooms, offices and dwelling house of the Stirling Carriage Works.
    1890 The firm recognised their customers desire to buy a completed carriage rather than have one made to order so a “long saloon” carriage show-room was created at their works in Port Street.  This show-room was described as being able to “hold its own with anything of the same kind, even in the city of London.”
    1896 On 14th November 1896, a new Locomotives on the Highways Act came into force.  This new act permitted “light locomotives” - horseless carriages weighing less than 3 tons - to travel at speeds up to 12mph without the need for an attendant to walk in front carrying a red flag.  This red flag act had been passed by the government in 1865, after influence from the powerful railway lobby, to limit road locomotives to 4mph.
    1903 Robert Taylor registered Stirling's “first motor vehicle for public use” on 28th December.  MS24 was built by the Motor Manufacturing Company of Coventry and had a dark blue tonneau body with a yellow stripe picked out in green.
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    The Port Street Carriageworks, 1908
    1908  The Stirling Observer reports on 27th May that “the rivalry of the motor car has interfered considerably with the making of new carriages, and the output of these is not as great as it was, but there is a fairly good amount of work going on, and the firm continues to maintain its high standard of reputation, whilst it has a band of loyal workmen, several of whom have been in its employment for very many years.”
    1910 The firm of William Kinross & Sons, coachbuilders, Stirling, of which Mr. George Kinross and Mr. James Kinross were the sole partners, has been dissolved as at Dec. 31st, 1909, of mutual consent by the retiral of Mr. George Kinross.   Mr. James Kinross will continue the business on his own account under the same name, and will discharge the liabilities.”
    1911 James Kinross' son, David Morton Kinross (1881-1910) & Bailey Scott Murphy, architects, worked on the motor garage and dwelling house for Messrs Kinross & Sons.
    1919 George Kinross died, aged 76, at his house at 4 Victoria Square, Stirling on 14th January 1919.  “He had had a nasty fall from slipping on the pavement 10 days before, and evidently the shock to his system was too much for him.”
    1919 At the Stirling Town Council Monthly Meeting on 20th January, Provost Raffan referred to the death of ex-Provost Kinross on 14th January, Town Councillor for 24 years, elected Bailie 1882 to 1891, Councillor 1879 to 1903.  Sympathy to his family and brother in bereavement.  The Town Clerk was instructed to send excerpts of the minute (no 372) to the members of the deceased's family and brother.
    1920 The last horse drawn tram-car ran into the depot on 5th February, unable to compete with the new motor buses.  On 12th July 1921 at the 49th AGM of the Tramway Co., Scotland's last horse-drawn tram company was wound-up.
    1922 The Stirling Town Council Meeting on 16th October recommended that William Kinross & Sons of Port Street should be allowed to erect petrol storage facilities.
    1924 William Kinross & Sons exhibited a coachbuilt motor car based on the Standard 14 chassis at the Scottish Motor Show in March and another example in December 1924.
    1925 James Kinross was still working at the coachbuilders aged 80.
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    Flying Standard Advert, cir 1936
    1927 Their Scottish Motor Show exhibition stand also had other firms' work including a sleeve valved Willys-Knight bodied by Morgans of Leighton Buzzard.
    1931 James Kinross died on 29th July 1931, aged 86, and was succeeded by his son William Kinross.
    1930s William Kinross & Sons were agents for Standard Motor Cars, the coach works developing as a garage business.
    WWII During the war the firm were still producing horse-drawn lorries and floats when required.
    1949 The Official Guide to Stirling lists William Kinross & Sons, 37 Port Street (phone 309) (R.S.A.C.) under Public Motor Garages whilst carriage making is no longer listed under the industries of Stirling.
    1950 William Kinross died mysteriously in the River Forth on 21st September, aged 71.
    1950s The works at 39 Port Street became a motor garage and moved out of Stirling centre to St.Ninians.  The now empty Port Street showroom was sold to Marks & Spencer Limited, London on 10 th October 1956.
    1958 Walter Gilbey visited Stirling on 9th September 1958 on his 50 year old Kinross dog cart for a reception with Provost W. Macfarlane Gray and the Kinross family.
    1966 Marks & Spencer wanted to expand their Port Street store, so the the works closed and became part of the Thistle Shopping Centre.  The remaining carriage-workers were snapped up by Alexanders of Falkirk and other coach works at home and abroad.
    1967 Disponed to Marks & Spencer Limited, London on 22nd and 25th March 1967 of  “145 Poles 27 square yards of ground, bounded as thereinmentioned by access Roadway from PORT STREET, Stirling, LOWER CRAIGS and Property belonging to said Grantee, comprising said subjects disponed and 1117 square Yards 5 square feet of ground, described in Disp. to said Grantee, recorded 10th October 1956, ...

    Last updated on 1st January 2018.

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